To build an e-commerce business, you need to leverage a third-party platform like Shopify, Volusion or Magento. Each one brings its charges, set of services, subscription periods, strengths and drawbacks depending on the functionality you desire; leaving you perplexed on which one to finalize as you move ahead in setting up your store.
An abundance of ecommerce platforms is out there serving a variety of purposes. Would you go with the one that trends in the media or pick the one that best suits your business pre-requisites, is the cutthroat question you’ll have to address in the modern competitive era.
Pamphlet picking from a notable developer may lead to a good number of options, with a biased outlook due to his vested interests in these platforms. As a result, this process will not yield favorable results.
Now, whether you are a small emerging startup or a larger corporate entity, looking to diversify and expand with hope for a sunnier future with better rewards; there sit at least 2-3 platforms that will meet your expectations.
Some rely heavily on third-party apps to provide even the essential functions, forcing merchants to install dozens of subscription apps and then figure out how to make them all work together, which results in a considerable lag and other critical issues on the site.
So, which one is apt for your business needs and will customize the best to serve you with ease, is something we will explore; with regards to a range of parameters and challenges that will pop-up from time to time.
Here we will look at some of the imperatives you must consider before selecting a platform:
What you do determines to a large extent the perfect shopping platform fit. You don’t want to set the business around your platform but set the platform around your business.
What you sell, where you stand, what is your market and who do you wish to target; are just some of the questions that need to be acknowledged. Don’t blindly pick a platform, ask yourself these vital questions to survive the long-term strain of an evolving landscape.
Learn from Social Media, conduct surveys, offer incentives if need to be to complete such inquisitive feedback forms. Your customer base will be the best source to consult on such matters.
Once you have established the foundation of your business, you’ll be able to estimate better which platform matches your business essentials and further accelerates your sales agenda.
Ensure you don’t compromise on the quality for the sake of choosing a more widely popular platform, which may give you the pride of grounding your business in a mainstream platform, but the profits may saturate in the long term.
Your rivals will hold the key to gauging the perfect start to your e-store. Evaluate the field and see how they have progressed and what features do they tend to incorporate.
Whether you need specific functionality, plug-in, extension or a feature; will all come to life after you have invested enough time to study the minutiae points of your site and what can be compromised to ensure your business takes shape.
See where you can better the user experience with a seamless interface. Something your rival may have overlooked to feature other elements. If you can improve your design and the overall layout you will be ahead of the competition in no time.
Value navigation, mobile responsiveness and always keep the clutter to a bare minimum to guarantee a smooth browsing session.
Map your competitors, check their progress, see where their lag and in general how they go about plugging things on their site.
Being aware of your competitors’ chart can serve useful in your long-term strategies. Factor this and before you form a journey map of the road ahead. What are they missing and what can you do better than they do?
Customers are your prime source of information. They don’t just buy, they surf, leave messages, watch videos and in turn drop hints in every session, as to what they hope to see in the site.
Buyer involvement helps you to understand your customer base better, and at the end of the day, they are ones who generate sales and bring in profits. You are therefore dependent on them.
Get insights into your customers likes and dislikes, compartmentalize them according to various parameters like age, region, and even gender; if need be to penetrate your customer's mindset.
Once you get a sense of what they want, simply shape the website to their preferences. You will see a colossal increase in incoming traffic; which will immediately lower your bounce rates, increase conversions thereby emptying your stock and clearing your inventory in one shot.
Provided you get one thing right, customer satisfaction. Once, taken care of, customers will gravitate to your store on every requirement. Thus, prioritize a UI around this, and the results will be mind boggling.
When you know you derive your growth from your customer base then it becomes paramount that you value them whenever a minor or even a major tweak is considered.
Your platform will revolve around these principles. Insight into who and where your customers are, will help you to decide the indispensable functions your site would need, which will then help us to finalize the right platform.
Once your store is set around your customer, it’ll automatically transform to orders.
The products that you deal in will give you a fair idea on what sort of a platform will be suitable to cater to your business needs.
If you have Fewer SKU’s and are in the process of starting something for the first time, then even opting for a simple ecommerce package with easy to set up stores that come equipped with basic themes, enough add-ons, admin panel, a simplified backend interface and in some cases even a 24/7 support.
However, if your ecommerce store resembles an enormous warehouse, then a premium package would be the best choice. Diverse portfolios will need the assistance of an expert team to manage and regulate.
Hence, study the type of products you sell and then proceed to choose an appropriate platform.
Go through online setup wizards, educational videos, tutorials and extensive guides with visual representations; to familiarize yourself with each platform before taking the plunge.
Even check all the payment gateways available and how easy it would be to bring another one. E.g., Shopify Pay is available free of cost to every store built on the Shopify platform.
The transactions done through Shopify pay will not incur a deduction to the merchant, however other payment processors will deduct around 1% - 2% of the total order value, resulting in you settling for a little less profit.
Don’t pick the popular, instead opt for the one that best suits your long-term business interests.
Key questions to Address
Are you a reseller, manufacturer or distributor? What is your projected increase in sales, visitors and orders three years down the line, how many orders do you expect to accomplish in the initial stages?
What sort of theme are you targeting; whether it is a generic pre-available one or a customized theme centered around your unique selling point.
Who is your buyer, what are their credentials? From their age, sex, location to even their income.
Are you planning on shipping internationally, if yes what carriers will you be choosing and what avenues have you explored to pay your taxes?
- Shopify gives you add-ons and the ability to install many apps to introduce new functionalities and a 24/7 support, however its theme customizations are quite poor. A place where Magento wins.
- Magento lacks adequate all-day support, and you end up relying on a community, but it can efficiently manage large stores in Enterprise edition which is cost a small business quite a bit.
- Volusion is not as customizable, but the basic version is quite cheap compared to Shopify and comes with a host of payment gateways, besides being a good option for physical products.
- BigCommerce is a lot cleaner and easier to navigate compared to Volusion, but you end up losing on transaction fees.
- WooCommerce, you end up relying on WordPress, but the resources available are endless, the blogging comes easy and is remarkably simple to use and free, barring some extensions. However, you’ll have to find a hosting option.
Using the above criteria, you can see that a trade-off will need to be made. Rapid innovation or a steady model, wherever you aim to be, pick a business-centric platform.
Let your business model maneuver your decision making. Set your platform to catalyze your core strengths. Fixating over a specific ecommerce platform would lead to dire consequences that may even see a complete collapse in a distant future.
The right ecommerce platform will be critical to your ecommerce success. Take a moment to decide the ins and outs, contemplate and discuss of need be. Draw up a blueprint. List all the key areas you want to focus on and then finalize a solution.
A word from a random programmer may sabotage your investments and lead to an imminent catastrophe. Set the platform to the crux of your business.
However, input from the experts at Virtina will help you to choose the right platform. We will scale the platform to your business needs and create the perfect store that is in sync with the nature of your company.
Migrating to a new platform later is disruptive, moving the inventory, orders, accounts and even the reviews and ratings is a struggle.
Do your homework, don’t rush to set up your store, your platform deserves meticulous planning around the company’s backbone to manifest into a successful venture fully.
A popular platform is the one that wraps itself around your fundamentals and at the same time allows enough room for immediate changes, the perfect blend of a solid core and flexibility.
Narrow down your options carefully and pick the one that accurately complements your business ideas and can support, adapt and evolve for a very long time.
Virtina will help you to choose the best ecommerce platform which will be a 100% match to your specific business.
We have a proven pedigree in modern development practice and hence possess the ability to assess and scrutinize your business to find the ideal platform to power your ecommerce site.
Virtina can help you to increase your revenue, improve profit and enhance customer experience.