Running an e-commerce business is a lot more complicated than you think. Besides preparing the product or services you want to sell, you also have to devise a strategic plan to present your goods. Most people believe e-commerce business runs through system automation, that it doesn’t carry the heavy lifting as traditional companies do. But that’s not the case and couldn’t be farther from the truth. E-commerce businesses are as demanding as any other business. Maybe even more so. And that is because it only relies on a single variable: a third-party platform.
Platforms offer setting customization that helps build your store professionally and allows you to sell online. To make sure that your operation improves, you have to utilize third-party platforms, such as Wix eCommerce, Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce. It is crucial to find a reliable venue for your brand that can help you manage your business. Because as soon as sales go up and customers’ demands sky-rocket, it is inherent that people will expect quick response and competence from your services. When you fail to satisfy their wants, your customers will more likely look elsewhere, or worst, leave a bad review.
So, before you take a leap and integrate a platform into your business, here are five helpful tips that can help you choose:
1) Do Your Research
Platforms and their marketing strategies can be compelling. At first glance, you might think that what they’re offering works best for you and your business. If you come to that point, take a step back.
Just like anything else, you must do your research. Identify the function that meets your needs and make a list out of it. If you must, talk to an e-commerce customer service call center to help you understand what you will be paying for. Ask even the most basic questions, such as customer service support, customization, and built-in payment services. Always do your homework because not all platforms are perfect for all types of businesses.
2) Determine All Costs
Determine the costs of the right platform you want to choose. It is essential to quantify the amount of monetary investment in order to operate. And, if you missed to calculate the costs, you might end up overspending.
To determine the costs, compare the potential platforms’ investment, add-ons, and tools. Once you figure that out, it will help you weigh in each platform’s advantages and disadvantages. Also, as your business grows, some platforms’ prices will increase, too. The bigger the sales, the bigger the server storage, plug-ins, and bandwidth you need to expand. As you make your decision, it is critical to sum up all costs to ensure the platform actually benefits you in the long run.
3) Start Free Trial
Start a free trial. That can be the smart decision to make. However, many features are only available in paid services. Nevertheless, create a free trial to buy yourself some time to understand the platform and decide whether it’s perfect for you the minute your business grows.
Platforms such as Weebly, Big Cartel, and Square Online will let you sell without signing up for a premium plan. Though, these platforms trade-off through a commission fee per sale. Still, it is an excellent way for e-commerce starters to identify which platform works for them.
4) Ensure Accessibility
Before you choose a platform, see to it that it is user-friendly, both to your team and customers. Your team will be spending most of their time with the platform, and they must find the interface easy to use. If the interface is confusing or complicated, you or someone from your team might come across some difficulties. These platforms are available, so your work process becomes more manageable for your team to sell your products and services and for your customers to buy them. As long as you meet these goals, the platform is the right one for you.
5) Choose a Reliable Hosting Company
Hosting companies provide services that can attract views to your website online. You might be choosing the perfect platform based on the functions that meet your preferences, only to find out that you will have problems with your servers. Low servers can harm your rankings when people search for your company or use keywords that could bring them to your site, causing your website to load too long or, worst, crash in the middle of a customer visiting your site.
Connect to the e-commerce customer service call center of that platform and ask for all the answers to questions including – does the hosting company support 24/7? What backups do they provide for your site? Will you be on a shared server? If yes, how many sites are sharing one server?
The bottom line is, when choosing an e-commerce platform, you have to make sure you can use it on a long-term basis. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an e-commerce customer service call center to understand everything. Your website is your brand; it serves as the vehicle that brings your customer to you. It pays more than just where you sell your products and where your customers buy them. If you want to be an outstanding competitor in the ever-changing market of e-commerce, you need to do more than just transactions and show off your edge to the millions of e-commerce sites worldwide.