Ecommerce is growing approximately 23 percent each year. Yet nearly half (46 percent) of small businesses in the U.S. do not yet have a website.
What is the most important decision you’ll make when you’re establishing an ecommerce store? Well, setting your product lineup is certainly important as it dictates the very nature of your store. Choosing a name, a logo and a slogan are important too, as these elements play heavily into your branding efforts. But your website ultimately supports all these other functions. No pressure, but your choice in ecommerce platform will play a heavy role in all future functionality.
For that reason, shopping for an ecommerce platform is not a process to take lightly. One of the best things you can do to position your online store for success: Be choosy at this early stage. Conducting ample research here will help bring your short- and long-term strategies to life.
Establish Your Timeline
It’s important to ask yourself how quickly you want to get your online store up and running. Sometimes the best ecommerce website builder is the simplest because it allows you to plug-and-play—using existing templates. Even better, these templates are customizable and can be based upon the specifics driving your store. When proprietors can upload product information and site content quickly without worrying about having to custom code, they can launch their website sooner—and with less hassle. Others choose to work with a developer, or handle the back-end coding and IT responsibilities themselves. It all depends upon your desired timeline, expertise and the amount of responsibility you’re willing to take on.
User Experience Is Key
You will experience the most positive results using a platform capable of supporting an optimized user experience. What does this mean, exactly? Your platform should facilitate a seamless user journey from start to finish. The best platforms allow shoppers to browse your store without thinking about the underlying software.
Guidelines for good UX include:
- Fast load times: Site abandonment rates start climbing after just a few seconds of lag.
- Easy navigation: Site visitors must be able to navigate forward and backward seamlessly as needed.
- Product findability: Your product catalogue must include all the information and controls shoppers need to find what they’re seeking, and your site should include a rich search feature.
- Quality content and images: Your website should feel unique, populated with high-quality photos and written content to support your goals.
- Customer assistance: Shoppers must be able to access assistance and customer support at any stage of the buying process, from research to checkout.
Review Your Payment Options
Just like anything else online, payment processes adapt and modernize over time. It’s helpful to utilize a flexible platform capable of supporting multiple payment methods beyond just credit and debit cards. This way, fewer customers will reach the final stages of checkout only to find their preferred method is unsupported by your store, possibly causing them to abandon their shopping cart altogether.
Consider the Power of Plug-Ins
Lastly, you want your chosen ecommerce platform to play nicely with plug-ins. Why? Because third-party apps and plug-ins help you customize your website and its offerings. If your platform integrates, you’ll have no problem trying out new tools on a free or premium level to improve your experience as a retailer and your visitors’ experiences as well. One benefit of utilizing a reputable website builder is that you’ll be able to install ecommerce apps and plug-ins without additional hassle.
Are you in the process of shopping for an ecommerce platform? Don’t be afraid to be choosy. After all, this single decision will branch off into myriad effects down the road. Take time to weigh the pros and cons of each option now.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.