How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform for Beginners

If you want to create an online store or plan to move your brick-and-mortar business online, then you need the right platform and a reliable ecommerce service provider.

However, with countless ecommerce store builders online, choosing one that fits your business dynamics can be an absolute nightmare — after all, each one has its advantages.

To help you with your selection process, we’ll share several tips below on how to choose the ideal ecommerce platform for your business.

But before that, let’s first understand what an ecommerce platform is and how it can help you.

What is an ecommerce platform?

An ecommerce platform enables you to manage your website, sales, operations, and marketing all in one application.  

Reliable ecommerce platforms offer diverse and powerful features that allow integration from other business tools to run your business efficiently.

Ultimately, the main advantage of ecommerce platforms is that you can sell to a broad market anywhere and anytime.

Also, with an ecommerce platform, you can:

  • Set up your business fast and easy. Most platforms already offer website templates, hosting, payment card industry compliance, and more, so no need to worry about the technicalities of launching a website. With an ecommerce platform, you can build your online shop in just a few clicks.
  • Pay lower fees. Compared to starting a brick-and-mortar store, ecommerce businesses are less costly. For one, pricing plans cost around $20 per month or less for basic plans. Generally, it also offers a free sign-up and takes a small fee for sold items. Overall, ecommerce platforms take away the expensive investments that you need when setting up a store such as your payroll, inventory, and store rent.
  • Get customer insights. Ecommerce CRMs offer analytics and customer insights to help you monitor your website traffic, sales, most popular item or service, and more. For example, Squarespace Analytics shows your total visits, revenue, and more during a specific time frame.
(Image Source: Squarespace)

Use analytics to understand your customer behavior and create campaigns that engage and convert.

Overall, ecommerce platforms offer different functions and features for different kinds of businesses. Choosing the right platform will help you establish your store online and increase your sales.

Tips for choosing the right ecommerce platform

To find a good platform that suits your needs, consider the following points.

1. Know what you need

Take the time to research about ecommerce platforms, its features, and its processes.

Keep in mind that the most popular platform does not mean that it’s the right one for you.

When browsing through ecommerce platforms, look at their features, services, and support to see if it aligns with or resolves your business needs. 

List down any questions you have and get in touch with their sales or support team to answer your concerns.

Also, take advantage of free trials. It gives a full experience of the platform allowing you to check if it includes everything you need.

Know as much as you can, so you can make a well-informed decision when choosing your ecommerce platform.

2. Balance your costs and needs

When looking at pricing guides, ideally, you want a complete platform that’s compatible with your budget. However, this is easier said than done.

Platforms offer different pricing plans to suit all business budgets. However, each pricing plan only offers limited features and access.

Basic plans may be affordable, yet it can’t give you further control or customization for your website design.

In these cases, you will have to compromise on either the features or your budget.

Ultimately, pay attention to the features included at each pricing plan, so you can maximize the value for your money.

3. Check for user-friendliness

Even if your platform is complete or affordable, you can’t do work effectively and efficiently if the interface is difficult to use. 

Ideally, an ecommerce platform should make it easier for you to run your business.

With the platform, you should be able to launch and promote your online shop without the need to learn to code.

Look for the following when looking through ecommerce software:

  • Easy setup. Make sure the platform guides you step by step on how to build and launch your online shop from domain name registration to shipment tracking.
  • One-click integrations. Built-in tools will help you customize your platform and grow your business without the need for hiring a developer.
  • Central channel management. Look for a platform that can help you manage multiple channels, such as your Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and more in one central platform. Place importance on these features as it will help you create and manage your online store easily over time.

4. Consider your website design

In ecommerce, a well-designed website or online store is important.

Not only does it represent your brand but it also helps attract customers and make them remember you.

Ideally, look for a platform that offers designs that aligns with your brand style.

For example, Shopify offers a variety of free and paid website themes and layouts to suit all kinds of brands.

Moreover, ensure that a theme offers room for customization in case you need to do some small tweaks or re-brand in the future.

Moreover, pay attention to its mobile-friendliness, usability, and scalability.

Try to use a free trial and preview your website using multiple themes and devices to see which template design works best for your brand.

5. Determine if a platform is scalable

As your business grows, you will need additional support from your platform in terms of marketing, website development, or sales, among others.

It’s difficult to predict what you might need in the future, so most ecommerce businesses use APIs, such as payments and checkouts, to customize or automate based on their current needs.

You don’t have to implement this when you’re starting, but you may want to consider these features in the future.

Overall, choose a platform that offers automation and tool integration to help save you time and money in the long run. 

The best ecommerce platform for you

When choosing your ecommerce platform, remember that the best platform for you is the one that will solve your needs effectively and efficiently.

Make a complete evaluation of all your choices before you select the platform. Keep in mind that changing your platform midway can halt your operations or inconvenience your customers.

Hopefully, these tips will help you make a well-informed decision.

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