In today’s digital era, it’s crucial for businesses to market their products and services online. Customers usually live hectic lifestyles and mostly rely on their gadgets when going about their day, which is why businesses should maximize online platforms that enable them to reach out to and transact with their customers who are located in different parts of the world. A business can’t thrive if it doesn’t have a strong online presence.
You can meet this demand by using the right e-commerce platform for your business. In simple terms, e-commerce or electronic commerce refers to the selling of goods and services using the Internet. E-commerce can also include the transfer of money and data in order for a business to complete a sale. Aside from being convenient, e-commerce also allows your business to overcome geographical limitations and gain new customers with search engine visibility.
With the number of e-commerce platforms available for businesses today, make sure that you pick the right one by using these tips below:
1. Pricing And Payment Terms
Money is one of the most important resources you should have when running a business. It’ll be challenging for you to produce innovative products and services and attract customers if you don’t have enough financial resources. How can you work with suppliers if you can’t even afford their raw materials? How can you commission ads if your business is low on marketing funds? To ensure that none of these facets are compromised, always consider the pricing and payment terms of the e-commerce platform you’re eyeing to use.
Using giant e-commerce platforms, such as Magento Enterprise and Shopify Plus, usually require a monthly fee. The cost will depend on whether you’re going to get a self-hosted (will no longer require your business to look for a hosting provider) or a hosted (you’ll have to look for a hosting provider before your e-commerce platform will work) e-commerce platform. You should also determine the processing fees and other costs associated with the service. It’ll be very easy for you to compare your options if you’re well-aware of the price and billing process implemented by each e-commerce platform.
Aside from the price that you need to pay, you should also consider how your customers will pay for your products and services. Some e-commerce platforms, although cheap, do not accept payment from third-party vendors, such as PayPal. This can be very inconvenient for your customers to the point where they will abandon their shopping cart and choose to do business with your competitors instead.
2. Availability Of Integrations
Countless businesses are operating in different parts of the world today, which is why you should exert time and effort in making your e-commerce platform stand out. E-commerce platforms are considered a must today, and using one just for the sake of it will only flush your resources down the drain. Your e-commerce platform should be different from your competitors’, not blend with them.
Having said that, what you need to do is to look for an e-commerce platform that allows integrations and plugins. The more you can do with your e-commerce platform, the easier it’ll be for you to run your business online. If you want to attain the same success as Shopify and BigCommerce, for example, you should focus on investing in an e-commerce platform that supports or offers the following integrations and plugins:
- Accounting Plugins: As mentioned, money is an important resource in every business, and not paying attention to your business’s financial activity can eventually lead to loss and debts. In worse cases, a poor financial plan can become the reason why your business will lose customers and stop its operations. For you to easily track your business’s financial activities, look for an e-commerce platform that supports accounting plugins. Such a platform will make it so much easier for you to monitor the sales, taxes, revenues, and profits of your business. These plugins are automated, which means that you’ll be able to record data in real-time and minimize errors during the process.
- Email Marketing Tools: Investing in an e-commerce platform is useless if you don’t have customers online. Who will patronize your online offerings? How can you earn a return on investment from this platform if no one is using it? If you don’t want these problems to contribute to your company’s downfall, look for an e-commerce platform that allows you to contact several customers at the same time. This feature will easily enable you to market your products and services while you accommodate another set of customers for their orders.
- Online Membership Programs: Hauling in customers to buy your products and avail of your services once is easy, but making sure that they remain loyal to your brand is another story and a much more challenging task. Fortunately, you can accomplish the latter by using an e-commerce platform that supports online membership programs. E-commerce platforms that honor discount codes and coupons can effectively foster customer loyalty and keep your existing customers.
3. SEO Friendliness
Search engine optimization is important for every business because it builds trust and credibility, provides the best user experience, and increases customer engagement, traffic, and conversion. An effective SEO strategy will help your business reach a wider audience and stand out from the competition. In other words, SEO is vital for the success of your business, which is why you should look for an e-commerce platform that has SEO-friendly features.
An SEO-friendly e-commerce platform will make it easy for your target audience to reach out to you the moment they search for your products and services. If they start looking for offerings that are similar to yours, your brand will immediately show up on top of their search engine results pages (SERPs), and they will be redirected to your e-commerce platform. This way, your customers can easily patronize your products and services online because your e-commerce platform is already available to them.
Moreover, an e-commerce platform is considered SEO-friendly if it allows you to add your blog, use your own domain name, and lets customers leave their reviews. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you can look for more or fewer features.
As mentioned, people today are always on-the-go and would prefer easier and faster transactions. Not everyone has the luxury to sit down in front of the computer and book services or purchase products online. More often than not, individuals only get the chance to transact with a business online during moments that they can easily squeeze in their busy schedules, such as when they are commuting to and from work.
To ensure that your business perfectly caters to this specific demographic, look for an e-commerce platform that is mobile-friendly, such as Magento. This means that the e-commerce platform you ought to use should be interactive regardless of the device your customers are using. All of your customers should enjoy the same online brochure, payment options, and user experience regardless if they’re accessing your platform using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a desktop computer.
Audit And Improve
Picking the right e-commerce platform is just a part of the process. For you to make the most out of the e-commerce platform you chose, you should use data analysis to improve your strategies and improve your conversion rate by consistently testing. The business arena is fast-paced, which is why you should be open to new ideas, as well as make changes whenever necessary.