1. Expertise and experience of the vendor.
Is the vendor, the platform you choose, or the developer you deal with if you decide to construct your own bespoke site, experienced in eCommerce site development?
WordPress is a widely used platform on which many eCommerce businesses begin. To use WordPress for eCommerce, you’ll need to install the WooCommerce plugin, which allows you to use the platform’s built-in shopping cart. Even with the WooCommerce plugin, I found WordPress to be limited because it is primarily built as a blogging platform. Yes, they have a WooCommerce plugin, but it’s an add-on, not their core competency. And, with WordPress, you often need a lot of extra plugins to complete what you need to do, which leads to conflicts that either slow down your website’s performance or necessitate the assistance of developers.
I’ve also discovered that hosting can be costly and unreliable. This isn’t simply a problem with WordPress sites; it also occurs with Magento. I’ve had several clients whose websites break when they get too many visitors at once because their hosting can’t handle it. It’s not good if you’ve spent a lot of time and money developing and marketing a new product only to have it fail because the website goes down!
A platform like Shopify, on the other hand, is designed specifically for eCommerce. Because eCommerce is what it’s made for, you avoid many of the pitfalls and headaches that might arise when attempting to turn a platform that wasn’t built for the purpose into an eCommerce store.
2. The experience of the customer
The way your consumers browse and shop on your website has a significant impact on the performance of your eCommerce store. As a result, evaluating the user experience (UX) of your chosen eCommerce platform is crucial. You want a platform that is easy to use on the back end for you and your staff, as well as for customers browsing and shopping on your site.
When it comes to creating a website that provides a fantastic user experience, there are two key concepts to remember:
To begin, you should not utilise a platform like Wix unless you are an experienced web designer that understands not just visual communication and information architecture, but also how to personalise a website’s design and navigation to suit the store’s customer journey. What you like personally isn’t always going to be effective, and it’s even less likely if you don’t have experience or competence in web design.
Second, you must be cautious while selecting a template or theme. I understand how tempting it is to start with a free or low-cost theme and then customise it with your company colours and items. However, a template is merely an example of how something may look; it doesn’t take into account your specific sector or customer path.
It’s not difficult to find good advice on how to design your website and navigation to suit your brand and buyer journey – in fact, if you join our free Rockstar Productpreneur Facebook group, you’ll find a free training on how to design a high-converting eCommerce homepage in the Units section of the group navigation.
3. Is it possible to integrate it with other programmes?
There are a variety of platforms available that make it simple to set up your website, are sometimes inexpensive (like as Wix), and provide additional features, such as wholesale login and pricing, that are critical to your business. One that springs to mind is Neto.
Many of these platforms have a key flaw: they don’t integrate with the marketing tools you’ll want and need to develop an effective eCommerce marketing strategy or efficient fulfilment operations. Apps that integrate with your shipping or courier provider, such as an email marketing platform or Facebook advertising.
Some of these platforms claim to be a “all-in-one” solution for all of your marketing requirements. However, any ‘jack of all trades’ will certainly end up being an expert at none. And, in order for an eCommerce firm to scale, it must be able to effectively market itself, which necessitates seamless connection with the right marketing applications — apps that are specifically created for their purpose.
4. The ability to scale.
Is your platform capable of scaling up as your company grows? How simple or difficult will it be for you to accomplish this?
I Still Call Australia Home, one of our recent clients, was presented with a predicament where her sales surged drastically during her busiest trade period – Christmas – and her hosting couldn’t keep up. She was able to upgrade to a stand-alone server that could handle the increased traffic and transactions, but she was still out for a period of time, leading her to lose a significant amount of money in lost sales and incurring a significant financial loss due to the upgrade.
Whereas, with a platform like Shopify, scaling up is easy, and there are no difficulties with your hosting not being able to handle sharp spikes in the volume of traffic or the number of purchases your website receives as you grow.