In this day and age, a lot of people are connected to the Internet in one way or another. A lot of people have found that the Internet serves plenty of use to them, whether it be for personal reasons or business reasons.
Nowadays, if a business doesn’t have an Internet presence of any sort, then people tend not to trust them more.
On that note, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned businessperson, or the like, trying to make your mark by selling online, then you would definitely need an ecommerce platform. An ecommerce platform, if you’re not aware, is simply the Internet version of your brick-and-mortar shop front.
When choosing an ecommerce platform, you must make the right choice since setting everything up is quite hard. It’s like when you set up a shop and then have to move away to another location.
Since any online entrepreneur needs their online shop to sell their wares, having invested in the right ecommerce platform is crucial to your success. On that note, here are some essential features that you should look out for when choosing the ecommerce platform for your shop.
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Features That Your Ecommerce Platform Should Have
There are a ton of features that you should look into when figuring out what sort of ecommerce platform you plan on settling into. Of course, before you get into the features, you have to figure out crucial details about your business first.
For example, what sort of products will you be selling? Are you selling products or services? Is popularity when it comes to an ecommerce platform important to you? How much is your budget to have your own ecommerce platform versus setting things up by a professional?
All of these are essential questions you have to ask yourself before you get into the nitty-gritty of the features of the ecommerce platform you should have.
Moving on, though, here are the features that you should look into when you’re deciding your ecommerce platform of choice.
When looking into the trends of Internet users nowadays, you will find that a lot more people can access the Internet with comfort through their mobile phones. Also, a lot of mobile phones are incorporating Internet use as a standard part of their phones.
So, what does this mean for you?
Well, this means that when you’re creating your platform, you should make sure that it makes it easy for you to make your shop mobile-friendly.
This means that users will not have a hard time navigating your shop because they’re looking at it through their phones instead of their desktops.
Search engine friendly
Another important thing that you should look into when choosing an ecommerce platform is whether or not you are given plenty of avenues with which you can optimize.
In the simplest of terms, Search Engine Optimization or SEO means that you are making your site easier to discover through search engine results.
Knowing the intrinsic value of being searchable and appearing on top of search results, you should make sure that your ecommerce platform gives you plenty of features so that you can optimize on search engines.
An ecommerce platform should be something that you can integrate into your working system with ease. It will be harder for you to get things going if you can’t incorporate necessary plugins or other software and applications with your ecommerce platform.
Although it doesn’t have to be a requirement, plenty of integration options will make your life a whole lot easier. This is especially true if you’re planning to grow more prominent as a business.
This is when every moment of your time counts. With plenty of integration options, your work operations become seamless and without issue in your day-to-day activities.
As mentioned before, you want to make sure that your integration options can handle your business as it grows. This particular issue or feature that we are talking about is the scalability.
This means that you want an ecommerce platform that will be able to handle a load of your business as it grows with your customer base.
Of course, if you committed to an ecommerce platform that’s smaller because you didn’t have the budget before, but now you do, it will be harder to scale up. Therefore, when considering your forecasts, look into how well your current ecommerce platform can grow with you in the future.
When it comes to managing any business, you should prioritize the user experience.
For online sellers and ecommerce web design, user experience is the most important part of running an online business. Therefore, you should make sure that you invest in the right things to make this happen.
When your customers have an excellent user experience, then your work will honestly speak for itself, and you’ll find that people will recommend you without prompting. Give the opposite, and you’re bound to hear from them too.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to user experience. So, instead of focusing on the shallow things involved in creating an online store, look into the user experience instead.
Every shop has a security system that ensures the security of your products, as well as your customers. The same goes for your online shop.
You want to make sure that you have security in place that will protect both you and your customers when making transactions. Since customers will be inputting sensitive information (like credit card information) when making a purchase online, you have to make sure that they are protected.
There are several measures that you can check, but the simplest one you can do is to set up SSL certificates (Secure Sockets Layer) on your website that will protect your customer’s info.
When it comes to the user experience, you want to make the part of the sales funnel when they already agreed to transact with you as convenient and fast as possible for them. Otherwise, it would be such a shame to finally get them to the point where they want to buy something from you, only for them to back out at the last minute.
One way you can do that is by ensuring that you have an ecommerce platform that has multiple avenues of payment options available for them.
Diversify these options so that you are covering all of your bases. Make sure that you have the most common ones on there so that you can cover the majority.
Similar to user experience is a little something called customer service.
Customer service can be more challenging to deal with when it comes to an online shop. Nonetheless, some innovations will make it easier for you to deal with customer concerns and questions.
For example, there are chatbots that you can set up who will have a set of responses in place so that your most frequent questions will have a set answer already. Although this is an excellent way of dealing with FAQs, when it comes to customer complaints, it may be best to have a human working behind it.
Therefore, set up a way for them to contact you for both small and big concerns that will connect your customers with an actual person.
Benefits of Having a Great Ecommerce Platform
As an online entrepreneur and businessperson, there are a lot of things that you should invest on aside from an ecommerce platform.
If you’re starting out, you might be wondering why it’s crucial in the first place to have a great reliable online store. Won’t the most basic ones do for you?
Well, if you’re not convinced to get yourself an excellent ecommerce platform yet, then continue reading to find some of the biggest benefits of having an excellent platform for your online business.
First things first, when you have an ecommerce platform, it gives you a wider avenue with which to operate your business.
If before you were selling to close friends and family only, an online store lets you access a broader customer base than ever before.
Another part of new opportunities as a benefit is that being an online seller is something accessible to everyone. Before that, only people who could afford to set up a physical shop were able to be shop owners and sell their goods. Now, that isn’t the case at all.
There are students, stay-at-home moms, and all sorts of people that have set up shop through ecommerce.
If you already have a physical shop up and running and you’re looking to develop and upgrade your business, yet you don’t have the budget nor time to set up a new physical store, then an online store is the way to go.
With a physical location, you are constrained by the reach of your shop. Plenty of people are out of your reach because of it.
With an online shop, on the other hand, you get to reach a lot more people, and you can advertise yourself to them no matter where they are.
Before the age of the Internet, having a website to be a business owner is not a requirement.
Now, if you don’t have an Internet presence whatsoever, then you are not only missing out on several opportunities available online, you can also be looked down upon or distrusted by potential customers.
Nowadays, consumers are wiser with their purchasing habits. Before they buy anything, especially with a big purchase, they search online first about product information.
If you don’t have that online presence, then you will likely be eliminated from their choice of businesses to transact with.
Open for business every day
Another thing that constraints you, when you have a physical store, is that you can only be open as a shop for so long. After all, you’re going to be limited by the personnel you have on hand.
Plus, you might not even have a ton of customers at specific hours of the day, so it will be a waste of money to keep it running when no one is around.
With an ecommerce platform, however, you need not worry about the time. Since you’re open all day every day, you can get orders no matter what. Thus, you always have business.
Contemporary company image
One reason why you would want to have an ecommerce store is that it keeps your business updated.
If your business appears to practice outdated and antiquated tactics, it may negatively impact your perceived value. You want to be a part of the current events still, otherwise, you will get swept away by the passing of time.
To maintain a good brand image, having an ecommerce platform allows you to manage your brand image online.
Enhanced customer support
As mentioned before, although physical stores have it easy in terms of dealing with customer complaints face-to-face, it doesn’t mean that you are left behind on customer service as well.
You can create automated chatbots for frequent questions and you can make it easier to redirect concerns of customers online.
Plus, since you’re open 24/7, you can also address customer concerns day-in and day-out, especially with the automated responses involved.
A huge benefit to having an excellent ecommerce platform from the get-go is that you shouldn’t have to worry about your site experiencing frequent downtimes.
Whether it’s due to too many people on your site or hosting issues, with a reliable web host and platform provider, you shouldn’t be as affected by the downtime.
From the benefits of investing in an excellent ecommerce platform to the features, you need to look out for when choosing which online store is suitable for you, all of these covered in the article should be able to set you on the right path as an online seller.
Look forward to your growth and improvement now. Good luck!
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce order fulfillment service provider. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.