According to Statista, the market size of e-commerce businesses is expected to hit the 100 billion dollar mark by 2024. If you are an e-commerce seller, these numbers could mean a massive scope of growth for your business. However, in a world where every e-commerce player is out with its finest tools and strategies, you too must gear up for your best game.
As an e-commerce platform, your first line of attack, i.e., your most crucial consumer touch-point, is the website. To stand up against the best and present your offerings in an optimum manner, choosing an efficient e-commerce platform for your website is crucial.
Today, we will share insights about how to find out the right e-commerce platform for your
business in 2022 with a simple 3-step formula.
Step 1 – Self-Diagnosis
Only a few days are left until the new year—this is the time for resolutions and re-evaluations. If you are an e-commerce enterprise, it might be time you relook at your current platform and decide if it aligns with your goals for the following year. Continue reading as we equip you with the knowledge required to figure out if your current platform works, and if it doesn’t, how to choose the right platform that does.
Although not recommended medically, self-diagnosis can help you assess your platform based on how the business performed last year. To start with, create a list of things that worked and issues that surfaced during the past year.
Find answers to questions like:
- Did you observe drop-offs at certain stages of a user’s journey?
- Have you noticed any inconsistency in the site’s online and offline experience?
- Is your tech department facing technology debts?
- Is your output suffering due to organisational silos?
- Did you notice an increase in traffic?
- Have you experienced scalability issues?
- Do you think there is confusion regarding product information among your customers?
- Is data security ensured?
- Is it mobile optimised?
These are a few generic questions—you can frame specific questions depending on your business size, model, and goals you’ve set.
Step 2 – Understanding the requirements.
Now, if you decide to try a new platform, we suggest you list down your requirements. This helps in making the final decision more attuned to your goals.
Aligning your team and listing out what different departments want out of a platform is also a great idea—this helps to zero in the pointers that are to be kept in mind while making a decision. For example:
- Are you looking for any particular third-party service integrations like email marketing tools, search analytics tools, loyalty programs etc.?
- How are you planning to integrate your platform—through script integration, API or a third-party app?
- Does it support asynchronous loading? Asynchronous loading allows site elements to be loaded out of order, i.e., if one element takes time, it will be ‘skipped over’, preventing a hold-up.
User Interface and Experience
- What are the essential touch-points in your ideal user journey? Will they be taken care of?
- Will the web experience be replicated on mobile?
- Are you okay with pre-built themes, or would you want some custom features on your website?
- What is the perception you want to create in your user’s mind about the brand?
- Are you looking at a PWA version of your webpage?
- How do you expect products to be catalogued on the platform—uploaded, categorised and organised?
- Does it allow manual filling or correction of data?
- How quickly will the page load? An extra 100-millisecond delay in page load time reduces a site’s conversion rate by 7%. The loading time can also affect your website’s google search rankings.
- Will the platform be prepared to handle peak traffic and sudden spikes in online orders? If this is a concern, you might want a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that provides greater bandwidth and up-time guarantees.
- Does the platform support a robust application programming interface (API)? This API should allow your business to send data from your product information management (PIM) system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software directly to your e-commerce site without requiring manual data entry.
Step 3 – Weigh your options.
Now that you know what your requirements are, it’s time to weigh your options. Let’s look at what are the best options available for you.
Software as a Service or SaaS: This is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is permitted on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. This software is quick to launch, easy on the pocket, and third-party friendly. It makes your job easy by taking care of the following—product updates, security, hosting, PCI compliance, and every other task that comes with managing your software is governed by the SaaS platform.
Headless commerce: The shopping cart is separated from the Content Management System (CMS) in this platform option. This allows you to pair a CMS of your choice with a shopping cart solution that fits your needs giving you more customization options.
Hosted platforms: These are of two varieties:
This puts the onus on the business owners to find hosting, perform installations and software updates. More often than not, this means the website needs to be down while these activities take place. It could be heavy on the pocket. However, it gives you more data security and visibility, overall, more control over the data.
With the website hosted on the cloud, these platforms boast 99.9% uptime, even during peak hours and sales. However, before finalizing, do check if they offer automatic installations of patches, updates, and upgrades.
Open source: This is a software released under an open-source license. It is free to use but requires licensing and hosting. This system allows you to make custom integrations according to your needs without building one from scratch.
Custom: This is software made from the ground up according to customer requirements. This system gives you complete ownership over your processes. It requires time, money, workforce hours but is explicitly tuned and uniquely to your eCommerce needs.
Before making a final purchase, the last thing to do is to look for a community that uses your preferred platform. Forums, support materials, discord servers, and testimonials can help you identify the blind spots.