If you’re a new small business owner, CEO of a start-up, or are simply looking to learn more about eCommerce platforms, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to take you through what eCommerce platforms are, what types of start-ups and SMBs should use them, when not to use them, and outline a few components to think about when choosing the right platform.
Let’s start with the basics. An eCommerce platform is a software that can help integrate all your core business operations into one solution. Whether you are looking to manage your business’ marketing, sales, operations, or website, an eCommerce platform will serve as the centralized hub of all business functions. These platforms serve as a one stop shop to help scale your business, boost SEO, successfully track inventory, manage fulfillment, and more.
Choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business
Now that you know a bit about eCommerce platforms, in order to ensure the biggest drive for your business, it’s essential to choose the best eCommerce platform for your start-up or small business. Think about any must-haves your business requires to be successful. Here are some questions to consider when weighing your options: Which platform offers the most scalability if my business takes off? Where am I looking to see the most growth in my business? Which platform aligns with my business projections?
Take a look at some of the best eCommerce platforms on the market that will serve as the perfect fit for your start-up or SMB:
- Wix – Wix is best for small online stores with under 100 products, but not necessarily where you want to stay in the long run. If your business skyrockets, prepare to move off the platform rather quickly. Wix offers an extremely customizable site with plenty of creative freedom to fit your preference. Focusing on helping you sell more online, effectively managing your store, and ultimately growing your business, Wix sets your business up for success. Plus, Wix understands that brand image is a huge aspect of your marketing strategy, and provides you with choices to customize the design of your website according to your style!
- Shopify – Are you serious about selling? Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce sites and is best for larger businesses or startups that expect to scale quickly. If you’re not a design expert, no problem. Shopify offers seamless themes that also provide you with complete control over the look and feel of your site. The platform is known for its wealth of tools that are easy for anyone to use. As a bonus, you don't have to waste time worrying about the safety of your site, as Shopify handles it all from safe payments to secure checkouts.
- BigCommerce – Online businesses and larger companies have found the most success with this platform. BigCommerce provides you with the right tools, proven to “boost the buzz”, driving more traffic to your site and ultimately converting to more sales. If you consider yourself to be a coding expert, BigCommerce is sure to be your playground, providing you with the flexibility to customize the URL and HTML of your site. If you find yourself in need of help, BigCommerce offers 24/7 support, complete with personalized advice tailored to your business. What more could you ask for?
- WooCommerce - If site flexibility and integration with WordPress for your start-up is what you seek, this could be the best option for you. WooCommerce is a customizable plug-in that promotes safe payments for your online store. If you are already using WordPress or are familiar with it already, adding the plug-in to your site will be a breeze.
This platform presents you with a wide variety of marketing strategies that will help grow your customer base, from Google Ads to Facebook Ads. In addition, WooCommerce helps you manage the entire order process, starting with the payment, all the way to shipping.
Let’s face it, your business is important, and time is of the essence. Weigh the pros and cons of each eCommerce platform before deciding which is right for your business. If you are having a hard time making your decision, never fear! Most platforms come with a free-trial option, giving you the flexibility to explore the tools before making your final decision.
Things to consider before choosing an e-commerce platform
Picking the right eCommerce platform for your start-up or SMB is an investment. You want to make the choice that’s going to give you the biggest “bang for your buck”, as they say. Ask yourself if the cost of the platform is reasonable for your business. Then, think about if the platform is workable for your business long term. Skipping straight to the facts can help you choose the right fit for your business in a timely manner while setting your business up for growth.
Ease of use is arguably the most important functionality when choosing an eCommerce platform. However, user experience has more to it than that. With all the choices in the market, it's hard to know which to choose. Consider the size of your business and where you hope to be in several years' time. Look over the tools that each platform offers to see if the platform meets your criteria.
Chances are, you might have a question or two that pops into your head while building your site. Whether you can solve the problems on your own, or require some outside advice, check out the support options each platform offers before deciding.
It's easy to decide based on what catches your eye, but let’s not forget about what really matters, site security. Unfortunately, identity theft and phishing are common. You have spent time and effort creating the best possible site for your business. The last thing you want to see is a security issue. Do some research to check out the security credentials for the platform you want before purchasing.
Are you ready to pick your e-commerce platform?
Now that you know a little more about which eCommerce platforms are best for start-ups and SBMs, do you feel like an eCommerce expert? If not, it’s time to ask for some help from a marketing expert (that would be us)!
If you’re looking to take the next step to get your e-commerce store or site appropriately positioned and set up for a successful launch of your new or existing business, reach out to us today to set up a meeting!