As a business, it is not easy to decide on which e-commerce platform to develop because there are a million choices to make. Before developing any e-commerce presence, you need to ask and consider some important components (Wilson & Abel, 2002). Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business brings a huge profit and success. So, ask and answer the following questions.
What kind of products and services are you offering? Is it a large or small inventory? Are they digital or physical products? All these questions need to be considered and answered. If you have a lot of products in store, then choose an ecommerce platform that can handle all your products and does not limit the number of products to display or sell (Furnell & Karweni, 1999). If you have a small inventory, then you can go for a basic ecommerce presence but this is risky in case you want to expand in future. Businesses that sell digital products and services have their own ecommerce platforms that allows for frequent digital subscriptions for their customers. Not all ecommerce platforms allow this kind of subscription and you need to be careful when choosing.
How fast do you want to grow? If you want to grow at a very fast rate, then choose an e-commerce platform that scales. Not all ecommerce platforms are designed to handle business success (Wilson & Abel, 2002). Some online stores become very successful but are stuck with unscaled ecommerce platforms. Choose wisely to avoid this problem in future.
How much freedom do you want over your ecommerce site? Do you want a self- hosted or a hosted site? The advantage of a hosted site is that there are free bug fixes and you access techni9cal support any time you need it (Furnell & Karweni, 1999). For self-hosted option, you can host as many ecommerce sites as possible and you are free to customize your site as you wish. You need to make a choice on what is more suitable for you.
What is your budget? A small budget may restrict you while choosing an e-commerce platform. Some businesses opt for hosted sites that pay a monthly fee based on how big your business is. Others are self-hosted, which is more expensive but thy can control additional costs since they do some work on their own (Wilson & Abel, 2002). If you are a big retailer, never opt for the cheaper option because it may limit you in future.
What is the mode of payment for your customers? Make sure that the ecommerce platform you are choosing supports the mode of payments you prefer. If its direct credit card payment through your ecommerce site, then open a merchant account (Furnell, & Karweni, 1999). If you want to make payments via third party authorization like PayPal or authorize.ne the n open business accounts with both sites. This is very crucial and important and it may cost you if you make the wrong choice. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Is the presence SEO-friendly? If you want your customers to easily find products on your site, then make sure your site is SEO-friendly (Search Engine Optimization). Never underestimate this factor of ecommerce platform because it is very powerful and crucial.
Is your site secure? If you have a self-hosted site, then all you are responsible for all data security in your site. You also need to have a PCI (Payment Card Industry) that ensurere all credit card transactions on your site are safe and secure (Wilson & Abel, 2002). If you are using a hosted site, then you are not responsible for any data security. Your customers need to know how safe and secure their data is for them to do business with you.
Do you want a custom or generic web design? How flexible do you want your site to be? A custom web design is flexible and can be changed anytime you feel like. It is very suitable for business that want to attract more customers, display attractive products and boost their online presences (Wilson & Abel, 2002). a generic web design is static and not advisable for businesses.
Is your site customer friendly? Does it allow customers to give their reviews, recommendations and feedback about your products? If not, then you are missing on SEO property. Commends and reviews from your customers gives your site a higher rank on search engines and even bad product reviews help customers on making correct judgments on whether to buy a certain product or not (Furnell & Karweni, 1999). This is a very important aspect of ecommerce platform.
Wilson, S. G., & Abel, I. (2002). So you want to get involved in e-commerce. Industrial Marketing Management, 31(2), 85-94.
Furnell, S. M., & Karweni, T. (1999). Security implications of electronic commerce: a survey of consumers and businesses. Internet research, 9(5), 372-382.