June 21, 2018      3 min read

Selecting best-in-class e-commerce software for your business can be a daunting task. There are many factors to be considered, such as pricing, plugin support, SEO capability, mobile suitability and customer support. Here are four top tips to help you evaluate your options.

List out business requirements

As tempting as it is to begin searching immediately between existing e-commerce software, it is vital to first stop and think about your specific requirements – what are you looking to get out of your e-commerce software? This will vary between each business. Business size, target market and price are some of the important things to consider that are relevant for most businesses.

There are also business-specific requirements to consider. For example, do you want your e-commerce software to have online inventory management too or will you better manage it from a dedicated inventory management software like Unleashed? Knowing what your business needs from an e-commerce platform is the first and arguably most important step.

A good idea is to compile a list of “musts” – these are the basic features you need to run your business. Another list to have is a “would be nice” – these are the features you think would be great to have but not necessary to running your business.

Consider your existing systems

Which systems and solutions are your business already using? Email marketing platforms, customer relationship management software, point-of-sale systems or online inventory management systems are just some of the examples to be considered. Many e-commerce software packages will be able to integrate existing systems resulting in less work for you. For example, Unleashed Software integrates with other platforms like Xero for accounting, Shopify for point-of-sale, and many more. Make a list of your existing platforms and plugins; that list will be invaluable when whittling a wide field down to a shortlist.

Is this solution scalable?

When deciding on an e-commerce software, it’s important to consider if your chosen software would be scalable as your business grows. Changing software can be a lengthy and complex process, often taking at least one month; you do not want to be changing software every year or two! Small start-ups might not get much use out of the option to store 10,000 customer contact details. On the flip side, an inventory management module that is limited to 100 products might not be particularly suitable for a large corporation.

Find a balance and a software that suits your budget and meets your requirements. Online inventory management and e-commerce products will often operate according to a subscription model, meaning that you can subscribe to a plan for a fixed price and as your business grows, you can opt for a different plan that suits your growing needs/

Customer service

Sometimes, your software might not act like it’s supposed to. If your e-commerce platform goes down, the worst thing you can do for your customers (and reputation) is to respond slowly. IT support is often overlooked when comparing business software, but it is one of the most important things to consider as realistically, it is your brand image being damaged should things go wrong.

Key considerations include whether IT support is available 24/7, how many levels of support are available and how knowledgeable your provider’s in-house team is. Choosing a software that provides great customer service at a reasonable price will be truly beneficial in the unfortunate circumstance that your website has crashed.

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