eCommerce is undeniably gaining more traction with every passing year; brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to keep up. eCommerce is a powerful platform that can yield large benefits for online merchants. eCommerce sales have reached over $1.5 trillion and is projected to grow.
If you are looking to join the eCommerce world it’s important to find the right solution as eCommerce platforms vary greatly. Your choice of platform will be dependent on your business and what products and services you want to leverage.
There are numerous benefits of eCommerce software for online businesses and their customers. Customers get the front-end experience when purchasing online so software should be designed to be user-friendly, intuitive and simple for your customers to navigate.
At the back end, there are reams of fundamental benefits for the business. eCommerce software can be integrated with your business’ accounting functionality, online inventory management and customer service support. It’s important that all platforms can communicate together. With enhanced communication, business owners get a better understanding of what is going on with the business at all times.
For instance, online inventory management software has the capability to report stock levels in real-time. This information can communicate with the eCommerce software and inform customers of current inventory levels. With an effective online inventory management tool, it may report that items are selling fast, or there are only limited items left in stock, therefore encouraging customers to buy.
The Right Price Point
Selecting the right eCommerce platform can be a very involved process. You need to consider how much money you are willing to invest in this solution. Depending on the size of your business and what you can afford, this may sway your decision.
Typically, cloud-based platforms have a monthly subscription fee. The costs change depending on host status. You can have a self-hosted or hosted platform and the fees will be reflected on this feature. Additionally, each platform has different processing charges.
Take into account your customer’s preferred payment methods. Some people will want to use credit cards but other customers may prefer PayPal. See what payment schemes the eCommerce platform offers and if those agree with your target market.
The fees will vary but it doesn’t mean the most expensive is the best, or the cheapest is the worst. Each platform will work for differently for different businesses. Sometimes you’ll need to bite the bullet and pay a higher fee if a specific eCommerce solution suits your business requirements.
Another key feature to look at is the mobile-friendliness of the platform. People are constantly shopping on their phones. Whether they are on the train home, waiting in line at the airport, or perusing the internet from their couch, it is likely that they are using a mobile phone. Ensure that the layout of your online store is mobile-friendly. For instance, see if the platform can be integrated into your business’s app. The easier it is to click and pay on a mobile device, the more likely your customers are to buy.
There are numerous other features including scalability options, customer service, and platform security. There is a lot of potential with eCommerce platforms once you find the right solution for your business.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.