5 crucial factors to help you choose your E-commerce platform
A decade ago, 5% of the total US population was shopping online. 10 years now, the number has more than doubled accounting for almost 15% of shoppers preferring online to offline stores. The shift has been high in Fashion, automobile, food, and fuel. If you are someone looking for a sustainable business model, you might have to look into getting your store online.
Go Online! It is far easier said than done. But once you have decided, the first question that pops into your mind will be which platform should I go with?. Let me try and put before you a few points to decide on what is the right platform for your business. The following pointers apply even if you are already online but evaluating to migrate to a new e-commerce platform.
5 things to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform
- Total cost of ownership
- History of Innovation
1. Total Cost of Ownership
All platforms have a cost associated with it. The cost of the platform has to be considered as an investment and it is always better to understand the cost involved and have it padded to make sure you are also covered for the near future as well. So what are the costs you need to be aware of:
Depending on the platform there is going to be a licensing cost or you can also select open source platforms that do not have licensing cost. The cost will be flat or size or transaction based depending on the platform you select. Make sure you consider all the scenarios while accounting for this cost.
The cost needed to put together the platform to work for your business, which will lead to your own business process. This process is key to have your organization adapt to this new technology.
Ongoing maintenance and support cost:
This will be part of your ongoing cost to cover for basic maintenance and also to make any changes on the go to your system. Again, depending on the platform, the provider will take care of the maintenance or you will have to spend an additional amount for that.
Depending on the platform you will see hosting cost is accommodated in the license or maintenance cost, if you are going to host, you will have to cover for hosting as well.
Ask for all the cost to your vendor before planning your budget. This will help you from averting any surprises in the future after you have taken the plunge.
2. Scalability and Performance
As an eCommerce player, you can expect traffic spike and order spikes at any point of time. There are expected raise and unexpected raise and you should be prepared for both of them. The E-commerce platform should be capable of dynamic scaling features to cope with the non-linear traffic and order process.
In addition to this, you can expect the number of integrations with the site to grow with the growth of the organization. Business workflows tend to keep changing and in all these cases, your eCommerce platform should scale up without compromising on the top-notch performance the customer prefers.
Some of the common scenarios where scalability turns crucial are,
- Traffic and Sales spikes
- Orders and customer portfolio management
- Marketing and E-commerce Automation integrations
- Omnichannel sales enablement
- Manage customer data as per new compliance
3. Integration Capabilities
Digital commerce is not just a mere platform. The platform is a part of your digital ecosystem and the landscape comprises of other tools and software that are integrated with one another.
For example, as a small level eCommerce player, you might integrate your eCommerce platform with an Email tool where you manage your subscriber data to plan your campaigns.
Going higher, you might develop a complete ecosystem that can include the following and more
The list is bound to grow as your business scale up and your platform should be flexible enough to integrate with such growing digital landscape. The flow of data between the systems must be seamless and they should be easy to integrate.
Make a list of tools you use today from the technology, business, and marketing divisions and check with your consultant on the integration capabilities of the platform with the listed tools. While some tools can be directly integrated, some might need the help of external APIs.
4. Platform Security
Security is a vital part of a digital entity. At any point, your website should not be vulnerable to random malware attacks or unauthorized access attempts. Hence, this should be one of your top deciding factors on an E-commerce platform.
The platform should support you with regular security upgrade releases. This should cover website data, product data, user data, and payment gateways. Ensure while implementing you meet the necessary security compliance based on the geography you operate.
5. History of Innovation
They are not technology vendors anymore rather technology partners. Your partners need to be on par with you in terms of innovation and ramping up the growth. They should adopt new technologies and trends at a faster pace to reflect the same on your brand.
Check the list of versions they have released in the past and the difference they have made in terms of product experience and user experience year on year to know about their Innovation culture.
List down some of the key advancements in eCommerce and check whether the shortlisted platforms offer them. For example, look for Accelerated Mobile Pages, Progressive Web Apps, Business Intelligence dashboard to name a few.
Are you evaluating a new eCommerce platform? We can help you with our 7 step platform scorecard model to help you find the right eCommerce platform which will suit your functional and business needs. Or, you can schedule a consultation with our E-commerce solutions expert to get a free consultation.