The global pandemic has forever changed our shopping habits. The Adobe 2022 Trends Report shows that even though the pandemic is waning and lockdown measures associated with it are removed, people continue to prefer online shopping. 2022 is projected to be the first trillion-dollar year for global eCommerce, a sign that eCommerce is the future. However, setting up an eCommerce platform is only the first step and does not guarantee success.
Selecting the right platform plays a considerable role in ensuring success. A business requires an eCommerce platform that is fast, flexible, and scalable. Why? The primary reason is that it helps you deliver a unique customer experience, enabling you to differentiate yourself from the competitors. The wrong platform can make everything dull and prevent you from personalizing the store based on consumer preferences. Several popular eCommerce platforms claim themselves as the top eCommerce platform.
But how do you know which is really the best online store platform, considering so many options are available? This guide will help you select the best eCommerce platform for your business.
You keep hearing the word ‘cloud’, but do you know what it means? In the simplest terms, the cloud refers to accessing/storing data and programs over the internet rather than your hard drive. There are countless benefits associated with the cloud and very few drawbacks (if any). Therefore, our first advice to businesses is to opt for an eCommerce platform that runs on the cloud. They are less costly and can grow with you as your business expands. How is it less costly?
Instead of investing considerable resources in hardware, software, and related infrastructure, you only pay for the resources that you use. It enables you to save money, space, and other valuable resources. The best thing is that you can scale the platform up or down depending on the requirements. Lastly, the cloud platform is responsible for managing the service level agreements (S.L.A.s) with the different vendors, meaning that you don’t have to worry about anything.
Don’t go for a platform that adheres to the ‘one size fits all’ approach to eCommerce store development. If your eCommerce platform forces you to tailor your store according to the platform’s requirements, it cannot claim itself as the top eCommerce platform and is not worth the money. You need a platform that allows you to customize every aspect based on your business requirements. The best eCommerce platforms meet your requirements now and, in the future, to support your growth.
You may now opt for a cheaper platform, thinking you are saving money. Several ‘plug and play’ types of platforms available allow you to set up an eCommerce store in a matter of hours. Sure, it saves you money now, but trust us when we say that you will invest a lot more in the future when your business starts to grow. The reason is that when you wish to scale your platform, there are only two options – pay for costly and complex customizations or look for another platform. Therefore, the best eCommerce platform is flexible and supports your growth.
3. Multi Support
You need a platform that supports multiple: languages, payment mechanisms, and delivery management systems. The whole point of eCommerce is to increase your business reach by tapping into new markets. Is it even worth it if your eCommerce store does not allow you to add multiple channel support for different aspects of your store? Today’s online customer experience comprises multiple touchpoints, and businesses must ensure that the experience is consistent. Otherwise, it can impact user experience and force them to look towards your competitors.
Without multiple channel support, you will need to invest in a new platform or design customized solutions every time you expand into a new market or tap into a new segment. Therefore, plan for the future and ensure that the platform allows multiple channel support. Otherwise, you may have to set up independent platforms for each segment, leading to costly overheads. It would also make management a lot more difficult and create challenges in delivering a consistent customer experience.
4. Integration with Third-Party Applications
Your eCommerce platform does not exist in isolation and cannot operate efficiently on its own. The best eCommerce platforms allow easy integration with third-party applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), content management system (CMS), and enterprise resource planning (ERP). These systems improve business efficiency and make store management easier. If your platform does not support such integration, it is time to ditch it.
Even the best online store platforms can run into issues or have some shortcomings. Therefore, you need a platform that has a vast network of developers and solution providers to help you execute your ideas. Without such help, getting the work done can be challenging or outright impossible.
6. Business Model
The last must-have for any eCommerce platform is that it must support multiple business models. The distinction between B2B and B2C is thinning as most businesses now offer a mix of both. Therefore, the recommended eCommerce platform is the one that supports B2B and B2C. Previously, we compared eCommerce platforms and concluded that Adobe Commerce is the best eCommerce platform as it supports both business models.
The above points will help you select the best eCommerce platform for your business. Contact us if you still have any queries or require help finalizing an eCommerce platform or customizing an existing one. United Sol is a top eCommerce development company in Toronto and can help you deliver a consistent customer experience and differentiate your store from others.