Many start-ups and existing businesses are often turning to the internet these days as their main selling platform. There are many reasons for this trend including the often low maintenance fees, potential to reach new clients and customers across the world and you don’t necessarily need a physical location for your business or store.
Thanks to the various e-commerce platforms out there, there are plenty of different options for you to consider and avenues to explore. Unfortunately, the downside of having this large selection is that it’s often challenging to be able to distinguish which platform is best for your needs.
Before you commit to the monthly or annual subscription fees and realise a few months down the line that perhaps this platform isn’t for you, continue reading through our helpful guide in conducting research to help find the best platform for you.
1. Platform Features
As you will be using the dashboard on a daily basis, you need to consider is how easily you can navigate the platform, customise your store and upload any relevant information or products to your site. If the platform is complex, unclear or overwhelming, it will take longer to setup and begin making sales. Depending on how quickly you need to begin making a profit will further help you to prioritise the importance of this feature.
If your business doesn’t have a physical location, then the vast majority of your sales will be managed online and therefore, like a building is branded and designed to represent a business, you need a platform that will allow you to easily brand and customise your e-commerce site.
Overall, one of the most important features to think about is user-experience and how responsive the site is. Even if your e-store is ready to go and you are just waiting on your first customer after launching an advertising campaign on social media, if your site isn’t enjoyable and easy to navigate for the user, they are unlikely to stay on the website long enough to make a purchase.
2. Store Integration
Having an e-store alone cannot gaurentee sales, or even page visits. Much like operating a physical store, advertising and marketing is key. Promoting your brand and store through word-of-mouth and through campaigns on social media is a brilliant way to generate traffic to your e-commerce site.
A handful of e-commerce platforms, including BigCommerce, allow you to integrate your store into social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, allowing you to sell directly from there without having to upload and restock products on those platforms individually. BigCommerce also allows you to integrate your store with online marketplaces including Amazon and EBay.
By integrating your online store across various platforms you are able to expand your audience reach and attract new customers that you couldn’t reach easily before.
Unfortunately, some of the best e-commerce platforms come with quite the price-tag. However, most platforms offer various subscription packages. Once you have narrowed down your search and found the platform that best suits your needs, you way up each package and see if there is any flexibility in your budget to work around these plans.
If you are on a very tight budget as a start-up, consider starting on the basic plan after your trial ends and then when your budget allows it you can upgrade to the next plan.
If you are still uncertain about what pricing you should be looking at, most of the sites have contact details or live chat features, allowing you to talk to a consultant about any enquires you may have.