Not all ecommerce platforms are created equal. One beats the other in terms of load time. Another wins in terms of mobile performance. What you do not want is to upload all your products and customize the site only to find out afterward that the platform loads like a turtle.
Before you go platform shopping, it is better to have a shortlist of options. This way, you can test their functions and features and come up with a conclusion methodically. After all, your capital and customer experience are on the line. So, before settling with a platform for your online store, consider the following factors:
Site speed should be a top priority. Kissmetrics shares that almost 50% of web shoppers expect a site to load in two seconds. After three seconds without pages or images loading, they are out. Think about the consequences here: a high bounce rate and abandoned carts should customers reach checkout without turning back to Google.
Searchers these days are not willing to wait. So even half a second of difference matters. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Tools to analyze the speed of a platform. It also dishes out possible optimizations for the site.
The “mobile first” thinking gives you an advantage over competitors who have not tried or been dismissing the approach. As of May 2016, more people searched on mobile than on desktop in the U.S.. But what does the approach mean for your online store? It can be summed up in two words: user experience. Choose a platform that shows a seamless mobile interface. If it gives you a glimpse of how your site will look like on mobile, alongside desktop, then it has what you are looking for.
An SEO-friendly e-commerce platform is a godsend. According to Moz, it should allow you to create custom landing pages, edit page URLs, and install Google Analytics ecommerce tracking, among others. Your category pages should have rich content, so find a platform that will let you add text to as well as embed images and videos on them. A blogging function is a huge plus since Google encourages brands and sellers to try content marketing. Lastly, site speed is also an important component of an SEO-friendly site.
Your ecommerce store does not require salespeople ushering in and assisting people unlike in a brick-and-mortar business. However, you will likely have a remote team who will help you run the different aspects of your shop. These days, it is possible for you to hire a copywriter or coder from India, according to ReviewsXP. Wherever your future employees may come from, they should be able to access the site without restrictions. At the same time, your preferred platform should not bill you unreasonably high for adding two or three more users.
Advanced payment options
Some websites only allow PayPal by default such as Shopify. However, Shopify supports other third-party gateways like Stripe, Amazon Payments, Authorize.Net, and 2CheckOut. Meanwhile, WooCommerce lets you accept debit cards and credit cards as well. Make sure to research your target customers and the most effective payment solutions for them before taking a pick. If they are tech-savvy and early adopters, you may also want to look at digital currencies such as bitcoin.
Email marketing integration
Email marketing is still an integral part of ecommerce and your branding, according to email service provider iContact. It is your approach to recovering abandoned carts, sending alerts about new products and promos, and reconnecting with inactive customers. These days, predictive emails are also gaining traction. As such, you should go for a platform that will let you integrate on-site customers into the ESP you believe in.