How to Choose an Ecommerce Platform

Ecommerce Platforms

Online stores rely on ecommerce platforms in order to sell their products.  There are a number of very good ecommerce platforms available today, and that can make it difficult for a business owner to choose the right one for their company.  Many factors should influence your ecommerce choice from user friendliness to pricing.  So, let’s take a closer look at considerations you need to make before choosing an platform for your ecommerce website design.

The Product

Ideally, you want to choose an ecommerce platform that meets your business needs, and the product you’re selling will factor into your choice.  For example, not all platforms are designed for all kinds of products – some are great for both physical and digital products while others are only suited to selling one type of product.  In addition, ecommerce platforms sometimes charge you by the number of products you sell, while others allow you to move unlimited products.  You’ll also want to consider whether your platform tracks your inventory and product options.

So, before you choose an ecommerce platform, ask yourself the following questions about your business and/or product(s):

  1. Are you selling digital or physical products, or both?
  2. How many products will you sell?
  3. Have you got an inventory tracking system in place or do you need your ecommerce platform to track it for you?
  4. Do you have various product options (i.e. colour, size, style, etc.)?
  5. What are your shipping needs?

You’ll also want to ensure that your ecommerce platform will allow the sale of your product; some platforms, for example, restrict the sale of alcohol or adult merchandise.

Hosting

The next consideration you’ll need to make is hosting – do you want to host your store on your own website or on the ecommerce platform?  Hosting on your own website gives you more control and flexibility, but hosting on the ecommerce platform takes care of maintenance and security concerns.  If you choose to host on the ecommerce platform, you’ll want to ensure you can use your own domain, and carefully consider the features offered.

Design

The look of your online store is an important aspect of your brand message.  Make sure you choose an ecommerce platform that includes themes that match your company brand.  Alternatively, choose a platform that gives you the flexibility to design a custom theme.

Pricing

Pricing for ecommerce platforms can vary significantly, not only from one platform to the next but also depending on the features you require.  Even if you see a platform that has a lower monthly rate, it may not include all the features you need.  So, before choosing a platform, make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for and whether all your business needs are met.