According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, online retail has more than doubled over the last nine years, from 6.4% of sales in 2010 to 16% in 2019. And it’s not all coming from Amazon, either. The message is clear: If you’re in the retail business and you aren’t selling your products online, your business’ growth is in jeopardy. The good news? There’s still plenty of room on the ecommerce bandwagon—if you get on it now.
In order to sell your goods online, however, you need a dedicated ecommerce platform—something you can use to list, change and monitor your inventory. Here are some factors to consider when searching for the right platform.
Ecommerce Website Basics
- Price—Most platforms charge by the month, but the fees can vary widely depending on the tool’s capabilities. If you’re a small business that only sells five or six different products, you may find yourself paying for a platform filled with features you don’t need. You want to find the one that’s best suited for your unique needs.
- Customer Service—If you allow customers to contact you directly (most platforms do), make sure you’re being responsive. Some businesses use chat bots to engage customers and glean valuable information. That might be advantageous for bigger companies, but for small companies, the optics of having a “robot” do must of the customer service could be a detriment.
- Mobile-Friendliness—Today, nearly 30% of all ecommerce sales are done via mobile phone. When choosing an ecommerce platform, make sure the tool is user-friendly on both desktop and mobile.
- SEO—The content on your platform needs to index according to strict standards set by Google. Many ecommerce platforms can be easily integrated into your existing website, making them crucial to your overall SEO strategy.
- Adaptability—Don’t just think about the look and feel of the platform itself. Think about the other digital tools you’ll need. This includes accounting software, email marketing tools, etc. Ideally, they should be easy to integrate with the platform.
Which Ecommerce Platform Is Best?
Now comes the hard part: choosing a platform. There are way more options than we have room to mention, but here’s a chart that that includes some of the more popular ones—along with our ratings for the five factors mentioned above. Again, these are just our preferences. The internet is filled with e-commerce resources and rankings, and you need to use discretion.
Other Ecommerce Factors To Consider
Congratulations! You just purchased a new e-commerce platform. So now what? It’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty details: making sure your images are top notch, getting your data feeds in order, crafting product descriptions that make it easy for people to find what they’re looking (and searching) for, and making sure your shipping settings are accurate.
Most ecommerce platforms have built-in, easy-to-use tools that allow you to view your sales data from every angle. Use them. You could consider starting a PPC campaign as well. As business starts to pick up, use the resulting data. When do certain products sell better than others? Which sales and discounts are more effective? This data is readily available to you and can help inform future decision-making to improve sales and performance.
Have no idea where to start? Fear not, we can help you develop a targeted ecommerce strategy. Drop us a line today!