- The benefits of using an e‑commerce platform
- What to look for in an e‑commerce platform
- How to choose the right e‑commerce platform for your business
- The best e‑commerce platforms for small businesses
- The cost of using an e‑commerce platform
- Tips for setting up and using your e‑commerce platform
- How Luigi’s Box can help your e‑commerce platform?
- Over to you
- FAQs about e‑commerce platforms
Choosing an e‑commerce platform for your e‑shop is not as simple a task as you may think. The reason is that you need to carefully and correctly select the right tool to run your online business from the countless options out there.
Although this seems daunting to you, there is no need to panic. Whatever your business goals are, and regardless of the size of your company, there exists a perfect e‑commerce platform for your desired business operations. You just need to know what to consider when looking for it.
And we will answer this question and more in today’s article.
The benefits of using an e‑commerce platform
Businesses can benefit from using e‑commerce solutions in many ways.
First, an e‑commerce platform can save businesses time and money by automating processes, managing inventory, and providing a secure way to take payments. Such a software solution enables online businesses to manage their website, marketing, and operations seamlessly. There are, therefore, more development opportunities.
E‑commerce platforms can also help businesses reach a wider audience by making it easy to sell online. And with the right e‑commerce platform, companies can even sell internationally.
Moreover, excellent enterprise e‑commerce solutions will reflect your brand well and serve your customers at the highest level. This will have a positive impact on UX and customer satisfaction. And if your customers feel they are well taken care of, they may return to you in the future.
And, of course, if you choose a platform that operates at an advanced level, you’ll see a significant increase in site performance. Your customers won’t encounter many problems on it, and you won’t have to spend your valuable time troubleshooting platform issues. Instead, you can focus on the projects you prefer to work on, such as improving the product catalog.
What to look for in an e‑commerce platform
Today’s market is very competitive. What’s more, your customers have increasingly high expectations, so it’s no longer enough to just offer unlimited products; on the contrary, you need to delight your customers and be able to fulfill orders in the fastest and most affordable way possible. Your chosen e‑commerce platform will enable you to do this. But just; what to consider when choosing it?
When choosing an e‑commerce platform, enterprise business should consider their needs, budget, and other aspects.
Some of the things to look for in an e‑commerce platform include:
- ease of use,
- basic and advanced features,
- third-party integrations,
- platform speed,
- payment methods,
Businesses should also consider whether they need a hosted or self-hosted e‑commerce platform. Hosted platforms are easier to set up and use but can be more expensive. Self-hosted platforms give businesses more control over their store but require more technical expertise to set up and use.
How to choose the right e‑commerce platform for your business
You need to take a few steps to select the best platform for your business needs.
Do your research
This is the very first and essential step that you can’t skip. As there are a lot of different e‑commerce platforms to choose from, you need to find the one that’s best for your business. Therefore, pay attention to security, Integrated sales channels, and other desired features. Then, narrow your search and identify a few of the best platforms that meet your needs.
Consider your budget
Now, when you have selected several systems, you still have some work ahead of you. Namely, consider what kind of budget you have at your disposal because some platforms are more expensive than others. But, of course, the budget should not ultimately determine the choice but the platform’s usability and features, although it is also essential to consider.
Think about other options you need
Are you sure the platform has everything you need to run your business effectively? All the native features you cared about are there, but why not look at additional options as well? If you’re hesitating between choosing one platform over another, check out the extra features, and you’ll make your decision faster.
Ask for recommendations from other enterprise-level businesses
It’s also good to ask for recommendations from other companies who have used it. Some people may have had good or bad experiences with specific platforms that can help inform your decision. In addition, it will protect you from the wrong decision. Check out the system’s online opinions and reviews on websites like G2 or Capterra.
Talk to the platform’s customer service team
If you still have any doubts, you can ask the customer service department, which will undoubtedly dispel your doubts. For example, perhaps some recommendation has pleased you, and you want to learn more about it. Or, conversely, you have some concerns and wish to find out how things are. Such customer service will help you with any questions you may have.
The best e‑commerce platforms for small businesses
Shopify is one of the most popular e‑commerce platforms. As a leader in the e‑commerce business, Shopify launched Shopify Plus in 2014 as a solution for enterprise clients. It’s easy to use, has a wide range of features, and is scalable. Shopify also offers a wide range of themes and apps to customize your store.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that turns a WordPress site into an e‑commerce store. It’s easy to use and has a wide range of key features. Multichannel options are available, as well as search engine optimization features, payment gateways, and payment options. WooCommerce is also scalable and offers a wide range of themes and plugins to customize your store.
Magento is a self-hosted e‑commerce platform. It’s more complex to use than Shopify or WooCommerce, but it’s also more flexible. In addition, Magento is scalable and offers a wide range of features.
The cost of using an e‑commerce platform
Maybe you offer a wide assortment of physical products and digital products. Therefore, despite the price, choose software that fits your offerings.
The cost of using enterprise e‑commerce software will vary depending on your chosen system and the features you need. Some have monthly fees, while others charge a percentage of your sales. You may also need to pay for additional features, such as apps or plugins. And if you choose a self-hosted platform, you’ll also need to pay for hosting.
For example, Shopify provides its users with three pricing plans:
- The Basic plan for USD 29.00
- The Shopify plan for USD 79.00
- The Advanced plan for USD 299.00
To learn Magento pricing, you have to contact a sales rep. Your online store’s average order value and annual revenue will determine the total cost of ownership.
As WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, its pricing models look different from the other platforms. However, although WooCommerce and WordPress are free, there are a few additional costs you need to check before your WooCommerce site goes live.
Tips for setting up and using your e‑commerce platform
Once you’ve chosen an e‑commerce platform, there are a few things you can do to set it up and make it come down to your unique business model.
Here are some tips:
1. Choose a theme or template that’s consistent with your brand
Every enterprise e‑commerce platform is supposed to be as customized as possible to your brand, so you can go crazy here! Choose a theme or a template that is consistent with your visual identity. Let all the elements resemble each other and keep a similar style. Not only will this positively impact a customer experience, but you will also solidify your brand image in their minds.
2. Make sure your product photos are high quality
High-quality photos enhance the online shopping experience. As a result, the product photography is essential in building a positive shopping experience. What’s more, photography is critical in building a positive shopping experience with customers and creating a brand image. Therefore, it is essential to prepare excellent photos and ensure they are high-quality. In such a competitive market as e‑commerce, we can’t afford to make mistakes because the customer will move to another store where the same product is better described and presented.
3. Write clear and concise product descriptions
The product description is supposed to explain the item’s functions and encourage potential customers to buy. This provides an excellent opportunity to use tactics such as building urgency, social proof, or a call to action. It is often the case that product descriptions are the main factor they consider when making a purchase decision. However, most online retailers fail to create good descriptions compelling to their audience and prompt them to buy. If you don’t want to find yourself in such a position, think carefully about your offer description.
4. Use apps or plugins to add extra features to your store
Seamless integrations and plug-ins can significantly affect the platform’s attractiveness and set it apart from similar tools. First, they automate certain activities, save time and reduce development costs. They also influence better customer service and build the store’s brand. In addition, they can increase the chance of generating more revenue or help expand the reach of your store. Therefore, consider using such add-ons to enhance your operations further and take advantage of these additional features.
5. Make sure your checkout process is smooth and easy to use
If you sell something online, a brilliantly optimized buying process is also a must. It is very often the case that customers quickly find a product, and all they have to do is complete the purchase. But that’s when the checkout problem occurs, and the spell is broken. Customers don’t have the strength to bother completing the purchase, so they abandon the shopping cart and leave, probably to a competitor. If, on the other hand, the checkout process is intuitive and efficient, nothing will stand in the way of finishing the purchase.
6. Test everything before you launch your store
Everything looks beautiful, so now it’s time to test it. Software testing is an essential step in optimizing any system. With the work done, you can anticipate and prevent many problems, supporting the correct operation and ensuring the quality of the solution. Therefore, carefully go through this stage and make sure that everything works as planned. By doing so, you will avoid unpleasant situations that could be inflicted on you by customers finding bugs on the platform.
7. Promote your store through social media, email marketing, and online ads
Now it’s time to spread the word! This is an integral part of your marketing efforts to reach as many of the right audience as possible. Promotion will be needed to show the world that your business even exists. Even if you offer top-quality services and are a reliable businessman, few people will know about it without advertising.
Moreover, social media networks are viral, so it would be a sin not to take advantage of this. In addition, maintaining your company’s profile on the portals and regularly adding content will allow you to build relationships with potential customers. Therefore, make yourself known to those who have not yet learned about your online store and let them understand that you offer different types of products that will meet their expectations.
How Luigi’s Box can help your e‑commerce platform?
We hope these tips will help you find the best platform and set it up as the best version for your store. But we have one more cool tool in mind.
Box Search, Box Recommendation, and Box Analytics from Luigi’s Box are intuitive tools for your store. Among the built-in features in this single platform, you’ll find:
- intelligent search with autocomplete,
- typo correction,
- dynamic results filtering,
- recommendations on the home page,
- recommendations in product detail (up-sell),
- suggestions of similar product types in the cart (cross-sell),
- “no results” monitoring,
- trending searches list,
- lost opportunity analysis,
- and many more.
Additionally, Luigi’s Box integration is straightforward, consists of four easy steps, and doesn’t need any development experience, IT team’s help, or a dedicated account manager.
Over to you
Choosing a platform that meets all your expectations, is intuitive, tailored to your customers, and is easy to use requires more than spending 1 hour on this task. Despite having similar features, each available platform may differ in key aspects, so carefully review the available options and bet on the right solution.
Try Luigi’s Box for 14 days for free, because who knows, maybe it’s our tool you’ve been looking for!
FAQs about e‑commerce platforms
1. How do you determine which e‑commerce platform is right for your business?
This process involves considering your business needs and budget to find the best option for you. Creating a list of features you need and researching various platforms will help you make an informed decision.
2. What are some things to consider when setting up your e‑commerce platform?
If it’s your first time setting up an online store, there are a few key things to keep in mind. You’ll need to choose a theme or template that reflects your brand, add high-quality product photos, write clear and concise descriptions, and set up a smooth checkout process. Promoting your store through social media channels, email marketing, and online ads will also help you get started.
3. Once your platform is set up, what are the next steps?
Just make it work! After you have chosen and set up your e‑commerce platform, the next step is to start promoting your store. You can do this through social media, email marketing, and online ads. Creating a blog or YouTube channel is also a great way to attract customers and build brand awareness.
4. How do you begin marketing your e‑commerce platform?
Let your customers know you exist! You can do this through social media, email marketing, and online ads. Creating a blog or YouTube channel is also a great way to attract customers and build brand awareness. If you have an existing customer base, reach out directly to let them know about your new store.
Barbora does magic with words in Luigi's Box as a product marketing specialist. She got into writing while studying at university as a volunteer for various civic associations. Besides being part of Luigi's Box marketing team, she co-organizes the TEDxBratislava conference, where she cares about marketing and PR.More blog posts from this author