How To Select The Right Ecommerce Platform
Choosing the right platform might be the most important decision your eCommerce business ever makes. Whether you’re launching a startup or switching over to a new platform, your platform will come to define everything about your business, from how it operates behind the scenes to a visitor’s perception of it.
The platform you choose becomes as much apart of your business as the products you sell. So, if selecting the rightone is so important, what steps do you need to take to make sure you’re makingthe right decision?
Take inspiration from yourfavorite stores
Stealing isn’t clever, but taking influences from competitors and market leaders is a great way to develop a foothold as a new business. Imitating elements of these businesses is a great way of giving your fledgling business a head start. Their design choices, marketing strategy, and product presentation can all have a bearing on the way you choose to build your website, and the same can be said for their platform. It’s not stealing, it’s an essential part of your research.
Market leaders will have chosen their eCommerce platform for a reason. If you’re stumped as to where to start when researching which CMS to use, take a look at what the businesses you aspire to be like are doing. The simplest way to see which CMS your competitors and influences are using is to run their URL through a CMS checker. This will show you the name of the platform. If that fails, you can always send an email inquiring about which one they used, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be open to sharing.
Don’t think just because something’s beendone that you can’t do it as well – or even better. Seeing the same CMS overand over being used by competitors can be a sign of which one to eventually gofor.
Choosing the right platform is so much morethan a cosmetic decision. You need to think ahead and take into account anyfuture frustrations this platform may cause for your team.
How the platform you choose handles your day to day operations should be at the top of your list of considerations. If the CMS can’t get the basics right, it’s going to be hard for you to operate and grow your business. It needs to be able to handle the everyday basics of an eCommerce store. How does this platform handle taking orders, uploading new products and changing content in comparison to the next? What about the elements that are unique to your industry, such as a clothes retailer being able to offer alternative colors without having to build an individual product page for each option.
Before making your choice, try and work outwhat a typical day would require of your platform and what extremities youwould need to push it to during peak periods. From there you can work backwardto find the most appropriate platform.
Does it match your brandidentity?
A key part of brand identity is website design. In many ways, your website is the center of your brand. Your website doesn’t just need to have the right brand colors, it needs to replicate the style, audience, and ethos associated with the brand.
Something that feels contrived, forced orat odds with the ethos of your business will turn away or fail to attract theright customers. If you want to run a home-based business (for example, sellinghandmade crafts or print on demand t-shirts), customers won’t expectto see the polish associated with a big tech brand. In contrast, a largerbusiness can look small time with a CMS that doesn’t allow for grander designelements such as a background video. Presentation matters, it’s part of whatmakes a shopper comfortable and helps them understand the brand.
The right CMS shouldn’t limit you to onekind of design, but should also offer the right level of customization and beable to tell your audience everything they need to know about you.
What support is offered?
Just because technology has such aninfluence in our daily lives, doesn’t mean we’re all proficient with it.Especially not the inner workings of a CMS. A product manager is not atechnician, and will occasionally need help dealing with issues on theirwebsite.
How your ecommerce platform is supportedafter purchase should be one of your first considerations. Leading CMS nowregularly include a support system as standard, operating either as a guide youcan refer to or a technical advisor you can get in contact with. This isanother decision you have to make with the consideration of your team in mind.If they’re technically minded, you may be able to survive with limited support.However, the majority of ecommerce teams are going to need some hands-onsupport available on the other end of a call or email. You can’t afford to letyour website go down in the middle of an important campaign with no one aroundto fix it.
As well as technical support you need toconsider the scope for community support. The CMS may be limited, butif there is an active community developing plugins and offering advice it maybe manageable.
Are you ready to deal with bugs and systemfailures by yourself? If you’re like most website managers you’re not and needto go for an ecommerce platform with comprehensive support systems.