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May 25, 2022

Four factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform for your business

Commerce has come a long way from walking miles to get the products you want. With the click of a button, an online world awaits where consumers can choose from different products, make payments and get them delivered in a few minutes, all from their own homes.

The increasing growth of e-commerce in Africa, and the world, has seen the steady shift from brick and mortar businesses to online stores. More companies are migrating or kickstarting online, which has led to different platforms that can host online stores. How do you decide which platform is right for your e-commerce business with so many options to choose from?

Pricing and payment

When doing your research, you need to consider your budget for your online store.

Whether you are just starting as a small online business owner or establishing an online presence for your physical store, you need to know how much you will be paying and factor it into your finances. 

Most platforms have a monthly fee, but the costs will differ depending on the platform you want (hosted vs self-hosted). To make this decision, make sure that you weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the best choice for your business. Remember to keep your budget in mind when you do this, as this fee will be recurring. 

In addition to how much you pay, you need to also think of how your customers will pay. Some platforms do not accept third-party vendors, which in turn, can affect your sales and lead to cart abandonment. As you decide which payment option is best for the business, look into the payment software options that come with the store or can be installed. A highly responsive checkout allows your customers to have a seamless payment experience. 

Integrations

What are the tools available to help me run my business?

This question is a vital one that you have to ask when choosing a platform. As an online business owner, you will need specific tools and plugins integrated into your store to help you run your business. Some recommended plugins are:

  • Plugins to manage sales, orders, and taxes.

  • Email marketing tools for customer communication.

  • Customer reward plugins.

It would be best to decide which plugins your business will need and research the availability and integration option of those plugins to the platform you want to use.

User interface and responsiveness 

The look and feel of a platform are essential as they will impact how long users remain in your store. Consider:

  • How is the website navigation?

  • Is the interface user-friendly?

  • Is it responsive on mobile devices?

The third question is of the utmost importance as nearly 60% of searches are done from mobile devices. Most of these searches often lead to a purchase. 

Security

The increase in online shopping also saw increased card fraud and the exposure of vital information to scammers. 

You need to check the website's security to ensure it is top-notch. Do not let the inadequate security measures of a website ruin your platform's reputation with bad reviews from customers. 

Check that the website is PCI-DSS and ISO 27001 compliant and that it also supports HTTPS/SSL for a safe and secure checkout for your customers.

Based on payment methods, user interface, device responsiveness, and online security, some recommended platforms to host your online store: Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Weebly, Squarespace, and OpenCart. 

Starting a new business is challenging—especially with so many platform options—which is why you need to research and look out for certain factors when choosing an e-commerce platform.

 When conducting your research, remember what your store needs and ask critical questions. These steps will make choosing the ideal platform a more straightforward process!

Got any questions? Feel free to reach out to us.


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