How to Choose an E-Commerce Platform for a Small Business

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Establishing your business on the correct e-commerce platform is crucial, much like building a house on a secure foundation.

If you want your business to have a solid structure that can support future growth, then you need to choose a platform that is reliable, scalable, and easy to use

There are many different e-commerce platforms available on the market, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for your business.

To help you make the best decision, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform for your small business.

Choosing the best E-commerce platform

The goal for any e-commerce store is to design an online presence that can reach customers no matter where they are or what type of shopping experience they prefer

How to Choose an E-Commerce Platform for a Small Business

In that way, it is essential to choose an SEO friendly ecommerce platform that will also correspond to some conditions. Not only can it help you achieve your business goals, but it can offer so much more.

E-commerce platforms are not just tools to sell goods online, but complete ecosystems that support and give you better control over your business.

Small businesses have a few different e-commerce platforms to choose from, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some tips on how to select the best platform for your type of business.

Define your business goals

The first step in choosing an e-commerce platform is to define your business goals. What are you trying to achieve with your online store? Are you looking to increase sales, reach new markets, or improve customer service? 

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Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can start narrowing down your platform options.

Consider your budget

Your budget will play a big role in deciding which platform is right for your business. If you’re on a tight budget, you may have to sacrifice some features or go with a less popular platform

On the other hand, if money is no object, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Know your technical skills

E-commerce platforms vary in terms of their technical requirements. Some platforms are very user-friendly and don’t require any coding skills, while others are more complex and may need some assistance from a web developer

Consider your own technical skills and resources before selecting a platform.

Evaluate the features

Once you know what you need, you can start evaluating the features of different e-commerce platforms. Make a list of must-have features and nice-to-haves, then compare the options to see which ones meet your requirements.

Consider the future

When choosing a platform, it’s important to think about the future of your business. Will you need to scale up in the future? Are you planning on adding new products or services? Make sure the platform you select can accommodate your future plans.

Compare the costs

E-commerce platforms vary in price, so compare the costs before making a decision.

In addition to the monthly or yearly subscription fee, some platforms also charge transaction fees, so be sure to factor those into your budget.

Get a free trial

Most platforms offer a free trial, so take advantage of that and test out the features and capabilities of each platform. This will give you a good idea of which one is right for your business.

Ask for recommendations

Finally, don’t forget to ask for recommendations from other small business owners. Find out which platforms they use and why they like them.

Ask for recommendations

This can be a great way to narrow down your options and make the best decision for your business.

These are just a few things to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform for your small business. By taking the time to evaluate your options, you’ll be able to find the right platform for your needs.

Features of a good platform 

Several aspects, including web hosting and bandwidth, inventory management, and shipping partners, play a role in choosing an e-commerce platform. Here are key features to look for:

1. Ease of use 

A good e-commerce platform should be easy to use, even for those with limited technical skills. It should be intuitive and user-friendly, with clear instructions on how to set up and manage your store

Check the platform’s customer support options to see if they offer 24/7 assistance in case you have any questions. Moreover, the platform should allow you to make changes to your store’s design and layout without needing to hire a web developer.

If you believe the platform is too complicated to use, chances are your customers will feel the same way. This could lead to a high abandonment rate, which is when customers add items to their online shopping cart but never complete the purchase.

2. Flexibility

Your business will grow and change over time, so it’s important to choose a platform that is flexible and can accommodate your future needs

Look for a platform or the best eCommerce hosting that offers plenty of customization options so you can make changes to your store as your business grows. In addition, the platform should allow you to add new products and services as needed.

Among the most important aspects of a platform’s flexibility is its ability to scale. If you plan on growing your business, you’ll need a platform that can handle an increase in traffic and transactions. It should grow with you as your plans develop.

3. Security

When it comes to e-commerce, security is always a top concern. Look for a platform that offers SSL encryption to protect your customers’ information

Features of a good platform

In addition, it should have a robust fraud prevention system in place to protect you from chargebacks and other fraudulent activity.

In 2022, e-commerce platforms MUST have complex security measures to protect customer privacy and data concerns.

4. Integration

Your platform should be able to integrate with other business tools and systems, such as your accounting software, CRM, and shipping partners

This will make it easier to manage your store and keep track of your customers’ orders and information.

5. SEO capabilities

A good e-commerce platform should have built-in SEO features to help you ensure that your store is visible on search engine results pages.

This includes things like optimizing your product pages for specific keywords and creating metadata for each page.

The platform you choose should also allow you to create unique URLs for each product page, as well as add alt text to product images. These features will help your store stand out in search results and attract more organic traffic.

SEO is essential for a small business for several reasons: 

  • It’s a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your store
  • It helps you attract potential customers who are actively searching for products or services like yours
  • It allows you to compete with larger businesses

6. Mobile-friendly

More and more shoppers are using their mobile devices to make purchases, so choose a platform that is designed for mobile.

This means that your store should be responsive, i.e., adjust to fit any screen size. In addition, the platform should offer a mobile app so that your customers can shop on the go.

7. Analytics

Analytics are essential for understanding your customers and measuring your store’s performance. Look for a platform that offers built-in analytics tools to help you track things like sales, traffic, and conversion rates

The platform should also provide you with access to customer data so that you can segment your audience and personalize your marketing campaigns.

8. Customer support

Even if you’re comfortable using technology, there will likely be times when you need help from customer support.

Look for a platform that offers 24/7 assistance in case you run into any problems. In addition, the platform should have a knowledge base or FAQ section that you can reference when you need help.

9. Pricing

Last but not least, you’ll need to consider pricing when selecting an e-commerce platform.

Be sure to compare the costs of different platforms and choose one that fits your budget. In addition, consider any transaction fees that may be associated with the platform.

Top E-commerce platforms for small businesses

If you don't know where to start, these platforms are a great place:

  • Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that offers everything you need to start and grow your online store. It is easy to use and comes with a variety of built-in features, including SEO tools, mobile optimization, and 24/7 customer support. Shopify also offers a wide range of themes and apps to help you customize your store.
Top Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

Pricing: Shopify plans start at $24 per month

  • WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress. The platform is easy to use and comes with a variety of built-in features, including SEO tools, mobile optimization, and 24/7 customer support. WooCommerce also offers a wide range of themes and plugins to help you customize your store.

Pricing: WooCommerce has no setup charge and no monthly fees. You just need to buy WooCommerce hosting which starts at just $12/month.

  • BigCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform that offers everything you need to start and grow your online store. It is easy to use and comes with a variety of built-in features, including SEO tools, mobile optimization, and 24/7 customer support. BigCommerce also comes with a wide range of themes and apps to help you customize your store.

Pricing: BigCommerce plans start at $29.95 per month

Conclusion

E-commerce platforms are essential for businesses that want to sell online. When choosing one, there are several factors to consider, including flexibility, security, integration, SEO, mobile-friendliness, analytics, customer support, and pricing.

By taking the time to select the right platform for your business, you’ll be able to set your store up for success.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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