The following guide discusses everything you need to know about e-commerce solutions and their working, factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce solution, factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform, and more. Let’s go through them:
What is an E-commerce Solution?
Currently, e-commerce is one of the largest industries. The services and products that can help e-commerce businesses effectively conduct business over the web are usually known as e-commerce solutions.
An e-commerce solution can include:
- Web development software.
- Website builder tools.
- Mobile app builders.
- Online website development platforms.
- E-commerce platforms.
Moreover, it includes e-commerce-based services like cataloging, professional product photography, domain and hosting service, payment gateway integration, accountancy, taxation, collaboration with shipping service providers, customer support, technical assistance, and more.
A business that intends to sell its services or products over the Internet should choose e-commerce solutions to thrive its business at various stages. Owing to the increasing competition and resource availability, various e-commerce solutions exist. A merchant’s responsibility is to research, examine, and compare the e-commerce solutions and choose the most useful one.
How Does E-commerce Stand Apart From E-commerce Solutions?
E-commerce and e-commerce solutions are independent. E-commerce is the newly developed business conduction method, whereas e-commerce solutions are the services that help in effective business conduction.
It is important to have an exact difference between the two. The e-commerce solutions are components that streamline the business process and business conduction. They are the subset of e-commerce because they also deploy e-commerce to help them effectively conduct their business.
How Do E-commerce Solutions Work?
The e-commerce solutions working depend on their service- or product-based offerings.
Considering a company providing e-commerce products, the following section can best describe the working of e-commerce solutions.
Firstly, the e-commerce solution provider mentions the product features and how these features help your business resolve its problems. It then mentions the product pricing and how it differs with respect to other products of a similar e-commerce business.
The e-commerce solutions also provide scalability that helps the business check with advanced or extra options that can help its business flourish.
Although most product sellers present user guides or videos to ensure product usage is simplified, assistance is needed in certain scenarios. So, the e-commerce solutions provide the support to clear the confusion.
If an e-commerce business solution offers a product marketed as a service (SaaS), businesses can compare the products based on the factors discussed here.
i. Tier-based plans: They include collections for various classes of businesses or various sets of audiences. They are classified and created after conducting a market analysis.
ii. Scalability: It helps businesses explore the features provided in the next tier. Also, it helps businesses determine whether all those features would be adequate or not.
iii. Compatibility: Although the product offered by an e-commerce solution is not scalable for a business, you should check its compatibility to adapt third-party apps, plugins, or software. It assists in business growth.
iv. Customer assistance: Subscription-based products & services provide discounts for long-term assurance. So, the assistance provided by e-commerce solutions benefits your business in the long run.
v. Additional services: Certain e-commerce companies provide additional e-commerce services to help your business grow outstandingly.
Things to Consider While Choosing Your E-commerce Solution
Choosing an e-commerce solution becomes straightforward when considering the following factors.
It is crucial to determine your ability to spend on an e-commerce platform. Your budget must include the cost of development and licenses and expenses like setup, maintenance, consultation, and more. Usually, e-commerce platform costs vary based on your chosen e-commerce solution, business size, and sales volume.
Developing an e-commerce website means your business needs to invest in several things. You must choose the plan for the e-commerce platform that fulfills your business requirements and budget.
After you have finalized your budget, you must research various e-commerce solutions. Choose the one that perfectly suits your e-commerce needs and budget.
A website’s visual representation includes UI and UX as key elements. Its visual representation determines its potential for brand exposure and positively impacts on the product insight and the customers’ decision-making ability. When choosing an e-commerce solution, it is necessary to choose one that can design e-commerce websites that influences the setup and optimization of shopping scenarios. Moreover, how the customers perceive product features and benefits must be considered.
Customers first notice the web designs of your e-commerce store. So, your website must be visually appealing, informative, and engaging. Many e-commerce solution providers offer free theme options that can excellently suit your business preference.
When choosing the best e-commerce solution for web design, make sure it doesn’t exceed your budget, and at the same time, your website must not appear mundane. Remember to prepare a checklist before you begin customizing your website.
Programming and functionality
Many fake websites may ask you to enter your credit card information. So, security is a paramount factor to consider when choosing an e-commerce solution. The e-commerce solutions are responsible for defending their customers’ information. So, most business management software for small- and medium-scale businesses must be robust. Moreover, they should support SSL/HTTP to ensure a safe checkout process for customers.
Make sure to choose an e-commerce solution that obeys the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This standard features a set of guidelines that provide fraud protection for credit card holders.
Due to evolving privacy and security threats, payment information security must be a key priority for both customers and merchants. An ideal e-commerce solution uses security measures like SSL certificates and firewalls to encrypt data.
An ideal e-commerce solution must address the scalability issues of your e-commerce businesses. You can opt for a monthly hosting plan to address these issues monthly
You need to decide between a hosted or a self-hosted e-commerce solution. A hosted e-commerce solution can’t address the demands of a growing e-commerce business; however, they are easier to maintain. On the other hand, a self-hosted e-commerce solution can enhance scalability and provide more control. Thus, it enables you to customize the e-commerce platform as your business grows.
Your chosen e-commerce solution provider must constantly conduct code testing to detect vulnerabilities, address issues, and employ the best programming practices. Choose a hosted plan if you aim to have an e-commerce solution with minimal maintenance. This plan allows the e-commerce solution provider to maintain the platform with cutting-edge information on online security.
Define your e-commerce needs
Choosing the most suitable e-commerce solution becomes easier if you determine your e-commerce requirements. You must decide the same based on the following parameters.
- Do you intend to expand to more stores and markets?
- What features and experience do you want your e-commerce website to offer?
- How will your customer orders be fulfilled?
Things to Consider When Choosing Your E-commerce Platform
Knowing how to choose an e-commerce solution is not enough. You should also be familiar with how to choose an e-commerce platform for which the following factors will help.
Ensure it integrates with business software
You should choose an e-commerce platform compatible with a suite of tools you presently use or plan to use in the future. The tools you need to integrate with your e-commerce store include your accounting software, ERP, and fulfillment. Moreover, the front-end integrations are also vital.
When determining an e-commerce platform based on integrations, make sure to categorize the platforms based on which are essential and which are optional. Your chosen e-commerce platform should integrate with your most significant tools. If not, it can lead to significant issues in the future.
Marketing campaigns and social media help e-commerce business owners and marketers drive customers to their stores. Hence, they are inevitable for generating excellent web traffic and sales.
All e-commerce platforms may not be built identically. Some of them allow your e-commerce business to add features from the plugin store, whereas some others allow this through custom development. It is always better to choose a customizable e-commerce platform that can boost the overall security of your e-commerce marketplace.
Usability, user interface, and convenience greatly ensure that an e-commerce platform achieves its business objectives. Every e-commerce business has unique requirements, so the e-commerce platform must offer superior customization. Consequently, your e-commerce business can customize its online store to fulfill specific requirements.
Sales and advertising channel compatibility
Although your e-commerce business offers outstanding products, it is not enough to merely hope that customers stumble across them as they navigate the web. The choice of an e-commerce platform based on sales and advertising channel compatibility decides how well you can promote your e-commerce business.
Firstly, you must decide whether you want to sell directly or indirectly to your customers. It is direct selling if you have an online store. However, several successful e-commerce businesses never directly sell products. They exclusively market using indirect channels like marketplaces.
Whether selecting one of the best e-commerce solutions for small businesses or beginners, you must check out what marketing features it offers. Selecting an e-commerce platform offering the desirable marketing features helps you successfully market your e-commerce store. Certain marketing features include newsletter integration, social media support, coupon codes and discounts, email marketing integration, mobile advertising features, and pay-per-click advertising.
Product inventory complexity
It is vital to consider what you’re selling, your inventory size, and your product’s complexity. Suppose your e-commerce store contains a myriad of products in the inventory. In that case, you need an e-commerce platform capable of handling all those products, and it must not charge by the number of products you list. Conversely, if your e-commerce store is not selling many products, a basic e-commerce platform will suffice. However, such a platform will not be useful if you want to expand your e-commerce business in the future.
Ability to scale your business with the platform
Ideally, you should not spend on extra features and storage for a new e-commerce business. Make sure to choose an e-commerce platform that can effectively scale according to your business size and won’t charge excessive fees. Moreover, you can choose an e-commerce platform that allows seamless scaling, which means you don’t have to change your platform or apps whenever your business achieves a new milestone in terms of operations or size.
Platform customer service
Your e-commerce business may be driving decent traffic. However, it doesn’t mean that your visitors will convert into customers. Considering platform customer service helps improve your business sales and ensures a satisfying customer experience.
One effective way to provide decent platform customer service is to display product information in formats like text, images, and videos. It lets your visitors easily understand your product(s). Furthermore, make sure you choose an e-commerce platform that supports product images, videos, descriptions, and sharing options.
You can choose an e-commerce platform that allows your customers to conveniently and swiftly buy products. Providing 24/7 customer service (if feasible) is a great way to grow your e-commerce business. You can choose an e-commerce store that supports resources like forums, blogs, and FAQs.