A growing business has several needs. With the proliferation of e-commerce, the need to create a thriving online presence cannot be ignored. This starts with picking a platform that not only enables the growth of your web store but also sustains it in the future. When you set out to pick a conducive platform for your e-store, you will need to know about the six main factors that can make it fast and flexible to accommodate and meet the modern customer’s as well as industry demands. This post has more.
In 2019, around 1.92 billion people worldwide purchased goods online. In the same year, the global e-retail sales amounted to 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars. Further, projections now indicate a growth of up to 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021.
It’s time to take advantage of these encouraging predictions and grow your e-commerce business!
If you want to excel in the e-commerce sphere, you will need to build your store on a platform that supports your growth and expansion. Ideally, you will want a platform that is speedy and easy to use. With its help, you will be able to reach a far greater number of customers across various locations to deliver outstanding customer experiences.
In keeping with this, here are six elements to consider when picking a fast and flexible e-commerce platform that enables growth:
Table of Contents
The e-commerce industry is constantly changing, and so are the businesses operating in this realm. This means business needs keep differing. E-commerce businesses need to understand that scaling is an important aspect to consider when choosing the right platform. This is where cloud-based platforms can be helpful.
Typically, cloud platforms cost less and can scale according to changing business needs without any hitches. All you need to do is pay a fixed monthly/annual fee depending on your requirements and you’re sorted. On the other hand, paying for software and hardware licenses can prove to be expensive.
Further, with cloud-based platforms, you need not worry about maintaining the IT infrastructure or dealing with vendors, and signing service agreements. Your technology provider will take care of all these aspects while securely managing the platform.
The bottom line is, whether you already have an established e-store or are just about to launch one, you will do well to go for a platform that runs on and is backed by the cloud.
Taking a cue from the above point, it is necessary that your e-commerce platform can support your business not just now, but also in the future. Simply put, your platform should be able to evolve and accommodate even the most complex needs of your growing business.
Several businesses make the mistake of going for plug-and-play platforms and use their predefined templates as well as purchase flows. While these may be install, you cannot overlook the fact that they do not facilitate scaling or offer the functionalities that will make your business future-ready.
Once these templates are saturated, you will have to pay heavily for customizations and their implementation. Also, several template-based platforms do not allow you to modify their code. The only alternative to cutting these unnecessary costs will be to migrate to a new platform, which will bring you back to square one in the middle of your progress. This is the last thing you want to happen to your growing business!
It, therefore, makes sense to choose a platform that accommodates your business needs without hassles. Your e-commerce site should have the flexibility that’s needed to create superior customer experiences.
Multiple Support Abilities
Modern customers are extremely demanding and want nothing short of the best of what’s available out there. They do not hesitate in using multiple channels to find and buy high-quality products. This implies that e-commerce is now a part of the bigger picture that includes several touchpoints.
It’s no surprise that physical stores are building an online presence while digital brands are joining hands with retailers. Also, shoppers have moved beyond desktops and are now using their smartphones to look for information before buying in-store. Businesses are also selling their offerings on established online shopping platforms such as Amazon and eBay to reach emerging and global markets.
The point is, even if you’re a small business now, you will grow in the future. For that, you need to plan ahead and invest in a platform that supports multiple channels and languages. This is imperative as you may decide to operate in new markets and serve different audiences.
Running multiple stores will raise your overheads. It will make it difficult to manage inventory, logistics, marketing strategies, and customer experiences on each site.
In a nutshell, consider your business prospects from around five years from the date of its setup. The question to ask here is – can my platform support my business’s growth from the word go?
E-commerce is more than just space where buying and selling take place. The platform you build your store on should be able to work with your existing business systems such as CRM, CMS, ERP, and others. This necessitates easy integration with the most important business systems through proven APIs without the intervention of customer codes.
You don’t want to end up overspending your precious resources on different systems integration or lose business-critical data. Use an e-commerce platform that works in tandem with your commonly used existing systems.
As your business grows, you will need to extend your e-commerce experience with some help from the experts. This is where a solution partner comes into the picture.
A solution partner typically knows about the latest industry developments and the installation of new modules written by third-party developers. With an experienced solution partner as your ally, you will have ample help in understanding and supporting your platform.
You will do well to pick a platform that is capable of nurturing a huge community of solution partners and developers spanning multiple locations.
Adapting to Business Models
As the line between wholesale and retail continues to thin, a lot of customer-oriented businesses are venturing into wholesale and partnering with retailers. Similarly, an increasing number of wholesalers are now using online platforms to sell directly to consumers. However, the models that these businesses operate on are vastly different.
B2B selling can be extremely complex and merchants may require customized product catalogues, alternative payment options, and other unique features. To ensure maximum flexibility in these matters, go for an e-commerce platform that offers native functionality for retail as well as wholesale business models. This is crucial because running two different e-commerce systems can cost you heavily.
If you plan to adopt multiple business models, pick a platform that supports both seamlessly.
Succeeding in the e-commerce industry requires constant work. Bringing in game-changing factors such as agility and awareness along with technological support in the form of cloud can enable your business to scale seamlessly. Giving customers what they want will require your e-store to support multiple channels and platforms, while integrating and adapting flawlessly with your existing frameworks. Having an effective solution partner on your side will help you face your competitors head-on. In short, building your store on a fast and flexible e-commerce platform is no longer an option, but a necessity. Make sure you’re adequately prepared!