The coronavirus is propelling e-commerce growth. Worldwide sales up by 71 percent, and many businesses, like Target, have seen profits rise. People are surfing and shopping and buying from online stores. So opportunities are plenty, but they need proper management to ensure you make the most out of this money-making enterprise.
Results-driven management starts with the right e-commerce platform.
Your Online Store on a Platform
What’s an e-commerce platform? It’s a software application that allows you to sell services or products on the Internet. The platform keeps the front-end (i.e., user interface) and back-end (i.e., applications, database, and server) working in harmony, making sure your customers get what they need when they need it from your store.
Without a platform for your e-commerce, you could be looking at a costly and unscalable online store; every aspect of your business, from pricing and promotions to inventory and order management, is going to take up too much time. And if your online store can’t process a minimum number of orders, you’ll see drops in sales and probably a rise in customer complaints.
Your business has two leading e-commerce platforms to consider:
It’s a nonrestrictive software that allows you full control of your project. You don’t have to pay for a licensing fee to use it. You can modify and edit the code, which means customization. If you want to create and build a distinct look for your product pages, no problem. If you wish for rich media banners across your online store, it’s easy.
Even better than customization is integration; your opensource platform allows you to integrate third-party software for analytics and tracking, shipping vendors, and payment gateways, among other plugins.
So opensource platforms are ideal for small businesses with e-commerce sites. Some examples include Magento, OpenCart, and Drupal.
2. Fully Managed SaaS
This platform requires continual fees, monthly or yearly. They’re pre-built with configurable tools, giving you access to a host of features and functionality. You can choose from widgets and extensions, a group of devices that organize your content, products, and database. And you benefit from a hands-off hosting environment that comes with security updates.
This platform is ideal for businesses that want to set up their online shop and not have to fuss over it. You pay to use it, but the cost may make more sense in the long run because the implementation is easy and the service provider manages it for you.
Some examples include BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion.
Choosing Beyond the Features
The right e-commerce platform isn’t just about the features. Yes, your software application should come with the fundamentals:
- That it provides consistent and personalized customer experiences across all channels;
- That it maximizes your profitability through centralize order management;
- That supports your expansion, from catering to different countries to accepting all currencies, and
- That it runs on a unified platform.
You should also have answers for the following:
- The kind of customer experience you want your store to deliver
- Your plans to expand your online business
- The value of content marketing for your store
E-commerce could mean big money for your future as an entrepreneur. But you need the right system to make the most of lucrative opportunities. Know your options for platforms and pick the right one.