If you’re launching an ecommerce website or updating your current one, be sure to do your research first. I’ve often seen money, time, and energy wasted on sites that were too robust, or not robust enough for a company’s needs.
I’ve put together a handy ecommerce checklist to help you as you out as you begin to compare and shop. These are the top things to consider as you evaluate your options:
- The Price You Pay for Your Ecommerce Platform Is a Huge Consideration – I can’t stress this part enough. I constantly hear people boast about free platforms, and I always tell them: cheaper isn’t always better. You need to keep in mind why the cost is low. Are you losing out on SEO? Will you be paying down the road for hosting? Are applications going to cost you? Is the free or basic platform going to satisfy your needs?
- Scalability Is Something You Need to Do Now – Remember, one size does not fit all. If you have a company that is growing, then keep in mind that your ecommerce solution needs to grow with you.
- Be Sure to Compare the Number of Products in Your Database to the Capabilities of Each Ecommerce Platform – Make sure they are compatible and that the platform has the right capabilities. Also, consider how easy it is to update your database and any API integrations you might need with other databases such as your manufacturers or third party sites.
- Evaluate Your CMS, Meaning Your Content Management System – Make sure you will be able to integrate it with any of your current inventory and ordering systems, and that you will be comfortable using it.
- If You Anticipate a Lot of Mobile Traffic to Your Site, Make Sure Your Platform Has a Good Responsive Design- Responsiveness means that the website automatically scales to a phone, tablet, or mobile device for a user-friendly experience. Features, menus, images, copy, and all elements of your website should be responsive on all devices and browsers.
- Security Is Important and You Can’t Have a Trusted Ecommerce Site Without It – Be sure to look at the measures of security each platform provides carefully and make sure the shopping cart is secure for people who will be using their credit card on your site. A security breach could be devastating to your business down the road.
- Your Shipping and Order Tracking Capabilities Should Be Evaluated as You Look at Your Ecommerce Options – Consider how well the new platform will work with your current process. If you can, request a demo to see how you will like using it.
- Take Into Consideration the APIs or Plugins Needed – Meaning, applications that you may need to enhance your site. All platforms are different, and in many cases plugins cost money. Besides extra cost, you should look at how easy plugins will be to integrate. Do you have the web skills to handle installing and updating plugins, or will you need to bring on a developer to help? Development could be an added cost, too.
- Because SEO Still Reigns Supreme, You Need a Platform That Is SEO-Friendly and Allows for Optimization – If it comes with SEO plugins, make sure you evaluate them to make sure they are satisfactory.
- The User Experience, or UX of the Ecommerce Site, Is One of the Most Important Features – People must be able to easily navigate your site and find what they need.
- Additional Features – Features like capturing emails for newsletters and email workflow campaigns, offer codes and coupons, landing pages for your advertising campaigns, and social media integration may also be important to you. Think about the marketing now, not later.
- Transaction Fees Can Cost More Than You Think – Do your math and figure out how much these will cost you. A twenty-five cent transaction fee might seem small, but it can add up when you consider your volume.
- Look at Whether or Not the Platform Includes or Offers Hosting – Some do, while others don’t. Compare the costs and do the math. Just because it comes with hosting doesn’t always mean it is less expensive than getting your own.
Congratulations on your new ecommerce website or redesign! The internet offers a lot of possibilities as you grow your business.
The main point to always keep in mind is to consider all of your options so you make an educated choice. Don’t be afraid to get quotes from different ecommerce sites and development teams. Be prepared with notes and ask lots of questions. Just like with any major purchase, you want to make a decision that’s informed so that your company will be as successful as possible.