How Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform Can Set You Up for Success

Even before the pandemic caused businesses to shut down, the world of e-commerce was booming. Today, it continues to be an incredibly powerful tool for growing your business. In fact, global e-commerce sales exceed $5 trillion for the first time in 2022.

So, as merchants look to move their selling capabilities online, one of the most important decisions is choosing an e-commerce platform. After all, you need one that’s secure, customizable, and scalable for long-term growth. Here’s what you need to do before committing to a platform.

Top Considerations When Choosing an Ecommerce Platform

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing your e-commerce platform. With a multitude of products on the market, it is essential that you do your due diligence and check the features of each platform against your specific needs.

More generally, five main considerations should influence your decision, according to Shannon Ingrey, vice president and general manager – APAC at BigCommerce:

  • Budget: Paying more doesn’t always equate to the best experience. However, choosing the cheaper option will often leave a business looking for additional features elsewhere. Bundling charges from various providers is usually the most expensive solution. Instead, decide on a budget for features like web design, programming and functionality, security, monthly hosting, and maintenance.
  • Integration compatibility: Nothing is more frustrating than migrating to a new platform and having to start from scratch. Make sure the e-commerce platform you choose can easily integrate with your existing solutions and systems at no additional cost.
  • Personalization: Open source software gives you full control over the source code to customize every aspect of your site. However, you will need extensive coding experience and the budget to account for programming costs. Alternatively, Software as a Service (SaaS) platform customization is more limited, meaning you don’t have as much freedom to customize your site. The middle ground is in an open SaaS platform like BigCommerce, where merchants get all the benefits of SaaS plus the flexibility and functionality of open source.
  • Scalability: It’s important to consider a platform that can grow with you. When you’re just starting out, you may not need a host with high traffic capabilities. But if you focus on growth, an e-commerce business could scale quickly.
  • Platform customer service: When you need technical support, it’s important that you have access to a real person who can help you solve the problem, whether that’s by phone, email or live chat. Some platforms outsource their customer service and make it difficult, if not impossible, to get help when you need it most. Be sure to look for personalized 24/7 customer support, as well as a dedicated help center and an active community of merchants.

The right e-commerce platform can help you create, innovate, and grow your business online. So when looking for the most appropriate solution, consider the value of sophisticated enterprise-level features, customization and performance, coupled with simplicity and ease of use. You can get all of these things and more with BigCommerce.

The biggest challenges to overcome when building your online store

Anyone can have an online store. But only the most knowledgeable operators can offer their customers a simplified and enjoyable sales experience. Being able to deliver a great shopping experience is key, and that includes everything from intuitive website design to smooth checkout.

In contrast, many business owners fall into common e-commerce pitfalls when getting started, Ingrey says. The top of the list does not include your product or your audience.

“‘If you build it, they will come’ is not good advice for business owners – it’s the exact opposite of best practice,” he says. “If a company doesn’t understand its product or its audience, it assumes the customer wants the product. Simply put, conduct market research to identify the target audience and their needs. By learning what audiences want and their frustrations with existing options, you can give customers what they really want.

It’s also easy to make missteps when developing the user experience. An inappropriate tech stack can lead to customer frustration, for example, while issues with product pages make it easy for users to skip your online store and seek out that same product or service from a competitor.

“User experience is paramount, and website design impacts conversion rates as well as search engine rankings, so it’s important for marketers to get it right,” Ingrey says. “Whether it’s categorizing products so potential customers can find them, leveraging analytics to improve marketing efforts, having service and contact information clearly accessible to good user, all of these play a crucial role in providing enjoyable user experiences to boost customer loyalty.

Build, innovate, grow

For BigCommerce, a leading open SaaS e-commerce platform for fast-growing and established B2C and B2B brands, their goal is to enable merchants of all sizes to create, innovate and grow their businesses online. . This three-pronged approach means merchants have the freedom to choose the solutions that work best for them at each stage of growth.

“BigCommerce is designed to allow anyone, regardless of technical background, to build an online store,” Ingrey says. “Our mission is to help merchants of all sizes sell more at every stage of their growth, from small startups to midsize companies to large enterprises.

“We are seeing merchants taking an increasingly hybrid approach to retail. So having a solid omnichannel strategy is essential for merchants looking to scale. BigCommerce helps merchants integrate with major marketplaces, social commerce platforms, and more to reach a wider audience and get your product discovered around the world.

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