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Running a business online presents its own set of challenges, but thankfully when it comes to selling goods and services, e-commerce platforms have made it to where so much of the hassle that comes with marketing and selling is organized and automated. If you own a business and you’ve not yet checked out the benefits possible through an e-commerce platform, there’s no time like the present to learn more.
What Are E-Commerce Platforms?
E-Commerce platforms are any sort of application or software program that allows online businesses to maintain their websites, business operations, marketing campaigns, sales, and other business-related tasks. There is a wide selection of e-commerce platforms online today and the features included in each may differ. For this reason, it’s best to research several e-commerce platform options and compare the pros and cons of each before choosing one for your business.
Choosing an E-Commerce Platform
There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing an e-commerce platform to help run a business. Because there are so many options available, it’s not as easy as choosing a platform out of the hat and sticking with it. The way a business runs and the e-commerce needs presented are going to have a lot to do with the final decision on which platform will work best.
Some popular e-commerce platforms include Ontaport, Shopify, Squarespace, and WooCommerce. Each one is a dedicated platform with a list of unique features, but overall, these four platforms have shown a lot of promise when it comes to the services they offer small and medium-sized businesses.
When deciding which platform will best suit a company’s needs, it’s a good idea to make a list of features you expect to see in your chosen e-commerce platform. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start narrowing down choices by researching the features you need compared with the features included in each platform.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform will not only help a company run business operations more easily, but it will also assist with search engine optimization. Several e-commerce options come with search engine features that can help owners and marketing teams become easier to find by potential customers.
Additionally, when a platform focuses on SEO features, the mobile-friendliness of a site is usually one of those features. Because so many consumers use their mobile devices to locate goods and services they need, a business owner can only benefit from making a company’s website mobile-friendly as well as search engine optimized.
Before deciding on an e-commerce platform, it’s a good idea to think about other marketing and business-related programs you already use to determine whether a new platform will integrate with your established tools. As mentioned above, the features included with different e-commerce platforms may vary quite a bit, so it’s good to get an idea about what tools you’ll be able to use with your new platform.
Web hosting capabilities are another feature that’s important to consider. Whether your company needs self-hosting or cloud hosting, there will be e-commerce platforms that suit your needs. Researching the different options available to your company will help you make the most informed decision.
Free Trials and Prices
Some e-commerce platforms allow potential customers the ability to test-drive the platform before committing to the purchase. Free trials are a massive benefit when it comes to making a final decision because this step allows business owners and marketing teams the ability to learn about the features included with a specific platform, as well as how to use them.
On top of free trials, it’s good to examine the different packages available to determine which features are included in the different pricing brackets listed. Once the free trial is up, the cost of your e-commerce platform will be worth factoring into your expenses, so take care to come up with a reasonable budget.
Should you run into any issues along the way, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the customer service teams of each platform you’re considering. There are a few things that make an excellent platform lose business quite as fast as lackluster or unprofessional customer service members. While excellent customer service is not exactly a requirement for most business owners, it will be far more rewarding to work with a helpful company over one that leaves you to solve your own platform issues. In any case, the behavior of the customer service team might help you make your final decision once you have narrowed down the possible choices.
In order for small and medium-sized companies to thrive online, it’s important to keep business processes simple and organized. With a dedicated e-commerce platform, online businesses can reduce their workload and keep better track of sales, shipments, and customer satisfaction.
If you own a small business and you’d like to learn more about e-commerce platforms, as well as determine which platform is right for you, we can’t wait to help. Book a free call with us at Automated Dreams and let us point you in the right direction.