Choosing the best eCommerce platform can be challenging when there are tons of choices available.
While the ultimate goal of having an eCommerce website is to sell more products online, there is a lot more involved to get a highly optimised online store that can perform well and can be maintained easily to adapt to any changes.
Generally, people focus mostly on solving business problems and ease of use, which is correct. But you should also focus on eCommerce SEO so that the optimisation can be done with ease.
It is also important to consider possible future migration to a different platform, visit the website migration checklist to learn more.
We are a trusted eCommerce website design Melbourne agency and we can help you choose the right platform for your e-commerce.
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Table of contents:
- What is an eCommerce Platform?
- Understanding your Needs
- SEO Consideration
- eCommerce Design Cost
- Website Maintenance
- Ease to Adapt with Changes
- Third-Party Integration
- Security Consideration
- Common eCommerce Platforms Pros and Cons
What is an eCommerce Platform?
An eCommerce platform or electric commerce is defined as a software application that facilitates and simplifies the buying and selling of goods and services online.
It consists of features that enable businesses and retailers to operate and control their websites, manage marketing activities and level up their sales without any hassle.
With growing times, the usage of eCommerce platforms has been increasing rapidly due to a feasibly efficient management system. So if you want to expand your retail business reach online, then you should definitely invest in a suitable eCommerce platform.
Understanding your Needs
Understanding your business needs and goals is very important while choosing the right eCommerce platform. You need to have a clear idea of the scale of your business, the number of products you will sell, and what you would incorporate in your website design.
Often business owner selects a much-advanced platform for a simple eCommerce business process which increases the cost and management becomes difficult.
For example: If you just sell a few products, complex systems like Magento or BigCommerce may not be suitable. You can opt for simpler platforms like Wix or Squarespace or WordPress (best for bloggers).
Without a proper layout of your business goals and budget, you may end up losing a great deal of money on unnecessary stuff that does not actually benefit your business.
The dropshipping business in Australia is increasing by the day and the question of choosing the right eCommerce platform is key there too.
Get help from a website design consultant to find the right platform for your business.
SEO consideration with eCommerce platform selection
When it comes to choosing the right eCommerce platform, it is highly essential to look out for platforms that have a solid foundation for SEO and all the needed tools to make the job easy.
eCommerce SEO is one of the best digital marketing strategies to increase eCommerce sales and it should be one of the top considerations when choosing the best eCommerce system.
With a poorly designed eCommerce website, you may struggle to rank higher on Google, and hence all your efforts to improve your sales will ultimately go to waste.
Some eCommerce platforms are very good with on-site SEO from the get-go whereas others come with tonnes of issues that require to be addressed right at the start. Learn more on our eCommerce SEO checklist page.
If your SEO needs are paramount, then you may consider a custom or WordPress solution. But before taking up an eCommerce platform, it is highly recommended to discuss your SEO requirements with an eCommerce SEO consultant.
Some of the primary and must-have SEO features that you must look out for while choosing an eCommerce platform:
- The platform must render a fast website loading speed. Usually, the ideal website loading speed is considered to be at most 3 to 5 seconds.
- It must enable mobile optimisation for your website.
- It must facilitate canonicalization to avoid duplicate content SEO penalties.
- It must allow the facility of adding blogs to the website. Producing good SEO-friendly content regularly is a great way to establish expertise and build a community of loyal customers.
- It is easy to implement On-page SEO.
- It must provide a system for customers to leave reviews.
- Ease to change meta tag and ensure meta description character limit checker included.
If you run a small business, then you must consider the above basic SEO features. But for a larger business to function well, you got to consider far more advanced and comprehensive eCommerce SEO solutions for different platforms like Shopify, WordPress, etc.
eCommerce Design & Development Cost
The design and development cost that you may encounter is one of the most important things to consider before you invest in any eCommerce platform. It is directly proportional to what custom features you require, your traffic, marketing and sales goals, the scale of your business, etc. Learn more about eCommerce website design costs in Australia.
There are many inbuilt eCommerce platforms out there like Squarespace, Shopify etc. with lots of required features already. Most of them come with a monthly to yearly subscription plan which can vary among different price ranges. Also, they have a good number of templates and themes as well as other third-party integrations (basic to advanced) both paid and free.
In case businesses want to integrate custom features into their website design, the pricing will vary depending on how basic or advanced the particular feature is. Moreover, if you want to have a completely customised website, then the pricing will be much higher.
While third-party hosted solutions like Shopify may be easier to implement but migrating to your own hosted solution may be very challenging with the potential of losing ranking hence you must plan well, know the cost and take the right decision.
For a small business with a few pages, it is an easy task. But for medium to large businesses with a good deal of website pages that can be time-consuming and difficult. So it is essential to seek guidance from an experienced professional.
Some other factors that help in determining the pricing include domain name registration, website hosting, periodic update and upgrade etc.
Note: The cost can significantly increase with third-party integration like linking accounting or ERP systems.
eCommerce Website Maintenance
Technology changes very fast and you must consider long-term website maintenance, and upgrade in mind.
The main point of having an eCommerce website is to make great online sales. So maintaining your eCommerce website is highly essential to prevent the loss of sales revenue.
Some of the important things that you must always consider while website maintenance are:
- Page load speed: Keeping your website updated regularly would always prevent it from slowing down as the process may involve code cleaning and optimisation.
- Website security: Keeping a check on website security and updating it regularly would help it get stronger and prevent hackers from causing any damage. Conduct a regular test on the website for SQL injection, malware etc. using different website testing tools.
- User engagement: Regular maintenance would prevent glitches that could cause customer dissatisfaction and as such reduce card abandonment.
Performing regular checkup on website navigation and updating it with necessary features to simplify and improve the checkout to transaction process would leverage user engagement to a great extent.
Ease to Adapt with Changes
Due to the growing changes in the eCommerce industry, it is critical to invest in an eCommerce platform that can easily and rapidly adapt to any changes.
The changes may be required due to creative planning and taking insights into actionable items which can trigger small to a big changes in the system.
It is important to note, that not all the platforms provide ease of adaptability, especially the older ones. With older ones, it is often difficult to process updates and website maintenance. And that can lead to many unsolvable technical issues and customer dissatisfaction.
Some businesses require more frequent changes, whereas others may need less, and having a system with easy-to-implement changes is very important when you evolve.
So it’s recommended to look up microservices eCommerce platforms for a better experience.
Another important thing to consider when you choose an eCommerce platform is the availability of efficient third-party integrations and plugins. Proper administration of third-party integration is directly proportional to the revenue generated.
Most of the platforms already have plenty of tools and plugins that you can easily integrate into your eCommerce with just one click. But it is necessary to strategically choose the tools according to your business goals to prevent any extra costs.
Some of the primary integrations that you should look out for are-
- Accounting System: Such plugins help you to leverage and keep an account of the sales, revenue, profit and loss and tax management of the eCommerce system. Some of the popular solutions are XERO, MYOB and more.
- ERP System Integration: Integrating ERP software is highly beneficial as it helps reduce the extra costs of managing the inventory.
- Email Marketing Software: Email marketing is a crucial element of digital marketing. Using tools for email marketing would not only help you segment your customers based on different aspects but send more personalised messages. Mail Chimp is one of the most EDM software available in the market.
The security of an eCommerce website must be considered to its highest level. In recent times the attacks against eCommerce sites have increased rapidly.
Some of the potential security threats that you are at a high risk to encounter are:
- Malware or ransomware where attackers set up malware software to block you out of your own site and prevent access to all the data and information.
- SQL injection where attackers set up tools in your SQL database to have access to all the private information and perform illegal tasks that are out of your knowledge,
- Phishing is where potential attackers sneak into your personal and private data through emails, phone calls, texts, etc.
So it is critical to have a strong security system for your website to prevent any such issues.
One of the basic steps is to set up a strong and unique password (using a password manager can be helpful) for yourself as well as your customers. That is one of the most beneficial yet overlooked steps to prevent security threats.
You must have SSL and an increased level of security based on the transaction rate and the amount.
On top of that regular website maintenance and updates are highly essential to prevent you from any security threats.
Common eCommerce Platforms Pros and Cons
- It is an open-source platform meaning you can modify and customise the original source code as per your needs.
- It is highly suited for large-scale eCommerce implementation.
- It has a wide range of third-party plugins and tools to embed into your website and manage and boost sales and revenue.
- It is scalable, i.e., it provides you room for effectual management of the increased number of products along with the growth in your business.
- Magento falls more on the expensive side compared to other eCommerce platforms.
- It is a more resource-intense platform and often shared hosting is not enough hence you may need a higher level of hosting infrastructure.
- It comes with several SEO issues, check out the Magento SEO checklist for more.
- It is a third-party hosted paid solution, you can expect better customer service and faster response to your queries.
- It has an abundance of stylish and customisable templates.
- You can implement your store with speed as you can get most of your required tools easily.
- Unlike ‘own hosted solution’, here you do not need to think too much about service resources to do the best Shopify SEO.
- Shopify has a monthly subscription plan along with a group of paid themes and templates.
- In future, migrating to your own hosted solution can be challenging.
- Whether you are starting from scratch or transferring from another platform BigCommerce provides you with easy to build a customisable and functional website that is not only attractive but speaks your business language.
- It plays a huge role in building an SEO-friendly website. It has a large number of SEO tools and features that help you make the optimisation process faster and simpler.
- You get the ability to create any number of staff accounts possible.
- You need to buy a more expensive plan in BigCommerce if you happen to cross the annual sales threshold as per the existing plan that you are using.
- It has a limited number of free themes.
- The marketplace has fewer apps and plugins as compared to other platforms.
- It is a cost-effective solution for many businesses due to cheaper design and development costs.
- WordPress has a plethora of easy-to-download free to paid themes with stylish to responsive design that can be easily accessed from its library and customised as per your brand persona.
- It has a good URL structure and basic SEO issues are managed well.
- It is one of the most used website building platforms in the world, It is not designed for eCommerce by default but there are tons of plugins available to build eCommerce features.
- It may not be suitable for high scale eCommerce implementation.
- You would need to update the CMS regularly to keep it safe.
- You also need to check plugin compatibility with the upgrade to avoid any functionality breakdown.
- It is suitable for those who are just starting out with a few products.
- Not suitable for any serious eCommerce implementation.
To know more in detail, about the advantages and disadvantages of different platforms, read Squarespace vs Wix vs WordPress.
- One of the greatest advantages of having a custom website is that you have the full freedom to customise the design and development of your website.
- Customs websites have the potential to be unique and give room for integration as per your business goals to provide a satisfactory user experience.
- Building a custom website is more expensive than any other platform out there.
Get help from an eCommerce Consultant
Choosing an eCommerce platform can be quite daunting when you are a beginner and not familiar with the technicalities of eCommerce website designing. It can be confusing at times too.
Talk to our expert eCommerce SEO consultant to discuss your design requirement.