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The Best eCommerce Platform For Your Small Business (Part 2 of 2)

This is part two in a two-part series. Read part one here.

In part one of this two part series on choosing the best eCommerce platform for your small business, we discussed some of the questions you should be asking yourself before settling on the one platform that will run the main components of your online shop.

In part two, we’ll continue to discuss important elements for your ideal platform. It’s a big decision that you’ll have to live with for a while, so you might as well get it right the first time.

Before you commit to any eCommerce platform, you’ll want to ensure these elements are compatible with your long-term plans:

Pricing structure. There can be a number of different fees associated with eCommerce platforms. Some companies may charge extra setup fees, processing fees and so forth for features other packages may include in the base pricing. It’s important to carefully examine the different pricing structures to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you need. After all, it can be horribly disappointing and difficult to deal with a package that only allows you to post 10 items for sale when you really need to sell 100 different products.

Inventory management tools. The more simple your product management and inventory system is, the more likely you’ll stick with it. If you hire an employee to handle your inventory down the line, the system you choose should be easy enough for them to learn quickly.

Some eCommerce platforms are simple and require very little training. Others are much more complicated — and although this can make them more powerful, what you trade for the ability to add custom tags and headers may be more than you’re willing to part with. Choose a platform with an inventory system that will do what you need, but that isn’t so complicated that you’ll have a hard time maintaining it.

Outside integration potential. Unless your company already has a full-time warehousing and distribution team, you may one day be faced with needing more help with logistics. This is where choosing a platform that easily integrates with 3rd party logistics (3PL) software really pays off. Instead of having to upgrade your own package or moving your inventory to a different system entirely, by using a well-supported package like Shopify, BigCommerce or Magento you’ll be ready for your company’s well-planned expansion.

Detailed analytics. Even the smallest things can affect your product sales, but if you don’t know what your baselines are, any sort of A/B testing to increase your click-through volume is a waste. Instead of settling for limited analytics, choose an eCommerce platform with the most thorough, easy to understand reporting package available.

Metrics that matter to you will vary based on your KPIs, but if your software can’t tell you where your visitors have been, what they view on your site and any behaviors they take while they’re visiting, you’re probably not going to get other important information either.

Choosing an eCommerce platform for your small business can be an exciting move, especially if it represents your first step into online sales. Don’t let all the details ruin your momentum, but do take care to ensure you’ve considered all the aspects of your business before choosing the platform that will host your digital shop.

May 19, 2016
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