Congratulations! Your business, whether a relatively new venture or an established enterprise, is a success. As with just about every successful business in the modern era, it is now time to take your company onto an eCommerce platform. Whether your company’s growth has hit a plateau and you’re seeking new avenues of revenue, or you’d simply like to take advantage of a near unlimited amount of new sales channels and, by extension, consumers, giving your business an eCommerce presence is an essential next step.
Moving From the Physical to the Digital
Making the transition from a brick and mortar location to the world of eCommerce, especially for the uninitiated, can be a truly daunting task. However, the good news is that this transition will be much easier than you may think. For you, as a business owner, the really hard work has already been done. Think about it; you’ve established a brand, built a customer base, created a product that you know has consumer appeal, and put in place the production and supply chain apparatus to deliver the final product. With all of the aforementioned in mind, it’s safe to say that your move into the world of eCommerce, in many cases, can be the proverbial icing on the cake. It is important to note that much of the physical operations that take place within your brick and mortar company will also be similarly carried out on your new eCommerce store platform – and the migration from one to the other has never been easier.
Important Considerations and Benefits to an eCommerce Platform
Establishing an eCommerce presence makes sense in so many ways. One of the most important and exciting benefits on the list is the near exponential reach an online organization has to connect with potential consumers. According to statista.com, for the year 2016, “e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 1.86 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.48 trillion US dollars in 2021.” This represents a near unlimited customer pool that, with the right website platform and advertising mechanisms in place, present a vast array of new opportunities for businesses making their transition to the online marketplace. Another benefit worth mentioning is that an online business, unlike a conventional storefront, does not operate under traditional time constraints such as store hours. An online store has a 24/7/365 presence. The idea that your store is never “closed,” plus the fact that your product is essentially available to anyone with an internet connection, should be a great motivating affirmation that your switch to an online platform is the right choice.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform may very well be the most important aspect of your transition into the online marketplace. While there are many platforms to consider, the market has evolved to a point where clear leaders have emerged and now offer businesses a near one-stop shop for every single need imaginable in the operation of your online store.
Another aspect to consider is potential integration with your point of sale (POS) application to your new eCommerce storefront. For example, the Shopify eCommerce platform has a direct integration with Shopify POS. Another example would be ShopKeep Merchant, which has been gaining popularity with retail businesses. ShopKeep Merchant, in addition to Square, integrates directly with the BigCommerce platform and with Shopify. If you’re not familiar with POS applications, it is well worth the time to do your research and consider the various POS systems, as they may be very beneficial in streamlining your business operations.
Before we explore the most popular eCommerce platforms available, let’s start with the basics by defining our terms. An eCommerce platform is a software application, or “solution,” that creates a digital storefront allowing customers to interact with the business online by way of consumer purchases and communication. An eCommerce platform also allows the business owner to manage the various aspects of their business behind the scenes, including, but not limited to, general operations, sales fulfillment and analysis, and website aesthetics.
While similar in some ways, each eCommerce platform available on the market today has their own benefits and drawbacks with each one being a function of the business owner’s needs, budget, and size.
We’ve compiled a list of five of the most popular eCommerce platforms currently available on the market: Shopify, Volusion, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento. In our analysis, and within each of the analyzed eCommerce platforms, there are six important aspects every business owner should consider before making the move to a digital storefront. These six points are as follows:
- Setup – The ease at which one can transition their brick and mortar operation to an eCommerce platform.
- Features/Functionality – Additional benefits and drawbacks to each platform, including third party applications.
- Ongoing Management – How each platform facilitates the ease of recurring maintenance activities.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Most Internet activity begins with search. Without a presence in search rankings, your business can be at a severe disadvantage.
- Omnichannel integration – The ability of each platform to integrate the user’s shopping experience across multiple sales channels.
- Pricing – An important point of consideration when starting out, especially for small business owners.
Even though they rank as some of the most essential factors in today’s world of eCommerce, these six points aren’t the only considerations to take into account. Additional research on your end would be highly recommended.
If you’re looking to start your eCommerce business today, head on over to our website where you can find a portfolio of our work or give us a call at (215) 809-1567. We are a digital agency that specializes in eCommerce with expert web designers and developers eager to help you choose the right eCommerce platform for your business to get it ranking high.
- Natalie Nako
- December 22, 2017