Choosing an eCommerce platform, made simple.

When you’ve had a brilliant idea for an eCommerce business, you’ve done your research and are convinced that it’s a winner, you obviously can’t wait to get cracking on it. But searching out the best eCommerce platform to take you from zero to hero is critical. Where do you start? What do you need? Who can help? Here are 12 pointers on what to look for and things to consider.

1. Ease of use
Unless you’re very technically proficient, you’ll want to build on a platform that is simple, intuitive, and robust. An on-boarding wizard, responsive designs (that work across devices) and a “drag and drop” editor will help you set up your shop in double-quick time.

2. Customisation
If you want to stand out from the crowd, being able to tailor how your shop looks – colours, fonts, layouts, etc. and a set of professional-looking themes, will make it look unique, on-brand, and optimise your customers’ user experience (UX).

3. Product offering
You might be starting with a sole product or a small, limited range but what if that grows? Ensure that you can expand the number of lines and product variations and never be limited by the size of the product catalogue offered, or the bandwidth available.

4. Support
Obviously, your customers will expect 24/7 assistance once they start transacting with you - think live chat, chat-bots, telephone helplines, etc. In the early days though, you are likely to be the one in need of handholding. Check out others’ experiences and their reviews to give you confidence that you’re backing the right eCommerce horse!

5. Pricing options
Pricing varies across platforms – not just how much, but how and when. Some offer a monthly or an annual billing system, while others charge per transaction. When you’re just starting out that can make a real difference and, if you don’t have money to invest up-front, spreading the cost might make good business sense.

6. Dashboards and analytics
You’ll want to track and benchmark what is happening with your store. Things like site bounce rates, customer conversion rates, and average order values, are all key performance indicators (KPIs) and should be easily accessible in real time.

7. Social integration
To easily promote, share, and trade across your marketplaces and social media channels is a must. Your eCommerce platform should make this as seamless and as automated as possible to avoid you spending lots of time and duplicating effort.

8. Device compatibility
In 2019 mobile retail sales (mCommerce) in the UK were a whopping £50.36 billion and it’s forecast that, in 2024, this figure will soar to some £105.28 billion! It’s imperative then that your shop will both work well and look good on ‘phones and tablets, and that it’s compatible with all the different operating systems.

9. Payment gateways
Multiple safe, convenient, and secure payment options - PayPal, credit and debit cards, etc. – are known to increase conversion rates. Plus, if you’re operating internationally, consider local payment gateways which work with your eCommerce store and that your customers will trust.

10. Customer reviews
A review system, such as Trustpilot, gives your customers a level of comfort and lets you know if there are red flags and issues. Check you’ll have easy integration and the ability to automate your review collection.

11. Flexible shipping
Consumers demand swift fulfilment and delivery. Ensure the platform you choose can be integrated with, and well-supported by, a partner that gets your wares produced, shipped, and safely in customers’ hands as speedily as possible.

12. Search-friendly
Getting found, particularly when you’re just starting out, means that search and SEO are the oxygen your business needs. Be sure that your chosen eCommerce platform is SEO-friendly and optimised for the popular search engines.

Prime is the largest Print on Demand provider in the UK and, after 30 years in this sector, we’re the eCommerce partner of choice for many. If you’re looking for a POD partner with the resources, skills, and stocks to ensure your products are always available to market simply, quickly, and profitably, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.

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