When it comes to ecommerce, income is generally proportional to your web traffic. In other words, the more people visit your site the more sales you are likely to have. So, when building your ecommerce strategy to attract those visitors, there are two questions that you should ask yourself first:
- What ecommerce platform should I use?
- What type of experience do I want them to have when they visit my site?
Answering these two questions first is key because there’s a limit to how much money you can make with smaller ecommerce platforms. And if you can't deliver a consistently great customer experience online, sales will suffer.
Whatever the size or age of your business, your choice of technology is critical. At a time when everyone shops online, choosing the right ecommerce platform could be the difference between success and failure.
So how do you go about choosing which ecommerce platform you should use? To help get you started, we’ll discuss your options depending on the maturity of your business.
New brands (aka My First Website)
One of the first things to do when starting your new business is to launch a website. You want people to know who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact. Start off with great web design based on an understanding of your users’ journey and experience.
You may want to be able to create and publish the site quickly. WordPress is a great platform for getting started. Not only is it simple to use, but also incredibly powerful too.
Importantly, WordPress grows as you do. When you’re ready to add ecommerce functionality, simply install the Shopify or WooCommerce plugin, and you can build a basic online shop in a matter of hours. Making it a great ecommerce platform for a small business. This simplicity is also found on the customer-facing side of the website; the easier it is for people to find the products they want, the more likely they are to buy.
This technology is great for businesses selling a manageable number of SKUs. And the WordPress platform itself is free – so you have more money to invest in marketing to drive traffic to your new website. Be it a Paid Search strategy on networks like Google or incorporating Social Selling across your social media channels.
Established brands (aka I need to start selling)
But what if your business has been around for a few years? You still need a web platform capable of growing as you do.
WordPress allows you to serve hundreds of products to thousands of visitors every day – but the technology tends to be quite inflexible. You cannot connect Shopify to your stock management system for instance. So, what happens when you increase the number of SKUs? Or you want to take sales to the next level? Or you want to improve real time stock management using your in-house ERP system?
Your business will need to change technology behind the scenes. For businesses targeting sales in excess of £1m we recommend Magento. Importantly, Magento scales as your business grows to prevent your website holding back your ecommerce ambitions.
And as you grow your global customer base, Magento also offers support for multiple languages. Built-in tools can be used localise your product categories and inventory, making your offering even more attractive and accessible to foreign buyers.
Sure, Magento is more complicated behind the scenes, but the customer journey can be distilled and simplified making checkout a breeze. Remember – the experience customers have on your site is as important as having the right ecommerce platform. The easier it is to buy from your website, the more likely people are to place an order with you.
Established ecommerce retailers (aka We need to be able to sell even more stuff)
Once turnover tops £1m each month, you will need to upgrade again. A company of this size requires a web platform that is even more powerful – something infinitely flexible and configurable, and with extensive connections to other IT systems used in house.
At this point your business will be looking at the Rolls Royce of ecommerce platforms – SalesForce Commerce Cloud (previously Demandware). Built to serve hundreds of thousands of visitors every hour, this technology delivers a consistent, reliable experience for shoppers – and provides the platform you need to keep the orders rolling in.
But before you go jumping the gun, there’s a reason that Commerce Cloud is best suited to multi-million pound ecommerce operations – it’s very expensive.
So, what ecommerce platform should you use?
Powerful technology is great – but an outstanding customer experience is better. Your purchasing decision becomes a balancing act between budget and functionality, with customer experience as the deciding factor.
As you explore your options, try and think in terms of your customers. What do they want? How would they find information on your website? How can you make the checkout process easier?
Only then can you decide which ecommerce platform is right for your business.
If all else fails, this classic mantra will help keep you on track:
No customers, no business. Crap website, no customers.
Still have no idea?
Even if you know one platform is better suited to your strategic growth plans, accurately predicting traffic volume changes is extremely difficult. Our advice? Do not go it alone.
Instead, partner with someone like Overthrow Digital who can lend advice and expertise – and help build out an ecommerce platform that will deliver against your targets. Chat to us today and let us help you find the ecommerce platform you really need.