How to choose eCommerce platform could be one of the most important decisions to build a scalable business. It’s also hard to know where to start, and which platform that is suitable for your business. There is no e-commerce platform thats suits everyone, it’s important to ask the right questions and to know where you are heading.
Questions you should ask yourself or a client is:
1. Whats your budget?
Long term and short term, development cost and monthly fees. It’s important to calculate transactions fees, apps and other extensions that are crucial for your store.
2. Where are your main market?
Will you offer the site in multilingual and in multi-currency? Think about this for a while, sure it could be handy to offer your site multilingual, but will it help your business to grow? To offer you site in different languages will take a lot of extra time and those customers will usually expect a customer service in their language. With that said most of the hosted solutions doesn’t offer multilingual and multi currency so if that’s a requirement, check with your potential platform provider to see if they offer that.
3. What are you going to sell?
Some platforms are better for digital goods and some are better for physical products. For physical products you need a more complex platform that can handle tax calculations, shipping options, return handling and inventory management.
4. How many product will you offer from the beginning and within 5 years?
If you have a couple of products and are not planning to increase your offer, its usually better to choose a simpler and inexpensive platform such as Tictail or Shopify. If you on the other-hand have thousands of products and are planning to increase your assortment then you’ll need a more complex platform.
5. Will you have access to developers or do you have programming skills?
Some e commerce platforms need professional support and development. If you have little technical knowledge and a very small budget that does not allow you to hire a developer, it would be better for you to choose a platform that can be managed without programming skills, e.g Tictail or Shopify.
6. Is rapid growth expected?
When you are starting a store you might be lured into choosing the cheapest plan. It could be an obvious choice but if you calculate the cost for transactions fees, new features and additional storage on a year and year basis, the cheapest plan could be the most expensive. Don’t choose platform based on price but on your future plans. The one that is most expensive to startup with, could be the cheapest in the long run.
The key to choose the right e-commerce platform is to start with the basics, whats my offer, how many products will we offer, whats my budget, where will we be in 5 years and most important of all, how much time do you have? If you want to test your idea, I normally advice to use a hosted solution. If you already have a brand with a lot of products and have proved that your business model are working, go for a self-hosted solution.