It is an accepted fact of life that online shopping has changed the world in no small fashion; in fact, online commerce in general is something that all businesses should really be looking at, as an entire new customer base is waiting to be tapped into. Setting up your E-Commerce operation can be a daunting prospect, but does it need to be? We took a look at the various types of E-Commerce platforms available, and have presented a few helpful tips as to what you need to consider.
Define a Budget
Naturally, the first thing to consider is what you can afford to spend. There are some E-Commerce platforms that are very sophisticated and, hence, come with a hefty price tag. These tend to be aimed at high-end businesses dealing in a varied selection of products. There are also those that are much cheaper and, for the most basic operation, some that are free. The popular Magento, an open-source and free option, comes highly recommended and is perfect for a small operation, while for a little more complex commercial venture there are platforms that are available for a small monthly fee, such as E-Junkie and DPD. The best option is to look at the many platforms on offer, and understand your budgetary limitations.
What is Your Product?
This is of considerable importance: many online businesses deal solely in digital products, and that’s what the likes of DPD are designed for. For sales of actual physical products you may need a system that incorporates a little more flexibility, and also includes the likes of inventory controls, shipping options and also tax calculations. You should also consider the number of different products you are selling: it is accepted opinion that the greater the range, the more efficient your E-Commerce platform needs to be, so make sure you do your research.
Hosted Platforms & Other Advice
Some businesses opt for a hosted platform, and in many ways this can be a sensible idea. However, the additional costs may not be attractive to small businesses. You also need to consider whether your platform is able to be customized to your needs; some are very limited, and you will not get your brand awareness in the package. Also, remember that while the very basic versions can simply be plugged in, a more complex platform may need to be installed by an expert, so keep some of your budget aside if this is your chosen route. Ask around, look at what others are using, and make your choice carefully.
Thanks to the people at www.loenvio.co for the help with my research!