How to Choose an E-Commerce Platform For Your Small Business

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 for the help with my research!

Choosing a Payment Gateway

The rise of online commerce has led to a whole new method of making and receiving payments; the payment gateway. Entirely cashless, they come in many forms and use credit or debit card payments only. With many to choose from it may be a difficult choice for you if you need to begin using one for your online business, so we took a look at some of the more popular options, and at the factors you need to take into account when deciding upon which one to use.

Cost of Use

Naturally, among the most important criteria to consider is that of cost; payment gateway providers operate in a number of ways when it comes to fees. Some will charge you a set up fee for your account while with others it will be free. With most options there is a fee per transaction, while others may offer a monthly plan with a set fee payable on a given date. The fee will be determined as a percentage, and possibly relate to the number of transactions processed in a set period, so check out these factors before choosing.

The Popular Choices

Perhaps the most well-known of the many payment gateway options is PayPal; easy to use and with flexible payment options, it has many millions of users and promises secure transactions. However, take care to check out its available functions; in particular, note that it does not offer a shopping cart facility as some others do.

Chase Paymentech is rapidly becoming one of the more favoured choices, thanks to its flexibility and wide variety of functions. Users report satisfaction with sensible fees and a choice of payment plans, while customer service also scores highly in reviews. Recommended for small businesses, it is customizable to an extent.

Amazon Flexible Payments is attractive to users thanks to it being part of the colossal Amazon group; however, it is a limited package although it does offer some benefits, and is perhaps not as flexible as some of the more rounded payment packages.

Whatever you need in a payment gateway there is something out there that will fit your requirements, but make sure you check out all the above – and others – before committing to one package.