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How choosing the right eCommerce platform can set you up for success


Even before the pandemic caused businesses to shut their doors, the world of eCommerce was booming. Today, it continues to be an incredibly powerful tool for growing your business. In fact, global eCommerce sales will exceed $5 trillion for the first time in 2022.

So as merchants look to shift their sales capabilities online, one of the most important decisions is choosing an eCommerce platform. After all, you need one that is secure, customisable, and scalable for long-term growth. Here’s what you need to do before committing to a platform.

Top considerations when choosing an eCommerce platform

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to deciding on your eCommerce platform. With a wealth of products on the market, it’s critical that you do your due diligence and check the features of each platform against your specific needs.

More generally, there are five main considerations that should influence your decision, according to Shannon Ingrey, VP and General Manager — APAC at BigCommerce:

  • Budget: Paying more doesn’t always equal the best experience. However, choosing the cheapest option will often leave a business looking for add-on capabilities from somewhere else. Piecing together fees from various providers is usually the most expensive way to go. Instead, decide on a budget for features like web design, programming and functionality, security, monthly hosting and maintenance.
  • Integration compatibility: Nothing is more frustrating than migrating to a new platform and having to start from scratch. Make sure that the eCommerce platform you choose can easily integrate with your existing solutions and systems at no additional cost.
  • Customisation: Open-source software gives you full control over the source code to customise every aspect of your site. However, you will need extensive coding experience and the budget to account for programming costs. Alternatively, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform customisation is more limited, meaning you don’t have as much freedom to customise your site. The happy medium is in an open SaaS platform like BigCommerce, where merchants get all the benefits of SaaS in addition to the flexibility and functionality of open source.
  • Scalability: It’s important to consider a platform that can grow with you. When you are just starting out, you might not need a host with high-traffic capabilities. But if you’re focused on growth, an eCommerce business could scale rapidly. 
  • Platform customer service: When you need technical support, it’s important you have access to a real-life person who can assist with the problem, whether via phone, email or live chat. Some platforms outsource their customer service and make it difficult — or practically impossible — to get help when you need it most. Be sure to look for personalised 24/7 live-agent customer support, as well as a dedicated help centre and active community of merchants.

The right eCommerce platform can empower you to build, innovate and grow your business online. So when searching for the most appropriate solution, consider the value of sophisticated enterprise-grade functionality, customisation and performance, combined with simplicity and ease of use. You can get all those things and more with BigCommerce.

Biggest challenges to overcome when setting up your online store

Anyone can have an online store. But only the savviest operators can give their customers a streamlined and enjoyable sales experience. Being able to provide a great shopping experience is essential, and it includes everything from intuitive website design to a smooth checkout.

By contrast, there are many business owners who fall into common eCommerce traps when starting out, Ingrey says. Top of the list is not understanding your product or audience.

“‘If you build it, they will come’ isn’t sound advice for business owners — it’s the exact opposite of best practice,” he says. “If a business doesn’t understand its product or audience, they’re assuming the customer wants the product. Simply put, conduct market research to identify the target audience and their needs. By learning what the audience wants and the frustrations they have with the existing options, you can offer customers what they truly want.”

It’s also easy to make missteps when developing the user experience. An improper tech stack can cause customer frustrations, for example, while issues with product pages make it easy for users to jump off your online store and go searching for that same product or service from a competitor.

“User experience is everything, and a website design impacts conversion rates as well as search engine ranking, so it’s important that merchants get it right,” Ingrey says. “From categorising products so potential customers can find them, leveraging analytics to improve marketing efforts, having service and contact information clearly accessible to good user navigation — these all play a crucial role in delivering delightful user experiences to drive repeat business.”

Build, innovate, grow

For BigCommerce, a leading open SaaS eCommerce platform for fast-growing and established B2C and B2B brands, their goal is to empower merchants of all sizes to build, innovate and grow their businesses online. This three-pronged approach means merchants have the freedom to choose which solutions work best for them at every stage of growth.

“BigCommerce is designed to allow anyone, regardless of their technical experience, to create an online store,” Ingrey says. “Our mission is to help merchants of all sizes to sell more at every stage of growth — from small startups to mid-market businesses to large enterprises.

“We are seeing merchants take an increasingly hybrid approach to retail, so having a strong omnichannel strategy is key for merchants looking to scale. BigCommerce helps enable merchants with integrations to leading marketplaces, social commerce platforms and more to further audience reach and get your product discovered around the world.”



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