How to Start Selling Online – eCommerce Platforms

By April 25, 2018Design
eCommerce SEO

The Right Platform is the First Step Towards Successful eCommerce

Thinking about selling online? You will need a solid ecommerce platform, backed up by the right online infrastructure. Find the best eCMS here.

The rise of ecommerce is one of the most dramatic changes we have seen in the 21st century landscape. 20 years ago, the likes of Amazon and eBay were seen as online curiosities that might or might not take off. Today, buyers use online platforms to buy everything from groceries to holidays to household insurance.

The impact of ecommerce on the UK retail landscape is growing steadily year on year, increasing from 15.6 percent in 2016 to 16.9 percent in 2017. This year, that is expected to rise again to around 18 percent.

The message is clear – the increasing importance of ecommerce to the retail sector makes it something that businesses cannot ignore. If your business is not yet selling its products or services online, you need to think about doing so now. Choosing the right platform is a key step, but it is not the only consideration.

Choosing your eCMS platform

There are so many platforms available, it can be difficult knowing where to start, so here are some question to ask yourself along the way:

  • Pricing – most charge a monthly rate, but as with everything, you get what you pay for, so cheapest is not always best.
  • Mobile friendliness – almost two thirds of transactions are completed via a mobile device. If your platform is not mobile friendly, you might as well give up now.
  • Security – if the security is sketchy, customers will run a mile. The platform needs to support HTTPS/SSL and be PCI compliant.
  • Flexibility – many customers might prefer to pay using third party vendors such as PayPal. Some platforms offer this facility, but others do not.
  • Support – if the platform goes down, your sales grind to a halt and customers go elsewhere. Check the speed and type of support you can expect.
  • Scalability – if you are just starting in ecommerce, you need room to grow.

Choosing the right platform is going to be a balancing act between these various considerations. Platforms such as Symphony Commerce take all the worry out of your hands by offering a SaaS type solution, but will not be cheap. Shopify is a low-cost solution, and can cost you less than $10 a month, but for that, you will have to settle for an inflexible “one size fits all” type solution.

Get the groundwork right

Having the right platform for your business is crucial, and is something that you need to talk about with your digital marketing support team. However, it is not the only area you need to discuss with them in order to make a success of your ecommerce strategy:

1) Design

A well designed site is like a well designed shop – it attracts customers from the street, or in this case the search results, and when they come in, they want to stay and look around. Great web design is where it all begins.

2) Content

Once customers are looking around your online store, the next challenge is to get them to stay, and ideally to tell their friends to give you a look. For that, the old adage that content is king comes to the fore.

3) SEO

SEO is the glue that binds all these things together, using aspects of content creation, web design, site structure and other SEO strategies to get your site ranking on Google and create a virtuous circle to make a long-tern success of your ecommerce business.