Questions to ask when choosing a new ecommerce platform

If you’re looking for a new ecommerce platform, chances are you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, as long as you’re asking the right questions, you should have no problem figuring out which platform is right for your ecommerce business.

In order to help you feel more confident in your decision making, here are the questions you should be asking yourself when shopping around for a new ecommerce platform.

Does it scale?

Regardless of the size of your ecommerce business, some days will bring a greater influx of visitors than others, and as your business grows, it is vital that your site can cope with peak traffic levels. If your site compromises performance, impatient shoppers will inevitably leave, so it is essential that it scales. Take a look around at other businesses that are roughly the same size as your own and see which platform they are using and how it is working for them.

Hosted or self-hosted? 

When researching ecommerce platforms, you’ll no doubt come across the option of a hosted or self-hosted platform. If you go with hosted, the company will host your online store, which can ensure you have extra security and is generally less effort on your part. Self-hosted, on the other hand, means that you are given the software to host yourself.  

Am I supported? 

Once you have chosen a new ecommerce platform, you’ll no doubt have questions at some point, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you’re an expert. As it is such a big investment in your company, it is important to know about the level of support you are going to receive. Will you be able to speak to a support team via telephone, email, live chat? Will they offer useful documentation or walk-through videos? Finding out this should help you make a decision based on what works for you.  

Can I customise with third-party software? 

There is a huge range of tools out there that can help you optimise your ecommerce store, but it is necessary to know if the ecommerce platform you choose supports these. Platforms such as Shopify and Magento do this well, and they’re not alone. As customers are looking for a frictionless online shopping experience, it is important to ensure that third-party software is effectively integrated, therefore allowing shoppers to experience a great online journey.

What will it cost me? 

Regardless of the size of your ecommerce business, cost is always a factor, and there’s a myriad of platforms with varying costs. While some are free, others charge a monthly or annual fee that varies depending on how much you sell or the amount of traffic generated. Setup, licensing and maintenance should all be factored into cost, as well as integrations and workarounds.

How do I find out more? 

A great way to find out more about the various ecommerce platforms out there is to get involved in community forums. This gives you the chance to ask current users about their experiences with their platform and find out key information such as how easy it is to set up/use and the level of support they receive. While businesses do differ and may require different features, it is nice to be aware of other experiences with platforms.

Let us know what platform you’re using and why in the comment section below.