5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an eCommerce Platform
Whether you are just starting your e-commerce business or you already have one for some time, the platform you use for your online store can truly make or break your business. Not only does your e-commerce platform features decide the display of your products and selling to the customers, but it also plays a huge role in attracting new users and scaling your business over time.
Once you have a well-defined business plan in place, consider these factors to choose the best e-commerce platform that suits your needs.
- Products you plan to offer
- How to scale your business?
- How much control you have over your e-commerce website?
- What tools you have to integrate with the platform?
- Template design or a custom design
- What experience is your audience looking for?
Common E-commerce Mistakes to Avoid
1. Looking just at the initial price tag
This is the major pitfall; it’s been put up in the front for a reason. It is easy to read tag lines like “flat fee” and think why can’t I buy it as it is cheap. The upfront sticker price on one e-commerce platform might be lower than the other. However, that doesn’t mean that’s the only price you have to pay. When calculating the pricing, the important thing to consider is the duration for which you are going to use this platform. For eg, if you are just looking for a platform to a 1-3 years’ time frame, then the upfront cost is decisive. However, if your time frame is above 5 years, the true price can even out. It is critical to consider the complete ongoing investment that is vital for accelerating the growth of your e-commerce store in the long run.
2. Not defining your target audience
You have the products you want to sell, you have a business strategy, and you have a website – what more could you need? Having a business idea is not just enough to truly be successful with an e-commerce business. One of the major mistakes a business owner can make is not clearly defining the target audience. To understand your target audience, you will need to take a deep dive into the market research and make sure that your target audience has a need for your products and how to communicate to them in a language they understand.
Understanding and defining your audience will allow you to create an experience that resonates with them. It will also help you create a brand message that entices them to buy from you again. In every e-commerce business, be it B2C or B2B, you have to place your customers first. In-Depth market research will help you identify who your real “customer” is.
Market reach to find out the target audience typically involves
- Learning customer needs and pain points.
- What solutions customers have tried in the past, and why they didn’t work?
- Knowing the values important to them.
- Finding out where they engage with content online and how.
- Testing what languages resonates with them.
- Addressing the problems your products can solve for them.
With this information, you can get your products in front of the right audience and communicate why your products are the best for them and how it stands out from other competitors.
3. Not choosing a scalable platform
E-commerce platforms that are hard to scale harm the growth of your online store. The major reasons why some platforms lack scalability is because they don’t support multi-sites and multi-tenancy, and rely just on their local servers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking small, if you have the vision to expand into new markets in the future, and offer a wide range of products, then your website should be set up to accommodate this, yes right from the beginning.
If there is one factor that decides the destiny of your business, it has to be the scalability of your e-commerce platform. Your online store must be able to change and grow in order to meet the demands of customers. One of the critical components that directly affect your e-commerce platform’s scalability is its database. As the database is the central part of your e-commerce platform, its ability to scale will directly impact how well your website can expand. To judge the scalability of your database, there are some main factors to look for.
- Scalability of database infrastructure– It is important for your database infrastructure to have scaling capabilities through load balancing to handling a large demand on your site. If the database fails due to overload, having a fail-over plan where a backup server takes up the responsibilities of the database will ensure that your online store is always available. It is recommended to have cloud infrastructure if scalability is all that you are looking for.
- Locking and input/output speeds-When choosing a scalable platform, you need to consider the locking and input/output speeds of the database. Understand its underlying hardware and how it handles processing requests. If the hardware and software capacity is not enough to handle the demand for inputs and outputs, locking becomes an issue.
- Caching and indexing- Caching and indexing also help improve scalability, and they reduce the demand on hardware resources. Creating a cache of commonly requested queries implies that the output is always available instead of having to be retrieved whenever requested.
4. Customizing the wrong way
Many businesses choose a rigid e-commerce platform and then try to customize their requirements and internal systems to fit the platform. However, it is not the right way. If you know your requirements and goals, you must pick the best e-commerce platform that fits your business. Above all, it might be flexible enough to accommodate customizations of any degree. Take time to do research on each of the e-commerce platforms you are considering. Before signing up for it, ensure that you have fully understood the essentials. Ensure that the functionalities and e-commerce features required for your business are included.
5. Too many features
Yes, your e-commerce platform must be rich when it comes to features, but there is no point in having plenty of features that are not useful for your business. This also relates to scalability where you have more features that you actually need. Not only you aren’t getting any value for your money, but you are paying for the features you don’t even need.
When choosing an e-commerce platform, make sure that you meet the minimum essential requirements but also allows you to add new features and capabilities once you expand. Likewise, the performance of e-commerce sites continues to worsen when you add third-party features and functions to enrich the shopping experience. Why it happens is because you failed to test on overall performance when having those additions. Understanding e-commerce features carefully is critical but it’s just the first step. You have to think carefully about how you will integrate certain features and how they will impact your business.
Launching or re-platforming an e-commerce business can be a disruptive process. If done properly, it comes with significant benefits for your business. However, it is critical for your business when choosing an e-commerce platform to clarify objectives and to think things through. Having the right knowledge about the common mistakes many businesses can help your company to determine whether you are ready to take up the challenges.