The advent of the internet has created multiple new avenues for businesses to reach potential costumers. Online shopping wasn't the first popular use of the internet, but its benefits to companies and individual consumers was evident quickly. And, over the last 25 years or so, smart technologies have been innovated and evolved alongside online shopping (or "ecommerce") to enable online shopping to become and remain big business.
Now, whether you already have an online store and are looking for an upgrade or you want to bring your bricks and mortar business online, you should have some knowledge tools in your pocket as you source vendors.
GET REAL ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED
At Hughes & Co, we stress that your focus should be on what your business needs, not what you want. We often get caught up with simple aesthetics, pointing to pretty examples we've found across the net. But do those examples really give you what you need? You need to understand how many products you have, how many product lines, how you need your inventory to work, what payment methods would be best for your business, how you are going to handle purchase to shipping...the list goes on. In short, you need a comprehensive understanding of what your business needs down to the fine details. Then you can worry about aesthetics.
LOOK AT A NUMBER OF PLATFORM OPTIONS
Different website design agencies prefer different ecommerce options. You should start by understanding what ecommerce platforms are available and which platform will best fit the needs of your business.
CONSIDER SHOPIFY, MAGENTO, WOOCOMMERCE
These three platforms are the world leaders and they each offer something very different to businesses. Here's what you should know about each.
Shopify is a Canadian-built platform, that has an easy to use back-end that supports SEO optimization and a straightforward sales tracker. Shopify store owners pay a monthly fee for their fully customizable website/online store/blog combo. We love Shopify because it is feature rich, easy to hand off and has a support system like no other.
Magento is the world's biggest ecommerce platform. This open source technology is known for being powerful (can support up to 500,000 products) and is supported by a huge community of developers and users. The integrations and plugins allow you to quickly customize your store and the intelligent filtered search allows shoppers a very easy buying experience. Not to mention Magento is responsive, includes advanced SEO and has a built in conversion strategy.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and thus is an extremely popular option for businesses that are already operating on WordPress. Data shows that in Canada 42% of online stores are running on this platform. WooCommerce is also open-source, feature rich and user friendly. You may like that it is a free plugin, unlike the other two options mentioned above. The thing to know about this platform is that it allows businesses to sell any type of product or service, it knows that you may not need shipping and that you might just want an online catalogue.
A RECOMMENDATION YOU NEED
The most important thing to ask from your ecommerce developer when they extend options it that your new store has the ability to scale with the growth of your brand. That means that you can easily add new product lines and categories yourself and that you can work in the backend to update product descriptions or add in new plugin that will help drive conversions.
Ready for a new ecommerce website? Let's talk about your business needs and getting your new online store set-up for success.