5 Tips to Select Your Small Business Ecommerce Platform in 2022
Local retail shops have arguably suffered the most during the pandemic. The future of brick-and-mortar small businesses still remains uncertain, with possibilities of new lockdown policies coming into play now in several countries.
The best way to keep your small business sales flowing is to start an online store. With an online shop, you can be assured that customers can order online, and you can continue generating revenues.
Hence, working with a small business ecommerce platform is not a possibility but a necessity.
You need to look for a few things before you decide on an eCommerce solution. Selecting an eCommerce provider that doesn’t meet your business goals or budget can lead to losses.
Here are five tips to select the best platform for your small business eCommerce store.
1. Offers Exceptional User Experience For Hassle-Free Buying
User experience is one of the critical components of online shopping. Customers prefer to purchase products from stores that offer a hassle-free experience.
Therefore, you should always look for UX-friendly features available on ecommerce website builder platforms.
Here are some of the things you should check:
- The storefront should effectively use visual elements to clearly present product categories and other data.
- The store should have excellent page loading speed, as page speed has now become one of the most critical ranking factors used by Google.
- It should have an easy-to-use interface so that customers can find the products, add them to their cart, and buy them with ease.
- There should be strong branding across the store so that people remember your brand for longer.
- The shop should have an option to leave feedback because people prefer to read product reviews before they buy a product.
- The design should highlight the product USP or other offers that you might be running from time to time.
- There should be options to add banners across the store, to direct traffic to offer pages when needed.
- The store should have accessibility support, to enable people with disabilities to browse and buy products from your store without any difficulties.
2. Has Support For Future Expansion Goals
A small business will not always remain small, and by removing the limitations of doing business in person, eCommerce allows you to address new markets over time. With time, your shop will hopefully grow, and you will need more space for products, images, and videos. Besides, you might also need support for international payments and more payment gateways.
You should select an eCommerce provider that can support your future expansion goals. As Leigh-Anne Truitt suggests in this blog post, “If you’re planning to grow or change your business over time, focus on a provider that can evolve with you.”
There should be no limitations applied to the number of products you can manage after a certain period, and they should be available year-round so that you don’t struggle to grow your business when the time comes.
3. Is Within Your Budget
As a small business, you have a limited budget to spend. All the more reason to carefully review the different pricing structures provided by the top eCommerce website builders before selecting a platform.
While considering the pricing, you should evaluate the payment processing fees, additional cost on every product sale after reaching a certain threshold, maintenance costs, customer support costs, and even website upgrading costs.
When choosing a provider, always think of the future, because even if you are getting everything for free when you first start out, you will soon realize you might need to spend more and more as your business begins to grow.
Select a platform that keeps a transparent pricing structure and does not keep a cap on everything. Moreover, the support should be free.
4. Is SEO-Friendly
Online stores are often especially dependent on traffic from search engines. Therefore, it should be the topmost priority for you to choose a small business eCommerce platform that is SEO-friendly.
An SEO-friendly eCommerce site builder will help acquire more organic traffic leading to an increase in revenue.
Here are the top things you should check before picking an eCommerce platform:
- Your store should be mobile-friendly and should load faster on mobile devices. Don’t just check the homepage, but also check the product and category pages while evaluating page speed.
- It should create SEO-friendly and human-readable URLs.
- It should offer support for schema data, review snippets, and canonicalization of URLs.
- Your provider should offer support for external third-party plugins to boost your store’s SEO further.
- You should be able to create AMP pages because search engines prefer them for mobile rankings.
- It should offer support for 301s, custom 404s, XML sitemap, and an excellent custom search option.
- You should be able to easily update the meta title and description tags of your category and product pages for improved search visibility.
Leveraging SEO for your online store remains a top inbound marketing priority for most businesses. Hence, you should always select a platform that offers excellent SEO support throughout the customer buying journey.
5. Should Offer a Free Trial
Before making the final purchase decision, you should always go for a free trial. Opting for a free trial will enable you to evaluate the different options the store builder offers.
During the trial period, you should review the following things:
- Call their customer support and ask things to judge their responsiveness and technical abilities to handle issues with ease.
- Check the store interface and see whether you are able to add, edit, and delete products with ease.
- Calculate the page loading speed using a tool such as Page Speed Insights.
- Evaluate the options available to sell your products directly on social platforms like Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, and other social sites.
- Determine the ecommerce security precautions taken to secure customer data. Also, don’t forget to check the support for SSL.
- Check if there is a limit on the number of products you can add to your store.
- Determine if the platform offers robust SEO-friendly features to drive traffic to your store.
- Carefully review the payment and shipping options.
- View the themes section and see if they are easily customizable.
- Explore the scalability of your platform for future business growth.
Launching an eCommerce store is easy, but managing it is challenging. The choice of your small business eCommerce platform will decide the future of your online business success. Explore the top five tips discussed above to carefully review the features and pricing options offered by different eCommerce store builders before you make the final decision. Happy selling!