How to Choose the Ecommerce Software for Your Business

January 16 , 2017

here is a plethora of options available when it comes to choosing an ecommerce platform. Open source ecommerce platforms such as Magento are quite popular because of it’s vast ecosystem and primarily free software. However, most business owners fail to choose their right ecommerce software/platform and waste an inordinate amount of time in trying to launch an ecommerce website.

There are several criteria, which need to be considered before choosing an ecommerce platform. Here are a few questions you need to ask before choosing ecommerce software:

  • Is the technology reliable and easily customizable?
  • Will you get ongoing support as your business evolves?
  • What about mobile compatibility and design?
  • "Is the software easy to use or a nightmare waiting to happen?
In this article, we are going to discover these answers and you will precisely know how to choose an ecommerce software or a platform before you take your first step.

Reliable Technology

There are plenty of free ecommerce shopping cart software available in the market. Most ecommerce providers use these freely available open source shopping cart software to deliver ecommerce sites. One of the popular ones is Magento which has proved to be a boon for developers and a nightmare for business owners.

Using an Open Source Shopping Cart Software Such as Magento is Free But Extremely Expensive
Using an open source shopping cart is free but extremely expensive. Here is why:
  • Most developers charge hourly rates to provide you customization or maintenance services. A good developer may charge between Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 per hour. As a result your maintenance cost will rise exponentially. Because many things will require their involvement.
  • Other option is to hire a full time developer which means, your attention will go in development instead of business.
  • You will have to buy additional plugins and extensions which are unreliable and you don’t know if they will work or not. it will also add to your cost of ownership.
  • Third, you will be at the risk of data theft, data loss and in many cases a long down time for 2-3 days. Your entire business will stop and you cannot do anything except waiting for the development company to respond.
Here is the story of Gwalia Sweets.

Gwalia Sweets tried to launch their commerce website two times. First time the developer just disappears after making the site. The company was shut down.

Second time, the developers could not fix the automated email notification issue. Though the site was working, they or their customers were not receiving emails. I will share that case study with you. It is a very interesting case study.

There are lots of Snake oil Salesman in the market and you need to be extremely careful while choosing the technology.

There are lots of Snake oil Salesman in the market and you need to be extremely careful while choosing the technology. It is the thing on the basis of which your business run and you cannot afford to go wrong here.

2. Unique Design

People instantly judge that website in milliseconds and decide whether they want to buy from not.

90% of the time ecommerce providers use pre-designed templates and make small graphics change to deliver your ecommerce website. Because they are smart enough to know that you don’t know about it. As a result, you get a mediocre ecommerce site that looks nice but doesn’t function well.

“Design isn’t just how it looks, It’s about how it works” ~ Steve Jobs

The hidden story nobody tells you is - people don’t buy because from a poorly designed, template based site because at a subconscious level, they don’t trust it. The reason why most ecommerce providers offer services at cheap prices is this. However, the cheap turns out to be extremely expensive in the long-term.

The truth is - if your website design and shopping experiences are crafted well, it pays for itself. People are smart enough to sense it. The just feel it at a sub-conscious level.

3. Professional Product Catalogue

Well Organized Product Catalogue Means Visitors can Find What They are Looking for in 3 Clicks or Less

The professional product cataloguing is one of the biggest challenge we have seen in ecommerce. A good benchmark for a clean and well-organized product catalogue is - “any product should be accessible in 3 clicks or less”.

A professional product catalogue includes the following:
  • Is the product discoverable from multiple entry points
  • Does the product accurately show up in the search results
  • Can the user search/sort/filter the product in multiple ways
  • Is the product description sufficient to make a buying decision
  • Are the product options available in multiple combinations. If yes what are the inventory counts for each combination?
  • Does the product offers customization

Most service providers do not pay much attention to building a product catalogue. They leave it to the website owners who has to struggle endlessly with filters, tags, keywords and categories. Ultimately, customer leaves the product catalogue at the mercy of developer who doesn’t know how to actually organized products. Result, a sub-par product catalogue that leaves your website visitor unhappy and dissatisfied.

The truth is, building ecommerce catalogue is a skill of it’s own. It requires proper planning, oversight and implementation.

4. Consistent Performance

75% of People Wouldn’t Visit a Website that Takes More than 4 Seconds to Load

Speed is one of the main factors which makes or breaks your ecommerce website. Here are some important statistics:

  • 75% of people wouldn’t visit a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year
  • ONE second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions

Luckily, there are plenty of Free tools available which can tell you if your ecommerce store is loading in less than 4 seconds. Once such tool is Google Page speed. You can visit the Google Page speed site at:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Once you visit this page, you will be asked to enter the website address which you need to analyze. Enter the url and hit submit button.

If the Google Page speed score is less than 70, you have a reason to worry.

When you choose an ecommerce provider, randomly pick up their existing site and enter their URL on Google Page Speed. The Google Page speed will show the page load time. If it exceeds 5 seconds, there is a big chance that it will be the case with your website too.

5. Mobile Responsive

There is a big difference between Mobile Friendly and Mobile Responsive In India, 41% of sales happen through mobile. However, when someone says “mobile friendly” you need to carefully inspect how it works. Most of the time, what we have seen is that people will use the word “mobile friendly” casually and the usability is so poor that it is hardly usable on mobile.

Several things matter when we talk about mobile friendly:

  • First, the code base has to be light weight so that it opens up fast.
  • Second, the search and filter needs to be intuitive and easy to use - adopting to the mobile usage pattern
  • Third, viewing products and adding product to cart should be easy and instant. It eliminates buying friction.
  • The shopping cart must be accessible on top without disturbing buying journey.
  • Lastly, the checkout must be mobile friendly. Most ecommerce website providers don’t go all the way to checkout and clients fails to see.

Any easy way to check if your website is mobile friendly or not is by going to Google Mobile Friendly test page located below:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Once you visit that page, simply enter the url of the site which needs to be tested. If the website is mobile friendly, Google will immediately show a message “Congratulations, the website is m mobile friendly”. If not, it will throw an error message.

6. High Converting Checkout

Checkout that doesn’t Crash, and Makes it Easy for Use to Complete Shopping is Precious

Another critical aspect most business owners miss out while evaluating a service provider is the checkout.

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Here are five things you need to know about the checkout:

  • Checkout should be extremely simple, devoid of clutter
  • User can checkout without registering their account (some people don’t like to register)
  • It must be mobile compatible so that the checkout opens up very well on Tablets and Mobile phones
  • It can be completed with minimum entry of fields (for example, automatically taking billing address as shipping address)
  • It should be fast

In this regard, let me tell you the story of Mr. Srikant, the owner of www.chocolatemantra.com . Prior to eComNation, his checkout page used to crash often and it was extremely unreliable.

He got so frustrated with his ecommerce providers that he was almost read to give up on ecommerce. He switched FOUR ecommerce platforms before migrating to eComNation. Since then, he has zero shopping failure rate and high conversion rate on his checkout.

7. Ease of Use

Software interface is meant to bridge the gap between the user and the underlying technology

The biggest barrier in ecommerce for an ordinary person has been technology adoption. Unfortunately, most ecommerce software is made keeping technology at the center and user has to do all the grunt work of learning it.

The Software is great, it has ten thousand features but mostly unusable by a normal mortal.

Most ecommerce softwares are extremely difficult to use for an average person because they are not designed keeping a non-tech person in mind. You need to carefully evaluate user interface of your admin panel. Go through at least these two things:

  • Managing inventory
  • Managing orders

Choose the ecommerce software you can live with for the rest of your life because whatever it is, it will be hard to change and there are costs involved.

Mr. Rajan Patel came to one of our ecommerce success seminars and incidentally, he was launching an ecommerce store using Magento the next day. He had already invested Rs. 1 lacs in development cost. He got so frustrated with the entire process and switched to eComNation at the last moment.

Conclusion

Always look for an Ecommerce Partner Who Can Take Care Of your Ecommerce Software and Underlying Technology

You just don’t need ecommerce software or a technology. You must look for a long-term ecommerce partner. As a business owner, you need to find a specialized ecommerce company who believes in your vision and let’s you move forward with momentum. Because they take care of all grunt work and the technology behind it.

Your ecommerce success will then be not a coincidence, it will be a certainty because nothing is left to chance.

About the Author

Hrishikesh Jobanputra

Hrishikesh Jobanputra is an author and marketing advisor to forward thinking entrepreneurs. He has 16+ years of experience in marketing, strategy and consulting. Hrishikesh helps businesses of all sizes gain an unfair competitive advantage using the power of inbound marketing.

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