Shopify? Big Commerce? Squarespace? Wix?
Today we’re going to break down our 5 key things to consider when choosing an e-commerce option for your amazing online storefront. These are a few of the things we like to walk our e-commerce clients through to save them from a bad case of decision-itis. Trust us, it’s a thing, ok?!
It’s simple: a user-friendly design will save you tons of time and get your products out to your customers faster. If this is your first time at the e-commerce rodeo, make sure to choose a platform that doesn’t have you spending hours glued to your desk for updates.
Can you navigate easily in editor mode on your own? Are all of the tools you need to manage your check-out page readily accessible to you? Or, is it taking you 25 minutes just to grab a weekly sales report because you thought you knew where to go and do that, but… uh, now you can’t exactly remember how?
Many clients initially choose a platform like Shopify for this very reason, however, we want to forewarn that picking your platform based solely on back-end user-friendliness may have you missing out on powerful built-in sales features that the other guys offer.
Some of those fun features have a bit of a learning curve but pack a powerful punch when it comes to enticing your customers and making their (and your) lives easier. You may not need all the fancy-schmancy features just yet, but as your customers start purchasing your products like crazy and your business scales, some of them may be good to consider.
#2 SALES FEATURES:
Ask yourself what features you’re after and what you can live without. You may not know what’s out there, so we suggest you browse some competitor websites and even go through a play-pretend check out process to see how a website makes it easy for you as a customer!
Once you’ve seen what’s possible, it’s time to get personal!
Most platforms have gotten really savvy with their included features and many offer one or all of the above.
You know what they say: you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Bad site design will have your customers exiting their browser tab faster than you can say “nosedive!” We may be biased on this one since good design is our love language. Our team creates custom, scroll-worthy design for all of our e-commerce clients, but the platform on which the design is integrated will determine the overall look and feel of your website.
While we pride ourselves on being able to bring ANY web design idea to life, no matter the platform; it’s always a good idea to check in with your web designer on which e-commerce platforms they prefer to work with.
C.A.R.E. = Customers Are Really Everything. Cute, right? You want to choose a platform that is going to live this mantra to the fullest for you because good customer support is like a parachute pull cord at 300 feet. No matter how skilled you are in the skies, it’s always smart to be looking for support services that guarantee you a safe place to land. You’re going to want 24/7 phone, live chat, email, a help center, support forums, video or written tutorial pages and advanced specialist support all available to you when things get a little rough.
#5 PRICING PLANS:
Our #1 tip? Quality services are worth paying for! It’s kind of a non-negotiable.
Your top-of-the-line products deserve the best packaging available. And no, I’m not talking about your shipping materials. Your “packaging” to an online consumer is your e-commerce website! It’s the pretty box with the big red bow that has all their favorite goodies inside.
You know when you’re walking through a crowded mall and pass a store that you just have to go into? You don’t even know if you need anything in there, you simply want to bask in the feel-good ambiance. The lighting is amazing, your favorite song is always playing on their speakers, the sign is huge and bright (you never miss it!), and oddly… It even smells better than the rest of the mall! This is what we’re aiming for. The best packaging for your even better product.
You wouldn’t put a 3-carat diamond on a plain old silver band, so don’t do it with your e-commerce website platform. We’re going for gold all the way, baby! Or rose-gold, if that’s your thing, too.
When it comes to pricing, most e-commerce platforms have tiered plans that allow you to upgrade as you scale your storefront. When considering overall costs, don’t forget about third-party apps! If your chosen e-commerce platform doesn’t include those key sales features that we talked about, bringing in third-party apps will only push up your monthly costs in the long run. We make sure that our clients consider the features available for each plan, and don’t just make a snap decision based on price alone.
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Ashley Gadd is an award-winning digital marketing strategist, graphic designer, and educator who helps clients turn their squirrely ideas into captivating and strategic brands that convert. Blending her background in nonprofit marketing with her education in design, Ashley offers customer-centric brand experiences that connect the visual and strategic dots to give her clients the tools to build a sustainable and profitable business they’re proud of.
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