Ecommerce sales accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales across the globe this year. By 2023, that figure is expected to rise to 23%.
With more consumers choosing to shop online, it’s becoming increasingly important for big brand retailers to make their products available via digital sales channels. Ecommerce platforms can help you do that.
Choosing an enterprise ecommerce platform is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are several key factors to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest ones.
Total Cost of Ownership
Many companies underestimate the true costs of running an ecommerce site. Beyond the initial build and development, you need to consider total cost of ownership, which can be swayed heavily by maintenance and upgrades – especially when you’re looking at platforms that can handle the traffic that big brands command.
With a traditional ecommerce platform, you are in charge of maintaining your site. Depending on the size and complexity of the site, you may need to hire technical help to assist with the maintenance of your site. With SaaS enterprise ecommerce platforms, you pay a monthly fee in exchange for these maintenance services.
The larger and more complex the site, the more practical it becomes to pay for professional maintenance services.Traditional ecommerce software solutions require you to download and install updates whenever they are released. Failing to install these patches puts your site at risk to cyberattacks and other types of hacks.
Downloading and installing updates to self-hosted software does require technical knowledge, regardless of the cloud platform you host with, so again, many companies may need to hire technical help to assist with updates. With SaaS services, on the other hand, updates are considered part of maintenance and are included in the monthly fee, usually without the user even being aware.
When considering the cost of upgrades, you also have to keep in mind the cost of adding new features or making UX changes.
IntegrationsWith Additional Services
Another important factor to consider when comparing ecommerce platforms is the ease of integration with APIs and plugins. Will it be easy to integrate the platform into your website? What about the other tools and platforms in your stack? Will the enterprise platform be compatible with everything else you already use?
Many ecommerce sites use several different types of plugins to streamline and simplify the management process, from accounting to email marketing and shipping apps.
With a SaaS platform, there’s no need to worry about integration or plugins, because the service provider will take care of this for you.
It’s safe to say that e-tailers need to make mobile-friendliness a priority.
Consumers want their mobile shopping experience to offer:
- Easy payment processing
- An easy-to-navigate online store or app
- An experience similar to shopping on a desktop
When choosing an enterprise ecommerce solution, it’s important to make sure that the platform is mobile-friendly.
Customers should be able to easily view products and shop from their mobile devices.
Providing a seamless mobile experience is more important than ever, and your ecommerce solution needs to be a reflection of this trend.
SEO is just as important – if not more important – for ecommerce sites than conventional business websites. Higher rankings in the search results leads to more targeted, organic traffic and sales.
When comparing ecommerce platforms, consider the SEO-friendly features that are available (if any), such as:
- Incorporating a blog into your website
- Allowing customers to leave reviews
- Using your own domain
- Having the ability to incorporate keywords in the title and body of the page
These features will help optimize your pages for search engines, which ultimately helps improve your rankings.
Security and Privacy
Security cannot be overlooked when choosing an ecommerce solution. Customers will be making purchases through your platform. Sensitive personal and financial data will be transferred with each transaction.
Using a platform that prioritizes security is, therefore, essential.
The platform should support HTTPS/SSL to ensure a safe checkout process. It should also be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant.
There are four important elements to ecommerce security:
- Privacy: Ensuring that no information is shared with unauthorized individuals or parties.
- Integrity: Information shared by customers will not be altered in any way.
- Authentication: Purchases are verified through credit card information, reCAPTCHA tests, passwords and two-step authentication processes.
- Non-repudiation: Helping customers through a multi-step checkout process, and asking customers to agree to your company’s terms and conditions.
Security is arguably one of the most important elements to consider when choosing an ecommerce solution.
Whether you’re going with a traditional ecommerce platform or a SaaS solution, it’s important to make sure that the company offers responsive customer support.
If you have a question or problem, you need to know that a representative will be available to assist you.
Look for platforms that offer 24-hour service and can be contacted through multiple channels, including email, phone and live chat.
Scalability, Flexibility and Your Enterprise Ecommerce Growth
As your business grows, you want your ecommerce platform to grow with you. If you choose a platform that’s difficult to scale, it could potentially slow your growth – even for enterprises.
Do your research. Make sure that the platform offers the tools to scale and accommodate your growth. With the right platform, the sky’s the limit.