Whether you’re an ambitious start-up or an established brand, choosing the best ecommerce platform is never an easy task. There are a multitude of options out there and many factors to consider, including price, ease of use, operational support, marketing tools, SEO features and more. Every company starts off with the platform that works best for them at the time but, as they grow, they often find that the system doesn’t adequately support their business or meet the needs of their customers anymore.
Most online companies eventually find themselves questioning whether they should stay with their current platform or upgrade to a new one. It’s an issue that affects the biggest brands in the world: only last week, it was reported that the American multinational retailer Walmart upgraded their ecommerce platform. So what are the telltale signs that you should be making a switch?
Ecommerce platforms should allow for growth
One of the simplest ways to tell if you’re due a platform upgrade is seeing how it copes with traffic. If your ecommerce platform is straining during busy periods then it means you’re attracting new customers, but you can’t keep up with the demand. To maintain and grow your online sales, you need to have a scalable platform that handles the pressures of an expanding business while providing a reliable customer experience. As Digital Commerce 360 states: ‘No matter how sophisticated a retailer’s e-mail marketing, ratings and reviews are, if its site fails to let shoppers easily find and purchase what they want… the shoppers will go elsewhere.’
It’s not uncommon for smaller businesses to only have a limited range of products available on their website due to the limitations of an outdated ecommerce platform. Growing ecommerce brands should be wary of systems that don’t allow for expansion. An expansive ecommerce platform should give you access to higher-end data systems to run daily operations, analyse web analytics and increase conversions, as well as satisfy customer demand.
Successful integration and automation
Another sign that it’s time to upgrade your ecommerce platform is poor systems integration. To be successful, companies must have their sales and customer management systems integrate seamlessly with core business systems. An integrated ecommerce mobile platform caters to all necessary daily operations so that your team isn’t wasting time interpreting and reformatting data from a number of systems.
Similarly, if you are finding that too much of your time is being spent on manual processes, then it could be time to change platforms. For example, many older systems require direct editing of code every time e-tailers want to make changes to their website, which, along with being laborious, increases the chances of human error and web bugs.
Your ecommerce platform should have the ability to automate processes or implement the latest website features customers expect. This includes automating the shipping and tracking processes, producing inventory feeds, integrating marketing promotions and incorporating an effective accounting system. In short, your ecommerce platform should show a good level of business intelligence.
Choosing a new ecommerce platform
Bypassing web developers to design your platform for you and going for a pre-developed ecommerce platform instead saves you time and money, but how do you make the best choice? Start with your company’s roadmap, goals and your understanding of your customers so you can provide them with an online experience that they want and expect.
Go for an SEO-friendly platform that allows your customers to easily access your website and make purchases on their mobile device. Make sure it’s scalable so that it can grow with your business, and don’t forget about security: make sure that any platform you choose is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. Do your research and talk to sales representatives directly. As Forbes advises: ‘Fully understand what you’re signing up for, and confirm that the functionality that’s required for your business to operate successfully is included in what you’re paying for.’
Sprint Logistics is an international logistics and mailing services company that provides tailored solutions for ecommerce businesses all over the world. Our team of experts manage international fulfilment solutions, supply chain management and global warehousing for a wide variety of organisations, each with their own unique needs.
If you have any questions about delivering a superior ecommerce experience for your customers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.