What are you looking for in the e-commerce platform
How to find the right e-commerce platform for your company
As soon as the time has come for your company to implement an e-commerce strategy, you will have to choose the right e-commerce platform. But how do you know which e-commerce platform complements your company perfectly? We want to help you get off to a good start. We have a List of the most important factors put together that you at the Search for the ideal e-commerce platform should pay attention to.
1. Define goals for your e-commerce platform
First of all, you have to ask yourself what your e-commerce platform should be able to do. Every company has a multitude of requirements that need to be met.
- Marketing: For example, the e-commerce platform should support personalization and an omnichannel strategy.
- Distribution:What is needed is a solution that reduces administrative tasks and gives your customer advisors and sales staff the best tools to support your customers.
- Finances: The e-commerce solution should accelerate your order processing and offer more analysis functions for your business.
In order to do justice to all these different perspectives, we have divided the requirements for an e-commerce platform into two categories: functional and technical requirements.technical requirements: Relate to goals such as:
- providing real-time information with a low margin of error.
- a data analysis to improve your processes.
- the simplification of the implementation and maintenance of your new online shop.
Functional requirements: Relate to those features that help you with this:
- brand awareness,
- communication with your customers
- and improve the convenience of buying
- as well as expanding your customer reach - nationally and possibly also internationally
2. Technical requirements of the e-commerce platform
Let's start with the technical requirements. First you have to decide whether you want a hosted e-commerce platform or prefer to run it yourself.
Self-hosted or externally hosted e-commerce platform?
A self-hosted platform is a plug-in that you can use to integrate your online shop into your existing website. Such a solution gives you full control over your online shop.
However, this also means that you have to build it from scratch and manage everything yourself.
At externally hosted platforms domain, online shop and shopping cart are included and they do not require any maintenance. That's because the hosting company takes care of everything related to e-commerce once you subscribe to their hosting plan.
Make sure, however, which customization options the provider allows, if you choose a hosted solution!
Make sure that the e-commerce platform offers design options and can be tailored to your brand. Also that the platform actually offers the functionalities for all those features that you have planned.
Interface-based or integrated
In the next step, it is time to consider whether you want an interface-based or an integrated platform.
Over a Interface connected online shops run autonomously. This means that the data is only synchronized with your ERP system from time to time.
This means that all adjustments and calculations have to be made twice - in your online shop and in your ERP. So not only do you have to deal with redundant data, you also have to accept an increased risk of errors.
With an integrated solution, the online shop is partly installed in your ERP system. Such a solution offers many advantages:
- Fast implementation
- Short time to market
- No duplication of work
- Lower maintenance costs
- Greater flexibility for updates to your ERP system.
For these reasons, many companies decide to build their e-commerce platform on the existing ERP system. Find out all the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions in this free e-book: Integration that simply fits: Why interfaces are out.
Open source or proprietary?
Now you have to consider whether you want to use open source software or proprietary software for your e-commerce solution.
At Open source software the source code is yours. This means that you are not tied to a specific provider and their software.
The disadvantage is that this makes cybercrime more likely.
Proprietary solutions minimize this risk, but make you dependent on your provider.
However, there is a middle ground, or in other words a hybrid solution: Open Closed Source
These types of solutions protect both your source code and your Internet connections. The software can only be modified by a selected group of partners, developers and users.
3. Functional requirements of the e-commerce platform
As already mentioned, the functional requirements primarily concern yours Marketing and sales goals. One of the great advantages of a new online sales platform is that you suddenly reach a completely new group of customers that you would otherwise not have access to.
New customer reach
Setting up an online sales platform opens the door to an omnichannel strategy: an approach where you can interact with customers across multiple channels and at different points in the buying process.
Social media is particularly important here. So be sure to choose a solution that makes it easy to share information on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Improve the experience for existing customers
E-commerce is a great opportunity to optimize the customer experience for your existing customers. It is therefore important that you choose a solution where your customers log in and out fully personalized online shop experience to be able to enjoy.
Your customers benefit from the following advantages:
- Unrestricted access to your order history
- Efficient payment process
- Real-time information on products and stocks
- A wide range of payment methods.
Additionally, you should make sure that you are using the solution of your choice based on the information in your ERP system Customer profiles can create.
This enables the personalization the content that is shown to your customers while browsing your online shop. In this way you not only improve the experience for your customers, but also open up opportunities for Cross- and up-selling.
This also benefits your company.
If you would like to learn more about how you can offer your customers an unforgettable shopping experience today, we can recommend this e-book: How to offer an excellent customer experience in the digital age.
Mobile device support
Never underestimate the importance of good mobile functionality!
More and more users are surfing, getting information and buying on their tablets and smartphones - this is a convenience that they particularly appreciate.
Mobile sales is great for your business because it gives your customers 24/7 access to your e-commerce platform. It also opens up new opportunities for your sales team to promote products and close deals when visiting customers.
Further reading recommendation on this topic
We hope you won't be too disappointed, but there isn't one e-commerce platform for everyone. Your company is unique and therefore also needs a unique e-commerce platform.
If your company uses an ERP, we can clearly recommend an integrated e-commerce platform. That doesn't just have big ones advantages for you, but above all for your customers. By clicking on the following banner you will probably get a lot closer to THE solution for your company!
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