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Starting a business online is a big task. Your whole sole source of income is going to be an online platform. To have an online store is a big task. Having an online store just doesn’t mean displaying the goods that you are going to sell but also how you are going to display the goods. It is the website which is going to be your shelf for displaying all your items.
While choosing an E commerce platform for your small business you will have to keep in mind various factors like how easy do you want it to use for the user, the integrations that you would want have and the budget that you have thought of.
Let us discuss some very important points that must be kept in one’s mind before choosing an ecommerce platform for oneself.
- First and foremost what is the type of product that you would be selling? To make it easy we will divide the product into two categories one being digital and the other physical. Digital could be software services like an anti-virus software and physical could be anything like clothes, shoes, home décor goods etc. you will have to choose the platform accordingly. There are some plat forms that are only created to sell only physical goods. While there is some e commerce platforms that would sell only digital products you will have to choose accordingly. While there are also some platforms that cater to both the types but they are very few and might be a little expensive compared to the others.
- You will have to see the quantity of the product that you would be selling. There are some platforms which have only limited number of products allowed. You also need to check that do they have a method to track the inventory. What is the method by which you ship your products do you reflect that also on your website?
- You must clearly read the terms and conditions of the services that will be offered by the e commerce platform that you will be choosing. Keep in mind that there are some products like adult products, sexual well-being and alcohol that are not allowed to be sold on some e commerce platforms. You must check that the product that you are going to sell is not under this category.
- Next important factor that you need to decide on to is the fact is that if you want to host your store on your own website or do you want the e commerce platform to host the store website. Well this is a major decision and both have their pros and cons. The advantage of hosting a store on your website means that you have the full rights for it. You can keep making the changes that you need to from time and also you can keep monitoring the working of the store. However the disadvantage is that you will have to maintain the website on your own this would be a very time consuming task. Maintaining a website mean regularly updating and to make the required changes. On the other hand you have the advantage of sharing your time and work load if you give the hosting the store job to the e commerce platform. They will be responsible for keeping the website up to date as per your requirements.
- The next step is the designing of the online store. A lot of small start-ups go in for pre designed themes and templates that have been created by the e Commerce platform. There are a lot of e commerce platforms that come for free. There are some that have packages, however they provide good services in return, and they might also help you in creating an e commerce store for yourself.
- You will need to check the sync with your payment method and the payment gateway the e commerce platform will give to you as a part of their services. There are many ways to make payments like PayPal, bank gateways that use internet banking, debit cards and credit cards. Keep in mind the payment gateway has to be safe and secure. This is an important criterion for customers who make purchases online.
- It is always important to check with the services that the e commerce platform has to offer to you. While the free platforms are good, it is always good to take paid services. The paid services will give exclusive services that free service will not give you. It may cost you a little but this one time cost is worth the income that it is going to get for you. Even for the packages that the e commerce platforms have to offer may vary from different platform service providers. It is not about cheaper and expensive. Please see the services that they have to offer to you. Keep in mind important aspects like designing or the number of products that they allow you to sell.
- Check for the pricing carefully. While some may tell you the cost of their packages they may letter tell you about some additional costs that come along. You will have to enquire about any hidden costs which might crop up later. These can be costs like setting up cost or themes or some applications. This is especially applicable for those who are looking for a free e commerce platform
- Last but not the least you must always the check the legalities involved. You must not get into a dicey situation at a later stage. It is important to understand all the legalities and both the parties must be in sync.
- Try doing a back ground check on the e commerce platform that you are going to choose for yourself. You must read customer reviews. This will help you give a general idea about the reputation of the e commerce platform you plan to invest your time and money into
These just some of the points that are going to be helpful to you before you choose an e commerce platform for yourself.