Thinking of selling your products and services online but aren’t sure how?
Choosing the right eCommerce platform to sell online is difficult because there are dozens of options to choose from. Each promises to deliver but nearly 70% of all shopping carts get abandoned.
Knowing what makes a great online storefront is essential before you decide on a platform. That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to help you choose the best eCommerce tools.
From customizable product pages to SEO mobile-friendly content, we breakdown what you need to be successful.
Read on to discover if the best free eCommerce platforms really stack up against their paid competitors. And which will increase your bottom line.
At the heart of any eCommerce application is the shopping cart. It acts as a decision point when a visitor makes the decision to become a paying customer.
You may think that all carts offer similar functionality. That in 2020, everyone has copied the tried-and-tested Amazon model to streamline the cart process.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong.
When selecting an eCommerce platform to sell online, take time to analyze the cart functionality. And to help, we’ve listed three must-have features to look out for.
Your product pages contain Add To Cart buttons that take the current item and selected options and place them in the cart. But what happens next?
Traditionally, the customer would be taken to the cart review page so they could edit their order before checkout.
This process gives the impression that they’ve completed shopping and should leave after paying. And that’s something you want to discourage.
A customized cart button adds the item to the shopping basket but keeps the customer on the current page. Usually, a small pop-up appears telling them that their item is saved and they can check-out when they wish.
This encourages further browsing and acts as a powerful selling tool.
Cart abandonment can happen for a variety of reasons. Like customers getting cold-feet or not having the right delivery information on hand.
Whatever the issue, you want them to be able to save their purchases to come back to at another time.
Instead of having to refill their basket, everything’s sitting ready. And that should include up-to-date prices.
Fourteen percent of customers decide not to check-out because they’re forced to create an account.
By adding a guest checkout option you open an easy path for infrequent customers to buy from you.
If they see that the process is friendly and unobtrusive they’ll come back and sign-up. Then they’ll share their experiences online with their friends which in turn restarts the process.
Some of the best free eCommerce platforms offer dozens of payment gateways. Just make sure the one you choose includes a gateway that you can use and afford.
The Magento eCommerce platform works with Worldpay, Sagepay, 2Checkout, and Stripe. Paypal is a popular choice for many small businesses as it’s easy to set-up and integrates with most shopping carts.
To stand above the rest, look for those that accept cryptocurrencies. 3dcart, for example, accepts Bitcoins as well as Visa and Mastercards, and eChecks.
The best eCommerce apps give you full access to your product catalog.
You can add as many products as you want and edit their options. There should be no restrictions and you can change the details as required over time.
Here are some of the essential features the software needs to allow:
- Unlimited categories and subcategories
- Keyword-rich description options
- Customizable tabs
- Dynamic images and video
Product option variants like size and color need to be flexible too. Each needs its own unique reference and should tie with your stock count.
Free eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce grant you full control over stock with its Global Inventory system. You can even choose how long to hold your inventory for unpaid orders.
An online storefront can offer the best shopping experience in the world but what’s the point if no one visits?
Google leads the way in search, having 92% of the search engine market. And if your website doesn’t rank well in its listings you probably won’t succeed.
The eCommerce platforms that offer SEO tools as standard will always lead the pack. Those search engine optimized features include:
- Customizable title and meta tags
- SEO-friendly URLs
- Breadcrumb links
- Schema.org markup and dynamic Google sitemaps
- Canonical tags and page redirects
Google Search Console and Google Analytics should fit into the structure too.
They provide clear insight into how well your site performs on Google’s systems. And they analyze your sales funnels and measure conversions.
According to Google, 59% of shoppers say that being able to shop using their mobile is important when deciding who to buy from.
A responsive website is one that works on any size of a screen. If your eCommerce store looks great on a laptop as well as an iPhone then it’s a win-win for everyone.
The right platform also ensures pages load quickly and code is optimized to increase speed. Fast-loading sites get preferential treatment by search engines, so this feature is a must.
And if you want to edit your site’s appearance, make sure to pick a solution with in-built themes.
Product addition is a lot easier when you can take your existing catalog and upload it onto the web.
This bulk upload procedure varies on each platform as are the options it provides. The most common format is CSV which is similar to an Excel spreadsheet. Type in the title, description, prices, etc. and your full list can go live within minutes.
Data flows the other way too.
You should be able to export sales figures, orders, customer data, and analytics. Be sure that you’re covered legally to store this information. Especially if you handle data within the EU through GDPR regulations.
We’ve explored 5 factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform to sell online.
Your site should be easy to use but be powerful enough to handle everything you need. The cart must accept your payment gateways and Google needs to rank your pages high on its index.
Whatever you settle on, make sure it incorporates all of these points at a great price so shop around.
COO & Co-founder of 3dcart. As an ecommerce authority, he’s focused on helping internet retailers succeed online by developing strategies, actionable plans and customer experiences that grow and improve performance.