According to Forrester Research, online sales in US will reach $335 billion in 2015 and will cross $480 billion in 2019. 69% web users in US prefer buying products online. These stats are directly influencing the retailers to go online and build a strong web presence. The purpose might be to follow the trend, grabbing maximum online customer share, and earning big bucks.
On the other hand, for a merchant to go online, one important decision is to pick the CMS platform to build an online store. There is a large variety of CMS platforms available to help startups and established businesses with aim of global expansion. While deciding the best suitable CMS platform, there are several things demanding attention of the retailers as well as website builders. What are those factors? Keep reading to know!
What Are Your Products?
What do you want to sell at your online store? Answer to this question will make the selection of ecommerce platform lot easier. Different CMS platforms have different standards to sell physical or digital products and unlimited products. Therefore, at first, you need to decide about
- Whether your products are digital or physical
- Products count you want to sell
- Inventory tracking need
- Product specification options
- Product shipping
- Offline product selling
Some products, like alcohol, are not allowed to sell on certain CMS platforms, so you need to be aware of terms and conditions associated with any selected CMS platform.
Hosting Services Needed
You need to decide whether your online store will be hosted on CMS platform or you will manage hosting services on your own. Hosting on your own will give you more website control, but at the same time, you will have to be responsible for
- Security of customer data
- Up-to-date software
- Website maintenance to keep that functional
Therefore, the wise option is to handover the hosting services to the CMS platform. Do ask about the features CMS platform offers regarding hosting and domain usage.
Store Design: Prebuilt Or Customized
While picking up the CMS platform, you may have to chose from available design themes for free or purchase the customized ones. Some platforms also offer customized development services to create a tailored theme for client business. It is up to you whether you can afford the customized theme or go for the free option.
Integration Facilities Offered
If you are already using certain tools for your business-activities like for
- Email marketing
- Referral marketing
- Social media
- Customer service
You can pick the CMS platform that offers integration with those tools and any other website management services. Many services require specific ecommerce platform while others offer integration facilities. See which option is better for your business and the tools you already use.
Which payment gateways you prefer your customers to deal in; is it PayPal, Authorize, Strip, or any other? Look whether the CMS platform you have selected for your online store is supporting certain payment gateways or not.
Pricing Against Available Features
While selecting the CMS platform, you might be conscious about pricing. Low cost of a platform might be a good option, but look whether the cost is supporting less count of features? If yes, then better to invest a little more for enhanced store functionalities. Do compare pricing against features offered, to reach at an intelligent decision.
Make it clear that you know the total charges of the CMS platform you have selected. Other than feature-based pricing, there are many fee heads like for setup, processing, integration, theme, and so on. Do check for any additional fee CMS platform will charge.
Ecommerce Platform Options
There is a list of available CMS platforms from which you can pick one best for your online store. Have a glimpse of the popular ones!
Magento: This CMS solution offers hosted storefronts with bundles of themes, extensions, and an active developers’ community.
Shopify: This is a popular ecommerce platform with hosting services, range of themes and apps, and integration with popular business management and marketing services.
Volusion: It is perfect for physical products like books, food, furniture, etc. Site design, SEO, order processing, and online marketing are the salient features of Volusion.
BigCommerce: It is again a hosted CMS platform catering to the needs of small-scaled businesses to enterprises. The starting package allows unlimited product listings.
WooCommerce: Basically, it is a WordPress plugin, available for free. What you have to pay is for learning how to setup this plugin for enhanced store functionality.
It is not easy to choose the right CMS platform for your online store. Think about all the aspects while moving towards the CMS platform decision. More than just a platform, it is about building your website repute, helping customers in easy buying decisions, and of course the resulting profit.
What else you want to add to the topic? Any CMS platform suggestions or points to help retailers in wise decision-making? Feel free to share in the comments section below!