Article

John Stoddart
John Stoddart 1 April 2015

3 Critical Factors To Look For In An SME E-Commerce Solution

If easy ecommerce is so simple and easy, then why doesn't everyone get it right?

If easy ecommerce is so simple and easy, then why doesn’t everyone get it right?



Eccommerce is complicated because it is dependant on so many factors, the majority of which we cannot control but only influence.  Many sites are highly dependant on pay per click campaigns to drive traffic but purchasing is done by auction and there is no real long term stablilty on prices.  Plus your competitors could start tracking and bidding on your terms (or even start clicking but never purchasing to undermine your marketing budget).  It is a minefield... 

Focusing on the key objective: sales

But, typically, we only have one simple objective: to sell our products online, hitting our targets and achieving our turnover and margins.  This leaves us with a profitable business in the long-run.  A profitable long-term business has the important choice of which ecommerce platform to use: it is the solution host, provides us with sales and operational functionality and delivers our propositions to our customers.

Getting this right has some fantastic benefits:

  • It saves us time (which allows us to focus on other pressing issues)
  • It keeps everything simple (giving us higher efficiency)
  • It has high availability (24/7 shopping is an achievable target)
  • It seamlessly transfers information to other systems (again delivering operational efficiency to finance, customer service, sales and marketing)
  • It is fast (more sales from sites that load in under 1.5 seconds)
  • It delivers a great user experience (a good platform is easy to use for the customer)

The three important web-store solution factors

Getting your e-commerce strategy right is critical and central to this is selecting and deploying the best e-commerce platform.  It will be the difference between merely being able to sell products online and having a fully functional ecommerce solution that provides a high volume channel.

The three most important factors are: 

  1. Integration with other systems.  If you want volume and efficiency then your platform has to integrate seamlessly with other systems, espeically finance and marketing.  You are simply not going to drive volume without this
  2. Usability.  Customers must get a great user experience or they will leave.  They will leave if the payment process is too slow.  They will leave if the site doesn’t give them the same sort of experience as a very large scale store from a multinational.  They will leave if the store doesn’t work on multiple form factors (especially mobile)
  3. Speed.  If your site loads slowly then you will not convert visitors into customers.  Sorry if this sounds brutal but it is an unfortunate fact of life that if your pages take more than 1.5 seconds to load then customers will leave.  Additionally, your Google page ranking will suffer if you have a slow loading page as it is one of the factors they assess.

With this in mind, you really do need to pay careful attention to the platform you choose to host your e-commerce site.  And as the importance of e-commerce continues to grow, then it is best to get something which can expand with you and with the expectations of your customers and prospects. 

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