Everything you need to know when selecting an eCommerce platform
Competing with titans such as Amazon and Walmart can seem daunting for small to medium-sized (SMB) online businesses. Thanks to numerous eCommerce platforms and plugins, however, smaller businesses are able to compete with larger online retailers by advancing their website capabilities. As you search for the eCommerce tools to provide your customers with a stellar shopping experience on your site, there are key areas of functionality to look for that will help drive success for your online store.
Discover what kinds of eCommerce features can help your online business thrive and our top three recommendations for the best platforms and plugins.
When selecting an eCommerce platform for your new business, you can improve the experience of your site by keeping these key features in mind:
It’s important to look for a platform that includes a swift checkout process, provides real-time order and product delivery updates, and creates user-friendly product pages that will set you up for success. You also need to consider how to keep customer data secure on your website with the most secure platform.
SSL Certificate Integration:
Look for platform options that can easily integrate with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate and a website security solution. An SSL certificate is a cybersecurity measure that encrypts data as it moves between a website and a server. When your customers input information into fields on your site — such as login or payment info — an SSL certificate will encrypt the information and keep cybercriminals from stealing it in transit.
File Transfer Protocol:
You will also want a platform with the ability to connect through a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), as this is required to use a website scanner. Website scanners review files on your website for vulnerabilities and automatically patch them before cybercriminals have the chance to access your site.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial because it makes your eCommerce business more visible online, and that means more traffic and more opportunities to convert visitors into customers. Therefore, you want a platform that offers SEO tools either built-in or through third-party plugins.
As you search for the right solution to launch your eCommerce site, itʼs easy to become overwhelmed by the wide variety of options. The marketplace is saturated with platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, to name a few. Here are the top eCommerce platforms we suggest for startups and SMBs:
Magento is perfect for online retailers who are confident they’ll experience major growth. This open-source solution includes built-in security features — like the ability to integrate an SSL certificate and payment card industry (PCI) compliance — to keep your customers’ data secure while online shopping. Magento is also easy to integrate with a number of third-party services, such as payment processors and shipping providers. It even offers marketing tools for advertising and SEO, such as tracking, analytics, and reporting as well as checkout, shipping, and payment integration. Magento’s content management system (CMS) is extremely versatile and SEO-friendly.
PrestaShop is another platform that is great for beginner online retailers because it allows websites to scale up with ease. It offers a highly customizable and intuitive backend that enables users to manage products, orders, and customer relationships all while easily tracking important stats. PrestaShop offers reliable and convenient payment gateways, such as Apple Pay and PayPal. There are some interesting add-on features as well, including free promotional tools like email marketing automation for coupons, deals, and vouchers.
WooCommerce is a solution that offers easy-to-install plugins that make it simple to convert an existing WordPress site into an online store. This is a great option for site owners who are testing the waters with their eCommerce business but don’t have the budget for a robust platform. You can easily add and remove plugins without committing to an entire eCommerce platform. WooCommerce offers thousands of unique paid and free themes, so you can change the look of your online store effortlessly. Plus, its database and files are very lightweight, so websites load faster, require fewer server resources, and offer a better network bandwidth. This makes WooCommerce a cost-effective eCommerce solution in terms of web hosting as well.
Whichever option you choose, remember to make cybersecurity a priority. Even if you have a beautiful website that users can navigate with ease, customers will be reluctant to do business with you if they don’t trust you to keep their information secure. By selecting any of the secure eCommerce platforms above, you can provide the best customer experience possible — and incorporate security to protect your site and customers.
See how SiteLock can also help keep your online store secure.