The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for the digital transformation of businesses of all sizes, including B2B, B2C, and D2C. During the pandemic-induced lockdowns and social distancing, small businesses/shop owners saw the sharpest decline in their businesses when consumers opted for online shopping of their daily essentials. It is because these small entrepreneurs, like grocery stores, restaurants, salons, etc., had embraced an offline mode of business. Due to the paradigm shift in consumers’ mindsets, companies have been compelled to transform their brick-and-mortar stores into online stores to survive in this competitive marketplace.

 Besides offering countless benefits of earning revenues, the e-commerce model brings several challenges to business owners if they don’t emphasize the essential things while setting up an online business. At whatever stage the business is, merchants should be strategic enough in choosing the best e-commerce platform for their business. Also known as e-commerce software, these platforms are end-to-end commerce management systems that effectively help merchants run their online businesses. Although an e-commerce platform has a website at the front end, background operations like inventory management, processing, stocking, sourcing, shipping, etc., bring life to that website. Here’s a roundup of some core factors to consider when choosing the right e-commerce platform.

 Considering the cost of ownership

 Calculating the cost is the first step to consider when assessing an e-commerce platform. Understanding the worth of each platform is immensely important, whether it’s a small business just getting started or an established brick and mortar store transforming into e-commerce. It includes all costs related to maintenance, domain and hosting, and social media experts who will manage the brand’s online presence. Other costs involve marketing expenses for hiring email marketing/SMS marketing experts for re-targeting customers. Additional costs, including automation tools, SEO, delivery or fulfillment integration, etc., should also be considered.

 Leveraging robust catalog with store analytics

 The e-commerce platform should offer valuable tools and features to create a beautiful catalog with personalisation. These include ‘best-recommended products’, ‘pickup & drop feature,’ uploading hundreds of products in one shot through CSV or excel file, etc. Besides, the business owners should receive complete analytics about the store to check the website stats, analyze customer behavior, geographic stats, and more. The e-commerce platform should also be integrated with Facebook pixel and Google analytics.

 Marketing automation

 Businesses must leverage a multichannel marketing suite ranging from social media marketing to email/SMS marketing. By this, they can grab customer attention and bring them over to the store. Automation can help merchants pitch their offers to a wider audience, re-target customers, send them discount codes, etc. Hence, automation lets businesses receive maximum efficiency with minimal effort and time.

 Upsell, Downsell, and Scalability

 The e-commerce platform should offer upsell/downsell features so that owners can optimize and monetize their stored data and customer base. As the business grows, its stores should be scalable without hindering growth.

 Seeking support

 Merchants can opt for help from a good platform/company that can offer them 24/7 support and instant solutions to their problems. Moreover, a dedicated business manager can help them scale their business growth.

 Opting for contactless e-commerce

 Amid the pandemic-driven era, companies (mainly from Tier 3 & 4 cities) should digitize their business and make it contactless, offering a premium experience to the customers at affordable prices for accomplishing a multi-folded growth. Presently, QR code-based ordering in grocery stores, restaurants, etc., has become an integral part of e-commerce.

 Summing up

 Being the backbone of the e-commerce business, the e-commerce platform offers features and functions that consumers need the most. It provides the much-needed flexibility of personalising the experience to win and retain customers, thereby sharpening businesses’ competitive edge.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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