What is the secret of an e-commerce success? It would be easy to open a virtual store if the answer to that question were simple, but there is one important pillar: choosing the right e-commerce platform.
All of its operation will depend on it: the display of products, stock control, sales, payments, promotions, among other activities. Any mistake in your choice could compromise your store's results.
So let's understand what the responsibility of e-commerce platforms is!
#What is an e-commerce platform
In general, there are several reasons that can make you switch platforms, but we always have to keep in mind that the main goal of the e-commerce platform is to be a marketing agent, increasing sales and lowering costs.
Of course depending on your maturity and knowledge, the concept may change. For example, for a beginner shop, being a marketing agent may be going up the store in the shortest possible time, so the platform should be simple where you can ride alone.
For larger stores, being a marketing agent can be considered to increase conversion, ROI, life-time-value, thereby increasing channel profitability.
Depending on your case, the first or the second, you should look for specific features and features. And do not be afraid to choose a platform and in 12 months, you need to switch. The process of migration is natural in the evolution of the store. What we have to look for is the right solution for your moment.
Therefore, the e-commerce platform varies from business to business and it is not possible to say that this or that platform is the best for the whole market. It's the same as a car, you first need to know your profile to decide for the best option. But as time goes on, your profile will change.
#Responsibility for the e-commerce platform
Every e-commerce platform offers these two structures, which are called, respectively, the front-end - store-to-consumer interface -, and back-end - store interface with the administrator.
When we talk about front-end, we are talking about everything that is on display for the customer. The layout, the banners, the products, the content ... all this can be navigated by the client.
Now the backend, as its name suggests, is all that is behind the system, that is, the administrative panel. It is through it that you can configure rules so that the front end can present a solution to the client.
For example, when we register our photos and attributes, we are doing it directly on the back end, just like when we are seeing which requests were made on a given day.
Now, what will be the product page, the elements and the distribution of the content, we are talking exclusively about front-end, that is, how this configuration is presented to the client.
#The difference between ERP and e-commerce platform
Often the managers end up confusing the two systems, but they are totally different in both their functionalities and their characteristic of development as a system.
A platform, as said before, is a marketing agent, so everything that is related to the arrival of the customer in the store until the closing of the order, can be considered its responsibility. Here are some examples:
- Creation of the layout and usability of the virtual store;
- Promotion rules;
- Features for attracting traffic like XML and SEO;
- Search system;
- Supplemental and supplementary product recommendations;
- Checkout and integration with means of payment.
The ERP system is responsible for the management of the virtual store. From a request made by the e-commerce platform it takes action to help make its operation more efficient and automated, as well as help in decision making.
#Types of platforms
But the similarities are out there. There are several platform options on the market that offer different functionalities and cater to different types of business. These are the main types:
- Open source (open source and free platforms);
- On-premises (proprietary platforms under license);
- SaaS (leased platforms in the software as a service model).
#Why it is important to choose the right platform
An error in choosing your supplier can mean the bankruptcy of your company. And we're not saying that you have to hire the most expensive, but the one that will optimize better.
Let's go back to the example of the car to be able to illustrate the idea more easily. Let us assume that the following buyer profile is:
- Salary of R $ 3,000;
- First job, then you have no reserves;
- not married;
- Car is always on the street.
For this profile, if the purchase is a car of R $ 50 thousand, even if it is possible to pay R $ 2 thousand for each installment, it will still be necessary to pay gasoline, expensive insurance for staying on the street and probably repair of the beats because Is the first car. This is certainly not the best choice.
Probably a popular car, used, little aimed at theft will be ideal. Note that the profile can be changed over time.
In the same way the platform should be seen. You should do a deep analysis of your own business to choose the best platform for your virtual store - and do not worry about having to migrate system later. This exchange is part of the evolution of any virtual store.
#How To Choose Your E-commerce Platform
There are thousands of platform options on the market and no doubt one will fit better for your store, so do not worry about the vendor. Be concerned about understanding your profile.
#1. Initial investment and monthly cost
At this point, you should keep in mind that the initial amount paid to build your virtual store can not exceed 20% of the total capital for your project. Yes! If you have available $ 15,000, you should probably opt for a free platform or with the lowest initial cost possible.
Remember the history of cars and always prioritize investments in traffic and inventory acquisition. These two variables will be the most important to who is starting your store.
Now if you already have a well-established company or you have the money to build a bigger project, the 20% rule is still valid, but you can probably go for more robust tools. At this point, you should evaluate the features of each.
#2. Review Front End Features
The features that each system provides will help you on two important fronts: increase store conversion and create incredible usability for your customer. The secret here is to know your customer well and also the shops he buys.
For this, you can use some strategies:
- Knowing the Persona of your virtual store will clarify several aspects about who you are selling for and how to communicate.
- Knowing the day of purchase of this Persona will help in defining what are the channels of communication and what contents should be created;
- Analysis of already known stores of the same segment market will give good examples of interesting features that should be present in your store.
#3. Review the back-end features
Here are some key points to evaluate in the interface with the administrator:
- Ease of use of the administrative panel;
- Ease of order management;
- Creation of promotions, offers and discount coupons;
- Search engine optimization (SEO);
- Integration with marketing tools (Analytics, Adsense, social networks, etc.)
- Integration with payment solutions, logistics, marketplaces;
- Integration with ERP and CRM systems;
- Management reports.
#4. Review the vendor
Because there are many market options, you will always have a good chance of choosing a supplier that does not yet have a proven market system. So here are some tips that can help you:
- International references such as Gartner and Forrester and national ones such as E-Commerce Brazil and E-Awards this provider has;
- Current base customers, similar to your store;
- Success stories and results achieved, similar to your store;
- Support provided.
Now that you know a little more about the e-commerce platform, your responsibilities and how to choose the best option for you, it's time to get your hands on the cake! Good luck.