You’ve made the decision to sell your products online. Now what? How do you find the perfect ecommerce platform to run your online store? What features are required for a seamless, positive user experience that will lead to more sales?
There are tons of options out there to run your new ecommerce store. Which one you choose depends on your comfort level, your developer’s capabilities, and the features you need. TheeDigital’s web designers and ecommerce marketers use WordPress and WooCommerce for the majority of our projects, due to its flexibility and manageability, so we will often refer back to WooCommerce in this article. However, there are a basic set of features that every ecommerce website must have in place in order to be successful.
Payment, Shipping and Security
Before we start dreaming up the perfect looking online store, it’s important to think about logistics. How will customers check out and pay for your products? How will shipping costs be calculated, and will the ecommerce platform you choose integrate with the shipping carrier you’ll be using? Equally as important, does the platform offer the necessary security measures like an SSL certificate?
We use WooCommerce because of its capability to use secure payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net. It also offers shipping method extensions for easily setting up your store to ship via the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, and more.
The design of your online store should make it as easy as possible for customers to buy. Consider the 3 step rule: It should never take more than 3 clicks or pages for the user to complete their intended action or find what they’re looking for. A well designed theme or store layout will help aid customers in navigating your site and should be designed with ease-of-use in mind (both on the backend and frontend).
WooCommerce allows you to use free or paid themes, most of which can be applied with the click of your mouse. Powered by WordPress’ content management system (CMS), pages, products, and content can be added to your WooCommerce store at any time.
Need something a little different than the stock themes offered? To match your company’s brand or to add extra features using custom programming, a custom theme can be designed and implemented.
Scalability and Add-ons
Always allow room for growth! You may not need it now, but how fast you’ll be ready to go to the next stage will surprise you – so be ready with an ecommerce platform that can handle these capabilities.
Only selling a few products now, but in the future you may want to expand your product line to contain hundreds of SKUs. Your ecommerce site would need to be able to manage growth and allow for seamless integration of extra features.
WooCommerce uses extensions to easily add features to your store, such as:
- Related products
- Social sharing
- Email marketing (ex. Shopping cart abandon emails)
- QuickBooks or other accounting software
- Order and inventory management
These extensions are easy to install to your WooCommerce store and are designed for ease-of-use. You may prefer the look or feel of a different platform, but just be sure to make your decision with the future in mind.
Depending on how hands on you are, you may want to rely on a developer to troubleshoot any issues with your ecommerce site. Or you may feel comfortable enough to use knowledge bases like WooCommerce’s online support library to manage your store.
Some ecommerce platforms offer online support, like WooCommerce does, while others aren’t as straightforward on how to seek help or assistance. Keep this in mind when choosing the right ecommerce platform for you.
The Decision is Yours
Whatever platform you decide to use, make sure it enables you to have control over the design and store layout, the right payment gateway, shipping, and security options, scalability, and accessible support. These are just the basics and bare minimum for establishing a successful ecommerce website – your online store can get as complex or remain as minimal as your store’s unique needs require.