Yes, You Need an Ecommerce Platform

Maximizing online sales is more challenging than just adding shopping cart software to your website and waiting for customers to buy. Ideally, an ecommerce platform should help you reach prospects, draw them to your site, guide them through a painless purchase, fulfill their orders efficiently, and then stay in touch to keep them coming back for more. Oh, and it should tell you how well you’re doing these things, too. Read on…

Beyond the Shopping Cart…

A mobile version of your online store is essential these days. I covered the reasons in my article, Mobilize Your Website (or else) and cited several Web services that will convert your desktop-oriented HTML pages into mobile-friendly versions, and even host them for you. But an ecommerce platform that produces mobile and desktop versions as required is even simpler.

It’s important to support as many payment options as possible (barring Bitcoin, perhaps). Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, and other modern payment systems are growing rapidly; if you want your share of the payments that flow through them, your ecommerce platform must support them.

Ecommerce platforms

Constantly tweaking product descriptions, landing pages, and the overall path down which you guide a visitor to the customer file is a tedious but important part of ecommerce. My article, Improve Sales With A/B Testing details the process of tweaking and testing, measuring results, and designing improvements. It also describes third-party A/B testing and analysis services; but again, it’s much simpler if A/B testing is built into your ecommerce platform.

Post-sale marketing turns satisfied customers into repeat buyers and referrers of new customers. Social network sharing and opt-in email marketing should be part of your ecommerce platform.

So how do you make all those things happen? Here are some options for you to explore…

Try One of These Ecommerce Platforms

Woocommerce by WooThemes powers 29% of the ecommerce sites on the Web, according to the company. It’s a toolkit of plugins for the popular WordPress content-management system. Nearly 9 million users have downloaded Woocommerce, including store owners who do it themselves and professional WordPress developers who customize Woocommerce for clients. It’s free and open-source.

Prestashop was launched in 2007 and now supports over 165,000 online stores with more than 310 sophisticated features. The store-builder module includes search-optimization tools. The checkout module provides last-minute add-on purchase suggestions, i. e., “people who purchased this product also purchased…” Every page you design is optimized for mobile display as well as desktops. Google Analytics can be integrated with Prestashop’s site-management dashboard. There’s a community of over 600,000 Prestashop users who help each other. Best of all, Prestashop is open-source and free!

BigCommerce is one cloud-based ecommerce platform that meets these criteria. It offers a 15-day free trial and tiered service plans. The $29.95/month standard package includes a Web store builder; Paypal integration; unlimited products, storage space, and bandwidth; and charges 1.5% per transaction on top of Paypal fees. The $79.95 “Plus” package eliminates transaction fees and adds shipping functions, additional payment options, an abandoned-cart saver, advanced customer segmentation, multi-channel sales tools, and hosting on your own domain. Enterprise-class customization for high-volume sellers is available too. All plans include site analytics, store templates, training and education resources.

Are you using an ecommerce platform to ensure that all the moving parts of your online marketing are working together? Post your comment or question below…


More Posts about Ecommerce:

  • Yes, You Need an Ecommerce Platform

  • New Square Reader Does Apple And Chips

  • Are You Paying For Ads That Nobody Sees?

  • Improve Sales With A/B Testing

  • Are Trust Logos Worth It?

More Posts about Marketing:

  • Social Marketing With Live Video Streams

  • 400 Free Tools For Business Building

  • Social Marketing With Twitter Website Cards

  • Yes, You Need an Ecommerce Platform

  • Are You Ready for Equity Crowdfunding?

More Posts about Mobile:

  • Social Marketing With Live Video Streams

  • Yes, You Need an Ecommerce Platform

  • Is BYOD a Good Idea for Small Biz?

  • Mobilize Your Website (or else…)

  • 14 Smartphone Apps for Business

Comments

  1. Peetr Wall says:

    Hi Bob!

    Great stuff, as usual. Have you checked out Shopify.ca – growing by leaps and bounds up here in Ottawa, CA.

    Cheers

  2. Marco D'Spoti says:

    My eCommerce site currently located at Meylah.com. Free setup for the basics and to get your toes wet. I recommend for general ease of store setup and use.

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