How to choose an e-commerce platform that suits your needs

Getting started with your e-commerce doesn’t need to be difficult. But you need to be careful. It is easy to choose the wrong platform, which can be costly over time. Here are some essential tips when choosing an e-commerce platform.

Cheap in the beginning can be expensive in the long run

It is important to have the right perspective from the beginning. Start by developing a plan on how you think your online business will grow and what specifically will make your e-commerce unique. Another important question is how much time you will be able to dedicate to your e-commerce. Do you have the technical skills or will you need someone to update your website for you?

Have these thoughts in mind when looking for an e-commerce platform. If you choose correctly, your journey will be easier and more joyous while your online store grows. If on the other hand you choose wrong, you will risk setbacks and find yourself in deadends that will be expensive to get out of. The last thing you want is to have to start over from the beginning because the e-commerce platform you chose limits your business’s development.

Three types of e-commerce platforms

In simple terms, there are three types of e-commerce platforms that you can choose between. Standard platforms that are ready-to-use, platforms developed using open source code and hybrid platforms that can be adapted based on needs.

1. Standard platforms offered as a service

The benefits with a standard platform, from one of the bigger suppliers, is that your e-commerce will be up and running within minutes. Everything from payment to product information is set as ready-to-use templates.

On the other hand, you will quickly notice that these platforms restrict the possibility to design and customize based on your customers needs. Your e-commerce website will look like everyone else's, which you will have to accept. This makes standing out from your competition a difficult task.

If you have chosen a standard platform and wish to change to a more flexible one, you will need to start over, demanding a lot of time and resources.

2. Platforms based on open source code

The upside of using this type of platform is that you have more possibilities to customize the customer experience and add functions on the go. There are a plethora of plugins and functions that can be used, some even for free.

The downside is that you need to find, test and add these yourself. If you do not already possess the technical knowledge needed, things can quickly get expensive. Despite the platform being cheap to initially set up, you will need experienced IT-personnel to maintain it. An open source e-commerce platform often has many plugins and functions that need to stay updated and be compatible in order to fully work.

3. A hybrid and modular platform

The benefit of a modern e-commerce platform that offers modular functions is that you can add them when they are needed. All functions are compatible, tested and carefully selected for optimal usage. In other words, a large amount of freedom while simultaneously not needing to worry about cost or development. When you need and have the means to grow, you can do so without limitations. This applies to traffic to your website, geographical areas served or number of products listed.

The initial startup fee may seem high, but this is worth it in the long run. Therefore, this type of e-commerce platform is best suited for companies whose e-commerce is strategically important and operating on a competitive market.

Let us help you choose the right platform

We, at Litium have developed a TCO Guide where you can find more information on what to think about when choosing an e-commerce platform. We have also included helpful insights when calculating the total cost of your online store. Download the guide here.

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