So you have decided to start an e-commerce website to expand the presence of your physical store online. You may have a mixture of emotions at this point, a lot of excitement, along with a lot of confusion.
The first thing you should do is get an excellent e-commerce software that can help you set up your online store. It helps you integrate apps and services, can handle payments, and you can easily integrate the product list. It comes with a robust set of features that will make setting up an e-commerce platform a piece of cake.
Types of E-commerce software
There are three general classifications of e-commerce software and they pertain to the type of deployment:
An open-source platform allows the owner to use the software in an uninhibited way. The software provides its owner’s ability to use it in numerous ventures such as educating, designing, and other such ventures.
An open-source platform allows users to make changes in the software as it pleases them. They have easy access to the backend of the software, and if you wish, you can do anything to transform it. Opensource platforms are easy to use and personalize as one needs to. If you don’t have the technical knowledge, you can hire an engineer to make the changes.
A licensed platform is where you buy the software by paying one-time fees, and a third-party seller or organization then manages the software for you. The one-time purchase allows you to decide what you want to do with your software. Licensed e-commerce software is a great choice if you are worried about the after-sale service and maintenance of your platform. You can easily read the reviews on the vendor’s website and decide how good is the service of the provider.
Software as a service
Saas (Software as a service) are solutions that come ready with a hands-off option. All the upgrades, new features, and patches are applied automatically or with just one click. As the platform comes as a service, it makes it a lot more customizable and provides flexibility compared to the licensed platforms. Saas can be launched immediately and comes in a package that can be proven affordable for most business owners out there.
Features of E-commerce software
To streamline the functions and operations of your online e-commerce platform here are the features you should be looking for:
Easy integration with your e-commerce website
E-commerce software can be integrated directly with your e-commerce website. This way, you can easily include all your retail operations like advertising, sales, content management, finance, and order fulfilment.
Some vendors offer to take care of everything for you, including setting up your website and configuring the updates. Other provides you with the software, and then you have to take care of the rest of the things like setting up for the first time, importing the product list and other such tasks.
E-commerce software gives you a centralized location that provides easy storage, access, and retrieval of product information, customer data, browsing history, product listings, and shipping status.
A centralized database also allows you to easily back up all your essential data on a physical storage device or on cloud storage if your e-commerce platform will enable you to. Today most platforms allow easy uploads and downloads of the data when required.
Online Support and documentation
If you face any issue with the software, the support staff is not available to get you through, and you are on your own, then what do you do?
What can help you is to look in the documentation provided by the vendor for the e-commerce platform you are using. You can easily find the answer to your query; you look through how-to sections, FAQs, detailed step-by-step guides, and video tutorials. It is likely that you may find an answer in one of these places.
Efficient product management
If you are a store owner who has a lot of products from multiple categories, then it may get tough for you to handle all of them manually. The e-commerce software can help you manage the product list, update the prices, and later import them back to the platform. It can also help you review and update the margins of your product listings. This will help you respond faster to the market changes.
Initially, words like ‘SSL protection’ or ‘PCI compliance’ might sound strange to you, but they are essential to ensure that your e-commerce platform is secure. The security of your store and the data of your customers should be a priority for you.
PCI security standards are a set of 12 rules that apply to any platform that accepts online payments and transactions. As customers make purchases from your e-commerce platform, all your sales will go through your platform, and you can feel confident that they are secure.
This is the feature that should be among the top choices on your list when you go out to get e-commerce software for your business. In order to sell goods online, you will need to accept online payment from your customers.
Not every payment gateway will be compatible with your e-commerce platform. This is the most common issue faced by most business owners; the payment option that seems most favourable is not supported in their country. You must ensure that the store will help your country’s currency at once you choose; it won’t be easy to make changes later on.
A warehouse management system makes sales order processing easier for business owners. Pick such an e-commerce software that can manage real-time information about the packaging and delivery of your products present in the warehouse. The software can also flag all the problematic errors immediately and alert you so you can resolve them as quickly as possible.