How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for Your Business: A Comprehensive Guide
The ecommerce industry is booming. For over a decade, the US has witnessed a prosperous trend in ecommerce sales.
However, the last three years have shown remarkable growth as sales cross the $1 trillion mark in 2022. The YoY growth of 8.5% is expected to continue its upward momentum in the upcoming years.
If you're interested in investing in an online business, now is the time.
Creating an online store is necessary to achieve your ecommerce goals as it enables you to sell digital and physical products around the clock. However, selecting the right ecommerce platform becomes your first priority before diving in.
Selecting the right one for your business can be daunting among the myriad choices. Hence, you must consider specific attributes to guarantee seamless operations.
Let's have a look at those key attributes.
Ease of Use
89% of online consumers will revisit your store if they have a positive user experience. A different experience may lead them to choose a competitor over you.
Why? Your website is your online storefront.
Just as a physical shopper would be drawn to a store with a great window display and clean aisles compared to a dark, cluttered store with dust settling on its products.
These statistics indicate how customer experience is paramount to your store’s success. To drive repeat business, prioritize choosing a platform that provides ease of use for your customers.
Let’s take a look at a successful ecommerce brand in action. StudioSuits, a renowned clothing brand specializing in personalized men's attire, has curated an exceptional online shopping journey.
How? Their website showcases:
A remarkable navigation menu to easily find an assortment of products
Multi-currency support for global customers
Clear calls-to-action to their top-selling items
The power of tailoring an ecommerce platform to meet specific business objectives
But besides benefiting your potential customers, you must also choose an ecommerce solution that's easy to set up and aligns with your level of coding knowledge.
OpenCart is an ecommerce platform that checks all those boxes:
Intuitive and user-friendly interface
Easy to use and set up a store without coding and technical knowledge
Simple installation process
Plenty of customizable templates
Easy to design a visually appealing online storefront
With this platform, you can create an ecommerce store that's simple for your customers to use when choosing products, making payments, and selecting shipping options. What’s not to love?
Roughly 30,000 websites are hacked each day. And in 2021, people in the United States lost an estimated $6.9 billion to cybercrime attacks.
If your website is susceptible to hackers and malicious attacks, you might lose business and people’s trust in your online store and digital products. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential that you review the security features of the ecommerce platform you choose for your business.
With their security features, you can avoid the dreaded fate of a cyberattack. OpenCart has you covered, as it offers Sapphire Pro as a security module that:
Protects your store from cyberattacks 24/7
Keeps customers’ personal data safe
Runs in the background, checking your shop for malware 24/7
Offers antivirus to protect your code and database from viruses
Has anti-hack features that block hackers and DDoS attacks
Tracks suspicious activity and blocks by IP or country through firewall
Provides two-step authentication for extra security
Functionality, Scalability, and Customization Potential
Selecting the ideal ecommerce platform for your business is a pivotal decision that can significantly influence your online success. The platform you choose should offer functionality, scalability, and customization potential to shape your store’s future.
OpenCart is a stellar choice for those seeking growth without extensive technical expertise. Its user-friendly interface empowers businesses to scale seamlessly while enjoying various customization options.
With OpenCart Cloud, you can have your online store up and running in five minutes or less.
It is an open-source ecommerce platform offering advanced features like:
Module-based system allows users to extend ecommerce functionality
Easy-to-modify store categories such as “bestsellers,” “featured,” “latest,” etc.
Easy-to-install extensions for enhanced ecommerce functionality. No tech knowledge required
Over 13,000 modules and themes
100% translatable online stores for you to sell in any language
OpenCart has a solution for varying functionality and customization needs for different businesses. It’s a no-brainer choice for your go-to ecommerce website builder.
Mobile and SEO Friendliness
79% of smartphone users revealed they shop on mobile apps or websites using their devices.
Since 2015, Google has been using mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking websites. This highlights how important mobile-friendliness is for your ecommerce business.
It's essential for your website to be both mobile-friendly and responsive to keep visitors on your site and encourage purchases. If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, then 53% of mobile visitors will leave.
OpenCart is responsive by default, which makes mobile-friendliness a breeze. In the sea of popular ecommerce platforms, this makes OpenCart a preferred choice for business owners.
Here’s what it also offers:
An exceptional website experience, no matter the device
Mobile, tablet, desktop, or large screen compatibility
Community-developed themes on ThemeForest or Template Monster
Along with mobile-friendliness, ecommerce SEO is also a significant factor to consider while choosing a platform for your online store.
Ecommerce SEO is a strategy that helps retailers improve search engine rankings and visibility. It goes beyond adding keywords to product pages, writing blogs, and building links.
SEO for ecommerce involves following Google's guidelines, examining buyer intent, and implementing it strategically with the right SEO tools.
That sounds like a lot of work if you have to do it yourself, but don’t worry! With OpenCart, you can take care of it easily by adding its popular SEO extensions.
When setting up your online store, you must consider how your content data is organized. It’s like choosing the right foundation for your store.
There are two ways to manage data, like arranging your things at home. One is called a “star schema,” where the primary data is in the center and connected to different information types. This is similar to having your essential stuff in one place at home.
The other way is called a “snowflake access management schema,” where things are organized into smaller pieces, like dividing your property into categories. This helps you find items quickly, just like a good online store should be easy to navigate.
Depending on the size of your business and the amount of data and resources you have to manage it, look into star schema vs. snowflake schema and how any of these methods will align with your chosen platform.
Beyond interface and scalability, enhancing customer experience is crucial. A significant way to do this is through efficient delivery of services.
Offering same-day freight can set your business apart, ensuring prompt delivery and building customer trust.
Thankfully, with OpenCart, shipping has never been easier. You have some of the best shipping methods available at your fingertips. That way, customers can add a product to their shopping cart with the guarantee that they'll receive it promptly.
How? OpenCart integrates with many shipping services, such as:
United States Postal Service (USPS)
Additionally, there are many other shipping methods available in the OpenCart online marketplace.
Before you choose a platform, review its pricing plans, subscription fees, additional transaction fees, add-on expenses, hidden fees, or any additional costs (read: custom domain).
To determine the affordability and cost-effectiveness of the platform, consider your budget and projected sales volume.
If you pick OpenCart, there are no hidden or additional transaction charges. All you have to do is follow three simple steps. And voila, you’re all set to launch your online store.
OpenCart provides three very affordable pricing plans.
The basic plan — which they call the Bronze pricing plan — is the cheapest plan out of all the options. It comes in at $59/month, which is ideal for small business owners.
The monthly cost for the Silver plan is $99. It’s designed for medium-sized businesses. Whereas the Gold pricing plan is $199/month, an advanced plan perfect for enterprises.
You get a 7-day free trial for your satisfaction. Make sure you use this offer before finalizing your decision.
It’s impossible to run an online store without third-party integrations. Before you pick a platform, check if it is compatible with other third-party apps you use, like payment gateways, shipping providers, inventory systems, marketing, and analytical tools.
When your systems work together, everything runs smoother (even if you sell unlimited products).
Comprehensive Payment Gateways
Payment gateways are often a constant source of frustration for ecommerce business owners. With their hidden fees and hefty transaction charges, it becomes difficult for online store owners to run their operations smoothly.
Not with OpenCart. The platform provides integration with 36 different payment methods. You can choose the one that meets your business needs.
Besides providing numerous options for payment gateways, OpenCart also supports multiple currencies, which makes accepting payments from overseas customers easy.
According to the latest analysis report on the recurring payments market:
The global value of recurring payments stood at US$130.2 billion in 2023
It's expected to witness a growth rate of 6.9% from 2023 to 2033
By the end of the forecast period, the market is poised to reach a valuation of US$268.7 billion
Revenue generated through subscription-based businesses will play a pivotal role in driving the growth of recurring payments
A projected CAGR exceeding 5.4% from 2023 to 2033
The data emphasizes the significance of having the recurring payments option to not just steer the business towards financial accomplishment but also to attract returning customers.
With OpenCart, you can easily establish automated recurring payments for your clientele.
This advanced feature helps you in the following ways:
If you choose to sell products through a subscription model
Advertise discount codes (read: coupon codes) or membership
If you simply want to break the payments into smaller installments
Plus, it offers you — the store owner — greater control over the billing process for products or services provided to clients.
Sales reports are a critical component of your ecommerce business, as they offer valuable intel into your business performance.
By looking at your sales data, you can recognize trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and make astute determinations concerning your business approach.
With sales reports, you can identify the customers most profitable for your business and which products you need to place in the bestseller category. They can also tell you what items someone frequently bought together, so you can pair them together for future customers.
Once you have this knowledge, you can focus your marketing efforts on customers that bring the most revenue and lure them into spending more money. That’s the importance of data.
OpenCart can help you in this regard as it features a tool for sales reports, a report on viewed products, and a report on purchased products.
In case you want more reporting features, check out their popular reporting extensions.
Data from Statista's Research Department shows that 40% of customers in the United States stopped buying from a business because of poor customer service.
This data point reiterates that excellent customer service is the lifeblood of your business. If you’re not looking out for your customers, and providing them with the best customer care possible, you’re doing a disservice to them and your business.
Excellent customer service is a vital aspect of your online store and the ecommerce platform you choose for your business.
If you encounter an issue with your platform, you'll have to contact them for help. And if they don’t respond to your queries promptly, your business could suffer.
So, before choosing a platform, read reviews and testimonials from other businesses like yours. See what features they love and what they complain about.
Also, pay attention to how platform owners respond to reviews and comments. If they aren’t professional and helpful in public, they probably won’t be when you’re a customer either.
Building an online store is crucial to furnishing a quality experience for your customers. That's precisely why it's imperative not to rush selecting a platform for your business.
Make sure you carefully consider everything we mentioned above, as well as your unique business needs, before choosing the best ecommerce platform for your business.
And, when you’re ready to set up your ecommerce shop, say goodbye to the complicated Adobe Commerce and hello to OpenCart. It’s an all-in-one advanced commerce platform for your business needs (but without the hassle).
Try it for yourself, today! Here’s to your ecommerce success.