Best Ecommerce Software
Choosing The Best Ecommerce Software
With a large number of hosted ecommerce software platforms to choose from, and often not much to distinguish between them at face value, a decision may end up being made based on vague familiarity with a providers name, or a bold claim made on their website that appears significant but turns out not to be.
This post aims to summarise the main considerations you should prioritise and to highlight why they are important in you making the right decision for your businesses website.
Bandwidth is the technical term used to describe the amount of data allowed to travel between your website and users via the internet. Most hosted ecommerce software places a limit on the amount of traffic that can visit your website and the data that can be transferred to users over a period of time, typically one month.
Your bandwidth allowance impacts the speed of your website and as a result the user experience. This could be potentially costly as most people would simply leave and find the product on another website rather than wait for slow pages to load. Additionally, a slow website undermines the image of your business.
There is a more unsavoury aspect to this as well. Some providers are not exactly upfront with information on bandwidth allowances, perhaps assuming that this may be an oversight of someone not experienced with websites, only to hit them with a substantial bill when traffic exceeds the set amount.
To avoid this type of scenario you should ideally choose an ecommerce software provider that offers unmetered bandwidth.
On a centrally hosted ecommerce platform, storage refers to the space on the server allocated for your website. This is mainly relevant to those of you selling downloads or planning on having a very content rich website, in which case you will need to work out your requirements. The easiest way to do this is to contact the provider for an answer on whether their software will meet your needs, and you should ideally go for a platform that you can easily scale up in the future.
The reason why it’s not so important for most merchants is because the majority of ecommerce platforms, including ourselves, make it simpler by referring to storage by the number of products you are allowed to list on your website.
The reason why this is still an important point is that when shopping around you want to ensure that you are getting the best value ecommerce package and are not paying for anything you don’t need.
I predict that for many people this will probably be the most important point. When you opt for using software as a service, it makes sense that you would want to receive a valuable human service in addition to the software.
Of course every ecommerce software provider will big up their credentials in this respect, and you’re only likely to find out the truth once you are already committed when something goes wrong.
If you are not experienced using web shop builders or consider this a very high priority, I would recommend initially researching to find out what existing customers are saying, or better still, find out for yourself. Most ecommerce platforms offer a free trial for a limited period of time and there is no reason why you shouldn’t call up their support line whilst using on the trial to get an idea of how helpful and friendly the service is.
This is something you really need to look into yourself. Every ecommerce software provider understandably draws attention to the features they do provide, to the extent that it is easy to forget other features that you only realise you need later on.
If you are new to ecommerce then before jumping in, I would suggest speaking to a couple of established ecommerce merchants and asking them what features they feel to be the most important. You can then make a check list of what you need and consider this in relation to the cost.
As many ecommerce platforms offer tiered packages to suit different merchants’ requirements, ensure that you can easily switch between levels to access new features as and when you want.
Some features to highlight that I feel are important include email marketing and promotional codes.
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