Choosing the best e-commerce solution for your business.
Commerce is a human endeavour that has been around for quite a long time. This wikipedia article says something about long distance commerce dating as far back as 150,000 years ago.
Humans know the concept all too well and we've built tools and systems to help us get more efficient at trading goods and services of various kinds: apparel, automobiles, music, electronics, pedicure appointments, concert tickets.
What can't you buy on the internet these days?
There’s no surprise in the fact that site builders like Wix continue to expand their support for different kinds of websites suited to different business individual needs.
We can consider site builders like Wix as generalists when compared to Shopify. However, we can consider Shopify as well to be a generalist in the e-commerce space.
Generalists can be satisfactorily effective across multiple domains while specialists can be impressively effective within a narrower problem space. This makes us wonder about the opportunity that exist within more niche solutions that address problems specific to an e-commerce vertical.
Different verticals have their own unique needs. For car dealers, manufacture year, trim, model, color etc are important, while for an online grocery store, expiry date and speed of delivery may be more relevant.
We believe it's valuable to examine some of the possibilities and benefits of choosing the e-commerce solution best suited to your purpose. We’ll start by first highlighting some of the more known e-commerce solutions.
- Wix is one of the most popular website builders out there and is best for launching small online stores. Wix e-commerce, makes it easy to start selling online in no time.
- BigCommerce is a reputable and trustworthy e-commerce site builder. Big commerce is best for a purely online business and multichannel selling and also very versatile. It has B2B-specific features like bulk pricing rates, quote management, customer groups, and custom price lists.
- Shopify is one of the most customizable e-commerce site builders around. It excelled across the board in our testing, and it's also ideal for larger businesses with large inventories.
- Squarespace is a website builder designed to give you a great-looking website. Even though it's not specifically designed as an e-commerce platform, it offers e-commerce functionality built directly into its plans, which is not the case for most traditional website builders.
- Square Online allows users to sell online for free and is best known for their point-of-sale software integration.
- Weebly - Weebly is one of the most user-friendly, robust, and reliable website builders, and anyone can use it to launch a blog, online store, or personal website.
A great e-commerce website can be brought to life in record time by tapping into the existing features of these popular e-commerce service providers or site builders. All can be easily achieved, from stunning looks and responsiveness to great user experience.
Website aesthetics is an important part of any website because users first see the website interface before engaging with it. Most e-commerce site builders have pre-built components that could be clicked/dragged in place, making website building convenient and more intuitive.
Another key feature of any e-commerce website is payment handling. E-commerce websites want to stay “e” as much as possible. From one-time payments to instalments, some e-commerce service providers already have that covered in their offering. This would give the e-commerce website the flexibility of receiving payments from end-users easily and forward them to the business bank/wallet with no hassle.
These features all address general e-commerce pain points. For fashion however, there are a few pain points that are unique or simply more relevant e.g visual discovery, fit prediction, returns, style exploration etc.
When deciding what e-commerce solution to launch your business on, it is also important to consider the financial impact your decision may have on your business. Here are some:
- Transaction fees: depending on the solution you choose this may or may not have an impact on your financial performance. For example, BigCommerce will not charge you any transaction fees on purchases your customers make from your store. However, on Shopify, you may be charged transaction fees if you do not integrate Shopify’s own custom payment solution into your store.
- Traffic: In some cases, you might be able to leverage the huge existing user base of the e-commerce solution you choose. For example, by launching your e-commerce store on Amazon, you’ll be taking a big advantage of its huge customer base. However, this will be at the expense of having your own custom user interface which may be important to your brand.
- Sales limit: Depending on the plan you sign up for, some e-commerce solutions may have a limit on the amount of sales your store can fulfil within a year or month. For example, BigCommerce imposes a sale list of $50,000 per year on its standard plan. This literally limits how much you can make as a business.
Apart from considerations that impact you as a business owner because they impact your business directly. There are also problems that only impact you through your customers and how satisfied they are with their experience. Consumer satisfaction with online shopping is influenced by a variety of factors, one of which is the choice of e-commerce solution. To increase participation in online commerce, you must investigate and analyze the relationship between customer satisfaction and the various solutions that you provide as a store.
Simplifying checkout processes, improving website navigation, adding a shop the look feature, having a solution that can help aggregate reviews and feedbacks, and having a customer support solution that responds to customer complaints faster are some solutions that can help convert or satisfy customers.
Impressions, reach, engagement, email click-through rate, sales conversion rates, and customer retention rate are some metrics that can help you gain some insight into your customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is becoming a more important focus for companies looking to acquire and retain customers. Providing a consistent and improved customer experience across your store is now one of the key market growth drivers. A satisfied customer also buys 80 percent more frequently, spends 60 percent more per purchase, and can bring in three times the annual value.
Your users can have a better experience if your solution is tailored to their needs, and your business can grow faster if your solution specifically removes obstacles that are unique to your use case.