Choosing the right e-commerce platform is essential to any online store’s success, there are so many options and it often comes down to your budget.
At Vault-MCM we try to advise our clients to think about their website as a Cap-Ex cost which should therefore appear on their balance sheet and be wrote off over a period of 36-48 months. This however cannot be done when choosing certain hosted solutions such as the budget level Shopify and Squarespace; you will never own the code and in fact are only renting the service – we know of sites which we quoted but how went down the Shopify build route because of cost, who are paying £250+ a month for the additional Apps needed to run their site.
As a rule, we tend to suggest to those working within a budget to go down a WordPress Themed site utilising the WooCommerce plugin. WordPress is the most popular open source software for building websites; currently over 40% of the e-commerce websites built around the world are using WordPress, more than double that of its nearest rival. Likewise WooCommerce is the most popular and flexible plugin for managing your online products, but also stock management, order processing and product promotions. WooCommerce has some +57000 additional plug-in’s available which cover everything from fulfilment, inventory management, accounting, marketing automation etc…
Over the very challenging past 18 months we have been asked by a number of clients to take over and look at their current e-commerce stores. The sites are either underperforming, void of sales or have poor user experience. In most cases the organic traffic is almost nothing. Search Engine Optimisation is obviously essential for any e-commerce store because organic traffic will play a big role in your store’s success; our experience tells us that most of the Hosted Ecommerce solutions such as Shopify perform badly on SEO (SEO delivers a 12x better return on investment than Paid Search Advertising)
There is a fair degree of lock-in with any platform that you choose, and whilst it is possible to migrate from one platform to another, (we have recently completed 3 transitions from Shopify to WooCommerce), our experience has told us if is painful and time-consuming process. For that reason, you’ll want to pick the right platform from day one.
With regards to being found from organic search, with most platforms, you’ll likely end up relying on third-party apps to give you more control over your store’s SEO, or be prepared to invest in a proper goal driven SEO Marketing Campaign, we have one client who has gone from £140k in online sales leads to nearly £2m in under 3 years.With WooCommerce it has a number of popular free and paid SEO plugins such as the hugely popular and effective Yoast SEO, Rank Math and All-in-one SEO. WooCommerce also give you far more control over the small SEO details, such as your websites URL structure which can be key to getting your site found.
When you’re choosing your platform, you need to really think about the following considerations:
The ease of use of your chosen platform.
The features and flexibility you get access to with your platform, and how much you might want to develop the site to at Stage 2 development.
The available payment gateways you’ll be able to use (especially if you need a specific local gateway).
The integrations with the larger shopping platforms (such as Amazon / Ebay etc..).
How people are going to find your site through Organic Search.
In short, start with a plan which will cover the next 2-3 years, get the platform correct, right from the start, it might not be the cheapest route and dont expect to make a million unless you invest in marketing your site thereafter. If you would like to discuss any new E-commerce projects or to discuss developing your current package to start delivering you real returns then contact us here.