The whole new paradigm in the circulation of goods and services offerings and their consumption has been attributed to the global pandemic. Coronavirus played a big role in expediting the way in which we purchase goods and services. Here is a quick guide to help navigate in the post Covid World order.
The perspective of the world has undergone a massive change. Right from the way we conduct our business, domestic dealings, education or the social interactions as a whole. Each now carries a signature mark of the post Covid era.
Statistics show that one of the most benefited businesses in the Post-Covid situation has been the E-Commerce sphere. While the conventional modes of wholesale and retail suffered, more than just financially, the online retail segment under home and leisure categories saw a sharp spike- reaching upto 200 percent.
The big question to ponder upon is that- Did you cross the fence to reach the profitable side with infinite online sales opportunities? Might sound daunting to many to migrate from shop to screen, but it actually is simpler than you thought.
New behaviour studies depict how online sales have witnessed the buying and selling of goods that would have ordinarily made their way through the real world market to paucity of commodities at their disposal.
Facts and figures are replete with such stories, hailing e-commerce as their new normal. Valued at $3.538 trillion in 2019 to a stagegring $6.54 trillion by 2023. The transition into e-commerce poses basic questions in the minds of many, and for that, we have a quick guide to get through.
The ball gets rolling when you pick the right platform to start your venture.
Picking the Appropriate Platform
Nothing good comes off acts that are done in haste. Setting up an online business also demands time and investment for it to become successful, so it is often stressed that you make the best choices from the array of options available at your disposal. One of the renowned eCommerce Website Development Company have enlisted the advantages and disadvantages for the three main types of platforms-
- Custom Built
The minimal utility and functions that you need to have for your platform are the following-
- A built-in shopping cart, a processing payment gateway for selling and buying goods digitally, third-party applications are also desirable.
- Cost-effectiveness even at the managerial front
- Record maintenance for orders and shipping
- The potential to grow and scale-up features and performance of the platforms as per the requirements in the future.
Hosted ECommerce Platforms
Also known as SaaS ( Software as a Service) are the playpen with a variety of tools and characteristics that deliver easy management and deployment. Simple drag and drop navigability, modules, themes, baskets and payment integration make them a big hit. Also, assimilation of third party products, seamlessly, like MailChimp, Zendesk and Visual Website optimizer ensure a faster working and less cost are the introductory phase itself.
Some of the popular Hosted ECommerce Platforms are Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce etc.
Advantages of Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
Quick results- These are ready to use with no gestation period for applicability. Right from setup to picking and missing the modules as per your unique requirements, make it a rather fastidious and quick solution.
Simple Management- Each module offered is designed to be user-friendly at its best. It is only a matter of assembling the ones that you need. Each of them is verified, tried and tested by hundreds.
Monthly Subscription Fees- One of its key features is that you pay exclusively for services that you decide to use and not for features that are redundant for you. Each additional service carries it seerate price tag.
E-Commerce Support- Every kind of support or assistance that you may need at the technical end are catered to by chatbots and videos. Some the whole process is basically cake walk.
Disadvantages of Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
Limited Flexibility- Customization details are desires are often curbed at the use of these platforms. They offer uniform codes that are expected to cater to the majority of the popular need. Anything niche or bespoke face a functional limitation,
Cost Accumulation- These platforms are great to give you a smooth launchpad, but as businesses grow, the maintenance and use of these Hosted e-commerce also dial up and by the end of the month, you face massive monthly surcharges.
SEO- Search rankings play a big role in a booming marketplace on the web. What you see first, you tend to buy it first. Google stats have it that the top 3 organic rankings are the winners in this game and rest fade into obscurity. With hosted ECommerce PLatforms, SEO ranks become an impediment.
With limited offerings for SEO variables, you might lose out on features that could work well for SEO ranking and leave you behind in the game. Struggles with simple issues like FTP accessibility, robotos.txt blockage, browser caching and product page indexing are the biggest reasons for the downfall of SEO ranks with them.
Payments Gateway- Keeping the payments method simple and quick are the trump cards that you need in the e-commerce gameplay. Nearly half of purchase decisions are abandoned at the point of payment. A simple payment method just as well coax one to buy the product right away.
The lack of option to add more flexibility to the payment methods, supportive plugins or the space to develop your own can land you in a tight spot with colossal charges and fees, less dynamic or responsive payments processing and a deplorable UX. These are big players on the journey of purchase decisions. When these are not in place, one can incur major loss despite much effort.
Marketing Integration- The hosted e-commerce, despite its many features lags behind with some important components that affect the whole e-commerce track. Not just their straightjacket your payments approach but they also have restraints on marketing integrations options. While you design a highly detailed, in-depth marketing strategy for your business, you may find that the e-commerce platform does not serve the requisites to run your plan.
When creating a marketing mix, you need to modify and play with UX, design, content, email, social media, campaigns creations and what not, but with these packaged products, you find yourself at a loss with restricted usage offered.
Self-Hosted ECommerce Platforms
Presenting a greater degree of control with their technology and features, we have the self-hosted ECommerce platforms. This tasks you with the job of creating the store build, hosting it and storing its data.
Magento and WooCommerce are big favourites of this league.
The cost and compilation incurred in this method is usually through the cloud server installation while open source software remains free in itself. Some of them come decked in well with features for paid E-Commerce with no initial cost whatsoever.
These are not as convenient as the hosted counterparts. They demand a certain degree of expertise to unbox, set up and run the whole store. It is best advised to enlist services of the professionals to keep the online store running.
Advantages of Self-Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
More Control- When you have your own software and servers doing the runs, the latitude to exercise control is definitely much greater than others. There are no framework restrictions as imposed by the hosted platforms. Enjoy the features that you want and not just the ones that you have been given by your host.
Scaling Up Potential- Unlock the power to futureproof your web store. With easy upgrade options to better the capacity and performance, than the limited space offered by the hosted ones, you have a vast landscape to paint as you want.
Independence- Easy migration imbibes a sense of libration vis-a-vis being locked in the hosted ecommerce setup. You may move to another platform effortlessly and quickly,a s the need might arise.
Disadvantages of Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
Technical Knowledge- Undoubtedly, it is the fastest route to enable ecommerce on the web, you must consider the level of expertise and technical knowledge it needs for its full functioning. The task of identifying the right hosting provider, the appropriate software etc can be a nuanced job, beyond the layman knowledge. The best is to reach out to agencies that are well versed with these and could assist you in setting up your store.
Support and Maintenance- Hosted E-Comemrce barely requires any support, technically. But with Hosted ones, it is only prudent to have a specialized human resource to cater to it or rely on your in-house strengths to keep it going.
Costs and More- Just as Self-hosted counterparts, these too drive up cost of running and maintenance as the business plummets.
Custom ECommerce Platforms
A bespoke build demand must be backed with solid reasons to skip the previous two types of platforms. This is highly recommended for business with a niche clientele, unique services and offerings and a hyper-secure system.
Advantages of Custom Ecommerce Platforms
Custom Curation- Take control of every aspect to mold it to your needs. Right from the scratch, you can have anything designed for you, be it a specific selection of sizes, colours and design or engineering products. Shipping options also present similar bandwidth for courier services, logistics and location, types and combos etc. You can reach out to multiple suppliers with their own preferences and this platform allows you to do all of that.
- Designed from the Scratch- Make your own discount coupons, or launch sales or just mix in a whole new sales method. Custom Ecommerce platforms have no restrictions on anything whatsoever.
- System Integration- Integration of your ecommerce with a backend is inevitable at some epoch, with CRM, ERP and accounts. With this, you are free to add in anything from simple systems to other complex ones.
- Reporting- Empower yourself with custom reports that area loss with the usual modular systems.
- Upgraded Security- In the absence of a certified host offered by hosted platforms, you are liable for the security and protection of the customer data. For such matters of deep importance, it is best to delegate the job to data security and ecommerce experts available with leading agencies. Providing proper security goes a long way at building trust among your customers
Disadvantages of Self-Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
- Higher Costs- Things that are curated and designed for your specific needs come with a high price tag, so gear up to take a deep dive into your pocket and forget cost cutting on this platform. But with its long-term utility, the cost of setting it up initially does not seem to be a big investment.
- Reinventing the Wheel- With a custom built ecommerce platform, you have the possibility to stand out from the regular themes and designs that other businesses have opted for. This gives you a much stronger edge over your competitors as it lets you impart a whole new submersive and engaging user experience, leading to better conversions and sales.
Pick the Right E-Commerce Platforms for your Business
The choice of the ecommerce platform is the biggest question that we had brought up earlier. This comes with both the components- technological, as well as strategic which are best answered by a website design company Dubai.
The objects, aims, goals, of your venture, its work methods, the scale and size of the business, technical capacity at your disposal etc. your ability to manage and work on the CRM, marketing automation, product listings, databases and e-marketing bits like coupons, discounts, special offers, banners, pop-ups etc. can help you determine the most suited platform.
After consultation and due deliberation, you may pick the most suited option and test the path picked by you.
You can reach out to us for a free consultation for the best kind of ecommerce platform for your business.