If you’re looking for the best ecommerce platform for your company, how do you make sure the right vendors go on your shortlist? Here are five mistakes that companies make in the evaluation process and how you can avoid them.
1. Not clearly defining your digital commerce requirements
Take the time to develop short and long-term goals for your ecommerce business, for 2020 and beyond. What does the platform need to help you achieve this year, next year and in five years? The more specific your plan, the more likely it is that you will find the best ecommerce platform for your goals. Ask yourself these questions:
- What problems should the platform help you solve?
- What kinds of features, like ecommerce search or supporting multiple currencies, does the platform need to have?
- What goals should the platform help you achieve? For example, do you want to reach new markets, simplify complex purchasing, or more easily connect with customers?
- Do you want a simple checkout, or do you want to provide engaging content about your products?
- Does the platform need to support several business models, such as B2B and B2C?
- Do you need to start from absolute scratch, or is there frameworks based on the platform of your choice that you can start with (such as our own IGNITE), dramatically reducing time and cost?
2. Spearfishing for a platform instead of casting a wide net
There are many enterprise ecommerce solution vendors on the market, and all of them will have strengths and weaknesses based on what you want to do. Take the time to get a broad overview of the market before creating a shortlist. A helpful place to start is with the latest 2019 analyst reports.
If combining digital commerce and content is important to you, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management can be a good place to look. If you’re interested in .NET platforms, CMS Connected has reviewed the top .NET ecommerce solutions.
3. Not considering how flexible the platform should be
Keep in mind that digital commerce solutions differ in how easily they can be set up and customized. Those that are easier to set up tend to offer less customization, and those that are more customizable tend to require more initial development. So, deciding how much you will want to customize your site is important when evaluating platforms. A good platform will give you the right balance of ease of use and customization.
4. Selecting an ecommerce platform that locks you in
No good digital commerce platform exists in a vacuum anymore. To really get the best ecommerce platform for your investment, be sure to consider how your platform will integrate with your entire ecosystem. By connecting your platform with ERP and CRM systems, you can provide better experiences for the entire customer journey.
The best way to ensure easy integrations is to choose an ecommerce platform with open APIs. These will make it easy to extend your platform with less development. Also look for ecommerce platforms that have built-in connectors to popular systems. This will decrease development time and save money.
Ensure easy integrations by choosing an ecommerce platform with open APIs and built-in connectors to popular systems. Also think about how your platform can adapt to changing business plans and customer demand.
You also need to think about how your platform can adapt to changing business plans and customer demands. Choosing an SaaS-based platform will help ensure that you always have the latest features, and minimize costs since maintenance is taken care of for you. Cloud hosting also makes it easier to scale up or down as needed.
5. Focusing on products and not the customer experience
In 2020, ecommerce sites need to do more than provide a catalog of products and a checkout. They need to help your customers do research, show instructional videos, provide user reviews, and deliver informative, engaging content. Whether you are B2C or B2B, providing these kinds of experiences is essential to staying competitive. Make sure you include platforms in your shortlist that help you easily and intuitively combine content with ecommerce functionality.
At Star Republic and Optimizely we believe that creating an ecom with a short time to market and a reasonable budget shouldn't confine you to a box. With the IGNITE framework from Star Republic you will have the full Optimizely/EPiServer experience and still have the money and time left to innovate, customize and create the platform of your dreams.