In this guide, we have written about everything you need to know about how to choose the best eCommerce platform for your small business in India.
Starting an eCommerce website is definitely a good decision for any business owner. If you are selling online on online marketplaces or social media, you should surely have your own online store on a trusted eCommerce platform.
Indian eCommerce is growing exponentially, with the market value of the e-commerce industry in India being approximately 469 crore rupees in 2020. This number was estimated to triple by 2027.
Owning a website for your online business has become easier than ever before. In 2021, there are numerous eCommerce platforms to choose from to start your own eCommerce store. But, you will have to spend your time choosing which one is best for your business. Never choose a platform just because it’s popular.
Choosing the best eCommerce store is on of the most important decisions you will be making for your online business.
Imagine a physical store. You will have to consider many factors before setting one up– space of the building, location, rent expense, posters and boards, maintenance cost, equipment, and so on. Similarly, there are some technical factors to consider when creating an online store on an eCommerce platform.
The simplest way to check if an eCommerce platform is best for you is to check their features from their website, go through their free resources, and see if they have a community of small business owners who trust them.
To help you choose the best eCommerce platform, we have put together this guide which has everything you need to know while selecting an platform for your online store.
- 1 How to Choose the Best eCommerce Platform
- 2 Why use an eCommerce platform?
- 3 Different types of eCommerce platforms
- 4 7 Most important factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform
- 5 Additional features of eCommerce stores that matter
- 6 How to decide which platform is best for your small business
- 7 How Instamojo can help you
How to Choose the Best eCommerce Platform
If you want to choose the best eCommerce website for your business, here’s what you should know:
- Why use an eCommerce platform?
- Different types of eCommerce platforms
- 6 Most important factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform
- Additional features for eCommerce stores that matter
- How to decide which platform is best for your small business
- Don’t make these mistakes
- How Instamojo can help you
Why use an eCommerce platform?
Selling on eCommerce platforms is the future of online businesses. This means, if you don’t have an eCommerce website for your small business, it will get more difficult to compete online. When more and more businesses come up online, the only way to stand out and grow as a brand is through your own online store.
Having secure and reliable payments is another major advantage of having an eCommerce website.
Other than maintaining your brand, an eCommerce website will help you connect with your audience and establish a relationship. You will have more control over your business as compared to selling on marketplaces.
Related read: How D2C Brands have an Advantage over B2B
If you are a small business selling on social media and making enough profit, it is still best to start an online website. You don’t want your business to be at the mercy of the ever-changing social media algorithms. Moreover, it will give your business a more professional and authentic look if you have an eCommerce website.
Different types of eCommerce platforms
There are different types of eCommerce platforms. Before exploring features, it is best to know what categories are available and how they differ. Here are the three main types you should know about:
Open source platforms
On such platforms, you have to build and customise the website and host it and install it into cloud. You will need a team of developers for this. You will need to pay for initial development,implementation, and upgrades. An example for this is Magento.
Open source platform features along with a hosting system are cloud platforms. Basically, it’s a platform to develop your site and deploy it. Thus, you will get little support.
SaaS eCommerce Platforms
Imagine a physical store which is already built, has enough space, and also support to make things smooth. The only thing you need to do is add the products and decide the theme. This is how a SaaS platform for ecommerce is. You will have a completely-ready-to-go online store. You don’t have to deploy the site (which means no developers or tech knowledge required).
SaaS is the future of eCommerce. More businesses are using such platforms. If you don’t have technical knowledge and want dedicated support, this is the platform you should choose. Examples of SaaS eCommerce platforms in India are Instamojo, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix site.
7 Most important factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform
Now that you know which type of platform you need, it’s time to go through different platforms and check the features. These are the 7 essential features to look for when choosing an eCommerce platform.
Customers are the most important aspect of any business. Therefore, an eCommerce website should be able to make your customers’ buying experience as smooth as possible. The various features that improve user experience will be discussed further in this blog.
Consider the pricing plans for using the platform. Consider the yearly/monthly subscription plans. Is there a free trial? If so, which features can be explored before purchasing?
You can sign up for free on Instamojo to create your own online store. Instamojo provides you with different premium plans to choose from based on features.
This factor is very important to ensure the safety of you and your customers. See what features the platform offers to maximise security. Check if they have PCI compliance and multi-layered security
Instamojo provides a secure experinece to both you and your customers.
Another major feature an eCommerce site must have is a mobile-friendly UX. Check if the platform supports mobile-friendly themes or templates. The check-out system should also be mobile-friendly.
Checkout and payments
A payment gateway needs to be integrated with your eCommerce store to collect payments. It is best if your site has multiple payment options so that your customers can choose their preferred mode.
Does the gateway offer single-page checkouts? In how many days will you receive money in your bank account? How much is the transaction fee? Is it safe and easy-to-use? Consider these when selecting payment gateways. Also consider how long they have been in the field.
When you use Instamojo, you get an in-built payment gateway for your eCommerce website with all the above features. You don’t have to worry about payments and it will reach you at the right time.
If you are a product-based business, it is better to choose a platform that offers no limit to the number of products that can be added. Check if the platform allows you to upload more than one product image. Adding your products on your online store should be easy.
Collecting orders and managing it is a challenging task. A good eCommerce platform makes this task easier for you. You should have the ability to view, edit, and fulfill orders from a single dashboard. Also learn if the platform has ability to send email notification to customers.
With Instamojo, you will be able to fulfill all your tasks from a single dashboard without going anywhere else, thus making your tasks easy.
Additional features of eCommerce stores that matter
To choose the best eCommerce platform, you need to look out for features other than the basic ones. These features will help you grow and scale your business online. Here are some extra features that are good to have for your online store
It is likely that things may go wrong. So, you will need a robust support team to aid you. Every platform will have a support team, but the question is how quickly will they respond to your queries? Do they offer 24/7 support?
Apart from payment gateways, you may need other applications depending on your business requirements. You may need a chat app, email marketing integration, trademark registration, etc. Check what third-party platforms can the platform integrate with.
Shipping orders and managing it is one of the most challenging parts of online business. A good eCommerce platform will offer flexible shipping partners. It should either support in-built shipping or have shipping plugins. You have the option to choose the shipping partner of your choice.
Related read: 8 Factors to Consider when Choosing a Shipping Partner
Instamojo offers you options to choose from different trusted shipping partners such as Shiprocket. You can send, track, and schedule shipments directly from your Instamojo dashboard.
Don’t forget to check if your platform has features to help in marketing your business. One way is to see if coupon codes can be run on your store. This will be helpful during festive discount sales.
Instamojo allows you to run ads on your online store and send SMS and email campaigns to potential customers.
To get discovered by customers, your eCommerce website should be SEO-friendly. Consider the following questions:
- Do they support sitemaps for Google?
- Do they enable search friendly URLs?
- Can we add meta-information for product pages and other pages?
- Do they support Google content APIs for shopping?
Instamojo helps you get organic reach through Google with its SEO features.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
This feature will help you convert more prospects into customers faster. Being able to capture customer details, track and send them marketing communication emails will help increase your sales. This can be achieved if your eCommerce store has a system to manage your customers. This feature is available on Instamojo’s premium plans.
How to decide which platform is best for your small business
Now that you know which features are needed in an eCommerce store, it’s time to choose one for your business. But, how to choose the best eCommerce platform? It depends upon your business and goals.
Not all platforms are suitable for all businesses. And, you should definitely not follow popular opinion. What works for one business might not work for you.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing an eCommerce platform for your online business:
- What are your business goals? How do you see your brand in the future. If you see yourself growing as a recognisable brand, you will need a website with CRM and marketing features.
- Ease of use– How tech-savvy are you? Will you manage the site all by yourself or will you have a team of experts?
- Consider your customer’s path to purchase. Outline how your customer can complete a purchase smoothly and successfully. This will give you an idea of how you want your online store to be.
- Evaluate costs– Being a small business, you don’t want a platform that eats into your revenue. Common costs for an eCommerce website are payment processing fees, costs for adding integrations, and potential fees for customer support, maintenance cost, and upgrading costs. Determine a budget and look for platforms that fit your budget.
Related read: 5 Reason to Sell Online in 2021
How Instamojo can help you
Instamojo has features that make it one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses.
An eCommerce platform that understands your needs, and helps you scale your business is the best to choose. Trusted by 15,0000 lakh+ small businesses across India, Instamojo has all the features for you to grow your online business at affordable prices.