How to choose an eCommerce Solution for engagement and conversion

There are a real plethora of eCommerce solutions out there now, making it difficult to isolate which solution is best for you. Some solutions are free and open-source, some licensed or bought off the shelf, and others custom-built – each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. This post is an outline of what your decision-making process with your IT consultant should look like.

  1. Will you be marketing your products to the search engines? If so, you need, at a minimum, a solution with 301 Redirect Management, keyword-rich URLs, and management facilities for title and meta-tags. This will rule out a sleuth of options.
  2. What is your estimated annual turnover, average transaction value, and average unit price? Payment gateways (i.e. PayPal, Google Checkout, Protx, ChronoPay, etc.) differ in their charges, and you should choose to minimise your costs.
  3. It is essential your eCommerce solution be ‘XHTML/CSS Template Driven’ – this ensures you can update the look and feel of your site for a fraction of the cost of altering every category, product and page.
  4. Will you need to display your site in multiple languages?
  5. Will you be marketing your products across regions of varying currency? How should your solution ensure customers understand the price of products and how to pay? How will tax be calculated?
  6. What shipping options do you want to offer? Options might include a mix of:
    • Free
    • Flat Rate
    • Per Item
    • By Percentage of Order Total
    • By Price (Free over certain order totals)
    • By Order Weight
    • Geographic Zones
  7. Features to improve conversion rates might, in no particular order, include:
    • Recently Purchased Products / Order History
    • Popular Products
    • Recently Viewed Products
    • Featured Products
    • Product Ratings
    • Customer Reviews / Comments
    • Product Sorting/Filtering by Price, Popularity, Rating, Date Added, Brand, etc.
    • Product Comparison
    • Single Page Checkout
    • Advanced Search
    • Email Notifactions / Follow-Ups
    • Wishlists
  8. Features for managing your content might, in no particular order, include:
    • Unlimited:
      • Products
      • Product Variations
      • Images per Product
      • Categories
      • Nested Categories
      • One product to Unlimited Categories
    • Custom Product Variations (i.e. size, quantity, colour, litres, etc.)
    • Discount Options
    • Stock Management
    • Related Products
    • Product Tagging
    • Customer Grouping (via tags)
    • Non Product/Category Page Content Management
    • Import / Export

Having considered these factors with your IT consultant, together you will be much better equipped to select an eCommerce solution that drives traffic, engages users and converts customers. Good luck!

"Iain clearly has a deep understanding of user needs and business goals and an ability to translate these into well documented designs."

Denise Ross
UX Designer Barclays Bank PLC

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