Do you want to sell products or services online? If so, you’re going to need some e-commerce software, but there are so many brands on the market with so many features and so much choice. It’s all rather daunting. Do you even need it at all?
Don’t be discouraged. If you honestly evaluate what your business needs, considering what you want to sell, plus how much funding you want to put behind your e-commerce, you’ll know which features you’ll need. After that, you can find the e-commerce software package that is right for you. Let’s investigate.
What is E-commerce Software?
The definition of what makes up e-commerce software often lies with the company that is selling it, but to put it simply, e-commerce software is a program that allows you to trade online from scratch. It’s the mechanism behind the scenes of an online trading operation. Different brands of software come with numerous different features, which we’ll explore later. However, at its most basic, it will comprise of three things: payment management, order fulfillment, and inventory control. More advanced features include anything up to building and hosting an entire website.
Do I Even Need E-commerce Software At All?
Just because you want to sell products or services online, doesn’t mean you need to purchase e-commerce software. There are alternatives. You could sell your wares through Amazon, eBay, or similar platforms. More simple shopping cart plugins exist, which connect to your site to your Paypal account, allowing you to trade in that way. Some won’t even cost you any money. You could even find a developer that will build you a bespoke plugin.
However, when you evaluate the needs of your business, and any of the following apply to you, you should be looking to purchase e-commerce software.
- You want to full control over your online sales operation (storefront, images, product descriptions).
- You don’t want to pay a cut of your sales revenue to an online platform.
- You want to start your own website, with its own domain, from scratch.
OK. I Definitely Need E-commerce Software. What Features Are Available?
There are so many different e-commerce software brands, all with different features included, that it’s difficult to know where to start. One way would be to keep reading Web Hosting Sun, where we keep you up to date with all the news in e-commerce.
Best E-Commerce Software Features:
- Payment Resources – E-commerce software will give your customers the facility to pay via credit or debit card online. It will link to your Paypal or bank account, so you receive payment instantly.
- Storefront – Your e-commerce software will allow you to set up shop online, with photos, product descriptions and reviews. Everything you need to get those products moving.
- Order Fulfillment – E-commerce software will take your customers’ orders and make sure you have all the information to send them their goods straight away. If you’re selling a digital product, such as an ebook, it will do it automatically.
- Mobile – E-commerce on mobile platforms is already popular and growing fast. It is essential that your e-commerce software is adaptable for iOS and Android.
- Customer Interaction – Your e-commerce software should give your customer a way to contact you, and a way for you to reply with help. Live chat, clickable phone numbers and email addresses are all basic features.
- Data Protection – When you handle customers’ essential data, such as credit card numbers, you need to be sure your site is secure. Your e-commerce software should provide SSL encryption. On the other hand, it should also detect fraudulent payments.
More Advanced Features:
- A Complete Web Operation – Many e-commerce software providers offer a total web operation solution. From a domain name, to web hosting, to bandwidth, to a website builder. It’s possible to get it all with the right e-commerce software.
- Social Media Integration – Some software providers allow your customers to share content, or post to their social accounts when they’ve bought something.
So, What do I Need?
Only you can answer this question. There is such a range of price points in the e-commerce software arena. Prices can range from $9 a month, to over $200 a month, and it all depends on what features you take.
Make a list of which features will be essential to your business, then features that would be nice to have, and finally, features you’ll have no use for whatsoever. This will stop you from spending money on bells and whistles you will never need or use.
Do consider, however, how you want your business to grow. If an e-commerce platform you like requires a subscription payment, investigate how easy it is to upgrade quickly.
Let us know how your search goes! Do you already have an e-commerce software program? What do you use?
Join us in the comments below!