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Six questions to ask your team before finding your next e-commerce platform.

You’ve likely known for a while that you need a new ecommerce website or to update your current site. Knowing that you need it is only half the battle. In order to search for a new platform properly you’ll need to know what to search for in an ecommerce platform. After all, there are dozens of unique plans but only one that is best for you.

Before you begin your search, meet internally to decide what you want to accomplish with the site and how that meets the needs of your customers. To get you started, here are a few questions.

1. Who will be purchasing my products?

In order to build a website that will improve overall sales and revenue you’ll need to first understand who will be purchasing your products, and then begin to design your site to make this process as frictionless as possible.

Prior to beginning the website design and deployment process, it’s recommended that you survey your customers and staff to better understand your customers. What countries are they in? How will they want to receive the product? What are your best sellers and why? Is your client base even comfortable buying online, and how can you ease the transition?

2. What information is required in order for your customers to make a purchasing decision?

Your products and your customer’s purchasing journey are unique and your website should reflect that. Consider asking your customers what’s important to them, what information is required to compare your products, and what they feel may be missing from other sites.

You’ll find that many products show generic information – UPC, Description, part number. Try and focus on what’s unique to your industry and your customers. Product or expiry dates, dimensions,  voltage, and region compatibility are all examples of attributes and information your customers may need.

3. What information is required in order to ship and deliver my products?

Depending on the products, customers, and regions you sell in, shipping can be simple or incredibly complex.

One of the most important things to remember in the consumer market is that the simpler the shipping model, the higher your conversation rate for customers, with the most obvious and best shipping model being one that’s free.

Consider gathering shipping analytics from a previous site or transactions. Can the cost of shipping be rolled into your products? Is there a sales threshold that warrants offering free shipping?

If you’re selling direct to businesses or ship a variety of large or difficult to ship items the only viable option may be an integration. By Integrating your store with shipping providers, and maintaining size and weight information for your products you can guarantee that shipping will be accurate, and fair. One significant drawback to this approach is that many customers work within a budget, and may not be happy with a shipping rate that’s unpredictable.

4. Aside from book price, are there any other prices the customer may need to see?

Do your customers need the option for bulk pricing? What about the ability to purchase packs of products, view their discounted price, or request a quote.

Not all stores sell only at MSRP. Your customers will expect to receive the same price they would as when purchasing from their sales rep. If your pricing is specific to each customer, requires price levels or other complexities, consider maintaining pricing using an integration, or an integrated e-commerce platform.

5. What products may need to be associated with one another?

You can both increase sales and encourage customers to buy a complete complement of products directly from your store by bringing products together in creative ways.

“Customers also bought” is a great way to encourage your customers to purchase similar items. You can also manually set up carousels that will allow you to add associated products to a page.  Treat your online store like your physical store, and consider what little additions may help your customers purchase multiple products easily.

6. How are people going to find your products, and how will they expect them to be organized? 

Perhaps the most difficult and important question you’ll ask is how will your customers be looking for your products. By anticipating their journey towards a purchase, you can build promotions, categories, and your homepage to correctly direct customers towards the product or information they are looking for.

Will your customers be looking for certain brands, categories, or use-cases for the product?  If the answer is only of these, then I would recommend building your category structure around this.