The Local Marketing Stack
Zone 2 • Difficulty: • Sugg. D.I.Y. Monthly Budget: $29+
The concept of eCommerce is pretty straightforward: you want to sell products online, so you need a way for people to order them online. Your eCommerce platform sits between your Content Management System and your payment processor (or, in some cases, is both your CMS and payment processor).
Most widely-adopted eCommerce software platforms offer comparable features, but there are a couple of considerations:
- Are the platform’s default product variations customizable for your business?
If you sell widgets at a fixed price per widget, any eCommerce platform will work. But if sizes, colors, and quantities all affect the price per item, or if you frequently ship items from the same order to multiple locations, or if customers customize their orders before checkout, there may be limitations you’d want to be aware of before selecting a platform.
- Is the platform search-engine friendly?
This is harder for non-marketers to determine, since they all say they are search-engine friendly. (See our recommendations for which platforms are friendliest.)
- Does the platform integrate with email and/or CRM solutions?
Your eCommerce platform should be a natural starting point for cross-selling, upselling, remarketing, and attracting lookalike audiences. A modern platform will offer one-click integrations with email service providers and/or CRMs to propel you down this path.
- Are there a number of third-party plugins to enhance the platform’s basic functions?
Beyond email and CRM there are a number of features you may want to build on top of eCommerce. Your platform should offer an integrations directory like this one to extend its functionality.
- Is there a critical mass of developers who can help you customize the platform beyond its default settings?
Unless you choose a well-supported platform, you might have to search far and wide (or pay an arm and a leg) for a credible developer who can help you maintain your website or make changes for you.
The WooCommerce WordPress plugin is free; services like Shopify start around $29/month.