5 mistakes to avoid when evaluating commerce platforms

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5 mistakes to avoid when evaluating commerce platforms

This piece is brought to you by courtesy of Episerver: you can meet them on Stand 41 at IRC 2018 in October.

 

If you’re looking for an enterprise ecommerce platform, how do you make sure the right vendors go on your shortlist? Here are five mistakes that companies make in the evaluation process and how you can avoid them.

 

1. Not clearly defining your requirements

Take the time to develop short and long-term goals for your ecommerce business. What does does the platform need to help you achieve this year, next year and in five years? The more specific your plan, the more likely it is that you will find a platform that matches your goals. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • What problems should the platform help you solve?
  • What kinds of features, like site search or supporting multiple currencies, does the platform need to have?
  • What goals should the platform help you achieve? For example, do you want to reach new markets, simplify complex purchasing, or more easily connect with customers?
  • Do you want a simple checkout, or do you want to provide engaging content about your products?
  • Does the platform need to support several business models, such as B2B and B2C?

 

2. Spearfishing for a platform instead of casting a wide net

There are many enterprise ecommerce solution vendors on the market, and all of them will have strengths and weaknesses based on what you want to do. Take the time to get a broad overview of the market before creating a shortlist. A helpful place to start is with analyst reports, such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2018. Another resource is G2 Crowd’s ecommerce grid of vendors. If you’re interested in .NET platforms, CMS Connected has reviewed the top .NET ecommerce solutions.

 

3. Not considering how flexible the platform should be

Keep in mind that ecommerce solutions differ in how easily they can be set up and customized. Those that are easier to set up tend to offer less customization, and those that are more customizable tend to require more initial development. So deciding how much you will want to customize your site is important when evaluating platforms. A good platform will give you the right balance of ease of use and customization.

 

4. Selecting a platform that locks you in

No good ecommerce platform exists in a vacuum anymore. To really get the most out of your investment, be sure to consider how your platform will integrate with your entire ecosystem. By connecting your platform with ERP and CRM systems, you can provide better experiences for the entire customer journey.

 

The best way to ensure easy integrations is to choose an ecommerce platform with open APIs. These will make it easy to extend your platform with less development. Also look for ecommerce platforms that have built-in connectors to popular systems. This will decrease development time and save money.

 

Ensure easy integrations by choosing an ecommerce platform with open APIs and built-in connectors to popular systems. Also think about how your platform can adapt to changing business plans and customer demand.

You also need to think about how your platform can adapt to changing business plans and customer demands. Choosing an SaaS-based platform will help ensure that you always have the latest features, and minimize costs since maintenance is taken care of for you. Cloud hosting also makes it easier to scale up or down as needed.

 

5. Focusing on products and not the customer experience

Today ecommerce sites need to do more than provide a catalog of products and a checkout. They need to help your customers do research, show instructional videos, provide user reviews, and deliver informative, engaging content. Whether you are B2C or B2B, providing these kinds of experiences is essential to staying competitive. Make sure you include platforms in your shortlist that help you easily and intuitively combine content with ecommerce functionality.

 

Original source: Episerver

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