6 must-haves for a fast, flexible and scalable eCommerce store

6 must-haves for a fast, flexible and scalable eCommerce store

Creating a robust and adaptable eCommerce platform is crucial in today's fast-paced digital marketplace. As consumer expectations evolve and technology advances, retailers must prioritize speed and flexibility to stay competitive. Whether you're launching a new online store or revamping an existing one, understanding the essential features of a high-performance eCommerce platform is vital. 

A fast and flexible platform can make launching your business faster and easier. It can help you reach more customers across multiple geographies and deliver a truly unique customer experience.

But the wrong platform can slow you down. Rigid templates can limit your creativity and leave you with a store that looks like everyone else’s. A lack of solution partners often means doing everything yourself. And an inflexible design can make it almost impossible to add new functionality as your business evolves and grows.

How can you get it right?

This blog highlights six questions to help you pick an eCommerce platform that’s fast and flexible enough to grow on.

What is an eCommerce Platform?

An eCommerce platform is software used by businesses to develop, run, manage and optimize their online stores (such as product listings, inventory management, order processing, payment integration, customer management, marketing and analytics) for seamless shopping experiences supporting business growth.

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is important for your business's success. The ideal platform should provide speed, flexibility, and scalability to accommodate your business's current needs and future growth.

How to select the right eCommerce platform? 

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Six questions to help you pick an eCommerce platform

#1: Is it in the cloud?

Cloud-based platforms often cost less and can easily scale to your needs. Instead of paying for all your costly hardware and software licenses upfront, you normally pay a subscription fee based on usage. Cloud solutions provide the flexibility to scale up or down based on your business needs, allowing you to respond quickly to changes in demand. Additionally, cloud-based platform vendors manage the underlying IT infrastructure for you, so you don’t have to deal with multiple vendors and service agreements.

For example, if you're wondering how to start an eCommerce store, a cloud-based solution can simplify the setup process, allowing you to focus on your core business activities without worrying about IT complexities. It also supports multi-store eCommerce, enabling you to manage multiple storefronts from a single platform.

Key Takeaway: Whether you are just starting out or already have an eCommerce presence, choose an eCommerce platform that runs in the cloud.

#2: Are you locked into rigid templates?

Your eCommerce platform should work for your business now and in the future. You need a platform that can evolve as your business grows in size and complexity. "Plug-and-play" platforms with canned templates and purchase flows can be easy to set up but may lack the flexibility or breadth of functionality you'll need in the long term. 

For instance, when considering how to open an eCommerce store, you might be tempted by the simplicity of pre-designed templates. However, these templates can limit your ability to create a unique customer experience and restrict your business’s growth potential. As your business expands, you may outgrow these templates and face the costly decision of either investing in customizations or switching to a new platform.

Key Takeaway: Don’t force-fit your business needs to the capabilities of your technology vendor. Choose a vendor that provides enough flexibility to create an original customer experience.

#3: Does it support multiple channels, markets, and countries?

Today's eCommerce often spans multiple touchpoints. Brick-and-mortar stores are going digital, and digital brands are partnering with retailers. Businesses of all sizes are rushing to sell on platforms like Amazon and reach new international markets. Even if you're small now, it's important to think ahead.

If your eCommerce platform doesn’t support multiple channels, sites, and languages, you could find yourself setting up a new environment for each new market segment and audience. This approach adds costly overhead and makes it difficult to track inventory, manage logistics, synchronize content, and deliver a consistent customer experience across your sites. A platform that supports multi-channel sales and international markets from the start will save you time and resources as you grow.

Key Takeaway: Think about what your business will look like in two, three, and five years. Ensure your platform can support your growth plans from Day One.

#4: Does it play nicely with others?

eCommerce doesn’t happen in isolation. For maximum efficiency, your eCommerce platform will need to communicate with various business systems like CMS, CRM, ERP, PIM, and more. It should connect easily to commonly used business systems through proven APIs without needing extensive custom code. Otherwise, you may have to spend more time and money on systems integration or risk critical data getting out of sync.

For example, when setting up your eCommerce online store, ensure it can integrate with your CRM to manage customer relationships effectively or with your ERP system to streamline inventory and order management. Seamless integration helps you maintain a cohesive operation and enhances the overall customer experience.

Key Takeaway: Your eCommerce platform should be a team player. Choose one that connects and integrates easily with your other business systems.

#5: How big is the ecosystem of partners and developers supporting the platform?

Most fast-growing businesses focus on their core product and sales, not IT. As your business evolves, you’ll need to extend your eCommerce experience quickly, and you may need help. This help could come from a solution partner who knows your industry or from installing new modules written by third-party developers. A large ecosystem of partners and developers ensures you have access to the resources and expertise needed to adapt and grow.

For instance, if you're looking for the best marketing strategy for an eCommerce store, a platform with a robust ecosystem can provide you with access to marketing tools and partners who can help you implement and optimize your eCommerce strategy effectively.

Key Takeaway: More is better. Choose a platform from a vendor that fosters a large and geographically diverse community of solution partners and developers.

#6: Can it support different business models?

The line between retail and wholesale is blurring. Many direct-to-consumer businesses are adding wholesale stores and partnering with retailers, while a growing number of wholesalers are selling directly to consumers online. However, these models are different. Selling to businesses and distributors (B2B) can be more complicated and may require customized product catalogs, alternative payment options, and other special features.

For maximum flexibility, you need an eCommerce platform that offers native functionality for both retail and wholesale business models. Running two separate eCommerce systems is both time-consuming and expensive. If there’s even a modest chance your business will adopt multiple business models, choose a platform that supports them.

Key Takeaway: If there’s even a modest chance your business will adopt multiple business models, choose a platform that supports them.

Use Case: A Successful Multi-Store eCommerce Transformation

Consider the case of a mid-sized retailer, "TechWorld," that started as a small online store but quickly expanded its offerings to multiple markets and customer segments. Initially using a basic eCommerce platform with rigid templates, TechWorld struggled to scale its operations. The platform couldn't support the company's growing need for customization, multi-channel integration, and international expansion.

By switching to a cloud-based eCommerce platform that offered flexibility and robust multi-channel support, TechWorld was able to:

  • Seamlessly integrates with its existing CMS, CRM, and ERP systems, reducing manual data entry and synchronization errors.
  • Customize its online stores to offer unique, personalized customer experiences without being constrained by rigid templates.
  • Expand into new markets with localized content and multi-language support, reaching more customers globally.
  • Leverage a large ecosystem of developers and solution partners to quickly implement new features and stay ahead of the competition.

Build a robust digital commerce store with Ranosys

Creating a fast, flexible, and scalable eCommerce store is essential today. By choosing a cloud-based platform, avoiding rigid templates, ensuring multi-channel support, prioritizing system integration, leveraging a large ecosystem of partners, and supporting multiple business models, you can set your business up for long-term success. As an award-winning Adobe Partner with a specialized Adobe Commerce badge, we have assisted several leading global brands with the right eCommerce platform. Talk to our experts to choose the right eCommerce platform that will not only meet your current needs but also scale with your business as it grows and evolves.  

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