Why do I need an eCommerce platform?

When you use an eCommerce platform to power your online business, you tap into a range of features that can help you to manage orders efficiently and help you to further grow your business. Most eCommerce platforms offer a range of tools and service integrations that enable you to customise your online store and manage every aspect of your business without worrying about technical integrations. Once this customization has been completed, you are free to focus more on your business while your external ecommerce team manages every aspect of your ecommerce day-to-day operations, along with scaling and optimizing your online business.

Here are some areas that you can consider tapping into when building your online store with an eCommerce vendor:

Product Catalog

A product catalog helps you build an online inventory of your products in a structured manner. The catalog is then used to help display your products on your website and keep your inventory up to date so you don’t disappoint customers when a product is sold out.  Most product catalogs provide enough flexibility for you to customise the display to match your product type. So, for example, if you are selling clothes you can add a field for the customer to choose the size and if you are selling a digital product, you can remove the weight field which is usually used to calculate shipping costs.

Payment Processing

Being able to accept payments online often requires direct technical integration with a payment provider or a rigorous application process for a merchant account. This is a hassle that most small businesses will not be willing to deal with. Working with an eCommerce vendor means that you don’t have to worry about technical details or having your own merchant account. When companies scale, the complexities of adding and managing more payments methods, staying compliant with updated regulations and protecting against evolving security threats dramatically increases. With an outsourced ecommerce solution, you only deal with your ecommerce provider who, in turn, works with payment gateways and processors to ensure you have no issues continuing to offer your customers their preferred payment methods.

Mobile Ready

Mobile devices are quickly becoming the preferred method for accessing the internet, especially in Africa. Add to this the importance search engines like Google are placing on being mobile optimized and it’s clear companies need to ensure their entire mobile ecommerce experience is easy. Outsourced ecommerce solutions have cart pages that are optimized for mobile to ensure that mobile shoppers don’t abandon their purchase.

Delivery Networks

Many shipping and delivery vendors provide an open API that makes it easy to schedule deliveries or provide a shipping quote to your customers when they purchase online. But, if you think about the time and complexity to integrate with each of those vendors separately, you would quickly decide it is not worth the effort. An eCommerce platform can provide you competitive shipping quotes and make it easy to offer these alternatives to your customers since the platform is already connected to a wide range of shipping vendors.

Reporting and Analytics

Good business decisions need insightful and up-to-date information. Outsourced ecommerce platforms come equipped with multiple reporting options so you can stay on top of key performance indicators (KPIs) to be able to make informed, timely decisions, pinpoint what is working well and what is not, and even increase the value of your firm (investors love metrics).

So the answer to why you need an ecommerce platform is: it’s payment processing plus a lot of elements that need to come together to optimize your ecommerce success. By outsourcing your ecommerce platform, you can make sure you keep up with the latest technology and best practices while working with a team of experts to ensure your long-term ecommerce success.

You are in the business of being the best at what you do. That’s why you should be devoting your time to what you do best instead of spending time on building and maintaining your ecommerce platform.