What are advanced features I should look into before I choose an online store builder?
In this chapter we will briefly discuss a number of features that are included in more comprehensive ecommerce software. We will cover:
- Payment methods
- Multilingualism and making your store international
- Order processing
- Simple checkout
- Delivery options
- Bookkeeping tools
- Customer accounts
- Marketing features
- Product import
A good online store builder offers freedom in designing the appearance of your online store. You should be able to adjust things such as the layout, fonts, colors, images, and buttons on your own. Open source software often offer the ability to change the CSS (styling framework) of the website. This gives you 100% freedom, but you do need to know how to work with CSS.
Determine in time which payment methods you want to offer. The most comprehensive ecommerce software allows you to implement all European payment methods. This is often done via a PSP (Payment Service Provider, a party that handles financial transactions). Check which PSPs the software uses and which one suits your needs best.
Multilingualism and making your store international
If you decide to expand your business and include other countries, you will need appropriate tools. The solution you choose should include these. In this section you will find information regarding issues you should be aware of when you want to go international.
Every online store builder allows you to process your orders. The way you are able to do this varies enormously per system. The more advanced your ecommerce software, the more it should allow you to sort and filter your orders quickly and easily. The overview of your orders should be clear so you can work with optimum efficiency. The screen containing order details should be clear and compact, showing the customer information, a good overview of the orders, and it should have all the tools you need to process the order.
The ordering process is an important part of your website. It needs to be easy for your customers to make their payments. Make sure you know in advance what the ecommerce software’s checkout looks like. Are the steps for placing an order clear? Are the products that have been ordered displayed logically? How easy is it to enter customer information? These are important questions to keep in mind.
Depending on your product and target audience, it can be smart to offer discounts. Most software supports this, but the flexibility each platform offers may vary. Determine upfront what you think you are going to need. Examples of discounts include promotions, discount codes (per product or per product group), personal discount codes, bulk discounts, etc.
Reliability is an important factor for online stores. Make sure your ecommerce software supports a review section, for both product and store reviews.
There are delivery costs involved when an order is placed. These should be calculated by the system. See how well the software does this and if it includes enough adjustment options. More comprehensive solutions also include integrations with external delivery companies.
This might not seem important when you are just beginning. But a good bookkeeping program is extremely important for your administration. There are many different bookkeeping programs on the market. Good online store builders are connected to various systems so that your order details are automatically transferred to the bookkeeping program.
Customers appreciate being able to create an account where they can view their orders, invoices and, for example, add articles to wish lists. If this is important to you as well, make sure the system you choose supports this. Also, be sure to include the option of paying as a “guest” (without an account).
Ecommerce software often includes many tools and integrations for marketing. Some examples of these features include Google Analytics, AdWords, affiliate marketing, newsletters, A/B testing, comparison websites, etc. You can read more about advanced marketing features for your online store in this section.
The ability to import products is especially important when you already have an online store and you want to change software or when you have a file containing all your products. Not all online store systems have such a feature and even when they do, the user-friendliness varies immensely among systems. If you are going to work with this feature a lot, test it well first. A good product import feature can save you a great deal of time.