In many ways, the internet is a blessing for small business owners and entrepreneurs with dreams of owning their own company. Thanks to the power of e-commerce, many businesses are able to operate with just a website and an online store.
Before you dive headlong into signing up for an e-commerce solution, there’s something you need to know: Not all online store solutions are created equal. Here are the things every organization should look for when choosing an e-commerce platform.
Look Out for Hidden Fees
One of the biggest pitfalls small business owners run into in the e-commerce world is finding a online store solution provider who seems affordable, only to be slapped with hidden fees and increased charges once the contract is signed. Just as one example: If you’ve considered signing up for Spark Pay, you know that the service provides a fairly high fee to use their services.
Unless you read all the fine print, you may not know that they also charge an additional percentage fee on top of that to “allow” third party processors to process payments through their platform. When there are other platforms that charge much less (or even don’t charge at all, like the open source WooCommerce from WordPress), there’s no reason to pay such high amounts for an online store.
Choose Options That Are Trusted by Other Organizations
One of the best ways to tell if you can trust an online store platform is how many other businesses use it, and what they have to say about it.
For example, the open source e-commerce platform Magento is owned and operated by eBay, and is currently one of the widely used e-commerce solution in the world. It’s used by such large conglomerates as Samsung, Nestle, Nike, and Men’s Health, and by hundreds or thousands of local small businesses. The sheer range of organizations that use Magento alone is an indication of how versatile and trustworthy a platform it is.
Hosted or Self-Hosted?
Perhaps the biggest decision businesses need to make is whether or not to use a self-hosted e-commerce platform, or sign up for a managed service with a provider. Both options have their advantages and limitations.
While self-hosted platforms require business owners to manage them themselves, they also have a greater range of functions and are more adaptable to a specific business’s needs.
Hosted platforms, on the other hand, take much of the operational burden off of the user, but the functions they can perform are limited by the framework the service provider uses. As we mentioned above, hosted online store solutions often come with service charges and hidden additional fees that won’t be encountered if you use a self-hosted platform.
As important as finding an online store solution for your business is, it’s also too important of a decision to rush. Before you make a decision for your online store solution, study your options as thoroughly as possible, and take the time to decide what online store features your business really needs, and which ones it can leave behind.
Want more great financial and online merchant account tips for small businesses? Contact Leap Payments today at (800) 993-6300.
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