by George Anderson
One thing stands out: the rush to get responsive. With Google's April 2015 algorithm update, mobile responsiveness is now a determining factor in search rankings. For older ecommerce stores whose clientele have started to shop from mobile, this could directly undercut bottom lines. Given the upward trend in mobile usage and consumers purchasing from mobile, for these stores, the answer is a responsive redesign.
Taking a more global view, we see small ecommerce firms with specific niches battling the Amazons of the world. Think of it like a tug of war between online big box stores and online mom-and-pop shops. These small companies had no major ecommerce competition--until the giants started expanding their business. This trend forces niche ecommerce stores to compete harder in every way.
Ecommerce entrepreneurs should think long and hard about their business plan--not just the ecommerce functionality they need at launch, but the kind of functionality they may need when growth takes off. Certain platforms are easy to set up, but they may not have the flexibility to allow critical changes in the future.
For growing ecommerce stores that need a new platform, research is critical. Owners should do their homework and read far beyond the first few pages that come up in Google search. Ecommerce platform forums (and comments on ecommerce platform reviews) are especially telling--though owners should read many posts and reviews to get a good sense of overall user experience for that platform. One or two reviews could give a reader a wildly skewed view of that platform's value and functionality.
If you're going to invest in a tool, its benefit should outweigh its cost. ROI (return on investment) should inform all business decisions, and that's no different for ecommerce tools.
That said, there are no blanket answers with ecommerce tools. What's your market? Who are your competitors? What's your strategy? If you can't answer these questions, you're not ready to purchase an ecommerce tool. That decision will only emerge when a deeply developed business plan meets thorough research into the available tools.