What is the best ecommerce platform for VAR business? Well, it all depends on your business requirements. As the need of small, medium and large size VARs varies, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all ecommerce solution. For example a simple, small store will have different ecommerce needs as compared to one that is used to run a large scale business. Nevertheless, certain things have to be kept in mind before you buy an ecommerce solution to take your business online.
The following factors need to be taken into consideration when opting for an ecommerce platform.
Self-Hosted or Cloud-based Ecommerce Platform
VARs, in most cases, prefer the cloud-based ecommerce platformsince it is easier to manage. With a self-hosted platform, you will require your own server to install the software. Right from installation of expensive hardware to maintenance, you will responsible for everything. Maintenance difficulties as well as ensuring consumer’s data security are also a cause for concern. In short, more maintenance and responsibility are a given for VARs using self-hosted platform.
On the other hand, users of cloud based ecommerce softwarefor small businessand large business VARS are not required to install and run the software application on their own computers. It is done at the vendor’s end. The vendor who is providing the cloud service is wholly responsible for maintenance and software upgrades.
Cloud users have to invest minimally in computing equipment and human resources. So starting an online business with a cloud-based ecommerce platform is affordable as compared to self-hosted ecommerce solution where huge investments are required.
Physical or Digital Products
Another factor to be considered while choosing ecommerce platform is the type of products you are selling. Some ecommerce platforms like ‘Easy Digital Downloads’ are specifically designed for digital products like eBooks, pictures & photos, videos, online courses and Artwork. Purchasing non-physical products involves downloading products after paying the required amount online. In case, your ecommerce storeis dealing with physical products, purchasing a platform that enable you to keep track of inventory is a must. This means choosing an ecommerce platform that comes with a built-in inventory management software is recommended.
Number of Products
The inventory size is never fixed and is likely to increase with evolving business needs. There are certain ecommerce platforms that do not support inventory size (number of products) beyond a certain limit. Moreover each product can have different versions in terms of size, color and material. So the ecommerce platform you choose should also support different variations of the same product.
Small businesses can go for an ecommerce solution that limits the stock size. When the inventory size is huge, the ecommerce platform needs to have an effective search feature’, which ensures that visitors are able to quickly find the product that they are looking for.
Does the Platform Support 3rd Party Payment Processors?
Since you are selling online it is obvious that you will accept payments online. Of course, it is not possible for an ecommerce platform to support all third party payment processors. However, the ecommerce solution should support major third party payment processors so that you get a choice to process payments online. Many ecommerce solutions do not have any arrangement to support online payment systems. Such ecommerce platforms will require add-ons and plug-ins which enables them to connect to payment gateways.
Is the Ecommerce Platform Scalable?
Scalability is a very important factor in deciding an ecommerce solution. For a fast growing organization, it is very important to use an ecommerce platform that has the ability to scale rapidly. A highly scalable platform ensures that the ecommerce site is able to expand as your business grows. An unscalable ecommerce platform is sure to hinder the growth potential of any organization that plans to grow and scale their business. A cloud based ecommerce platform is easily scalable to handle huge volumes of transaction.
Ease of Integration
As your VAR business grows, you will be required to enhance the functionality of ecommerce platform. This will mean integrating the ecommerce solution with various tools so as to match with your business requirements. For instance, your ecommerce platform should integrate with inventory apps and plug-ins so that it become easier to manage inventory. Integration with third party CRM and accounting systems is many times necessary for consistent data management. So the integration capability of ecommerce platform is important to empower your online shop with a wide range of features.
On this whole when it comes to ecommerce platform for your VAR business, choose one that is adaptive to your changing needs. So analyze your unique business requirements and accordingly choose one that best fits your needs.