Business Miscellaneous Technology

How to Choose the Right Tool Stack for Your Online Business in 2019

Entrepreneurship is the essential part of business development, and it drives societies forward. Almost all of the big multinational corporations that dominate the market today, like Amazon and Alibaba, started out as simple online business ventures. 

In 2014, 452,835 companies were founded, and according to SSRN, first-time owners have an 18 percent chance of success, so it might be a bit counterintuitive to jump into an online business in the current climate, but it shouldn’t. Another study, done by the Indiana Small Business Development Center, on the subject of startups found that: 

  • 46 percent of businesses fail due to incompetence
  • 30 percent due to a lack of managerial experience
  • 11 percent because the owners lacked the know-how
Copyright: Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

All of the above can be avoided if you plan right and focus on execution. If your business venture involves opening up an online store, then this article is perfect for you, so keep on reading. We are going to address the most important questions and topics when it comes to choosing the right tool stack for your online business. It will take time, strategy, know-how and a very good web-design, but it will be worth it. Moreover, always remember the quote from Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon:

“If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word-of-mouth is so very, very powerful.”

Speed and Performance

How can you create the best buyer’s experience? What is your target audience? Think about the people that will buy from your online store and use your website, before you start building it. You must be prepared to fulfil the preferences of your target group and do some due diligence on the subject. 

Every segment of your online store should be well-designed and functional because the buyer’s experience is the only one that matters. Your customers are not going to waste time on a laggy website that doesn’t provide them with a good support system.

Organise every item into categories, and keep them clean and simple. Designing a high-quality navigation system for any website is crucial, but for an online store, it is the central pillar. The menu should be straightforward, intuitive and functional to help customers with item and content searches. Don’t reinvent the wheel, but instead, use web conventions, a user-friendly language, and have consistent primary navigation. Never forget to link the logo to the main page, and make sure everything is responsive before you launch it!

Speed is the other crucial issue when it comes to user experience. To ensure a 99.9 percent uptime and substantial WordPress optimisation, you should choose a high-quality web-hosting provider. Canspace, for example, is a popular choice for e-commerce and web building because it offers free applications like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, advanced SEO tools and many other features that provide speed and security.

Use Open-Source Technologies

This is technical, as much as it is a legal issue, but at the end of the day, open-source technologies are worth it because you can use them for free. When it comes to e-commerce businesses, the most popular open-source software solutions are:

  • Magento Open Source – you can create landing pages, content, manage shipping and generate reports. Magento uses a lot of add-ons and extensions, some of them free, and others come up to $5,000 per extension. A note of importance, if you’re not an experienced coder or you don’t have a coding background, Magneto might not be the best option for you.
  • OpenCart – functions similarly as Magento, and it features a very intuitive and simple administrative dashboard. However, the free version is not intended for big online stores.

Other notable open source technologies you can use are osCommerce, PrestaShop, Spree Commerce and WooCommerce. Just remember to check the licence, the features and the scalability potential of the platform itself.

Shipping and Payment

Copyright: Photo by Vítor Santos on Unsplash

There are a lot of technical aspects to an online store, but other than the ones we mentioned above, they include shipping, payment and support. The easiest way to deal with shipments is using shipping software. Find software that provides automated management of outgoing shipments, shipping labels and tracking information.

The next thing on the list is the payment gateway software that allows you to accept credit card payments from buyers online. There are hundreds of options on the market to choose from per your requirements. However, the most popular payment gateway softwares are PayPal, Venmo, Stripe Billing, Amazon Pay, Authorize.Net, Digital River MyCommerce, WePay and a lot more. If you want to use an open source, you can check out Zuora, OpenACH, the Kill Bill plug-in and others.

Furthermore, don’t forget to put up a high-quality support system for your customers. If they need help or information with a package, or if they want to return an item, you should have a strategy and a system in place!

About the author

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Sam Hoffman

Sam Hoffman is a business and marketing consultant who helps digital businesses reach their exact audience. Sam is passionate about optimization, web hosting and analytics. His current focus is helping decision-makers design their perfect business tools. He frequently writes about the latest advancements in the tech industry.