How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform for Web to Print?

The pandemic situation has fueled an increase in e-commerce across the globe. As per Statista, 75% of people consider buying online at least once a month. The rapid rise of eCommerce is driving consumer demand for customized as well as online purchases. 

Even if things return to normal, this trend does not seem to be flattening. This type of situation along with the growing competition is prompting a lot of printers to be a part of the party and begin selling online. 

This isn’t a simple job, particularly if you’re selling customized printed as well as promotional items. In this blog post, we’ll outline the major steps that will help you to select the best e-commerce platform.

eCommerce platforms provide businesses with all the important tools to sell their goods or services online, as well as manage their storefront, marketing, sales, along with operations. 

Building a bespoke e-commerce platform from scratch is an alternative to utilizing third-party platforms, but it is very costly and needs a tech-savvy workforce. 

There are so many e-commerce or print commerce platforms to choose from, each with its own set of advantages as well as features. Due to this reason, at first glance, it may be difficult to figure out which one is best for your company. 

To come across the ideal setup, you’ll need to conduct a lot of research studies. Moving a store with all of its products, features, and consumer data would be costly as well as a time-consuming procedure if you made a quick decision.

About An Ecommerce Platform

An eCommerce platform is known to be a software application that allows online businesses i.e. small or enterprises to effortlessly manage their websites, sales, marketing, and operations. You can think of it as the central hub or Homebase specifically for your business.  

BigCommerce is one of the eCommerce platforms that provide strong features required to run a business. It also involves integrating with standard business tools, allowing companies to centralize operations as well as operate their businesses their way.

Future Of Ecommerce

Currently, on-premise technology is falling more behind with the advancement of eCommerce technologies. Also, open SaaS eCommerce platforms, such as BigCommerce, are advancing.

There has been a significant shift to SaaS as well as headless commerce as companies seek more native user experience (UX) features, product or backend improvements.

With SaaS and headless commerce, brands can come to market much quicker, in an average period of 55 days.

Many of the complexities of operating an online company are removed with SaaS eCommerce systems, like:

  • Product updates 
  • Hosting
  • Security
  • PCI compliance, and 
  • The SaaS platform handles all of the additional responsibilities and tasks that come with running your software. 

Finally, headless commerce is an eCommerce system that gives online retailers more control over their storefront.

Headless commerce can be considered to be the future of eCommerce. In this case, there is decoupling of the shopping cart particularly from the CMS. 

What Does It Imply?

Instead of running your whole website on an eCommerce platform, you can design the experience of your website using a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress. Then, to serve as the cart, you need to plug in an eCommerce shopping cart solution, like BigCommerce.

This particular option allows you to customize and personalize your store even more while being powered by the best eCommerce platform.

Let’s have a look at the important steps that will help you to come across the best e-commerce platform:

  1. Choose an open-source or commercial platform.
  2. Decide the kind of hosting you need.
  3. Consider evaluating the ease of navigation. 
  4. Pay attention to any required maintenance.
  5. Evaluate the storefront design choices of a platform. 
  6. Determine a platform’s product configuration and other settings capabilities.
  7. Have a look into the available web to print integration options. 

Choose A Platform i.e. Commercial Or Open-Source 

If your business lacks a tech-savvy workforce, commercial e-commerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce should be considered. 

These SaaS (software-as-a-service) e-commerce platform providers enable businesses to build online storefronts without coding, allowing them to quickly enter the market. They are in charge of keeping the system up to date as well as hosting the apps. 

The cost is based on the subscription level you choose along with the features you need.

If you want a mid-level solution with a high level of flexibility, open-source platforms like WooCommerce can be the way to go. WooCommerce was designed for integrating with WordPress. 

Small or medium-sized businesses that can support an online shop can benefit from this approach. Many companies are drawn to open-source e-commerce platforms since they do not need to pay for subscriptions. 

These solutions, however, require extra investment as well as maintenance costs. SaaS platforms are considerably less expensive than open-source alternatives once development as well as hosting expenses are taken into account.

Open-source e-commerce systems such as Magento or Drupal are better suited to large businesses with IT resources. These platforms provide a wide range of features for building sophisticated storefronts while maintaining full control. 

Small and medium-sized companies may find it too costly to develop the integrations required to successfully utilize these platforms. 

Solutions such as Shopify Plus or Magento 2 Commerce provide businesses with extremely diverse yet strong feature sets and propositions. This is mostly applicable to those companies with high-growth as well as high-volume brands.

Consider Which Hosting Solution Is Best For Your Needs

Order information, customer data, and different online shop content need to be stored someplace.

You would be able to store your data in one of three ways:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) hosting, which a type of cloud-based is hosting;
  • On-premise or self-hosted;
  • Other cloud-based hosting options

SaaS cloud-based eCommerce platforms contribute to providing hosting for companies specifically through third-party services such as Amazon Web Services. 

These systems are less expensive as well as do not need any maintenance or upgrades from the business’s end. The platform can effectively handle data storage for your online storefront. 

While this option has many advantages, the company will have to pay a licensing fee in addition to the hosting costs. You’ll also have less control over the hosting operations. 

If you want to use a self-hosted e-commerce platform, you’ll need your physical server, which your in-house or outsourced IT operations experts will need to set up, manage, as well as update regularly. 

That server would also be in charge of your data. Self-hosted solutions are more costly, but you have greater freedom in terms of customization. You will be responsible for maintaining your server along with the backup procedure if you select the self-hosted option.

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), which allows you to buy cloud resources on-demand and utilize them in self-service mode, and Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which is often used by developers to maintain applications, are two more cloud-based hosting solutions. 

Note: If your business has seasonal demand surges, cloud hosting can be the best option. Your server space will expand or contract based on your requirements, ensuring that you do not overspend.

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Consider Evaluating the Navigation Ease 

Pay close attention to how simple it is for your employees to navigate the platform before making a final choice. 

Some e-commerce solutions seem to be complicated and need more effort to understand how they operate. Working with the system can be made even simpler with simple navigation along with a comprehensible interface.

You might need to set up your store for marketing and analytics as you work with a platform. Some e-commerce systems, such as Shopify, were built especially for selling online and come with everything you’ll need in terms of marketing, analytics, and upselling. 

You may also focus on integrating custom applications to add other functions like email marketing. Businesses can also provide open-source solutions to expand their store’s capabilities with paid or free extensions.

Keep an Eye Out For Any Required Maintenance

Shopify and other SaaS platforms, unlike open-source e-commerce solutions such as Magento or WooCommerce, offer 24/7 multichannel support to keep your store running smoothly. 

If you need continuing maintenance as well as support, consider e-commerce solutions with these features and ask about obtaining help for an extra fee. 

Questions about open-source platforms like WooCommerce or Drupal are typically answered on a public support forum. 

The comprehensive documentation and support forum can assist you to address any problems you may have if you are a tech-savvy user or your development team is capable of maintaining the store.

Evaluate the Storefront Design Options of a Platform

It’s critical to think about usability when you plan as well as design your online store. This metric tends to have a direct impact on conversion rates. You can focus on utilizing pre-built e-commerce templates for stores frequently used in the printing business. 

All of these templates play a major role in making the interface more user-friendly. You can, of course, develop it yourself, but you’ll need a strong grasp of UX design as well as a reasonably flexible e-commerce system that can be fine-tuned.

You might only have a vague idea about your future store design, or you may already have a clear image in your head. To accommodate every sort of storefront, an e-commerce platform should offer numerous design choices. 

Consider platforms that provide pre-built e-commerce shop designs if you don’t have IT resources specifically for web development. Your business can eliminate web design along with the development cost by utilizing a theme. 

It’s also critical to optimize your storefront’s content so that it’s accessible on both desktops as well as mobile devices. A responsive design is required to offer the best possible user experience as more consumers buy online from their phones.

Note: Is it possible to have automatic upgrades for themes as well as frameworks on the platform? This choice will enable your business to stay updated with contemporary technologies. 

Find out How Capable a Platform Is in Configuring Products and Other Settings

You can create products, configure options, as well as customize other settings in the same manner as any other e-commerce platform. 

However, there are some distinctions. Make sure your platform possesses the following capabilities for setting up products to give customers all the information they need. It is something that helps to significantly boost your brand’s credibility:

  • Filling in product descriptions;
  • Adding photos and deciding on pricing;
  • Adding inventory and shipment details;
  • Incorporating a product line to collections that will cater to the needs of targeted audiences;
  • Upselling as well as cross-selling capabilities.

Determine whether or not the following parameters are offered in addition to the product configuration options:

  • Developing key pages (about page, FAQ, contact information, as well as policy pages);
  • Setting up shipping (shipping zones and prices);
  • Organizing payment gateways along with payouts;
  • Setting up taxes;
  • Preparing a store to launch (e.g. customizing email notifications and adding a custom domain).

Note: How many of the product variants are possible to customize? Some of the platforms such as Shopify, only provide the three choices included in the subscription (e.g. size, color, shape). You may have to pay an extra charge to extend these variants. 

Find Out the Available Options for the Web to Print Integration

Web to print integration is one of the last stages in the process of setting up an online storefront that allows customers to customize their purchases. 

Due to the numerous intricacies of the web to print, e-commerce systems that operate well with it should be considered. A change of theme, for example, may render the integration useless.

If your online shop has a lot of additional integrations, you could run into issues. Some systems possess several plugins. 

Sometimes, third-party developers’ plugins can cause compatibility problems. In this case, the plugins are unable to interact with one another, potentially causing the store as well as web to print solution to malfunction. 

To prevent these issues, make sure the platform you select supports data exchange with external plugins and can transmit information about a product and its options. 

The editor should also be able to provide you with ready-to-use designs as well as information about the choices you’ve selected. 

Final Verdict

There are many e-commerce systems available, each with its own set of advantages as well as options. 

Begin your search for the ideal platform by considering the specifics of your business.

Consider SaaS solutions such as BigCommerce or Shopify if you’re a small or medium-sized business without IT skills that possess specialization in selling personalized mugs or wedding photo albums. You have a high possibility of getting to market fast and easily.

A solution such as WooCommerce would suffice if you have a medium or small-sized company with access to IT resources.

If you require a more sophisticated and customized e-commerce solution – for example, you sell digital marketing goods for enterprise and want to improve your online shop – consider Shopify Plus, Magento, or Drupal. 

Your choice now could have an impact on your company’s future. Making the correct decision will help you not only increase your efficiency and revenue but also create a strong, ever-growing base of devoted customers. 

If you have any questions regarding selecting an e-commerce platform for your web to print shop, web to print connection, or anything else, you can consider asking those from a professional service provider. 

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