Consumers spent over $453 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16% increase over $391 billion in 2016. All told, e-commerce represented nearly half of all retail sales growth in 2017 (versus 41.6% in 2016). Innovative web-focused startups grew fastest. The 34 Top 500 retailers that launched between 2012 and 2016 collectively grew their online sales by 49% in 2017. Many owed their success to a strong web presence. If you’re running a retail e-business, there are certain things you need to consider when choosing a web host.
Go with a Reputable Web Host
A reputable and reliable web hosting company will ensure that your online retail business stays up and running. They will perform regular backups of your data to a secure and remote server should you suffer problems like a system crash or security breach. The last thing you want is to lose precious customer data. A website that’s down is akin to a closed sign on your business. Everything is at a standstill. No product moves. You lose money. E-commerce sites need to be open 24/7. Back in 2013, Amazon lost $66,240 per minute when their site went down for over 30 minutes. To make matters worse, websites that are down for any length of time typically suffer a drop in their search rankings.
Go with the Host that Fits Your Business
Many small businesses opt for shared hosting to save money. The upside of this is that you pay less for this type of hosting. The downside is you risk slow website response times, which can be a turnoff to customers—especially impulse buyers. Better to go with a Virtual Private Server (VPS). It costs a bit more but provides faster, higher quality web performance for a better customer experience. And don’t skimp on bandwidth, especially if you plan to expand your e-business. You don’t want to be locked into a narrow bandwidth and pay big fees to expand later. The same holds true for newbie hosts who have yet to suffer their growing pains. Many won’t be able to manage your account with any degree of competence. So go with a host that’s been around for a while. Signing up with a newbie who draws you in with a low price can be bad for business. You may end up with downtime, slow page loads, lost revenue, and poor search rankings.
Go with the Best Value, Not Lowest Price
As a new e-business startup with a limited budget, it’s often tempting to go with the bargain host. Doing so has its drawbacks, for going cheap often gets you slow servers, poor customer service, constant downtime, and an association with unprofessional websites.
Go with Good Security and Customer Support
Security breaches can happen to any size e-business. Make sure your web hosting company can provide a Secure Sockets Layer to safeguard your customer’s personal information. You want to provide customers with safe transactions and it falls on the web hosting company to handle this. As for customer support, you should be able to find a fast, simple way to contact them via email, online chat, or 24/7-phone support.