Thinking of Going Ecommerce? What You Need to Know

07/12/2015 by Edirex

Whether you are starting up a new business, or already have an established one, ecommerce is an interesting avenue to explore. There are many options available, depending on your budget and needs. Ecommerce website design is an intricate process. It is important to get it right by finding a vendor with the education and the experience to guide you down the correct path from the onset. An e-store isn’t something you want to have to overhaul; having to make big changes with a new vendor could lose you customer loyalty and interrupt your operation needlessly.

Basic ecommerce Website - The site allows purchase of only one item at a time, and is processed via email in the same manner as you would transact a telephone order. Obviously, this type of software would be effective for a company selling only a few products, or a small selection of services.

Online Store Website - This type of site streamlines the experience, by providing a shopping cart function with the capability of multiple items being purchased in a single checkout process. An online store should also have a tracking and order processing system.

Desirable Ecommerce Features

Stored Shopping Cart - When a customer does not complete their order (for whatever reason), the order stays intact so they do not have to recreate it when they sign in again. Some may also generate a reminder email to encourage the transaction.

Search Capability - Allows shoppers to locate just the product they are looking for, because statistics show that customers don’t usually browse - time is valuable!

Sales Tax Status - The shopper’s location, as well as yours, may affect whether or not sales tax must be collected. This isn’t something you want to guess, unless you want to bring the IRS to your door. It’s complicated, so this automated feature is important.

Shipping Calculator - It is imperative to give the customer choices on how quickly they want the item delivered, and what the various options are going to cost them. Shipping costs can have a strong bearing on whether or not the purchase is completed.

Discount Codes - The online discount ‘code’ is used the same as a physical coupon would be; except in this case the customer enters a special word or number into the appropriate box. This also allows you to track the success of certain of your marketing campaigns.

Choosing Your Developer

Be sure the vendor you are selecting actually has the capabilities to build a successful ecommerce store for your company. Ask for reference contacts, not just visual samples of websites they may have created.

Do they comprehend your company’s products and services, and can they connect the site to your database of clients and inventory? Will they be hosting the site, and if so, what is their uptime guarantee - and do they have a disaster recovery system in place?

What is their support method, and which hours are they available (are they the same as your business hours)? Is there a per-call service fee? Is there a specific timeframe within which the site must be completed, and is the completion of site building based upon number of days from onset or satisfaction?