Choosing a Website Solution
- What you need to have a successful online store
- Considering the options that are available
- Evaluating and Finding providers
Success as an internet retailer hinges on your decisions in the beginning, especially your choice of a Website provider. Your choice effects everything from advertising and merchandising to ordering, Customer experience, and the bottom line. To achieve success, make sure to choose a reliable Web Solution that offers the features and services you need now and can accommodate the needs of a growing business in the future.
In this section, we will explain how to gauge your e-commerce needs and choose an appropriate Website Solution
Gauging Your Needs
Your e-commerce solution, also known as an e-commerce platform or shopping cart software, should fit your business needs, not the other way around. To gauge a general assessment of your business needs, consider your products, customers, and yourself:
- Products: What do you need to successfully merchandise/present your products to customers? For example, if you’re selling T-shirts that come in different sizes and colors, you’ll want a platform the offers product options, multiple product photos, and an inventory system that can track how many shirts you have in stock for each size and color.
- Customers: Considerably how your customers spend time online, how they are likely to find what you’re selling, and what may entice them to buy. Social media tools and email marketing campaign may help draw customers to your online store, while coupons and discounts may entice them to order your product.
- Yourself: Consider options that will make your life easier. For example, automatic tax and shipping calculation settings would be useful, as would a customer relationship management system to help easily answer customer questions.
Make a Features List
Now that you have a general idea of what you need, it is time to consider specific features, such as merchandising options, one page checkout, and social media integrations. To things ongoing, make a wish list of features and tools that you’ll need to succeed. The following sections will help give you some ideas of these essential features. Visit your favorite e-commerce sites for inspiration on features they use. Make a list of the most essential features you like and arranged in your list with the most important items at the top.
Most shopping carts allow you to list your products with photos, prices, and images. After that, however several differences come into play. Check with potential website solution to see if they offer the following:
- Product Options and Merchandising: make sure you can provide multiple photos of products, list various sizes and color options, and let the customers zoom in on a product.
- Batch order processing: this feature allows you to process multiple orders at once, as opposed to painfully going through orders one at a time.
- drop shipping updates: with drop shipping updates, orders are transferred to your drop shipper to be processed and the shipped directly to your customer
- One-page checkout: Streamline checkout experience shortens the purchase process and reduces the rate of a ab carts
- Secure order processing: Hosted solutions should be (PCI ) payment card industry certified to protect your customers sensitive information and your liability. If a Website Solution says it’s PCI certified, ask them for Visa’s list of certified providers or access the list that USA.Visa.com/download//CISP-list-of-PCIDSS-compliant-service-providers. PDF.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) : CRM tools can route incoming messages to designated department and improve efficiency in responding to these messages.
- Customer support: Make sure, if you can, work with a company that has 24×7 access via Phone, email, and live chat. It is always nice to have someone available to help you at any hour.
To drive traffic to your store, you must use marketing for your store and marketing for the products you sell. Your e-commerce solution Website Provider can help by supporting the following features:
- Newsletters: keep your customers updated on what’s going on with your store with news, sales, and promotions.
- SEO Features: Most online purchases begin with an online search, so make sure your Website Solution offers as many search engine optimization tools as possible to make your mark on Google, Yahoo!, And Bing.
- Coupons or discounts: coupons or discounts are great ways to attract customers to purchase. Find a solution with strong, built in system for creating coupon codes, free shipping office, and other promotions for your customers.
- Product reviews: turn your customers into high-powered sales team by giving them the ability to post product reviews directly onto your site.
- Gift registries and wish list: these are great ways to help customers get what they want while expanding your customer base with their friends and family.
Social and Mobile Commerce
Social media venues, including Facebook and Twitter, and mobile devices, including iPhone and Android, enable users to shop on the go, offer advice on what to buy, and sing the praises of their favorite brands and products. To be successful, you need to tap into this huge virtual marketplace.
To stay ahead of the mobile and social curve, look for an e-commerce solution Website Solutionthat offers the features:
- Facebook store: you need to have your products available wherever people ion online, and more and more people are available. Look for a Website Solutionthat allows you to easily sell your products on Facebook without having to go because of my location.
- YouTube videos: product demonstration videos are very effective sales tools. Some provided allowed you to embed videos for me to Goodwill to your product pages.
- Social media integration: as your social media-based girls, you’ll be posting more messages to your channels. See if your Website Solution offers a way to post to Facebook and Twitter directly from your stores administrative area.
- Mobile optimized storefront: to serve customers on the go make sure your Website Solution offers a mobile optimized version of your online store.
Customers buy from stores that look credible, so make sure your Website Solution offers free design templates Along with access to the design code, so that you can customize you the design as your needs become more sophisticated.
Recognizing Platform Types
The next step on your journey to picking the perfect, web solution is to decide on the type of platform to use. The list of features you’ve already built, along with your technological expertise, help guide your decision among the three options: hosted, license, and open-source solutions. In the following sections, we reveal pros and cons of each type.
A host of shopping cart is a non-turnkey solution, enabling those without a computer science degree to launch and manage their own on my door. For a monthly fee, you can get your own secure shopping site and a collection of tools and templates to help you design your store, list products for sale, and take orders. Providers also provides free software updates and customer support.
Drawbacks to a hosted solution are the lack of complete control over your stores appearance the functionality and the cost involved, but if the other option is to pay a professional developer to build a customer, a hosted solutions is likely to be more affordable
With a license solution, You purchase a license to download software on a specific computer. It’s a good option if you want control over the appearance and functionality of your store, but you don’t want to start from scratch
license solutions have two main drawbacks, if you want to go to the store, need a certain degree of Nicole expertise to edit the source code. In addition, you’re using restricted to working on the computer the software is license, which limits your ability to operate your store for multiple locations.
An open source platform is a great option for those who want a custom store and have the technical know-how to build one from scratch. You have control over how did your store looks and functions, the features you want, and how ministered to processes or form.
Avoid the open-source option if you don’t have The technical expertise the code and build websites or the money to pay developer to do it for you. Drawback support and software update
Shopping For a Provider
Now that you know what you’re looking for the provider, you’re ready to start shopping. Take the following steps
- Search online for keywords such as “eCommerce software,””shopping cart software,” and “ecommerce solutions”
- The most popular options are a great place to start.
- Browse the resulting websites, comparing the list of features each Website Solution offers to your features wish list.
- Note the providers that offer most of the most-important features on your list.
- Compare pricing plans for the different providers and make note the price of each.
- Do they charge monthly? Are transaction fees involved? Do additional features and customer support cost extra? While price may not be most important, it definitely impacts your bottom line.
- Call each Website Solution on your list of remaining candidates and ask why you should choose them as opposed to other provider.
- Ask any additional questions you may have.
Try before you buy. Most hosting providers offer a free trial period, or you can request a free trial