ecommerce

Ecommerce website considerations

Thinking about an Ecommerce website?

What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce means selling goods over the internet. One of the reasons why ecommerce websites tend to be more complex than other websites is that there are so many details that need to be explained and discussed when building an ecommerce website. Every online business has different needs, so one solution is unlikely to fit all.

Some questions to think about …

  • What are you selling? (eg physical goods, electronic downloads)
  • How many products are you selling?
  • Do you have individual SKU (stock keeping unit) numbers for each unique product including variations of color, size, etc.?
  • Where will you sell? Abroad?
  • Are your products distinct, or do they have options (eg colour/size)?
  • Does one product consist of several others?
  • Will there be accessories? Can one product be substituted for another?
  • Discounts / offers – Is there one price per product or will you charge differently based upon the type of customer? Will there be different prices for different order quantities?
  • What shopping functionality should you offer…
  • do you need to create user accounts
  • track orders
  • local currencies
  • taxes
  • shipping – ideally you want to sell products with a low shipping cost or free. If you plan to sell digital products such as a video or ebook you will not have any shipping costs
  • stock control – Do you need to integrate into any back-end systems such as accounting systems, order processing or stock management?
  • invoices
  • How will you take payment? – Credit card, debit card, Amex, Paypal etc
  • How will items be delivered?
  • What reporting and other functionalities are required?
  • How frequently do you add or remove products from your catalogue – and how often do prices change? Does you wish to perform this maintenance yourself?
  • Will you need the ability to update products and pricing from you own computer?

Hosted products

Popular hosted products include Shopify and EKM (this is a referral link and includes a 28 day free trial).

Pros:

  • You should be able to get up and running quickly with a hosted solution.
  • To keep things simple, this can be a great solution, especially in the early stages of a business.

Cons:

  • Usually a monthly fee
  • Limited customisation

Self hosted

With a self hosted solution, such as WooCommerce (a WordPress plugin), you are responsible for hosting files and setting up a payment processing system.

I have researched a number of different hosted and self-hosted eCommerce solutions which you may find useful.

eCommerce platform