Selling products online requires a very different setup from the run-of-the-mill blogging website. Let’s look at what you will need to take into consideration when setting up an eCommerce site and help to explain why they cost more to design. Let me tell you what we are not going to cover in this report. We are not assuming that an eCommerce site is a single web page with a few PayPal button codes added onto it.
The PayPal buttons are great and work really well for those selling a small number of items, but we are taking eCommerce to the next level and giving the consumer greater on-line shopping experience. Most modern eCommerce sites are software.
They have a user interface, management settings, store data in a database and follow a work-flow of procedures. We are going to touch on a few of these areas. The Basics An eCommerce website can be thought of as a drama with actors doing it has scenes. The primary actors in an eCommerce site are:
* The Customer – purchases products
* The Website Owner – ships purchased products & have paid
* The eCommerce Program – the interface between all of the actors
* The Payment Gateway – manages payment arrangements (more on this later)
* The Merchant/Business Bank Account – Site owner’s business bank accounts (more on this later) The main Purchasing procedure of an eCommerce site (‘the drama’) occurs as follows:
1. A customer browses product catalog
2. The client adds a product to the basket
3. Customer purchases merchandise and enter the check-out process
4. eCommerce Application contacts a Payment Gateway
6. Customer securely enters payment and shipping information
7. Payment Gateway contacts Website Owners’ Merchant Bank Account
8. Merchant Bank Account procedures payment transaction and returns control to Payment Gateway
9. Payment Gateway yields Customer to eCommerce Program
10. eCommerce Application notifies Customer of successful (or failed) payment
11. ECommerce Program informs Website Owner of buy
12. Website Owner ships merchandise to Client, Of course, there’s a good deal more detail happening in every step, but hopefully you get the general idea that setting up an eCommerce application is a tad more complex than your regular blog-style site.
Where Do You Begin? Sounds absurd right, but the very first step you will need to do is consider the kinds of things you are going to be selling on-line. Are these products? , i.e. physical items which require posting and packaging or services offered on your own or another supplier e.g. Professional Yak Grooming.
How may products or kinds of services are you going to provide? Local or International? Are some seasonal? Have you got a restricted stock level for certain items? Do you intend to use special offers & discounts? Do you like yaks? This contributes to payment and customer questions. Who are your clients? Where are they? How are they going to cover; credit card, cheque, PayPal? Which bank accounts will I want to set up?
And then there are the support questions. How do you manage returned goods? How can you refund payments? How do you handle complaints? Having a consider the services and products you’re likely to offer is essential since the first thing a web designer will ask you once you’re asking a quotation is”How many things are you selling and to whom?” The reason is of course costs and time.
Selling 50 products to a UK only client base with PayPal requires a very different setup and hence costs, to selling 1000+ products globally and accepting credit card payments. Let’s look closer at a number of the significant eCommerce application areas. The eCommerce Program Basically, an eCommerce application is a bespoke Content Management System (CMS). So in addition to updating blogs and posts, it specializes in upgrading products and services and encouraging trade functions.
Like any CMS, the program splits the eCommerce site into two key parts; the front-end or shop-front where the client can browse and purchase goods and the backend where you log in to a government dashboard and manage the web site options, for example, product catalog.
The Product Catalogue This will probably be your main concern and is fundamental to any eCommerce site design. The product catalog is where all of your goods-for-sale data resides. The item name, description, price, stock level, pictures, etc. are all stored in here.
We occasionally get people asking which documents their products are saved in and they get in a little tizzy when they can not locate them on the server. Normally, product catalogs are kept in a database, but do not worry – you do not need to learn how to use a database.
The eCommerce program does that for you through the product catalog interface at the Administration Dashboard. Being able to handle yourself is vital, otherwise, you will be going back and forward to the web developer and also the prices will rack up.
Luckily, the eCommerce software that we use, Magento and WordPress e-Commerce, once installed, allows you to handle your own product catalog from inside the web browser. The Magento product catalog has innovative options and allows for things like including discount codes, customer testimonials, product videos, etc., whereas the WordPress e-Commerce catalog provides a simpler solution while still covering the crucial requirements you will want to sell things on-line. So how do you go about updating and entering all this product information?