Thinking of buying an e-commerce Website?
Posted on 10 June 2015
Think ‘integrated web solution’
In this modern age, e-commerce is undeniably the way forward. By selling your products online you have access to a huge marketplace while minimising your overheads. It’s win-win!
The very best e-commerce sites work intelligently with accounts and stock systems to provide an integrated web solution. This makes the buying process straightforward for the customer and organised for you.
So, in order to make your online business as popular and profitable as possible, what do you need to think about when buying your website?
It’s important to make some fundamental decisions before even contemplating the exciting world of website platform integration and custom website applications.
• Who’s going to visit your website?
Are you focussing on business to business only, retail, or a bit of both? What kind of devices will people use to view your website – does it need to be smartphone-friendly, for example?
• How do you want your website to look?
Think about using your logo, high quality pictures of products, colour schemes and visual design. The way your website looks will have a big impact on what customers think about your business.
• What pages do you want to feature?
Do you want a ‘contact us’ page? ‘Meet the team’? ‘About us’? These choices are all up to you and will create the structure of your website.
With the basics decided, you can begin sketching in the details.
• Do you want dynamic elements?
This leads on from basic aesthetics. Consider scrolling banners for offers, hover-over product options and videos, which all encourage engagement with your website, making it more interesting to browse.
• Have you thought about customer interaction and support?
Encouraging customers to engage with your website is the path to closing sales and, when they get to the point of purchase, it needs to be as straightforward as possible.
• Would a customer account area, with order history, be beneficial? How about a breadcrumb trail of recently viewed products, alternative options and ‘frequently bought together’ items?
• If you’ve got Facebook and Twitter accounts, you could link to them here, encouraging customers to keep in touch. You can also think about offering ‘live chat’ customer services and an e-messaging system to make contacting your team quick and easy.
• Who’ll take care of the admin?
Blogs are a great way of sharing ideas and engaging with your customers. If you decide that you want a blog, who will be responsible for the content and when?
This is the whole reason for your website and there are exciting possibilities for custom website applications specific to your business and existing accounts system.
• How will customers find what they’re looking for?
Do they need to be able to search by product code, title or description? What about the manufacturer’s name or how the product is used?
• What will your customers pay?
You need to decide what you’re going to charge on top of the basic product price. Will you charge for shipping and does the value need to be variable depending on destination, for example? Do you want to be able to support complex pricing such as BOGOF deals?
• How will you take their money?
You have options here for payments by account or credit card. Then you need to select a provider such as SagePay, Worldpay or Paypal, which will have an associated cost. If your website will be used around the world, do you want to be able take payments in different currencies? Will your customers register to your website or enter their full details for every new purchase?
This is the really clever part of any e-commerce website.
• What will come out of your accounts to your website?
By integrating your stock system with your website, you can display accurate stock levels to customers and inform them how long an item might take to arrive.
You can also keep track of customer details so that they can select delivery addresses from past orders and view their sales history.
Think about other possibilities, too. For example, do you want to send automatic order despatch notifications via email?
• What will go from your website into your accounts?
The obvious answer is payments, but there are options here. Will credit card payment details go into a sales ledger, for example?
Are you planning on creating a new customer in your accounts for everyone who registers online or will all orders go into a single web sales account?
Find out more
At Enhanced, we are experienced in creating custom website integration solutions that work seamlessly alongside existing accounts systems. We take into account all of the above and more, to deliver highly functional, bespoke e-commerce websites.
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