Building an e-commerce website is complicated, and like any construction project, success requires the right materials. Before you ever contact an e-commerce website developer, here are a few of the decisions you need to make if you want to build an e-commerce website.

Merchant Accounts
The last thing you want to do is turn away a paying customer because you aren’t prepared to accept their money. A merchant account is a type of business bank account that can accept payments from debit and credit cards; some accept internet payments, but not all do. When planning an e-commerce website, talk with your bank and arrange for a merchant account that can handle internet payments.  When doing so, you also need to make sure to find out which payment gateways they approve and can work with.  This is one of the biggest mistakes customers make.

Payment Gateways
A payment gateway is another essential. A financial intermediary between your customer and your website, it functions like a brick-and-mortar store’s cash register, handling the necessary details of capturing funds and approving transactions. Ideally, you need one that will get the job done without interrupting the amazing user experience that you’re creating with your clever website design.

If you want the customer to trust you with their credit card information, security is another aspect to consider. For e-commerce, the standard form of security is an encryption protocol called secure sockets layer, commonly referred to as SSL. Every e-commerce site needs its own SSL certificate, which requires a unique IP address, advance registration and a recurring fee. Remember that there are several types of certificates, including ones that offer advanced levels of security.

Website Hosting
A web host provides server space, web services and file maintenance for websites whose owners don’t have their own servers. Basically, they store the pages of your website and make them available to people using the internet. You’ll want to consider price, reliability and technical support services when selecting a web host.

When it comes to websites, architecture refers to how you organize and structure information and how that structure translates visually on various web pages. The trick is to keep things fairly simple so that your customers can find exactly what they want while also providing enough depth to make the sale. A web designer with experience in e-commerce website design is your best ally because they can help you strike the right balance.

Product Information
Seeing is believing, and good images are important tools that help convey the quality of your product. Product descriptions are also crucial. They provide your customers with the facts that sell your product, paint pictures that detail the various applications for what you’re selling and provide Google and other search engines with the text they can index so that your page shows up in search results.  Imagine yourself on Amazon or eBay and you are reading through product descriptions.  Your product descriptions will need to be clear so customers can make a buying decision.

The logistics involved in calculating shipping can be overwhelming. What forms of shipping will you use? Will you offer both domestic and international shipping? What will the cost of shipping one item be? Now, what about orders of multiple items? Setting up a shipping calculations system can be done, but it’s a demanding task that takes time, effort and a whole lot of skill. By answering these questions first, you can convey that information to your website designer.

Design 4 Dot Com understands that e-commerce requires a custom approach. We thrive on providing our clients with e-commerce website designs that can handle today’s needs and tomorrow’s growth. If you’re interested in setting up an e-commerce website, contact us online or call 407-491-5214 today.

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