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Ecommerce web site considerations

Building an ecommerce web site is not something to be undertaken lightly.  The investment required for a properly functioning site is significantly higher for a start.  Cheaper off-the-shelf options don’t always function seamlessly, and each platform has different features.  Whilst we have researched, and selected our favoured ecommerce platform, it’s important to define your requirements before jumping in the deep end. Here are some factors to consider when planning your ecommerce website:

Payment Gateways

Which payment gateway do you want?  If you plan to use DPS, the major payment gateway for sites targeting New Zealand visitors, this will narrow your selection of web platforms. 

Checkout Process

It’s critical to minimise the steps in the checkout process (you lose punters at each successive page in the checkout process).

Currency Displays

Depending on where your market is located, you may wish to display your product in several currencies, but the sale amount may then show up on the shopper’s bank statement as a different amount if your merchant bank account is in a different country (all ecommerce sites require you to have a merchant account with your bank).

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Product Variations

Will you be showing product that has multiple sizes AND colours?  Some product catalogues do not allow colour and size variations.

Freight and Freebies

What combinations of free freight or freebies are you offering? How will the calculations be based e.g. on major carriers: UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL.  Will freight be weight-based, quantity-based, cost-based, per-item-based, or will you offer free shipping or combinations of all of the above.

GST

How will the site handle GST?

User Reviews

Can users leave reviews of products? Is that good or bad?

Transaction Tracking

Customer history – do you want to be able to delve into the records and find a group of customers that meet certain criteria?  Not all platforms allow you such access.

Customs

Customs declarations for posting overseas: you can get the NZPost API Red Click which helps you to print out labels for customs if shipping internationally, but it may require customisation.

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Inventory

Will the site need to integrate with an existing inventory system or do you want a site that offers it? What happens when you run out of a product? If this site is separate from your inventory system, how are you going to reconcile inventory online with inventory in your warehouse, or drop shipping?

Coupons / Discounts

There a specific ways in which carts offer coupons so it’s important to ensure the platform matches the way you want to manage these.

Enewsletters

Do you use Mail Chimp or do you want a platform that has an ecommerce newsletter system built in? Makes sense to have a platform that works with your ecommerce database.

Database

If you have an existing ecommerce site, it’s important to consider that you may or may not be able to bring over your customer database complete with their passwords.  Keeping your customers is critical.

At Alexanders, we will work with you to establish your ecommerce web site requirements and identify a suitable long term solution.   Drop us a line to start a conversation.

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