You’ve completed the goals and budget questionnaire, and now you’re ready for part two of RGB’s Guide to eCommerce Website Design. Let’s get to it.
Before we can get to our favorite part of the eCommerce website process, the web design, we need to take the time to help you determine how to power your website. To do so you will need to decide on the right eCommerce platform based on your online business needs.
What is an eCommerce Platform?
Great question! An eCommerce platform can be defined as the software that supports the effectiveness of your online business. Sometimes referred to simply as your shop, you will use the platform to manage everything from website updates to sales and operations.
There are many eCommerce platform options out there, which makes choosing the right one a little difficult, but very important.
To host or not to host, that is the question
Discover which type of hosting you will require for your website to quickly narrow down your options.
Hosted Platforms (SaaS)
With a hosted platform you pay (usually monthly) for access to the software that allows your site to function including:
- Product updates
Self-Hosted eCommerce Platforms
Hosting your eCommerce website yourself gives you more options, but also more responsibility. All of the responsibilities that the hosted platforms were handling are now yours. The benefit to this option is you have control of what happens to your website and when. Large platforms may not be able to get to those product updates as quickly as you like.
A self-hosted eCommerce Platform can be a more expensive option, but if you find a local web hosting company you can trust the benefits will be worth it. Ask your web design company if they provide hosting options. While it may cost a little more than hosting with larger companies, the advantages can more than make up for it.
- Product updates performed quickly
- Security from a local web hosting company means accountability
- If you have any issues about hosting, you can easily
Be aware that certain platforms, such as Shopify, require that you host with them.
What are my options if I don’t want to use an eCommerce Platform?
Building an completely custom eCommerce website an option, but not for most. A custom eCommerce website would be extremely costly. Because of the cost RGB would never suggest a custom eCommerce website to our small business owners.
We can add customizations to an existing platform, but unless you are a huge company, and we’re talking Target level huge, you will not need to custom build a website.
What to look for in an eCommerce Platform
A price you can afford – Find out the what the complete cost will be. Many different circumstances will affect your end price. For example:
- The number of products you sell on your site
- Digital vs. Physical products – physical products require a shipping platform, labels, boxes, etc.
- Payment method – 3rd party payment processors require monthly payments, per transaction payments, or both
- Platform fees – some eCommerce platforms (like Shopify) charge monthly fees Trust –
An eCommerce Web Designer you can trust – Interview local web designers in your area, and visit their website to check for the following:
- An about page that shows real people working locally
- A portfolio page that reflects modern web design
- An eCommerce web design agency that answers the phone during their business hours
We hope this helps you on your journey to your new eCommerce website. Feel free to contact us with any questions about eCommerce Web Design, and check back for part three of our series: How does the eCommerce Web Design Process Work?