E-commerce is one of the biggest leaps a company can take. It’s also one of the biggest buzzwords in the web design and development industry in 2019.
If your business is interested in opening an online store to sell your products or services, there are quite a few questions your web design company should ask you before your project begins.
Lifted Logic asks these e-commerce questions in Kansas City to help inform our recommendations on building your site’s structure and functionality.
Generally, you should be planning your e-commerce functionality in order to be effective in the present. However, you should use this time as an opportunity to define your overall business goals for the next two to three years if you haven’t already. This is also the average lifespan of a website.
Think about these questions carefully; your answers can and will change how your e-commerce website is designed and built. They will also dictate your customer’s experience with browsing, purchasing, and returns online.
E-Commerce questions your web design company should ask you about your new website
What will you be selling?
Products, services, or both?
How many products will you need to sell online?
The number of products may dictate the design and layout of the site’s store. Displaying eight products can (and should!) look much different than fifty or several hundred.
How many product categories will you need displayed to a user?
Do you sell five different types of pens? Or pens and pencils? Knowing how these products will be organized is another key piece of information needed to build your e-commerce shop. The content strategists & designers of the Lifted Logic team can certainly help you if you’re unsure.
Do you have consistent product photos?
Are these photos on a white background? If so, are they photos you shot, edited, and removed the background, or are they photos from a manufacturer? In the case of the latter, you’ll need a link (and permission to use!) to the manufacturer photos so your web team can ensure the quality will be good enough to use online. Nothing is worse than pixelated images or photos that don’t have a clean, cut out background!
Need top-quality product imagery? Our Photo & Video team are experts at product photography!
How frequently will your stock change?
One or two product changes are always inevitable, but if you plan on introducing an entire inventory shift at some point, your web design company will want to understand what that will look like, when the change(s) will be made, and how often these types of changes will be made. This will allow your team to make the proper preparations and be able to train your team on how to implement it in the future.
Do you already have a credit card processor?
If so, you’ll need to know which company that is, as well as your login credentials, to determine whether or not it can be linked up to the website. If you’re in need of a credit card processing service, we can walk you through the variety of options available to you based on your budget and financial needs.
Are you planning on charging sales tax?
If you’re planning to charge sales tax, will you be charging your state’s sales tax, or the shipping destination’s sales tax? (Typically local is fine, but we always recommend checking with your tax accountant or attorney to be sure.)
How would you like to charge for shipping your products?
Would you like to offer flat rate shipping or calculate shipping costs based on package size, weight, and where the customer lives? Are you planning on shipping via USPS, UPS, or FedEx? If you’re leaning toward flat rate shipping, then be thinking of what that amount would be in order for you to be profitable. You’ll also want to keep in mind whether you would like to offer free shipping with a minimum order amount, and if so, what amount the customer needs to add to their cart in order to unlock that deal.
In general, it’s essential your web company understand how shipping will be calculated. Does it need to be automated through an API? Will the amount be different depending on the level of shipping (such as ground air versus next-day)? These are all relevant and important e-commerce questions. In Kansas City, Lifted Logic can help you determine the best course of action for your online store regarding shipping calculations.
Will you need to pull in an API to sync with your POS?
An API (Application Program Interface) is essentially a string of code that acts as a key. If your business’s operating system has an API key, we can potentially help to integrate your system and your website so that the two programs speak to one another. This can be especially helpful for e-commerce websites for inventory and customer tracking purposes. If you would like to integrate an API into your new website, you will need to provide your web team with API documentation to review from your POS system to determine integration requirements and specifications.
Will you need the ability to offer discount codes or coupons?
If so, do you want your users to be able to log in and automatically receive a percentage off of all (or certain) products, or will you require that they enter a promotional code before checkout?
Do you want the ability to sell or enroll users in any kind of online membership?
Offering tiered account levels for your users is much more complicated than only offering a “check out as guest” option. In this case, the site must be built to accommodate user accounts with the ability to track order history.
Do you have the capacity for a staff member to fulfill, box, and (if needed) take orders to the shipping service office?
We almost always bring up this particular e-commerce question in Kansas City because clients sometimes haven’t considered the day-to-day logistics of selling products online—e-commerce is still just an idea. However, if your site could be built to handle thousands of orders a day, but you can’t fulfill them, will that impact your customer service?
In this regard, every company is different. Some handle shipping internally, while others’ products are shipped through a third party product provider, and still others have warehouses. Depending on your business or supply chain, you will want to think about all of the intricacies that will go into handling your products.
How will you process refunds and handle return shipping?
Will you accept returns for only a certain amount of time? How will you refund the money? Who pays for shipping returns?
(While this typically isn’t a part of the process your web team should have much involvement in, we think it’s important to ask all the questions you may not have thought of yet.) Additionally, our content team may want to know when and how to display your return policy on your website.
Where will you host your site?
Ensure your server will have the capacity to handle spikes in traffic or orders (typically around the holidays, sales, or order deadlines) as quickly as it can for a single shopper. This will ensure the site is responsive and does not cause any delay in the online checkout process. In addition to web design and development, Lifted Logic offers hosting services starting at $150/month.
Do you have e-commerce questions in Kansas City?
Whether you choose Lifted Logic for your new e-commerce site or another web designer, be sure your web design professionals are asking you these crucial questions. This information will allow them to understand your needs and build you a truly lean and custom site to match.
We have over 10 years of experience building successful, operational e-commerce websites for clients across the country. We are owned and operated by Adam Fichman who is a business owner first. He and our team can help advise you on best practices to keep your operation efficient and effective.
If you have any e-commerce questions or questions about your business’s operations surrounding selling products online, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to be your resource for all-things e-commerce!