One of the most important subsets of website design today — especially for businesses — is ecommerce design. Ecommerce simply refers to commercial transactions that take place over the web, so an ecommerce site is one that facilitates those transactions, allowing a customer to purchase goods or contract services online. Using an ecommerce strategy can be either a good way to keep overhead low (if you’re operating purely online) or a good way to supplement revenue within a more traditional business model.
But how should you go about getting one of these websites? Here’s what you need to know:
What You Need out of an Ecommerce Website
The first concern with an ecommerce website should always, always, always be security. When your customers are trusting you with their personal and payment information, it’s your responsibility to protect that information. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect the aesthetic aspects of your website, either; your website is essentially a marketing tool, and just as people are less likely to buy products from unattractive brick-and-mortar stores, they’re less likely to buy something from an outdated, difficult-to-use or just plain ugly website. So when it comes to an ecommerce site, form and function need to be balanced extremely carefully.
Choosing an Ecommerce Website Design Company
There are a lot of web design and development companies out there, so how do you choose the right one to strike that delicate balance for your website? Well, first of all, look specifically for an ecommerce website design company. You might have to do a little research and ask for references and examples of past work to figure out which company has done the best job for other businesses similar to yours. You should also ask about each company’s expertise in actually coding websites. There’s nothing wrong with using a framework to help the site build go faster, but you don’t want to hire a designer who’s doing nothing but customizing templates (since you’re likely to end up with security problems that way). And you probably don’t want to go with the lowest-priced option, either; you don’t want a bargain-basement designer creating your website any more than you’d want a shady contractor building your physical storefront.
The Contract and How to Negotiate It
It’s very important before any work begins or any money changes hands that you have a clearly articulated statement of work that lays out expectations on both sides. A timetable should be included, as well as a policy on revisions if you don’t like how the site turns out. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy and don’t want to be paying additional fees every time a little glitch comes up (and yes, even the best-made sites end up with coding glitches), you may want to work ongoing website support services into your original design contract as well.
Do you have any other thoughts on ecommerce web design or choosing an ecommerce website design company? Join the discussion in the comments.