E-commerce Web Design
Selling products online is a complicated facet of web design because there are so many options out there. I will help you to determine what e-commerce web design platform (if any) you want to power your web store.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of e-commerce platforms – some for small stores, others for huge stores and many more for everything else in between. The overwhelming number of systems out there can confuse business owners and web designers alike.
I decided to spend a considerable amount of time researching and really trying out various e-commerce platforms. I tested out several standalone stores and also stores that are WordPress plugins. I talk a little about WordPress here if you don't know what it is.
Different e-commerce solutions
- A WordPress e-commerce solution (best choice for most stores)
- Startup stores selling a small number of items
- Full-scale e-commerce websites
- Other mid-sized e-commerce solutions
A WordPress e-commerce solution
Out of the many e-commerce platforms I tested, there was one I set up that blew away every other system I test drove, and it happens to be a WordPress plugin. If you are looking to have a small to medium e-commerce website, this very cost effective system most likely offers all the features you will want and need. From managing products and orders to the vast number of product options and features, this WordPress solution is everything one could ask of an e-commerce platform.
I built this demonstration store to show off this platform (sorry, I lost my demo when I moved to a new server. You can check out Miriam Dym's website that I worked on, or contact me for more sites that I have developed).
What’s more, the simplicity of setting up this WordPress e-commerce store and readying it to accept credit card payments is remarkable. You’ll get every feature you want and probably more, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
To top it off, since the store is a WordPress plugin, you'll get all the amazing benefits of having a WordPress powered website. All of your site and store is managed in one single, easy-to-use control panel.
Selling a small number of items on a new store
If you are looking for the best bargain out there to start up a new online store that will sell a very small number of low-priced items, PayPal's merchant offerings might be a good fit for you.
You have probably seen a PayPal shopping cart or the "buy it now" buttons on a website before. PayPal offers a convenient single-item payment method or a shopping cart. If you are looking to have a very simple web store designed and don't want the added costs of setting up an e-commerce platform to accept payments directly on your site, this is a good route to take. Buyers are not required to be a PayPal member to checkout; there is a checkout page where purchasers can simply enter their credit card details instead of having to log in to PayPal.
Consider this route a stepping stone to having to a more customizable e-commerce website. When you feel your store is doing well enough to make the user experience more seamless, then it might be time to upgrade.
Full-scale e-commerce websites
I have my clients use the Magento e-commerce platform when they're looking for a fully-customizable online store with all of the bells and whistles. This is an e-commerce platform that should be considered when the number of products gets into the hundreds. Magento is a system that powers your entire website and possibly your entire business. When you have the need to be able to control every detail of your online store and have powerful tools to streamline your business, Magento will not disappoint.
Having a Magento e-commerce website set up and designed is not cheap, but there are minimal monthly costs and a very small flat credit card processing fee with the payment gateway after the initial setup. If your business is on the road to becoming huge, Magento will satisfy all of your needs.
Other mid-sized e-commerce solutions
Other mid-sized e-commerce solutions are e-commerce hosting providers. This means that instead of having a monthly web hosting fee ($5/month), you will pay an e-commerce service provider to host your web store. These services generally allow you a considerable amount of store customization as well as credit card processing directly on your site because the site uses their system. However, per-transaction percentage fees and charges do apply, and there are much higher monthly hosting fees. You can expect to pay around $35-$70 per month depending on the amount of customization you require and the number of products you will be selling.
If you need something that the WordPress e-commerce solution I talk about above can't do, there are several platforms that fall in this category that can be considered.
Ready to talk about your online store?
Send me an email using my contact form or by emailing ryanfait_at_gmail.com.
If you're not sure what your needs are, it is helpful to know the answers to some of the following questions before getting in touch with me about starting your online store:
- How many products will you be selling?
- Do you want a shopping cart or click-to-buy buttons for your products?
- Do your products have options? For example, T-shirts that come in small, medium and large
- What is more important: very low costs or having more control over the checkout process?
- If you're starting a new website, do you have an advertising budget?
- Will you accept international orders?
- Will you need robust features like warehouse tracking?