A craft site selling a few hand made candles will not require a complex and full featured e-Commerce solution. A complex site selling custom built computers will require a more specialized e-Commerce platform to handle the greater level of complexity.
Even when the complexity of the product offering is not an issue (e.g. selling watches online), if the price of the items are high then the site must match the perceived quality of the products.
In all cases it is important to match the investment in the site against the revenue it will generate. Always, more revenue means more complexity in design or in transaction processing.
Typical e-Commerce Components
- Products: catalog, categories, details, bundles
- Shopping carts to hold goods prior to checkout
- Transactional Processing: Credit Cards, PayPal, money orders, etc.
- Order Processing: internal work-flow, customer order tracking
- Shipping: Processing and tracking of orders
- Logistics: Links to accounting software
More Advanced Systems
- Selling: Cross selling, Up-selling, Specials, Volume discounts, Coupons, reviews, customer comments
- Processing: Real time shipping costs, Split Orders, Multi-warehouse
- Customers: Accounts, News Letters, Order History, Recurring Orders
- Logistics: Links to shipping carriers, credit notes, collections, stock management
There are 100's of e-Commerce packages that can be used to build a web store. Most of them are focused on selling directly from a web site owned, controlled and managed by the seller. A second category of web stores related to hosted store fronts as found on e-Bay, Amazon, and any number of other "mall" type sites. In addition to the mall type sites there are also stores within social media sites such as Facebook. To date most businesses have found that selling directly via social media sites to be ineffective - these sites are created for customer engagement, but not for completing a transaction. Within the "mall" type sites they have their own e-Commerce solutions and deployment of a store front must conform to their strict standards.
For the vast majority of clients we recommend a solution from Magento community edition or their hosted "Go" edition. Which one depends on the complexity of the site and whether the client is able to manage the site themselves. The hosted solution is less complex, less flexible and will not be as customized as the community edition.
Magento is a great base platform and is highly extensible. There are 1000's of add-on features, products and themes to allow a customization of the site to match your needs. It has all of the features noted in the components section above and many, many more. It is not an easy system for a first time user to deploy but it is an excellent, stable and trusted solution. They also offer an enterprise version for larger business so it is unlikely you will outgrow this e-Commerce solution.
- MRD Global engages companies on building simple and full featured e-Commerce sites. The initial steps are to identify the requirements for the web store, agree the scope and budgets and propose potential solution sets for the client.
- Based on the identified objectives outline the components required and build the story board for the site to highlight the visitor engagement and work-flow though the site.
- Build the site using standard technology, tools and practices - we do NOT use licensed proprietary technologies nor any tools that require on going licensing through MRD Global. Hosting fees, software licenses, or other such costs are all directly between the client and the 3rd party supplier (e.g. a hosting company, Microsoft, etc.)