Online shopping is incredibly common now. Every store has a website selling its products. eCommerce is something that requires careful consideration before just putting things up for sale and assuming payment stuff will just work out. Quite a bit goes into how an eCommerce system works and there are many requirements that must be met to assure that everything operates as intended.
There is so much in fact that any system not meant specifically for selling online goods or any type of online transaction, simply is not recommended. It's fairly overwhelming looking at the amount of information that needs to be accounted for and programmed into a system for it to function in all the various permutations of use it may go through.
Here is a partial list of the questions to be asked of an eCommerce system:
- What products have what options?
- What options have additional costs?
- Is the product taxable?
- Is the product taxable only in your state or all states?
- Does shipping cost extra?
- Do shipping costs vary?
- How do the shipping costs vary and how are they calculated per each customer and per each product?
- What customer information is stored?
- What credit card info is stored?
- Is it PCI compliant to store information?
- Are all necessary pages encrypted?
- Can specific customer order pages be searched and returned as results through Google?
- Are invoices generated?
- Can customers log back in and view their orders?
eCommerce specific systems are coded to handle all of these situations and are also built with a very intricate product attribute system for customizing product features and creating an individualized store and friendly shopping experience for your customer. These systems usually have larger databases and more robust hosting may be required.
The functions and features are a great deal of what the system is, but it still won't do the job for you. These systems are very large sets of tools and require a great deal of planning ahead of time to make sure things are being used properly. Using an ecommerce system is like having all the parts for a car, you need to know how to put them together just right to make it work.
What to watch out for:
Content Management Systems are easy to customize as far as appearance goes, so many people have found many wrong ways of making product images appear on pages, listing a price, and placing a checkout button at the bottom and thinking because it displays, it works. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Please remember that none of the store softwares on the web need to comply with any rules or even prove that they work before they are released! So how do you know which ones work?
Through experience, research, and testing you can narrow down the softwares that do work and are reliable and you'll find a very short list. Finding the softwares that have a solid history and have been tested in the real world millions of times over is a must. Taking a shortcut on a piece of software that collects and handles all transactions and customer data for your business is not recommended.