Starting Your E-commerce Website: The Technical Requirements

When you’re starting the plans for your E-commerce website, you have a considerable amount of items to consider.  One major area which you need to manage well includes the technical requirements.  Knowing your needs is critical for this process.
Here are some good questions you need to consider for your technical requirements:

How many items will you have?

There are various programs out there that manage a certain number of products.  Make sure you know how many products the program will hold, and if you have room for expansion.

How many variations of those items will you have, such as size, color, etc.?

If you sell items with sizes, colors, etc., you’ll need a program that manages those choices within the items’ page.

What payment processing system do you want to use?

There are some famous payment processing systems available for use.  Square, Stripe, PayPal and are well-established companies in the industry.  Most E-commerce hosting companies prefer some over the others, so make sure you have one that is compatible with the program you want to use.  Also, some E-commerce companies have some good payment processing systems included in their services.

Do you want to link your E-commerce website to your accounting or CRM software?

For some merchants, they want to connect with programs like QuickBooks or SalesForce.  Just like the payment processing system choices, you need to know what will be compatible with your E-commerce program.  Be sure to ask about compatibility issues and also read the reviews from current and former customers on how they work.

Do you need other “plug-ins” for your E-commerce website?

Are there other functions that you want to work in your E-commerce website?  Some programs include services such as automatic shipping calculations, postage labels, picking sheets and other services.  Others allow for them as plug-ins which you have to add to the program on your own.  Make a list of what you need and then make sure you have those services included in your plans.

How are orders managed?

This is a missed area of E-commerce programs. Plan how the program manages your orders.  Does the program notify you for every order?  Do you manually check it instead?  Should the program allow you to manage inventory and will it notify you when you are out of stock on an item?  Will it charge the customer in full, or will it put a “hold” on the customer’s credit card for the full amount until the order is filled?  All of these questions are important and answered in advance.

How do you plan to manage your customers’ information?

For some programs, they manage all of the customers’ account information in the website.  For others, exporting the information to another program is the process.  Make a point to understand where you will manage your customers’ information and how you can do it most effectively.
Although these questions cover very important points of emphasis, you may have some unique technical requirements and conditions for what you need.  Create a comprehensive list of your needs within the E-commerce site you plan to build.

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