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Providers of e-commerce systems

Ecommerce Buyer's Guide

Establishing your website
There are different methods of establishing the e-commerce section of a website see Basic questions about e-commerce. If you're not handling the project within your own company, you'll have to find an e-commerce service provider for development and hosting.

Please note that e-commerce service providers will probably want to discuss certain other issues with you. This is because e-commerce is part of an integrated online marketing process that includes website design and search engine optimisation (SEO) among others. It's worthwhile deciding as early as possible whether you're taking a comprehensive approach or tackling matters a bit at a time.

The provider's expertise
When you contact e-commerce service providers, it can be difficult to assess the level of each company's expertise. You may find it helpful, therefore, to ask some questions.

  • When did your company start trading?
  • Who are your major clients?
  • What are your strong points?
  • I want customers to access my site on all the major search engines: can you ensure this will happen?
  • Will my site have a direct link to my existing computer systems?
  • Can you give me a guarantee for site availability?
  • Do you provide a backup recovery system that holds all my site's details?

Also ensure that the e-commerce service providers fully appreciate what it is you're selling and who your target customers are.

Support
Because e-commerce systems can be fairly complex, there's a risk that somewhere down the line, a problem may arise. Such a difficulty may be minor, but whatever the nature of the trouble, you must be able to rely on your e-commerce service provider to give prompt and effective help. After all, if the system is down, you're losing money.

You may therefore wish to make a point of finding out what level of support you can expect to receive.

  • Will I have to pay a fee for each call I make to the provider's support team?
  • How do I get support? Is it online, by phone, via email or a combination of these?
  • When is support available? All the time or during business hours, bearing in mind that online shopping take place non-stop throughout the year?
You may also want to see the providers' figures for response times on their helplines. Ask for references Always request references and contact the people who've given them. If these people can spare the time, ask them some appropriate questions about the e-commerce service provider.
  • Would you be happy to work with the company on another project?
  • Did the company meet all deadlines?
  • Have the results from your e-commerce site come up to expectations?
  • Is there anything about the site you're unhappy with?
  • What was the best thing about working with the company?
  • Were you happy with the price charged?
  • Did the company work hard to meet any special requests?
About BuyerZone

BuyerZone is the leading online marketplace for business purchasing.

  • 1,000,000+ users
  • 50,000+ monthly requests
  • 8,500+ active suppliers
  • Company founded in 1992
  • UK site launched in January 2008
Buyer's Guide
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