Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Checklist for Selecting Your e-store Provider/e-Store Solution

Thinking of selling products/services on-line? Scratch you head because it seems difficult to select an e-store solution? No need to worry. The following points aim to help you in selecting your e-store solution:

Any web-based control panel guides you how to set up the electronic storefront (e-store)?

Does the web-based control panel provide templates or wizards? It is a must for those storeowners who do not have HTML or CGI knowledge. However, more technically savvy storeowners may think that it’s useless.

Can I incorporate my own HTML web-pages and CGI programs with the e-store? This feature adds flexibility for e-store design.

Can I upload and download product data to and from a database? It’s essential for storeowners to update and modify their records. Pay attention to how the e-store software tracks visitors. Some of them solely depends on the use of cookies but many people disable cookies in their browsers.

Do you use active server pages? If yes, you should ensure that the e-store server is Windows NT. If it is Unix, you should check whether Chillisoft ASP is provided or not.

Can you set up sales taxes and shipping charges easily? Does the feature has limitation? Many e-store providers ignore a fact: Your customers may be coming from overseas. Thus, the sales taxes and shipping charges feature are useless for oversea customers. The result is you lose valuable customers. Beware: Internet is a global market.

Any value-added features offered by e-store providers? E.g. message boards enable you getting customer feedback, autoresponders allow you to keep in touch with prospective, and etc..

Does the e-store provider help you in accepting credit cards? E.g. some e-store providers have association with some banks and can help you getting a merchant account. Besides, do other payment methods are feasible? E.g. on-line checks, digital cash, and etc.

After your customers place order, can you automatically send a thank you notes to them? Can they automatically receive an official invoice? Make sure they can. Otherwise, you may have an administration nightmare!

How about security features? Does SSL or SET capability is included? How credit card details are stored? On-line or off-line? Stored in an unsecured area of the server or in a secured server.

Does the e-store software allow you providing discount to high-volume customers or VIP? This feature allows you make more revenue.

How often the e-store provider back up your e-store including all types of information? Daily backup is desired.

When you want to update your e-store, can you update it on-line? It’s more convenient. Otherwise, you need to update the e-store off-line and then upload it to the server.

How about reporting features? Some e-store providers only provide basic analysis of server logs, for example the number of hits and referrer information. This is not sufficient. Ensure you can get sales history analysis, where customers come from, and etc.

Do the e-store providers provide unlimited bandwidth feature? The web space provided is enough or not? It may hinder your business growth if bandwidth and webspace are not enough. This may not affect you at the beginning but adversely affect you when your e-store grows.

You can treat the above points as a checklist and ask your potential e-store providers whether these features are present and fit your requirements.

By Jimsun Liu, from www.addto.com, an e-business to e-business global community aiming to help on-line entrepreneurs to succeed in e-commerce. You can search your solution providers, profitable affiliate programs, and other valuable products and services.

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