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Web Development Topics
If you would like to sell goods (including downloadable products) on-line, consider our e-commerce websites.
The merchandising, marketing and operational needs of individual businesses vary widely, and the selection of an appropriate platform for your on-line store should be based on a detailed understanding of these business requirements. When we work with you on an e-commerce project, we will, during the pre-sales process, work with you to understand both your current requirements and future plans and direction. Based on this, we will recommend the most suitable e-commerce platform for your project.
While e-commerce websites vary widely in scope and design, they almost always include the same core elements:
Product catalog – The product catalog is used to merchandise the products that you sell on your e-commerce website. It will typically include product descriptions, specifications and pictures. Depending on the nature of your business, it may also include advanced functions such as cross-selling (‘If you like this product, you may also like…’), up-selling, selection of sizes and colors, image enlargements on demand, product videos and other merchandising features. Business-to-business websites may also include such features as volume discounts and customer specific pricing.
As important as merchandising your products is helping customers to locate them. This is the job of product navigation and product search. A well designed search/navigation scheme becomes more important as the number of products grows larger. For larger sites, you may want to allow the user to narrow search results by factors such as manufacturer, price range or subcategory.
Shopping cart & checkout – Many e-commerce sites suffer from high cart abandonment rates. A well designed checkout process that is easy to understand and navigate is the best way to maximize your conversions to sales.
Payment systems – The most popular payment method for on-line purchases is by credit card. Usually, payments are made through a third party payment gateway that integrates with your e-commerce solution, and debits the customer’s bank account before the order is completed.
With few exceptions, almost all e-commerce websites (storefronts) today are developed on an e-commerce platform, rather than coded from scratch.
This is partly done for reasons of economy, but that is far from the whole story. Issues of security and changing technology standards make it impractical for most companies to maintain their own software base, and the commercial and open source platforms available today have enough features and flexibility that custom software is rarely necessary. Many of today’s e-commerce platforms allow developers (such as us) to integrate virtually any type of extension or custom programming into your store.
Open source e-commerce platforms – We offer e-commerce websites built on a variety of open source platforms, such as Magento and Zen Cart, which compare favorably to costly, high end commercial e-commerce systems. In addition to providing a rich set of merchandising, marketing and administrative features, these platforms have open interfaces and a large community of developers and add-on modules, as well as pre-built interfaces to popular third party shipping, tax and payment systems.
Drupal – A content publishing platform can help your customers learn more, so they can become better customers. It can also create loyalty that goes considerably beyond product offering and price, by helping them decide what they need before they buy and helping them get more value from your products as they use them.
Drupal is one of the leading content publishing platforms, but it also offers a robust, feature rich e-commerce module, allowing you to add blogs, customer reviews and discussion threads to your e-commerce site, and to manage everything through a single administrative interface.