Through the KISS series we’ve touched upon many aspects of building a website that may give information, but what about a site that sells.
It is becoming more an more important to extend your services online and allow your customers and clients to do business through your website. There are many eCommerce platforms, both open source and proprietary, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but in this post we’ll focus on a few of the most important features that your solution should offer.
This may only be applicable if you are synchronizing multiple aspects of your business. For instance you want to connect your online platform to your inventory platform to your accounting platform that way the data is accurate across multiple departments. This is extremely useful when your brick and mortar outlets share the same inventory as your online store.
- Product Feed
Feeds are usually associated with blogs, but they are very useful for ecommerce as they allow you feed all of your products, prices, descriptions to shopping feeds like, Google Base, Yahoo Shopping, Shopzilla and more.
- Customer Profiles
A solution that store customer information may be seen as a liability to some, but when it comes to retail, customer contact information is more valuable than gold. The ability to contact customers, especially those who have already purchased from you, allows you to directly market your products.
- Promotion codes and discounts
The truth of the matter is, everyone can find it cheaper somewhere else. The ability to run periodic promotions and discount campaigns will give you an advantage through hype promotion. I think the rest about this ability is fairly self-explanatory. Just be sure the platform allows for start and end dates, that way you don’t have to be online and logged in everytime you want to start or stop a campaign.
Secure Socket Layer, these 2 words mean that the information passed through you site is encrypted and secure, which gives piece of mind to your customers that their credit card information will not be stolen. If your ecommerce solution doesn’t offer one, GET ONE!
- Theming Design
This may not mean much to you, but to your designer it will mean the world. A solution that offers theming will save your designer/developer time and you money. Theming allows for types of pages to be styled. This mean all the pages of that type will inherit the same design, as opposed to having to style each new page.
Now go forth and sell. You can find a list of eCommerce Platforms here, but a few of our recommendations are: