Saturday, May 22, 2010

E-Commerce Website Design & Development

E-Commerce websites are specialized websites that allow financial transactions to be transacted over the internet. E-Commerce websites can be stand alone operations, or can augment physical retail operations. Realize that e-commerce websites do not necessarily have to sell products – e-commerce websites can be also be built to sell services such as stock trading, subscriptions and memberships.

General Features of an E-Commerce System:

User Interface or Front End - this is where the users interact with the e-commerce website and is comprised of forms and screens that visitors use to interact with the website. 

Shopping Cart or Product or Service Catalog -A shopping cart or a product/service catalog, whether it is a single product or several hundreds of thousands or products, becomes the core of an e-commerce website: it provides the functionality that allows the management of users, products, orders as well as order tracking options. We use various levels of e-commerce shopping carts or product catalogs that are then customized to fit the requirements for a given website.

Payment Gateway or Payment Processing System - An e-commerce website requires a mechanism to collect payments and this is done via a payment gateway service provider. In a nutshell, a payment gateway is a third party service provider that facilitates the collection of payment and the subsequent deposit of that payment into a merchant account. Examples of payment gateways are:, Paypal & Google Checkout etc. Please note that payment gateway providers charge a monthly fee and a per-transaction percentage commission and fee for their services.

Merchant Account to handle payment facilitation - Once a payment has been processed by the payment gateway, the money is then deposited into a merchant account which subsequently transfers the money into the e-commerce website owner or operator’s bank account. It is worth pointing out that Paypal is the only payment gateway that also acts as a merchant account. Please note that merchant account providers charge a monthly fee for their services.

Security (SSL) Encryption using SSL (Secure Sockets layer) on HTTPS - Security is critically important when it comes to the Internet and the HTTPS protocol uses SSL technology to securely encrypt the communication between a user’s browser and the server that hosts the e-commerce website. SSL certificates come in various flavors and sizes and encryption strengths ranging from 40-bit keys to 1024 –bit keys. Some examples of SSL certificate issuing authorities are VeriSign and GeoTrust.  SSL Issuing authorities may charge a one-time setup fee and annual renewal fees for their certificates.

Cloud Computing based Hosting – We offer comprehensive hosting services that are based on cloud computing and are very well suited for e-commerce operations. It is best to host your website on your website design & development company’s servers due to the familiarity of the company with its hosting services. Please view our E-commerce Hosting Packages.

Additional Optional Features of E-Commerce Websites

Fulfillment management services – third party operators that will stock and manage your product fulfillment by actually handing the shipping of your products to your customers and also provide and shipment tracking details.

Secure Seals such as McAfee Secure  or Control Scan offers a guarantee against hackers, or exploiters and will monitor your e-commerce website on a daily to make sure that it is not exploitable.

BBB Reliability Seals – organization such as the Better Business Bureau will validate and/or certify a business to add credibility to its online operation.

Our E-Commerce Solution
We offer 4 types of e-commerce solutions. Each of these solutions is comprehensive and is targeted toward a certain volume of products, transactions, volume and advanced features.

Basic E-commerce Solution
Ideal for up to 5 products or services without categorization on a pre-configured, hosted shopping cart system that provides a robust set of product, user and order management features. Pricing for our basic e-commerce websites start at $1,999. You can request a no-cost price quote for your e-commerce website.

Mainstream E-commerce Solution
Ideal for up to 1000 products with multi-level product categorization with a licensed shopping cart that provides a comprehensive set of product, user and order management features. Prices for our Mainstream E-Commerce Solution start at $3,499.

Advanced E-Commerce Solution
Ideal for more than 500 products with multi-level product categorization with a licensed shopping cart that provides an exhaustive list of product, user and order management features. Prices for our advanced e-commerce solution start at $4,999

Custom E-Commerce Solution
Ideal for customized e-commerce requirements such as membership groups, subscription services. Most custom e-commerce solutions are designed with a custom shopping cart or product catalog and incorporate specific requirements and needs. Realize that just because a particular website falls under the custom solution, it can be fairly simple and straightforward. 

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