• Phase3

Here's how to take your business and products online. And keep it simple.

Finding an online ecommerce solution that fits your business.

As Online solutions designers, Phase3 see a lot of uncertainty around building websites. Questions invariably arise around which operating system and site functionality is best for your business. 

So from the outset it is important to establish a clear understanding as to what your current and future eCommerce business needs might look like. 

Questions need to be asked with regards to site automation (minimising manual interactions), stock reconciliation, pricing, availability, customer notifications, check-out and payment portals to name a few. 

If you are just starting out online and your stock items are relatively low volume - there's no need to concern too much about future growth as increased stock handling and automation features can be easily bolted on to most ecommerce start-up solutions as and when required to match your business growth.

So while future-proofing is an important consideration - Phase3 can recommend a range of Online solutions that provide an affordable entry point whilst at the same time retain options aligned to future needs.

Key considerations to building an effective ecommerce solution.

1) How many products will your business want to put up online? 

Automation reduces your daily ADMIN, however a manual solution may be preferred to manage outgoings and reduce up-front design and build costs. 

2) What level of automation is best? 

If your requirement is to administer hundreds of products (with daily changing availability / prices / etc.) you will be seeking a high-end automated ecoms solution. Such systems connect and automate many aspects of your stock management including reconciling with warehouse stock, pricing updates, availability, back-orders, notifications, reminders, etc.

3) CMS access - who can see and edit the back-end?

Consider who in your organisation will need to access your website ADMIN. Do they require variable permissions to manage sensitive operations such-as answering customer tickets, access to sales reports, customer refunds, etc.

4) What is the best Operating System?

Your current website may already be suitable for bolting on an eCommerce solution. And many new OS platforms offer a modular facility - where there are options to expand features and automations as your business grows.

5) Future proofing your solution - is it required? 

By utilising current web and ecommerce platforms, there is no need to think too far ahead in your online aspirations - unless of course you are implementing a 'very large ecoms solution' from the outset. Smaller players can take comfort in knowing a cost-effective Shopify or WIX commerce solution will provide reliable and affordable ecoms solutions for the short to medium term with no real disadvantage in updating to a more automated service in the future.

6) Website build costs - knowing what you want to spend:

Engagement fees vary according to the solution. It’s important to have in mind (like any building project) a fair idea of your desired budget to achieve a mindful, user-friendly and effective solution. Your web designer can take this into consideration when designing a commercial response.

7) Credit Card Processing - how is this achieved on a budget? 

All eCommerce websites require a third party “payment processing portal”. This is because no credit card transactions are processed on site. Some payment portals offer 'free software' and charge a commission per transaction - others providers are subscription and volume based. Each has its advantages.

8) Show your web designer examples of sites you like -  e.g.

indepthskincare™ - Magento eCommerce:

Kitchen Creations - WIX commerce - uses STRIPE payment gateway: 

Electrolux Parts and Service - Magento Custom eCommerce service portal: 

This site represents a more sophisticated Online eCommerce solution (with thousands of SKU’s and a separate service portal).

Demo site can be browsed at:

9) Future proofing and protecting your online customer connection:

It is clear that the use of an Online sales portal has become more important in recent times. The upside of such increased reliance on Online services is a mind-shift for consumers who are becoming more familiar and trustworthy of Online sales as a go-to solution. Phase3 anticipate a continued shift to increasing bottom line revenue streams via Online channels. A clear online customer service strategy has been consistently shown to enhance and nurture customer connection, conversion and sales growth opportunities.

10) Be found online - engage with your prospects and customers:

Online marketing strategies talk directly to your customers and prospects. These coms are enhanced through a mix of Social, Organic and Paid Media - so people can find, notice, engage and transact with your brand.  

11) Take careful aim - the first impression counts:

If your business is ready to grow your Online presence - a quick review of the above tips we hope will help with establishing a functional design brief to get you started. A carefully targeted brief will deliver a solution that is economical, easy and beneficial for both your business and your customers.

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