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What to Know Before You Choose a Developer for Your E-Commerce Website

What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You?

Shannan K. DuShane | December 2, 2016 | Spectrum Net Designs, Inc

E-Commerce Website

So, you’ve been in business for a while now but now you are ready to take your business to the next level and start selling your products and services online.  You need to find a developer that you can work with to build an E-commerce website that you can trust and know what they are doing and doing it properly.   If you aren’t of the technical nature and haven’t built a website before, this task can be difficult to be able to hire a qualified developer and ask questions.

Here are some tips to remember before you decide on who to use!

  • Never go with the first developer you interview or talk to.  Setup appointments with 3-4 companies that you’ve called and feel comfortable with over the phone, you can get a great first impression by a simple phone call. You can gauge how helpful they are and if they are vested in developing a business relationship.
  • Please don’t use an independent or college developer that hasn’t had real world experience or if they do anything on the side, buyer beware, there are scammers everywhere and because they are an individual they can disappear as fast as they appear- there is nothing holding them to your arrangements or a company to back them.
  • If you are technically challenged or never have setup a website or e-commerce website, ask around to those who have and ask them what you should know. You can also Google it and come up with a good list of questions to ask, the developer should be able to answer all your questions without a problem, if they can’t, that is a red flag in my book.
  • Make sure you have a written contract with terms so that you have a paper trail of your arrangements, that way you have your company’s best interest in order.
  • Never pay your developer the entire project up front, they might ask for a deposit and that is fine, but buyer beware if they require the entire project up front. You will lose your ability to be in the driver seat for the development or if something goes wrong you have leverage.

So now you are ready to interview the developers you’ve chosen to meet with for your e-commerce website.

Do you know what you are going to talk about or ask them?  Are you bringing a qualified or technical co-worker or friend with you that knows the business, if you aren’t you should! You want to maximize the meeting by digging into the site from the start so everyone knows the direction you want out of this project.  Bring a spreadsheet with your ideas and features that you’ve seen on other websites that you want.  I always let clients know to find features and graphics on other websites and print them off so their vision is clear.

  1. Ask to see a portfolio of websites and e-commerce websites.
  2. How long have they been building e-commerce websites?
  3. Do they have a list of references you can see or call?
  4. What other services can they provide? Graphic design, logo design, merchant services, email, hosting services, search engine optimization services, ect…
  5. What is their process for the design and development, is there a development site to watch?
  6. What are their terms and conditions of a project? What are the payment terms, use of project for portfolio, rights to website, hosting terms, are their maintenance terms or fees, monthly seo fees, ect…?
  7. What are a list of other fees for everything I need for my e-commerce site? Merchant fees, SSL certificate fees (annually), domain name fee (annually), hosting fees (monthly or annually), ect…?
  8. Do they have a specific platform they use or are they building it custom, is it licensed to them or your company?
  9. Do they release the files or coding to your company, or is it owned by them? Can you move the site to other hosting service companies?
  10. Will your new e-commerce site be mobile friendly and responsive to those who live on their phones?
  11. Will you be able to manage (add, edit, delete) products, and is training included in the cost?

Building an e-commerce website is a lot of work and there are a lot of options out there. Do your research, ask questions, and take your time with the process, your website will be ready to launch in no time with minimal issues arising.

Happy Marketing!