Web Design: Integrating e-Commerce
For web developers who prioritize graphics and design work, reconciling theart of web development with building an e-commerce platform can be somewhatproblematic. Design and programming are the foci - and these are the skillsdevelopers spend years refining, weekends investigating, and long nightstweaking. That's why for many people providing web design solutions, thee-commerce dimension of building a site can often be a bit unruly - if notdownright utilitarian.
Here, it's the art and science of web development that's the fun part.Juggling a variety of e-commerce vendors for different e-commerce needs (orperforming the in-house technical work of commerce-enabling a client site)can be infinitely less rewarding than primary web design/development.
Unfortunately, most clients don't spend a lot time reviewing the nuances ofsource code - that weird cipher rippling beneath the surface of their webpages. Instead, business functionality is their primary goal - and onlinecredit card authorization may supplant web artistry on your clients' list ofpriorities. And rightly so - it's their business at stake.
So on the web developer's plate, you have the responsibility of translatinga client's vision into a web-based reality, of mobilizing the underlyingcode. In many cases, you also have the additional task of e-commerceenabling the site - integrating e-commerce systems and coordinating variousservice providers. Synchronizing these latter aspects of development can befrustrating, regardless of whether you outsource or perform tasks in-house.
Here, you may be required to organize secure server hosting, integrate anautomated payment processing system and secure order page, incorporatecatalog and shopping cart functionality, and in some cases you may even haveto help swing a card-not-present merchant account so your client can acceptcredit cards on the Internet. There's a lot of detail work to manage.
The solution, of course, is to eliminate all this confusion by finding onereliable service provider who you can handle the entire spectrum ofe-commerce tasks for you. The ideal situation - for both the web developerand the client - is to have these e-commerce duties out-sourced to a'single-source' e-commerce company: a vendor that can manage and coordinateevery feature of a solid, flexible e-commerce platform.
Why is that ideal? Because rather than simultaneously juggle three or fourdifferent companies to expedite services for your client's site, you haveone point of contact for all your e-commerce needs. Later, this benefitextends to your clients as well: they will have that same point of contactfor all of their customer service and maintenance issues. Everything isalready consolidated and streamlined.
Of course, compatibility and integration is key to a successful partnership.Therefore, technology like automated payment processing systems, catalogs,and shopping carts must not only be state-of-the-art, but flexible enough tobe seamlessly integrated into your design work. Here, your vendor should beable to offer secure transactions, a robust processing system, full-featuredcatalogs and shopping carts (with custom-design capability), and securehosting at a recognized data center.
And so you don't have to foreclose the possibility working with a widevariety of clients, your service provider must be able to accommodatemultiple business models and commerce channels - from shippable e-tail anddownloadable goods to subscription and donation-based platforms.
Above all, the process of adding e-commerce functionality to a websiteshould always enhance design. Aesthetics and navigability cannot bejeopardized. Your web development credibility is at stake when you integratean e-commerce platform into a client site - and that's why your serviceprovider has to be reputable on all fronts. With a single, reliable vendor,you also avoid any 'weak links' among a group of individual serviceproviders.
Finally, if you are working with a single-source partner, you have theopportunity to negotiate a lucrative reseller or revenue sharing plan. Yourweb development packages will not only offer total e-commerce functionality,but every time you e-commerce enable a client site, you'll earn a percentageor fee for the referral. By working with a vendor who consolidates allaspects of an e-commerce platform, you have a better position to leverage aworthwhile revenue sharing deal.
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