Ecommerce website design & development is something we do for some clients, from small online store shopping carts within WordPress to large-scale ecommerce sites using purpose built software…
Ecommerce Website Design Costs
In any Ecommerce website design project, the inherent complexity means that there is a significant investment of time involved in;
- Installation and set up of software
- Adding graphic elements to cusomise the “look and feel” of the site
- Installing and configuring payment gateways
- Creating Shipping Rates tables
- Adding Categories & Products
Online Store: from $2495
*Unlimited Categories and Products + Unlimited Pages + Payment Gateways + 1yr Domain Registration & Hosting
E-commerce Website Design Solutions
These days there are lots of mainstream e-commerce programs to select from, based on costs and whether you prefer hosted or stand-alone programs;
- In a remotely hosted ecommerce scenario, the solution provider hosts your domain on their server, providing access to their proprietary shopping cart software – Shopify, CoreCommerce, UltraCart being examples.
- In a stand-alone or locally hosted ecommerce environment, you install the software on your own server, or your own hosting company’s server. This is usually open source software such as osCommerce, Zen Cart, PrestaShop and proprietory “off the shelf” commercial packages like Cube Cart, etc.
To complicate this more, some applications can be either hosted or stand-alone – like Magento. There are also add-on ecommerce applications for particular CMS (Content Management Systems) – three such examples being;
- Ubercart for Drupal
- Virtuemart for Joomla
- wp-ecommerce for WordPress
Making an informed choice is difficult… Picking the right option 1st time has the potential to save you lots of money – conversely, getting it wrong can be costly and painful!
Some shopping cart programs can be purchased as stand alone programs or as pay per month services hosted on another companies’ server. Remotely hosted options usually allow for extensive customization of pages to fit in with your sites look and feel.
Remote Hosting Pros
- Fast implementation, secure (SSL) connection supplied and monitoring of services are part of the package. The cart is hosted on THEIR server. Remotely hosted shopping carts are total marketing solutions containing options to run affiliate programs and the ability to send sequential pre-defined messages to clients and leads. They also include multiple payment gateway services and sometimes, even an Internet merchant account!
- For extensive features but without multi-thousand dollars up front expenditure, remotely hosted ecommerce can be a good option.
- Costs range upward from US$60 per month but you should compare prices carefully. Recurrent expenditure needs to be taken into account when determining accurate pricing of your product range.
Remote Hosting Cons
- What happens if the company goes into receivership, or ceases trading overnight? That will leave you crippled, without access to your records and possibly with no way to export your information to another system!
Local Hosting Pros
- You have total control over the ecommerce software, and there are no ongoing monthly fees. Usually, you’ll have a web designer / developer implementing the system for you. If there is any dispute, or separation – you can easily contract another designer in to take over…
Local Hosting Cons
- Greater initial input of development time spent in installation, configuration and maintenance means a greater initial financial outlay.
There are many considerations to assess prior to deciding on the best shopping cart software for your particular needs, budget and goals. Of course, the shopping cart must also have a fully functional payment gateway module that routes funds to your Internet merchant account…
Ecommerce Website Design Solutions
There are a myriad of ecommerce applications, shopping cart solutions, add-ons and plugins… How to choose one that works, let alone the one that’s right for you?
osCommerce / Zen Cart / CRE Reloaded
osCommerce, Zen Cart and CRE Reloaded are three very well-known and frequently used e-commerce web design packages. These are Open Source software applications, all based originally on the core osCommerce shopping cart software solution.
- They are robust, and have a huge range of utilities (known as Contributions or Modifications) that extends its basic functionality and makes it into an incredibly powerful ecommerce system.
- Whilst “free” there is significant development costs in installation, configuration, addition of Contributions.
Of the 3 options, osCommerce has the broadest base of developers, these, users, forums and contibutors. Its bullet-proof, highly customisable and a god choice for a shop of any size. You WILL need a lot of technical support and development to make it work well for you.
Cube Cart Ecommerce
Cube Cart is another popular shopping cart contender. Whilst its not Open Source (free) it is very modestly priced considering its feature-rich performance straight out of the box.
- Its easier for a non-technical user to add products and edit content than osCommerce or its derivatives.
- Built-in SEO functionality includes SE-friendly URL’s, and meta-tag control down to Product level
- There are limits to extended functionality when compared to osCommerce
- There are fewer payment gateway modules available
PrestaCart is a newer kid on the block but overall, its impressive feature set makes is a great choice! If you’re planning a small shop on a tight budget, its hard to find a better choice to start with. Its scalable, there’s busy community forum, and theme development from many sources.
There are many plugin ecommerce applications designed to turn WordPress into a shopping cart solution. There also several “hosted ecommerce” solution providers that provide plugins that allow you to have an external ecommerce system operating withing your standalone site…
Your Ecommerce Site
We can provide you with sound advice based on your paricular goals and circumstances… We’ve got the skills and experience to implement an e-commerce website package to match your needs and budgetary constraints.
Let us give you a web design quote for your Ecommerce project