Special Resource Section: 10 Best Practices for Choosing the Right E-Commerce Platform Provider
8. Get specifics on what will be in your contract. Not knowing the breadth of what's included in a contract can result in a number of ancillary costs you weren't expecting to pay. Ask your chosen solution provider the following questions to ensure you won't be paying out of pocket down the road:
- What's included in the implementation bid and set-up fees?
- What's included in monthly costs, and what's required to change orders?
- Are all of the features and functionalities highlighted in the demo included on my site?
- How do the business tools work? What can I change on the site directly?
- What will my website look like once it's live?
9. Be sure your provider's tools can be easily integrated with your other systems and solutions. Setting up a commerce-enabled website is a big enough task in itself without having to make major changes to existing systems. Ensure that the provider you choose is fully compatible with your existing hardware, web server software and operating system.
10. Work with a partner, not a vendor. Choosing the right e-commerce platform provider to work with is critical to your overall internet success. But let's face it, there are many providers out there offering similar-sounding technologies and services. So how do you know which one to choose? Make sure the provider offers the best solution for the long-term success of your business. Some e-commerce systems may cost less up front, but because of poor shopping cart functionality, lack of reliability or bad design, they end up costing you more in the long run when factoring in lost sales and excessive maintenance costs. The most expensive system may not be a good match either. It may offer functionality you'll never need or be too costly and complex to manage or modify. Find someone who can guide you through the decision, and consider the total cost over three years to five years, not just the initial acquisition cost.