Frequently asked web design questions

What is website validation and why is it important to have validating websites for accessibility, usability and Search Engine Optimisation?

Do I need to be a registered company to sell online?

To answer simply, no, you don't. However, as many people are still quite cautious about buying products online it may be worthwhile looking into whether it would be beneficial to registering a company for the purpose of selling over the Internet.

When buying online, many consumers will check the company's details before deciding to purchase. This gives them extra peace of mind in knowing that they are dealing with a reputable, registered company rather than an individual. Reputation is just as important online as it is in an offline environment. Whether this is a route you feel it is necessary to go down, will vary depending on what you are selling and who you anticipate your clients to be. Market research can go a long way so consider surveying potential customers to find out what is important to them when shopping online.

This is not to say that you cannot sell as an individual online. Many people do, and do it well. It will depend greatly on your target market, the products you sell and the way in which you present your selling platform. For example, a professionally designed e-commerce website will immediately promote a professional image, which will in turn boost your potential buyer's confidence. If you plan to sell a lot of products or are thinking of expanding, it would definitely be recommended to register as a company just to give your customers that added sense of security.

If you are keeping things fairly small, then it is not completely necessary but would still be an option worth thinking about.

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Does my ecommerce shopping cart keep a track of my customers and orders?

Yes.

You will have a database of all customers who have previously ordered from you, and the products they have ordered. This is essential for the marketing and analysis of your website.

The records will enable you to market future products or offers to your customers easily and directly. You can also see which items are selling and which ones require more promotion. This will allow you to plan promotions and keep a close eye on stock.

This will allow you to make informed decisions regarding the promotion of your stock and ensure that you keep on top of the demand.

How does the money from the customer get into my bank account?

The ecommerce functionality deals with taking payments from the customers credit/debit card into your bank account via a payment gateway. There are many available out there like Paypal, Worldpay, Googlepay, Protx etc. You will basically create an account with one of these to transfer the monies into your bank account and take care of the security aspect of the sensitive data handling of your customers. They will, of course, charge you a fee per transaction.

How payment gateways work:

  1. Customer places an order.
  2. The web browser encrypts the information and sends it to the seller's webserver via SSL encryption.
  3. The transaction details are then forwarded to the payment gateway, again via SSL.
  4. The payment is then processed and sent to the card association (eg Visa/Mastercard)
  5. The card issuer receives the request, processes and then sends a confirmation back to the payment gateway to confirm whether the payment has been accepted or declined.
  6. The processor forwards the response to the payment gateway.
  7. The payment gateway will then display the response on the website.
  8. The seller submits all the approved authorisations to the receiving bank via the processor.
  9. The receiving bank will then deposit all of the funds into the appropriate account.
  10. The entire process takes approx 3 days.
How do I get the most out of my e-commerce website?

Firstly, you should ensure that the design of your online shop is appropriate for the products you are selling. Thinking about who your target market is and design your website with them in mind. You will want the website to be user friendly and to be free from distractions – the focus should be on the products. A professional design will show that you are serious about what you do, and will instantly make your store more trusted and appealing.

Once the website is up, you should think about an online marketing strategy. Is there anything you can offer in terms of one-off, or introductory deals to entice customers in? Online shopping should be thought of in a very similar way to offline shopping. Of course, the method for purchasing is slightly different, but people will respond to promotional offers online in the same way that they would in an offline environment.

Make your website easy to find by implementing SEO. If you want your online shop to reach as wide an audience as possible, you have to make sure people can find you. Optimising your website for the search engines is one way you maximise your potential. This is something PoLR are more than happy to help with, and have a great track record at.

Combining these ideas together will result in a strong foundation on which your online business can grow and expand. {cms_selflink page='send-us-an-enquiry' text='Contact PoLR today'} to discuss your e-commerce needs.

How many products can I put on my E-Commerce website?

There is no limit to the number of products you can put on your e-commerce website but there are a few things that are worth thinking about.

If you have a large number of products, particularly a diverse range (like Amazon for example), it is worth separating these into clearly defined categories. This way, the customer can see all similar products at once and view the ones that are relevant. Consider adding a search function too, so that customers can search for a particular product quickly and easily, without having to scroll through multiple pages. Making things as easy as possible is one very effective way of increasing sales.

Many people would think that having a large number of products for sale would make the inventory and website difficult to manage. This is not the case. {cms_selflink page='send-us-an-enquiry' text='Contact PoLR toda'}y to discuss your e-commerce needs and we can tailor an e-commerce solution that is professional, easy to manage and incredibly user friendly.

What do I need to do to sell on my website?

First off, you need to have an idea of what you are selling. Is it a product you are manufacturing yourself or is it a product you are purchasing and re-selling? Once you know what it is you are selling, it is a good idea to do some market research so you can have realistic expectations as to how many products you can sell and for how much.

A domain name and website design would be the next thing to think about. You want to ensure that your domain name relates to the products you are selling, or has some sort of link at the very least. Branding can be done as part of the web design process and is important particularly if you want to gain a strong reputation or expand in the future.

It is also advisable to have a privacy policy on your website. More information about this can be found here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_policy).

Terms and conditions are essential. You must tell customers about your refund policy, what will happen in terms of the product being faulty or damaged etc. This protects both you and your customer and is incredibly important to have.

You will need to consider {cms_selflink page='what-payment-gateway-should-i-use' text='what type of payment gateway'} you will use.

Where are you going to ship to? What is your geographical reach? How much will you charge for shipping? Check with your local post office or do some research online into how much it will cost you to ship your products to various locations. It is a good idea to offer shipping to as many locations as possible, however always bear in mind the cost to both yourself and the customer, and also the practicality of shipping to these locations.

If you are looking to start selling online PoLR can help - contact us now and we'll help you through the process.

Where can I sell to?

This is really up to you. You can sell to anywhere in the world but you should bear in mind the costs and practicality of shipping worldwide. Ensure that you provide different shipping options and be up front and honest about the costs of shipping, both to the UK and elsewhere.

Do some research into the costs of sending your items overseas and make sure that you can find a reputable carrier who are able to ship to different locations.

You may find that the logistics and costs of shipping restrict you to the UK and Europe, but this will of course vary depending on the products you are selling.