Our Experience With E-Commerce
Talking about e-commerce development is fun for us – back in 1998, before there were a lot of options available, we created a fully featured e-commerce enabled website for a client in Shelbyville, TN. In those days, there was a LOT of hand coding with PERL, HTML pages were all static as opposed to being database driven like today. Every time a product needed to be updated, there were sometimes lines of other code that also needed to be changed – all manually.
The day that e-commerce site was launched, there was great excitement as we talked with the client on the telephone and watched as his first online order was submitted and then emailed using PGP encryption. Real-time credit card processing was expensive and there weren’t a lot of options available back then. We even managed to create a custom affiliate program for the client which helped to increase his sales, while we tracked affiliate sales on his behalf.
Subsequently, we went on to create a number of e-commerce sites based on that PERL CGI code – although today, the majority of those clients have moved along with us into newer and more efficient platforms for their e-commerce requirements. In “those days,” even obtaining an SSL certificate was a difficult and expensive exercise as there was only one company that offered them. This is back when Netscape Navigator was the most commonly used browser.
Boy things have changed today!
Our E-Commerce Services Today
Things have changed considerably as far as selling products on line and in many ways, is much simpler and easier to get started. Many businesses have no problems being approved for a merchant account and real time credit card processing fees have dropped considerably. In addition, there are other options available to you even if you do are not able to get approved for a credit card merchant account. This means that if you have a product to sell, it is possible that an e-commerce solution is available to you.
There are a number of different platforms available for an e-commerce site and while we have our own preferences, each one has it’s features and drawbacks depending on your own needs, requirements and priorities. We have extensive experience working with J-Shop, osCommerce, and even some WordPress and other CMS plugins do a decent job of helping to “e-commerce enable” websites built on those platforms.
Our experience working with these can be beneficial to you as we get to know what your requirements are and provide you with the choices that best match what you have in mind. In addition, we can do all the work including ensuring your site has it’s own IP address (which is required for an SSL certificate), acquiring and installing the SSL certificate, as well as populating your site for you after its initial development and design.
E-Commerce Risks & Compliance
Like just about anything in life, there can be financial risks involved in taking orders on line – but these can be minimized substantially. We’ve been doing e-commerce and working with clients to reduce their risks for over 14 years and we understand what those risks are. We can assist you with this.
In addition, depending on your level of sales generated through credit card transactions, there are different levels of “compliance” that you are expected to be in with your merchant account provider. We understand what these are, having gone through several compliance tests with our clients and helping them audit their processes. For most small businesses, this is not difficult as long as you follow certain standards and policies in regard to privacy and information.
It may sound all too confusing, but we can help you work through it all and celebrate with you when your first e-commerce order comes through your website!
Costs? It may be a lot less than you think, as well! Give us a call so we can discuss what you have in mind and learn more about your needs. And yes, although we are located in Orangeville, ON, this is no barrier to working with other businesses across North America. We’ve been doing that since before the Internet was even heard of in many places!