Shopping Carts / Ecommerce
We get many of enquiries from people requiring information about setting up online shops. In fact more than half of all the enquiries we now receive are E-commerce related. Since 2001 we have designed a wide range of E-commerce based websites for clients around New Zealand.
Do I need an E-commerce website?
One of the beauties of the internet is that it enables basically anyone to have their own e-commerce website on the internet to sell their products, even without having a physical store. Having your shop on the internet, opens up your business from catering to a solely local market, to instead catering to a national or a global market. Having an e-commerce website, is also often a cost effective way to sell products, with minimal overheads compared to a physical store. There a lot lot of success stories out there, of companies who have done very well from setting up an e-commerce website.
What are the standard features of your Ecommerce Solutions?
What are my options for an E-commerce Website?
There are two main types of E-Commerce / Shopping cart website that Design Lounge now work with. The first type is a CMS (Content Management System) based shopping cart, and it is setup on a SaaS (Software as a Service) Cloud based system. This is fully automated, where the client has full control over many aspects of the website and product management. The website part is hosted on the developers own specially configured servers, and it utilizes a CDN (Content Delivery Network), making the websites graphics load quickly, no matter where in the world it is viewed. The servers only host shopping carts, and no other type of website, so they are specially built and configured for this purpose. DNS and domain based email services are all hosted by us on our Lounge Network.
The second type is more focused towards basic or small shops, and is a static based shopping cart which is hand coded by us. This is perfect for small online shops where products don’t change too often, and clients don’t want to be bothered with the learning curve of operating a full featured online store.
Automated CMS based shopping cart systems are very convenient, and allow clients to add/edit and delete products whenever you want, using just their web browser. They also can have many other features too. They are however very complex pieces of software, and therefore automated shopping carts are more expensive to setup and configure than static based shopping carts. They can also be more difficult to run and maintain, so some technical knowledge of using these types of systems is often required by the client.
SaaS Cloud based E-commerce systems are a relatively new concept when it comes to Ecommerce. In the old days almost all shopping cart systems were self hosted, where you either buy a shopping cart license, or use open source software, and customise the website from that. This could be very expensive, and the shopping carts could be very buggy, and require regular patching and maintenance.
With a SaaS E-commerce systems, the licensing fee to use the software, is part of the ongoing monthly fee. However there maybe some third party plugins that need to be purchased depending on your requirements. Within the monthly fee of the SaaS system, it also includes keeping the backend of the shopping cart software up to date and secure, as well as adding new features. As more and more services are moving to this SaaS or cloud model, we predict that in the future, most small business shopping carts will be using this type of SaaS system.
With a self hosted CMS E-commerce website, the usability is similar to SaaS E-commerce sytems. However there can be a licensing fee to buy and use the shopping cart software, and/or plugins. This fee is paid to the software developer. There also will be ongoing maintenance fees, in keeping the shopping cart software up to date and secure from hackers, and fixing any software/server issues that can occur with these types of complex automated systems. Ongoing monthly hosting pricing for automated shopping cart systems are also more expensive then regular websites, as they require a higher level of server resources, but aren’t usually more than SaaS systems.
A Static E-commerce website is often a simple way to get your business selling things online. It can be cheaper and less hassle than a CMS system, and is often best if you are non technical, and are not wanting to regularly update your shopping cart. You would choose this option if you didn’t want the ability to be able to update the website yourself, or are happy to get a web designer to do all the updating for you. A static cart system can also provide the greatest scope for designing the shopping cart to look exactly how the client wants the website to look. CMS shopping cart systems tend to use set templates in a set format, which have to be modified. You however don’t get the control or online tools with a static website, that you get with either of the other two E-commerce solutions above. Hosting fees will usually be in line with those of a regular website, so will usually be cheaper than a full E-commerce system.
If you want to be able to update the website yourself any-time, we would recommend a SaaS CMS Shopping Cart System. If you only need to update your website once or twice a year, and don’t want to be bothered with doing this yourself, we would recommend using a static cart system. This is where the designer would update the shopping cart for you, when you need it doing.
Do you do custom design work for third party SaaS E-commerce systems?
Yes we can. We currently do custom design work, and custom setups for a wide range of different e-commerce systems, including most SaaS systems.
Design Lounge Wellington an also do setup and custom design work on the Kudos E-retailer system. This integrates with the Counter Intelligence POS, which is used by retailers around New Zealand.
What questions will you ask me?
Below are a list of questions we will usually ask any clients who contact us with E-commerce enquiries. To save time, it is handy if you can answer these questions when you first contact us with your enquiry.