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What's the best way to ask for a quote from a Web Designer? #2: Taking payments and ecommerce

Esther Nelson

Taking payments is a bit of a minefield when you get into it. The thing is, there are so many ways of doing it. And it depends on a number of factors too. So here are some questions you need to answer if you want to take payments on your website:

  • Are you able to take card payments at the moment?
  • Do you have a Paypal address?
  • Have you looked at the different charges for different methods of receiving payment?
  • How many products do you have?
  • Are there variations in your products like size or colour or is each one static?
  • Do you have so many products you could split them into categories?

The answers to these questions will give us a great idea as to how complex the ecommerce side of your website will be and how much guidance you need from us too.

Do you have an ecommerce site, or not?

To answer this, let's take a look at the explanation of ecommerce on Wikipedia. In here they indicate that ecommerce is trading in products or services over the internet. They also state that to buy or sell over a website or online marketplace is ecommerce. So if you are selling just one product or service on one page of your website, you have an element of ecommerce on your website. 

Is ecommerce really that complex?

A really well built website that is well thought-out from the beginning will appear to be extremely simple to use and run really smoothly. Let me say right now that simple is the most difficult thing to achieve; it takes loads of work and planning to get a simple interface. Ask Amazon how many times they changed their front screen before they reached the final search screen we see today. And how much money they spent researching the most effective way to get people to find what they want and buy. Do you think that it is as simple as it could be?

Let's just go back to the site with one product or service for sale. Where are we going to put that so visitors can easily find it? How is the page going to be arranged so that people will be encouraged to click that 'Buy now' button? What information do you need from the customer in order to sell the product or service to them? Does it incur VAT? Is there a delivery charge, and is that dependent on their distance from you? What message are you going to send them when they've bought the product? Do you want to follow up further to inform them of progress? 

There are lots of things to think about if you want your website to run smoothly and encourage visitors and customers to talk about you and do your marketing for you. 

So now that you know all of that, a key thing for you as the customer to know from this article is that if your chosen web designer doesn't ask just a few questions about the ecommerce side of things once you've mentioned it, just be a little bit aware that there may be adjustments to be made later on which could incur further costs for you, so make sure you have a decent conversation about what you are expecting and need before you get the quote. 


One final thing to mention before we close is security. This is crucial to an ecommerce website both to protect you and your customers. It is a large subject, so I'll leave it there for now, but make sure if you are taking payments that you do consider a security certificate for your website at the very least, and get to know the law regarding taking card details from people.

On a lighter note...

Don't be put off by all of this! Its like everything, if a job is worth doing, its worth doing well. And a great idea for an ecommerce site should be taken forward. Done well, the rewards can be great. 

Next week, I'll look at domain names, emails and hosting. Have a good weekend!