Actinic Ecommerce Website Design
Ecommerce Web Design Explained
Ecommerce is short for Electronic Commerce, the process of selling products or services over the internet. A large amount of companies now provide ecommerce and the numbers are growing rapidly. It is forecast that by the end of 2007, 9% of all retail sales will be completed online. There are six main areas to ecommerce; ecommerce software, product catalogue, payment processing, shipping, search engine optimisation and hosting.
The software we use for ecommerce website design is called Actinic, they are the market leader in ecommerce solutions and at £399 + vat (£468.83), it is incredibly good value. Details of this software can be found here. An thriving ecommerce website we created using this software is Fantronix.
There are 2 parts to this area - the catalogue your customers get to browse and the catalogue that you maintain. After you add, remove or amend a product in your catalogue, you click a button to update your website. The product name, price, weight (for shipping costs) and an image are typical information you include for a product. Other features such as choice of size or colour can also be included at this stage.
Once a customer places an order, you need to take their payment. Due to PCI DSS guidelines (launched in April 2008) it is now mandatory to use a Payment Service Provider (PSP) when using Actinic as your ecommerce software. The Actinic software can use most of the popular PSPs and they also have their own PSP service which integrates neatly with Actinic, providing full back office connection, unlike any other PSP.
As your customers can live anywhere in the world, you will need to ship items to their chosen address. Dependant on weight, size and destination, shipping costs can vary somewhat and Actinic handles all of this for you. Shipping can be done by order value i.e. under £50 = £3.95 and over £50 = £0.00 OR you can ship by weight. Each product in your catalogue has it's weight included, when a customer goes to pay for their chosen products, Actinic totals up the weights and looks this total up in a shipping database, where it will calculate the costs to a specified destination. This shipping cost is automatically added to an order and paid for at the checkout stage. The amounts you wish to charge for shipping are controlled by you.
So you have a great ecommerce website full of exciting and excellent products, you provide secure payment processing and your website is reliable and easy to navigate. You just sit back and wait for the money to roll in right? Not quite...but almost. Once you have all of the above factors complete, you need people to come visit your ecommerce website and be able to find your products. This is where search engines and search engine optimisation comes in. By creating 'content rich' websites which are optimised for search engines, you have the best chance of being listed highly. The higher you are listed, the more visitors and the more sales you can expect to achieve. Actinic has built in SEO and this works exceedingly well. Smithfield Wine previously mentioned has many of its key products listed in the first 5 results on Google, with the large majority of these in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd spot. This is key to a successful website and does not happen overnight (despite many outrageous claims). Being one of the top search engine results is similar to being the market leader in your industry, it takes time and does not happen overnight.
Hosting costs for an Actinic ecommerce website are more expensive than a normal website. Ecommerce websites are dynamic. 'Dynamic' means that content on some pages is interactive and can be controlled by the user. A prime example is the'shopping cart' page, where a visitor chooses a product and adds it to the shopping cart.
Our starter hosting package has ample bandwidth for a busy ecommerce website and costs £210 per year. As the traffic (visitors) to your site increases, you may need to move up to the next package. The next package, which has 2.5 times the bandwidth of our starter package costs £350. Please remember this is all relative, the more visitors you are having to your site, the more sales you should be making.
What Will an Actinic Website Design Cost?
There are mandatory costs that any Actinic ecommerce website will incur before any development starts. These are as follows:
|Actinic Ecommerce Software - Catalog Version 9||
|Starter Hosting Package (per year)||
The above £680.00 gives us the tools we need to build the ecommerce website. We then need to design your website, add your products and complete various bits of information such as terms & conditions, business address, shipping charges etc. Once we have completed the build and you are 100% satisfied, we can visit you to set up the ecommerce software and train you on how to use it.
It is very difficult to provide a reliable quotation for an Actinic website design, without some further information. The amount of products to be listed and the work involved can vary substantially. For instance you may have 100 products with details, pricing and images already created. This would be a quick build. You may have 500 products with no details, this would take substantially longer.
An Actinic ecommerce website design is going to cost a minimum of £2,680 (this includes the £680 above). Precise quotations can be provided once we have assessed your build. Most ecommerce websites cost £2,000 - £3,000.
Ecommerce Website Summary
If you have made it this far, i'm guessing you are very interested in having an ecommerce website. If you are a small company with a view to expanding in the future or if you are a large company with a multitude of products to offer, Actinic and Website Designed are your perfect combination. Give us a call and let us talk you through our ecommerce solutions.