Posted on September 18, 2012 at 3:48 am as Information
Are you looking for a quick and effective way to prepare your site for modern electronic commerce? It can be a daunting task to take an existing site and convert it to one that will serve your customers well. However, it does not have to be an impossible challenge — even if you do not have a great deal of technical skill or expertise. It may be possible for you to use an ecommerce plugin to streamline the conversion process. The specific details of such a plugin will depend on the software suite that you used to manage your site’s content; however, there are some key factors to keep in mind no matter what.
An e commerce plugin is a piece of software intended to convert quickly your existing site to a functional online storefront. Naturally, the most important aspect of this conversion is the shopping cart: Without the ability to store items and check out, your customer is unlikely to understand how to place an order with you! When comparing the different plugins that might be available, it’s important to review the way that the shopping cart works. This includes its “look and feel” and whether it is easy for a customer to navigate. Speed is essential, so no aspect of shopping should be confusing.
Although the shopping cart functionality is arguably the most important detail of any ecommerce plugin, it is not the only thing you should consider. As the site owner, there are many facets of the plugin that only you will be aware of. Many newer entrepreneurs start their online sales site only to learn that a plugin that seemed effective in the beginning does not meet their needs — then they are stuck trying to convert from one plugin to another, which can lead to embarrassing service outages. What is the most critical aspect of ensuring a plugin works for you as well as for your customers? Stock management!
It can be easy to overlook the idea of stock management when you are operating a business online. Many online businesses sell intangible items that never “run out” no matter how many sales occur. However, stock management is absolutely critical for shops revolving around tangible items or professional services. Your electronic commerce software is the first line of defense against selling an item or service that you cannot provide. Most plugins handle this functionality in a simple way by allowing you to specify the number of items you have on hand. Others will integrate elegantly into external stock management software.
Technical issues are possible whenever you introduce any kind of new software into your site. A “plugin” differs significantly from a standalone piece of software because it is intended to extend the functionality of such software. Therefore, you need to have some understanding of the software your site runs on and the way that the plugin should be installed. Installing a plugin incorrectly will not usually bring down your entire site; that said, it will not provide you with the options that you want. Be sure to test your plugin after installation to ensure that it is working as intended.
Finally, do not forget your plugin may need periodic maintenance. A plugin is not very likely to fail if it is not updated on time — but you may not be able to access some advanced features as they become available in new versions. Remember to bookmark a developer’s site when you purchase an e commerce plugin you like; it may be necessary to visit occasionally for updates to the software you are using.