Build your ecommerce website

The internet has opened up a world of opportunity for small businesses. Instead of simply catering to the local market, retailers can now reach customers from around the world, and business is no longer restricted by regular operating hours.

The opportunities are so great that not only do you see traditional brick and mortar stores developing e-commerce websites to expand their reach, but you also have new e-commerce companies where the business model is completely focused on selling online.

While e-commerce websites do offer great opportunities for both new and existing businesses, the marketplace can be tough. There are a lot of e-commerce companies in Canada, and if you want to compete, you have to build a website that is going to attract customers and serve them well once they arrive at your site.

If you want to build a website that can stand up when compared to the top e-commerce companies, you are going to have to work with professionals that specialize in e-commerce development. In this post, we are going to look at some of the things you should consider when hiring an e-commerce developer in Toronto.

Individual or Development Company

One of the first things you are going to have to consider is whether to contract with an individual developer or hire a company that specializes in e-commerce website development. This is not a straightforward choice, and you will have to weigh various pros and cons.

The main reason to hire an individual developer is that you can usually save money on the overall cost of developing an e-commerce website. You could find a local Toronto developer to work on your site, or you could hire a contractor from an online talent marketplace.

The downside is that the developer may have the skills to build a website, but they are not going to be a specialist in every element that goes into designing and developing a website. They might understand the technical side of website development, but they probably only understand some of the basics when it comes to design. Furthermore, you have to consider things like content development and whether you are going to need ongoing support for your website.

When you hire an e-commerce development company, you might have to pay a little more, but there is a lot of value that comes with this additional expense. An established company is going to have professionals that work on different parts of the project. They will have website designers, professionals that focus on the user experience, developers, content writers and strategists.

Portfolio and References

Regardless of whether you hire a company or an individual to develop your e-commerce website in Canada, you want to know that they are experienced and that they can deliver good results. Obviously, you should interview any potential developers and ask them about their experience, but you also want to ask for references and see their portfolio. You want to look at some of their past projects to see the quality of their work, and you might even want to go to some of the websites and test them out. As e-commerce developers, they should have at least a few e-commerce sites in their portfolio.

Cross Platform Development

If you were developing an e-commerce site a decade ago, you could afford to only focus on building a great desktop experience. However, today’s shopper is going to want to experience your online store from multiple devices. They might shop with their desktop one day, and then want to shop with their phone or tablet. Even if you plan to develop an app, you still want your website to offer a good experience on mobile. Some customers might not be ready to download the app on their first experience, and you want any customer that finds your website to have a good experience on their first visit.

Content Management System

You have several options when it comes to finding a Content Management System (CMS) for your e-commerce website. The different options will lend themselves well to different types of stores, and they all have their own benefits and features that can make them good for different businesses. Once you decide on a platform, you want to find a company that is familiar with the CMS. In other words, if you are going to use Shopify, you want to hire a company with Shopify experts. The same is true whether you are using Shopify, Magneto, PrestaShop, WooCommerce (through WordPress) or any other CMS.

Strategy and Process

It is important to ask e-commerce developers about how they plan to design and develop your website. This isn’t just about learning about their process, the quality of the explanation and their willingness to answer questions can provide insight into how well you will be able to work with the company or individual you plan to hire. Ask them about the estimated date of completion, what they will need from you to start, whether they use templates or if each website is a custom design and how they handle billing.

Payment Solutions

An e-commerce website will have several options when it comes to payment solutions. You need to develop a payment system that offers security, while also being convenient for the consumer. In addition to that, you need to consider all of the different payment options that you want to make available to your customers. When you are consulting with your Toronto e-commerce developer, you want to make sure they are familiar with the different payment systems that you plan to use, and that they can implement them on your site.

Post Launch Support

Getting your e-commerce website built and launched is a good start, but it is not the end of the process. When you hire a developer that builds e-commerce websites in Toronto, you need to consider the types of support that you may need after the initial launch. You might need troubleshooting services after the launch. You also have to think about things like updates to your CMS. Some updates might affect the performance of the site, so it is good to know that you have professionals to help you work through some of these issues. You may also want to consider ongoing services for things like content, search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization.