Ecommerce Website Design
Your website should reflect who you are as a company, and be specifically tailored to your products, customers and needs. At Vertical Rail, we consider ourselves master builders. When it comes to ecommerce website design, we find we like to start with a blank slate, and custom build from the ground up. Our two favorite platforms to work in are Magento and WordPress, but we are truly platform agnostic.
You likely have already been searching online for the best solution for your business. You may already be vetting one or more platforms to go with, but if you have questions, we can help.
Vertical Rail's Approach to Ecommerce Design:
There are two main options when looking at platforms: hosted and non-hosted solutions. Ultimately, the solution you choose will have to fit into your business model, and like all things, there are pluses and minuses to each solution.
Hosted Solutions: (Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, 3Dcart)
With hosted solutions, you are paying a monthly fee to lease your website from the vendor. Setup is quick and simple, there often is a snazzy WYSIWYG interface for editing your products and content. Our involvement would be limited to helping you find the correct template, uploading your products and categories, and helping you set up the options for payments and shipping.
- Updates – Host handles most updates, upgrades, fixes.
- Support – Some level of support often included in monthly fee.
- Easy – Simple and easy user interface for management.
- Cost – Minimal upfront cost to get up and running.
- Templates – Many templates are available to change the look of the site on the fly.
- Lease – You don’t “own” your website, you lease it. If you cancel your contract, your site disappears.
- Fees – Monthly fees can add up quickly. There will be a monthly fee plus percentage of every transaction, plus monthly subscriptions to any additional add-ons, extra emails, even SSL and security.
- Limitations – There can be limitations on bandwidth and number of transactions before a jump to the next payment level of service.
- Overall Cost – You never pay off your website, the website will continue to cost you for the life of the website.
- Limited Control – There is limited control all around. You must always conform to the boundaries set forth by the hosted solution. Some items you will be unable to change; some options will be unavailable.
This would be the ideal solution for a business that doesn’t mind giving up some control or paying higher monthly fees in exchange for convenience and simplicity. If you have a small number of products and expect a small number of transactions, this would be the best solution.
Non-Hosted Solutions (Magento, WooCommerce)
With a non-hosted solution, the sky is the limit. You have 100% complete control and autonomy over the future of your website. Our involvement would be significant throughout the build process of selecting a platform, setting up hosting and installing the software, organizing and importing your products and content, setting up the payment and shipping options, and helping with any integrations you have.
Once your website is launched, you will not pay any monthly fees, other than for hosting and payment processing. Your site is yours to do with as you wish, and we will play a supporting role as needed. Updates and upgrades will be handled on an as-needed basis, for which we charge our hourly fee.
- Autonomy – You own your website. All accounts (domain, hosting, themes, extensions, software, etc.) are created in your name.
- Portability – Should you decide to move your store to another host or to work with another vendor, you simply do just that. You own your store, it goes with you.
- Freedom – Complete freedom to create exactly the site you want and need, unlimited number of themes, extensions, plugins and integrations available from all the companies you already work with.
- Community Support – Vast community worldwide to support your website. Though we will be your best choice if we built your site, you will never have to look far to find support should you need it.
- Unlimited – There never are any limitations on bandwidth or number of transactions. We will be sure to set you up with enough hosting for your company so you don’t experience throttles or outages.
- Cost – Upfront cost to build the site with us.
- Updates – Though they don’t happen often, updates will need to be made from time to time at our hourly rate.
- Time – Your site will take a bit longer to create and launch, but it will be worth the wait.
- Learning Curve – Possibly more of a learning curve than a hosted solution, but that is because it is more powerful with more options.
A non-hosted solution if perfect for any small to large-sized business who desires complete control over their own destiny. Non-hosted solutions come with few limitations, and minimal monthly payout. This would be the only option for businesses with needs for multiple stores, complex integrations, or products that don’t fit a simple off-the-shelf mold.