Ecommerce websites are considerably more complex than non-ecommerce websites! The technology and coding that goes into being able to add things to a “shopping cart”, accepting credit cards, showing products, and all those other “little things” is more complex than it appears. Because the technology for e-commerce is complicated, the themes and overall designs for ecommerce sites are also much more complex.

I built this bright, retro, website design with fully functional ecommerce on WordPress.

My work on this particular project included:

  • ecommerce implementation with advanced credit card processing integration, shipping, and tax calculation
  • extensive theme and css coding and modifications (can you believe we started with the same template that is currently built on?)
  • mailing list configuration, set up, and implementation
  • graphic design of the header from a scan of a business card

To stay within the small budget and launch a complete site with full content, I gave this client access before launching so that she could add over 60 products.

Because of the complexity of ecommerce sites, it’s vital that you, as a business owner, have a clear idea about what your business needs are, what you want, and what your budget is. The more options for shipping, taxes, and payment processing that your company needs, the more complex the code becomes and the more expensive your site. Ecommerce sites with free shipping or less than 4 shipping classes, no additional taxes, that accept PayPal or manual payments, are easiest and most cost effective since they don’t require additional code added to the core ecommerce script (besides, studies show that at least 46% of businesses say that free shipping helps them make more sales, just look at’s free and easy shipping options!).

To make designing your ecommerce website design experience as stress free for both of us as possible, I’ve added more questions to my long-form new client questionnaire that are specific to ecommerce:

  • Type of products: physical, digital, services, or any/all?
  • Will you have any digital downloads such as PDF, movie or audio files?
  • How would you like your products organized? (Categories, Departments, etc.)
  • Do you have product images available?
  • Do you have your product descriptions written?
  • What types of payment will you accept?
  • Do you have an existing merchant account?
  • Do you need tax calculated?
  • Do you want to be able to offer discounts?
  • Do you need stock/inventory control?
  • How will fulfillment (shipping, returns) be handled?
  • Do you have accounts with USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.?
  • Do You Need Real Time Shipping Calculations?
  • Do you want customers to be able to leave product reviews?
  • Will you want cross-selling capability to associate products with each other?
  • Will you require your website to link into other systems that you may have? (Accounting software, CRM, etc)
  • Will you offer multiple levels of pricing? (wholesale, retail, bulk, international?) If so, How many levels? What about “special” customers who have a negotiated pricing? How will the site handle them?
  • Do you want social media integration in the shopping cart? (e.g. adding Facebook Like button or Facebook comments to the product pages)
  • How many individual transactions do you “realistically” expect per day in the first year? What is average sale total normally?
  • How will you market the site? Will you be providing XML feeds of your database to any search engines via a “paid inclusion” program?

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