Today eCommerce, or e-Commerce, generally refers to selling products and services online. This may be to other businesses, to consumers or via web portals, marketplaces or channels such as eBay. A good eCommerce solution will be web based, allow consumers or businesses secure access, enable products to be searched or browsed, selected and bought via an online shopping cart.
Once the product has been put in the shopping cart payment can be made via a payment gateway that conforms the all the security requirements of the Provider Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Payment gateways can connect up to your bank online merchant account or if you use something like PayPal the funds can go into any bank account. The consumer can use their credit card safely to pay or maybe their PayPal account. Or you might want a more traditional payment method like an invoice and direct debit or cheque. All that should be up to you in good eCommerce Solutions.
There are numerous features that you might need in order to have a successful eCommerce Solution. The features list for our eCommerce Solution is very long and the importance of each feature can vary from business to business.
Hosted eCommerce - websites and online stores need to have access to the internet and also need to be available 24/7/365. It is possible to run your own website on your own server connected to the World Wide Web. But practically it is too hard for most small to medium sized businesses. So companies like eCorner offer a fully hosted environment where you pay a monthly fee and have all the hosting and data included in the service.
The hosting provider will maintain infrastructure in a dedicated data centre with all the necessary security and redundancy built in. This will allow many, may be thousands of businesses to operate in the same environment sharing the infrastructure which the hosting provide maintains. So the over all costs are shared and a far higher level of service and capability can be provided. But always ask about service levels and what support you can expect if something goes wrong.
Now there are large and complex software applications that have been built just for the purpose of mass hosting eCommerce Solutions. eCorner uses one such application which is called ePages and is used around the world by more than 50,000 companies.
Well how much does it cost? Cost of eCommerce is a standard question that gets asked. The answer is generally better than you think. But as with all business investments what you get for your money will vary dramatically from provider to provider. You need to plan on spending a budget that you can afford.
Small and Home Businesses
Typically the costs can be paid on a monthly basis to help cash flow and there maybe some setup costs. Expect to pay from nothing up to $3,000 to set it all up and then $100 - $150 per month based on a 12 month plan. Typically these small businesses may be getting 10’s or 100’s of website visitors a day.
Medium Sized Businesses
If your business already has a website you will no doubt have some understanding of the design and development costs. As a ball park medium sized businesses can expect to invest around $15,000 to $50,000 initially and then $150 - $450 per month. This size of business may be seeing 100’s to 1000’s of visitors a day.
We know some large businesses who have eCommerce budgets of millions of dollars a year. So it is difficult estimating a budget. However a large business with very unique requirements and maybe 1000’s to 10,000’s of visitors a day can expect to invest $50,000 - $150,000 in development and then $5,000 - $10,000 a month in hosting and service charges.
eCommerce spending grew to over $24 billion in Australia in 2009. You can be selling online without complex web development so get started today. Experience the eCommerce revolution - test free for 30 days your trial store can be made live at any time during the 30 day trial period if you buy one of our packages. eCorner's Cloud based eCommerce solutions supports local payment and shipping methods; and is Australian hosted and supported.
Any good provider should be able to take your requirements and create an estimate of development and hosting costs for your business. There are lots of questions that you should ask but you cannot be a expert so you need to get professional responses from the eCommerce provider. We recommend that you always ask in writing and always ask what is not included in the estimate. eCorner will gladly provide an estimate for design, development and hosting to any sized company all you need do is contact us.
We have had individuals and businesses ask us if they can run the websites on their own PC or server. Technically you can but practically you do not want to do that especially if you are a small business. The technical infrastructure to run a website that is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week is expensive and costly to properly maintain. You need firewalls to protect the environment, switches and routers to properly direct traffic, web servers to handle traffic in and out, application servers to run the website and data base servers to manager the data. Then you need redundancy for data, power and all the firewalls, switches, routers and servers. Finally you need people who understand how it all works and can maintain it when there are issues. Most companies and even the very largest will outsource, let a third party specialist company, host and mange the infrastructure.
The vast majority of businesses just cannot afford or do not want the problems that all this brings and so they turn to professional data centres and internet service providers to host their eCommerce Solution. Today hosted eCommerce solutions are affordable by any company large or small. The capabilities and security that was once only available to the largest enterprises is now available to the smallest.
At eCorner we own all of our infrastructure which is made up of the latest HP, SUN and CISCO hardware. It is located in a secure and dedicated data centre managed by Macquarie Telecom on our behalf.