eCommerce Websites

Websites That Take Online Payment

eCommerce websites can take on all shapes and sizes, but their primary function is to accept payment in exchange for a product or service. We’ve built sites with a single product to over 10,000 products.

eCommerce Website Design: Dr. Bill's Pet Nutrition

What is an eCommerce Website?

It is a website that is actively selling products and/or services by accepting digital forms of payment. Successful eCommerce websites are designed to make it easy for visitors to discover products and easily understand why they should buy, the value you’re offering and next steps. These types of websites can augment traditional Brick & Mortar stores, but a physical location is not required to operate an eCommerce website.

Which eCommerce platform works with WordPress?

There are many eCommerce solutions that work nicely with WordPress. However, we recommend WooCommerce (built by the creators of WordPress) for all eCommerce website needs. The core plugin is free, with paid plugin options to add or enhance the functionality. These premium plugins help us achieve business-specific needs, often to create a specific user experience or a more streamlined back-office management process.

Common Elements of Found on an eCommerce Website

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a 3rd-party service that integrates with the website and will process the payment of a customer’s order. There are several payment gateway providers available: 

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • AmazonPay
  • SquareUp
  • And so many more.

When selecting a provider, our recommendation is to pick the ones that work with your accounting solution. The cost to process payments is nearly identical for one.

You can also offer multiple payment gateway options on the website, just understand that you will have to monitor each account as your revenue will funnel through different platforms before reaching your bank account.

Cart & Checkout Pages

The cart page is designed to show what people have added to their cart and enter coupon codes before moving onto the checkout page to complete their purchase.

The checkout page is where they enter in their Billing and Payment information. Monitoring traffic and usage of this page and help you identify the “cart abandonment” metric and either target those customers with incentives to come back and complete their purchase, or make improvements to customer experience.

These pages are simple, but vital for any eCommerce site.

Sales Tax Calculation

Please consult with your Accountant to determine if what you’re selling requires sales to be collected.

Typical rule of thumb is that sales tax is collected on anything tangible, physical or digital. Each state will have different requirements if sales tax is collected for all customers or just those who reside in the same state as the business.

We recommend using TaxJar ($99/month) to calculate sales tax because they also provide services to streamline tax filing documents that report how much was sold and taxes collected.

There are other solutions for calculating sales tax too (Avalara, WooCommerce Taxes & Shipping), pick the one that works best for you and we can assist in the integration.

Sales tax is calcuated on the Checkout page AFTER the customer has entered in their billing and/or shipping information.

Shipping Rates Calculation

For businesses that intend to pass shipping costs onto the customer, or do not provide Free Shipping for orders outside of the continental United States, then you will want to setup Calculated Rates that are added to the order total.

Examples of companies that provide integration with WooCommerce (paid plugins):

  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • USPS
  • CanadaPost
  • DHL

The product details ARE REQUIRED before calculated rates will work:

  • Length x Width x Height of individual product
  • Weight of Product of individual product
  • Shipping Box Dimensions

The system to use this information to determine which box to use, how much can fit in a box and the weight of the box. With that, a rate will be returned on the Checkout page after the customer enters in their billing/shipping information.

NOTE: Returned rates might not be 100% accurate when compared you to physcially taking the shipment to the counter and having it weighed. But they should be close enough that you won’t lose money on shipping fees.

Customer Account Area

If customers create an account during checkout, they will be able to access an account area where they can make simple updates to their information and see their order history. 

We have the option to enable or disable the ability for customers to checkout as a guest (no account required). 

Checkout as a Guest can remove a barrier to completing the order. If you regularly run promotions (coupons) and want to limit usage, allowing Guest checkout can increase abuse of certain coupons.

Shop Page

The Shop Page is a page that shows all or a sub-selection of products.

Depending on the website, and the number of products, we will guide business owners on a good, better, and best way to display products. We’ll use what your competitors are doing to ensure that we don’t deviate too much from what your target audience might expect when shopping for specific things.

Be sure to discuss with your developer the nuances of your product catalog and ideas you have to make finding products even easier.

Individual Product Pages

This page is where the “rubber meets the road” as they say. Individual product pages should contain all of the information someone would need to know about what you’re offering.

Amazon product listings are often compared because of how much information is available on an individual product page.

When selling anything online, it is best to include as much detail as possible with as may photos as possible so that potential customers can get a sense of what it is they are buying. Anything less than is a poor assumption that customers know exactly what they want, they learned everything from another website, and are ready to buy.

These pages will include an area for customers to leave reviews about the product. This is called social proof and can encourage even more sales (again, think Amazon) when they see positive and real feedback.

Premium Plugin Solutions (Examples)

Every eCommerce website has different needs and they need the website to do different things to either create a better customer experience when shopping for products, or to streamline the administrative efforts of fulling orders.

Here’s a short list of common extensions we use on our eCommerce sites:

  • Membership (Special products or discounts for members only)
  • Subscription (Subscribe & Save offers, recurring orders)
  • Calculated Shipping (From UPS, FedEx, or USPS)
  • Calculated Sales Tax (TaxJar)
  • Fulfilment Center Integration (Via ShipStation or OrderDesk)

Note: Discuss with your developer what your needs are to determine the right set of solutions for your specific setup. These types of plugins have an annual renewal fee (but if they are important/vital to your business, they are worth it).

Catalog Website Elements

A lot of our eCommerce sites borrow a lot of elements we’ve put together in our Catalog Style Websites. Elements such as:

  • Blog
  • Events
  • Locations
  • Custom Databases (ie: Ingredients, Specialties, Team)

For some websites, the eCommerce portion is a very small part when compared to everything else. Establishing a sitemap with your developer will be extremely beneficial for both you and them.