When you’re starting the plans for your E-commerce website, you have a considerable amount of items to consider.  One major area which you need to manage well includes the technical requirements.  Knowing what you will need will be critical in the long run.

Here are some good questions you need to consider:

How many items will you have?

There are various programs out there that manage a certain number of products.  Make sure you know how many products the program will hold, and if you have room for expansion.

How many variations of those items will you have, such as size, color, etc.?

If you sell items with sizes, colors, etc., you’ll need a program that manages those choices within the items’ page.

What payment processing system do you want to use?

There are some famous payment processing systems that are widely used.  Square, Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net are well-established companies in the industry.  Most E-commerce hosting companies prefer some over the others, so make sure you have one that is compatible with the program you want to use.  Also, some E-commerce companies have some good payment processing systems included in their services.

Do you want to link your E-commerce website to your accounting or CRM software?

For some merchants, they want to connect with programs like QuickBooks or SalesForce.  Just like the payment processing system choices, you need to know what will be compatible with your E-commerce program.  Be sure to ask about compatibility issues and also read the reviews from current and former customers on how they work.

Do you need other “plug-ins” to be included in your E-commerce website?

Are there other functions that you want to work in your E-commerce website?  Some programs include services such as automatic shipping calculations, postage labels, picking sheets and other services.  Others allow for them as plug-ins which you have to add to the program on your own.  Make a list of what you need and then make sure you have those services included in your plans.

How do you want your orders to be managed?

This may be one of the most commonly missed areas of E-commerce programs: you need to know how the program will manage your orders.  Will it notify you when an order is received, or do you have to manually check it?  Will the program allow you to manage inventory and will it notify you when you are out of stock on an item?  Will it charge the customer in full, or will it put a “hold” on the customer’s credit card for the full amount until the order is filled?  All of these questions are important and need to be answered in advance.

How do you want your customers’ information to be managed?

For some programs, all of the customers’ account information is managed within the website.  For others, it needs to be exported to another computer program.  Make a point to understand where you will manage your customers’ information and how you can do it most effectively.

Although these questions cover very important points of emphasis, you may have some unique requirements and conditions for what you need.  Create a comprehensive list of your needs within the E-commerce site you plan to build.