Think and plan, think and plan – is that all there is to building an ecommerce site? Well, sort of.
After all, once you get to the “building” phase, you should already know exactly what you’re building, what it will look like and how it will work. And that will only happen with thinking and planning. So yes, take a little more time and consider this next step on your way to a successful site.
Tip #4: Decide Where Product Information Will Come From
Once you’ve determined the best way to present your products to potential customers, the next step is figuring out where the product information will come from.
Do you have an internal inventory management system? If so, that can feed your web site. Don’t “reinvent the wheel” by developing a second database just for your site – you’ll only end up with double the work for maintenance, and inconsistencies are bound to creep in.
For businesses with an existing database of inventory, your first attempt should be to integrate it with your web site. A good programmer will usually be able to get your database to “talk” to your web site. Then, when you make changes to your database, those changes will be reflected automatically and in real-time on your web site, so you and your customers will always have the most up-to-date information.
If, for some reason, your database cannot communicate with your web site, you should seriously consider moving to another database platform. It may require a bit of an investment and some extra time, but it’ll give you an enormous advantage over trying to manage, maintain and sync two separate databases.
If you don’t have a preexisting database, then there’s more work ahead! You’ll need to build a database to house your data and provide the back end of any content management that you plan to do.
This requires an entire sitemap, wireframe, prototype and testing process in itself. The good news is that the more time you spend planning, the more time you’ll have later to watch your sales roll in.
How do you manage product inventory for your ecommerce site? What would make it easier?