Questions to Ask an E-Commerce Service Provider

Parul Saxena

Parul Saxena

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 24, 2021

Suppose you are thinking of building a website that does e-commerce or any other kind of online financial transactions. In that case, you will want to work with a managed VPS hosting provider that truly understands your needs and is able to protect you and your customers. There are thousands of hosting services offering e-commerce features these days, and it can be quite difficult to find the best one to work with.

Looking for E-commerce Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best eCommerce software solutions.

The e-commerce service provider you will choose will definitely make an impact on your website, your brand image, and your credibility among your customers. Here are some questions to ask an e-commerce service provider to determine if it will be a good fit.

Important Questions to ask an E-commerce Service Provider

1. How long will it take to get my online store up and running?

Time is money, as proven by many other industries and businesses even before the Internet age. With e-commerce, this is especially true since you stand to lose more money the longer it takes to get your system online. A good e-commerce service provider offers speedy service and tools and options that will allow you to easily and quickly build your e-commerce site, even if you do not have advanced training and knowledge in the field. The faster you can get things in place, the sooner you can sell products and services online.

2. What are the options when it comes to the design of my e-commerce site?

First impressions last, especially with e-commerce sites. You want your online store to look credible, friendly, and reliable—all of these can be accomplished by designing your online store to look a certain way. You want a professional to be at the helm of a brick-and-mortar store, and the same is still true for virtual stores. However, not everyone can afford a graphic designer who knows his or her way around virtual store design. A good e-commerce service provider can provide you with easy-to-use professional-looking templates and design options that will help your online store look its best.

3. Will my online store be secure?

This is a very important question since one of your main goals is to protect your customers’ private accounts and financial data effectively. Make sure to sign up with an e-commerce hosting provider that can offer you secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates for data encryption, as well as features that meet the standards of the Payment Card Industry (PCI Compliance). In addition, it does not hurt to look into the track record of the hosting provider you are considering for your online store. It should be easy to confirm whether they are famous for security breaches or they seem reliable.  

4. Can I depend on your uptime reliability?

You lose money every second your e-commerce site is down. You need to work with an e-commerce service provider with high uptime reliability, which should not be lower than 99%. However, even that is something to be mindful of as there is a great difference between 99 percent and 99.99%, even though it does not look that way. The downtime of 1% is an equivalent of 7 hours a month, whereas the downtime of 0.01% equals around 4.3 minutes. That is the time during which you will be losing money. 

E-commerce service providers offer a money-back guarantee if your downtime crosses the limits of what they had predicted. This is another reason why it is in their best interest to be reliable. 

5. Will there be shipping tools available?

Selling products online means that you have the capacity to ship and deliver them to your customers, who are shopping right from their living rooms. A good and reliable e-commerce service provider offers shopping cart software that can be integrated with a wide variety of shipping options, including the US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS. The shopping cart software should be compatible with shipping services, which would help you avoid cargo and delivery nightmares in the future. Plus, such shipping options also add to the positive experience of your customers.

6. Can you help me promote my store?

Some e-commerce hosting providers offer promotion services to help you reach more customers after you have built your website. You need visitors to ensure your website’s success, and you will have a hard time doing this alone. Good eCommerce hosting providers can help you with features such as search engine marketing or optimization.

7. What e-commerce platform will my shop run on?

Selecting the right e-commerce platform for your store is probably one of the most important things you will ever do regarding this project. Apart from the overall features which will help determine the look and functionality of your store, an e-commerce platform affects how quickly/easily your store grows. It also represents one of the main costs involved in running this type of business so it is important that you are getting good value for your money. 

By opting to build your store with Magento or Woocommerce, you will be working with some of the top platforms out there. With these two, for example, you will be getting an abundance of features, but that’s not all you should be excited about. They are being singled out in this article as they can efficiently help you with the most important task you have, attracting customers. They have very strong SEO which will help the promotion of your store. Also, with 1-click selling apps offered, you can close your sales quickly and efficiently. Most importantly, you will be building a user-friendly store. 

8. What are the web hosting requirements for running my eCommerce shop?

By setting up an e-commerce shop, you avoid one of the very important things to consider when opening a brick-and-mortar store is the location. Your e-commerce shop will be visible to many worldwide. However, even though there is no physical address to it, your online store still needs to be located somewhere. This is why you need a provider to host your website and a suitable hosting plan. For optimal functionality, you will require a server with 2 CPU cores and 2GB RAM. 

9. What else is there to recommend you for the job?

Choosing an e-commerce service provider is like selecting a business partner. You need to know what recommends them to do business with you. This is why one of your first steps should be to evaluate your needs and expectations from this e-commerce shop. Once you know this, you can see how your business and your goals compare to what a prospective service provider has done so far.

Ask them if they have experience working with others in the same industry you are in. This can determine the audience and the approach. Also, think about your business, its size and structure. Have they worked with someone similar recently? Finally, think about how approachable they are and how well you can communicate with them.

Do not forget to ask to see examples of their work. These examples can tell you a lot about a provider. You can also use them as a reference, get in touch with the businesses they’ve dealt with, and ask about their experience working with the provider.

Final Thoughts

Shopping online is quite simple and it is one of the greatest conveniences enabled to an average user by the Internet. It helps many people daily, but the past year has shown how essential it can be. 

On the other hand, selling online is not as simple as it may seem. There is a lot of setting up involved and logistics required for running an online store. With the right service provider, you are getting the greatest proportion of your setup ready. This is why you need to choose wisely and make sure that you are working with the provider which can help you get closer to your goals. 

Parul Saxena
Parul Saxena is a writer and editor with experience in various genres of writing in various industries. A content creator who loves to write on the latest technologies and their impact on businesses and everyday life.

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