Congratulations! You’re ready to take a big step forward by jumping into eCommerce. You’ve evaluated the market to see how you stack up against the competition. You’ve developed your pricing strategies. You understand how you’re going to handle order fulfillment. And, most importantly, you’ve built out your website to handle all the online transactions.
But is your site really ready for eCommerce?
Four Questions to Ask Before You Begin eCommerce Transactions
1) Do you trust the work of your development partner?
Most eCommerce websites require significant custom development, so you can connect the site to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software or integrate it with your marketing tools. This makes it essential that you can trust the company (or individual) that completed your development work. That means asking tough questions: Does your developer have the experience necessary to build sites that meet current standards? How reliable is the code? Has it been tested?
Because eCommerce asks a lot of your website, you need to feel confident your development partner is trustworthy and knowledgeable about security best practices. The long-term success of your business depends on it.
2) How secure is your hosting infrastructure?
Your eCommerce website needs to be in a stable, secure hosting environment. If you’re using a shared hosting environment, you may be at risk. If any website on that shared server gets hacked, your website and all your customer data (including credit cards and personal information) could be compromised.We recommend creating a customized hosting configuration in the Cloud.
As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner, we’ve seen first-hand the scalability and reliability that comes with hosting your website within the Cloud. And since eCommerce requires 24/7/365 operation, you need to minimize downtime as much as possible.
3) Are you using encryption to protect your data and transactions?
Today’s eCommerce websites handle more data and larger volumes of transactions than ever. Customers depend on you to keep their data safe and secure. Once you violate that trust, you may never get it back. This makes encryption essential. Installing Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption is a good starting point. TLS has replaced the older SSL encryption methodology. But has your developer taken the necessary steps to encrypt the transactions? What about the stored data? How about customer histories and personal information?
Failure to encrypt the personal information and transactional data stored in your site means that once a hacker gains access to your site’s backside, they have access to everything. By using trusted and proven encryption methodologies, you can keep your data safe, even if a hacker were to get inside the site.
4) Do you have a dedicated budget for website maintenance?
Many eCommerce projects tend to focus on the task of developing and launching the eCommerce site. However, websites and hosting environments are a lot like buildings—if you don’t maintain them, they will break down over time.
At a minimum, you will need to plan on updating your website’s core code, the encryption technologies, the integration with your external systems, and the structure of the hosting environment. A dedicated maintenance budget will help you extend the life of your eCommerce website and provide the peace of mind your customers need.
Launch with Security, Launch with Confidence
A secure foundation for your new eCommerce store will relieve any worries in the back of your mind. If the questions asked above have you concerned that your online store might not be ready, my colleagues in eCommerce will be happy to set you at ease.