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I need a guideline to prepare a list of questions for my customer to build a e-commerce website

What are the most important questions related to the online shop I should ask (such as: what's your bank account, what's your expected revenues.. etc)


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closed as not a real question by John Conde Jun 24 '12 at 0:54

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

In my experience

Shipping - (where they ship to what services they use and what offers go with IE do they offer free shipping if so what's the fine print around it).

Order Processing - what payment gateway, does all the order data reside on the website or does it connect to an internal ERP or other system.

Discounts - do they offer coupons? if so what kind flat rate or percent off, do they apply to all products, certain categories or individual products?

promotion - what do they do to promote? will they want cross product promotions, featured products, will they need a product feed for shopping sites and or affiliates?

Inventory management - are you tracking inventory? How are you making sure it's up to date? how do you handle back orders, what about discontinued products?

These are the places you need to dig deeper just about every client will tell you it's just your basic ecomm site then when they actually get to setting things up they'll want this functionality or that, if you really dig into how they run their business you'll hopefully have it covered.

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If they decide to save customer credit card info (e.g. to process offline/in bulk, or to allow one-click checkout in the future), then they need to be aware of the PCI-DSS guidelines. – Lèse majesté Nov 22 '10 at 16:56

It is all about ROI, return of investment. That is what he cares about, and so should you.

You should be interested in the products he wants to sell. Most e-commerce websites are talking about "datafeeds", you should learn what that is.

You need to understand all the nuances of selling a product, shipping, taxes, etc ... so you can show this data to users coming to your website. Take a look at creating shops on Shopify, maybe you can even use that instead of building a website.

You might also want to learn about adding products to Amazon Marketplace and Google Product Search (google product search is a price comparison website, basically). Amazon can sell products for you, without you even having a website. And Google Product Search, and other price comparison websites, can drive traffic to your products by making them appear in search results.

Money clearing and companies that handle that (clearinghouses) are important too, but you should care about it only if you want to actually deal with them directly. Usually there are middle-tier companies that provide you APIs for this sort of thing.

The above are only suggestions and ideas you might use for asking your client questions, there are probably more things I didn't cover.

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The bank account is important in my case. In Netherlands there is a bank service called iDeal (dutch banks have it) and the integration varies according to the customer bank. – Patrick Nov 1 '10 at 19:32
So, shipping, taxes.. what's more ? I actually wanted to have a good list of questions. I've already done a website, but i need to build a "quesitons template" to organize the discussion – Patrick Nov 1 '10 at 19:33
Follow the Shopify link to learn what more ... I didn't add the links just for the blue text color. – Evgeny Nov 1 '10 at 19:40
datafeeds very interesting +1 – Marco Demaio Nov 2 '10 at 13:28

Important to know: Do they drop ship? Are you going to be building inventory management into the ecom system? Do their products offer different sizes. Do they upsell. do they show relevant items. What shipping methods do they offer? Do you need to keep track of expenses and revenue in the ecom app. Do they handle returns? RMAs?

A good e-commerce solution is built 100% around business rules. I think services like Shopify are great for those new to ecommerce, but for a real solution most developers custom code e-commerce sites.

Could start with a basic open source package and build upon it. Might be a good start for a db schema.

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