When someone says they want to set up an e-commerce site, what exactly do they mean? A basic e-commerce site-a site where commerce is transacted-consists of the following:
- The catalog. Where product images or photos are featured along with a description, item number and price. When services are involved instead of products, then the catalog would be the listing of services.
- The shopping cart. The behind-the-scenes technology that allows shoppers to select an item, specify its number, and return to see what's in their shopping cart at any time to add or modify.
- The checkout system. The technology that's activated once a shopper decides to finalize his or her purchase or "check out." This system, in its most basic form, tallies tax, adds shipping, gives a total cost and processes the shipping and delivery of the items or fulfillment of the services. That process could simply mean e-mailing or faxing you the details for you to fulfill the order or sending the details to your factory or fulfillment house.
That's all there is to a basic e-commerce site!
Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.