I have done many eCommerce projects and am looking forward to doing more.
The most interesting eCommerce projects are the ones that are starting from scratch. Â I was fortunate to be a part of several such projects including NFLShop.com, CasualMale.com and OriginalPenguin.com. Â Of these the OriginalPenguin.com project was by far the most interesting because I was simultaneously the director, lead engineer, and QA. 🙂
Whenever I start a project or am consulting for one I ask the following questions to help determine the scope and range of the project.
- What technology will be used? Â J2EE? Â ATG? Â .Net? Â PHP? Â Ruby on Rails?
- What platform? Â Windows? Â Linux? Â Solaris? Â FreeBSD?
- How will it be hosted? Â Locally? Â Shared host? Â Virtual host? Â Exclusive host?
- What database do you use or plan to use?
- How many products, product categories and SKU’s do you have?
- How will catalog administration be done? Â Should it be part of the web application? Â Or will you use a separate third-party application?
- How will you manage price lists?
- How will you keep track of inventory?
- When an order is submitted, how will it be fulfilled? Â Who does fulfillment?
- How will you handle payments? Â Payflow Pro? Â Cyber Cash? Â CyberSource? Â PayPal?
- How will you handle taxes? Â TAXWARE?
- What kind of security do you want? Â Will everything be handled securely via SSL? Â Do you already have an SSL server certificate for the site?
- Will you require that to buy something you have to have an account? Â If not will you want to still try to encourage buyers to get an account?Â Â Will you be saving credit card numbers with the account?
- Can buyers track their order history, order status, etc.?
- What kind of emails do you want sent during the order/fulfillment process?
- Will you want to implement promotions and/or coupons?
- What kind of catalog navigation do you want? Â Do you want a menu like navigation like Amazon.com?
- Do you want the buyer to be able to search for items?
- Do you want product comparison?
“Search for items” should be taken as a must have feature for any decent sized eCommerce shop 🙂
BTW Dont you ask them anything about SEO/Merchandising/Sitemaps etc?