There are countless articles that tell you how to judge a good eCommerce website development company. Although there is no one ultimate formula on which the authenticity of a company can be judged, there are certain factors which can give you an approximate idea about the company's profile. Like everyone else I have a different approach to this topic and would like to share them in here.
Discern Your Developer from your Designer
Web designing and web development are two very related but very different professional skill sets. Often both of these services are provided by the same agency or individual. Staying acquainted with whatever each of these particular terms means facilitate you to make the right choice for your business.
A Web designer is the one who deals with the overall aesthetics, look and feel or the design of the website using coding skills across scripting languages such as HTML, XML, CSS, PHP, etc. to create user engagement via number of available web tools or platforms.
Whereas, a Web developer is one who is an expert across one or more coding languages like PHP, Ruby on Rails, XML, ActionScript, Python, etc. and is capable of creating web applications, custom platforms, widgets from the ground up.
In a nutshell, designers create the visual aspects and implement them and developers create the applications or tools that decide the functionality of that website and upgrade it if need be.
Making a clear distinction between designer and developer, let's delve deer into the topic at hand. Since you are looking to develop an eCommerce store, you should probably focus more on the designer than the developer. A designer too has sufficient coding skills, they can use an existing Content Management System or a shopping cart. The key area of focus should be on creating an appealing and handsome design that reflects your values and business. This not only assures increased traffic but also makes efficient and effective utilization of the resources at hand.
However, if you want to create an app for Google's Android Platform or Apple's iOS platform you would be required to hire a skilled developer as an app requires to be built from scratch and should be fast and resource friendly to appeal to people.
Thus a final conclusion can be drawn that depending on your requirements the allocation of focus should be done on the designer / developer aspect. There are companies that are specialized in developing and some for development. Decide your priorities should probably be the best idea before you start your project. Since the selection of the designer or developer or ecommerce website development company or individual is the key area of focus id like to provide with a few tips that'll help you make a better call choosing the potential service provider for your business.
1. Checking References, testimonials and reviews
Before deciding on the company you should ask for and follow up with available references, reviews and testimonials from clients they have worked with. Make sure you know about his quality of work, effectiveness, commitment to deadlines and how cooperative they are with interactions.
2. Research Customized carts to cater to all your needs
The content management system (CMS) is the spine of any eCommerce site or online retail business. Features like order processing, data flow, payment integration and analytics will be what the website will actually be running on. Research for such features and make sure that your designer / developer is providing you with your specific requirements. Narrow down the list of developers who can provide you with your requirement. Avoid concerns who promise to have your site up and running in a few hours.
3. Get a statement of work
Make sure you enter into a contractual agreement with the designer or developer which should entail the designer's understanding of your project and its segments and spell out an estimated timetable within which he promises to deliver. It should also include the details enumerating the exact services to be provided, the remuneration for such in return and how any deviation from the goal will be handled. If a developer or designer can not express the project in a statement of work, do not hire them.
4. The experience is as important as Credentials
Web Design and development freelancer are available at large and are often self-taught. So while a professional with a master's degree or any such similar accreditation is assuredly believed to deliver quality work, do not fail to notice the self taught professional. If you judge a person based only on his academic credentials, you might be missing out on a talented professional. Experience and talent is more important than a degree.
Last but not the least hang on to your web designer or developer to troubleshoot problems or make small adjustments in the future. A regular agreement would have you paying the designer or developer for one hour of work each month. You would amass unused hours for up to 12 months. So if you required to make adjustments after your online store had been up for six months and you had been paying your fee, you'd have six hours worth of work already paid for and your designer would be constrained to get the work done.