OK, you're based in the UK and you have a product to sell. What's next? First and foremost, you need to have a website where you can offer your products round the clock to large numbers of users. We are experienced in creating e-commerce platforms for our UK customers and we want to share with you the most important rules you need to follow when you build your online store.
5 rules to observe
Rule 1. You need to pass PCI Compliance assessment
If deal with money on your website, you're required to pass the PCI compliance procedure. In most cases you'll need to fill the self-assessment questionnaire and then send it to PCI representatives. The questionnaire will tell you exactly what should you do to be approved.
What you need to remember when dealing with PCI compliance:
Proper database architecture: keep credit card information out of the system. You'll probably use third-party systems for processing payments (we cover this topic later in the article). Still, you need to be sure that you don’t store credit card numbers, expiry dates and CSV codes in the database.
Stress tests. You want to have a lot of users visiting your site 24/7, which will generate massive income. Prepare your servers for such a massive load. You need to be ready to handle hundreds or even thousands of requests per minute. You don't want to go offline for whatever reason. You go offline, you lose money. As simple as that.
SSL certificate. Even if don’t store credit card information, you still collect other kinds of information from users: e-mail addresses, passwords, names, delivery and billing addresses, age, etc. You need to be sure that your connection is secure and you will not lose users’ personal data.
Rule 2. Implementation of 3D Secure is obligatory in the UK
3D secure is an additional measure to boost the level of security of the payment process. It was created by Visa and MasterCard and allows users to use a 3D secure password to confirm their online purchases. It requires implementation for each payment method and it is obligatory in the UK. We've already written about 3D securehere and how to implement it with SagePay.
Rule 3. Choose the right payment method both for your users and your business
It's important to choose an appropriate online payment method for your e-commerce platform. It should be convenient for your users and your business at the same time. It needs to be popular among your target audience because if they already use your online payment provider, they will buy faster and buy more. You don't want to lose your customers because they aren’t familiar with the payment system, even if they love your products. Also, you want your payment provider to have good customer support and adequate operational costs.
When choosing your payment gateway remember about the following two aspects:
If you're going to operate on a global scale, use PayPal. It works all over the world, but you need to be ready to tackle higher operational costs.
SagePay and Stripe are popular in the UK. They have good customer support and similar operational costs. SagePay also offers a simple process of 3D Secure implementation.
Rule 4. Expectations are growing. Be prepared for same day delivery.
Everything's becoming faster. Your customers are used to fast internet connections, fast smartphones and laptops and fast services, such as Uber. Amazon Prime Now launched in the UK and offers same day delivery for free. Moreover, it actually offers a delivery within an hour or two from the moment of ordering an item (depending on the location). You need to be effective in your warehouse management, operations and logistics to be able to deliver your products to customers as fast as possible.
Rule 5. Focus on UX, because it drives sales.
You need to remember that your customers visit your site not only to purchase your products but also to get a pleasant buying experience. You should elicit customer insights and follow data driven marketing approach to deliver the best quality to your users and boost your sales.
Follow these rules and you'll avoid the most frequent mistakes made during the development of an e-commerce application. If you’re ready to start developing of your online store, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.