7 Questions To Ask An eCommerce Developer Before Hiring One

Today, almost 54% of U.S. consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement. That’s quite an experience gap! 

The design and development team that you hire to build your eCommerce website can make or break the user experience visitors have. Needless to say, having the best developers working on your project has the biggest impact on your eCommerce business. 

Choosing a web development company for your eCommerce business is a tricky endeavour. 

How do you know which agency is the best fit for you? 

How do you pick the eCommerce development company that will multiply your chances of success in the long run and become a partner with you in your triumphs?

Asking questions will not only induce clarity at your end, but it will ensure that the web development team you hire is constantly on its toes. Knowing that the client doesn’t have a technical quotient can more often than not cause lapses at the development end.

In this piece, we will look at a few questions every eCommerce business should ask the web development company before hiring it to get the best results.

1. What sort of projects have you worked on in the eCommerce niche?

Portfolios are the most effective source to evaluate a developer’s past experience, quality of work, strengths and weaknesses alike. The majority web development companies with robust work experience showcase their portfolio on their websites.

Hiring an eCommerce developer that has a strong prowess in the same genre and is seasoned in developing eCommerce applications can make things hundredfold easier for you. You must check the developer’s expertise and niche in the same. Have they implemented projects similar to yours? How have they integrated the required features?

Web developers must have a clear understanding of your business’ needs. You must always inquire what tech stack does the web development company use for development, deployment, testing and project management. And whether the tools being used comply with the industry standard and fit your project? While choosing a developer, you should also consider factors such as  the company’s learning curve, technical skills, customization options, pricing, and analytics.

2. Who will be involved on your end in the website’s development?

As practice shows, your web development team should be composed of specialists with diverse skill sets and knowledge, and fit the project’s purpose.

In most cases, the members of your web development team are: UX and UI designers, requirements analysts, full-stack web developers, back-end and front-end developers, and quality assurance engineers. However, a bigger project might include a DevOps engineer on the team as well.

There are numerous reasons why teams for similar projects may have different numbers of team members. Some  of these reasons include the project’s difficulty, your own preferences, and the development timeframe. While some companies provide its customers with the full circle of specialists they may need for the project, others do not. So, every custom web development company may have its own spectrum of services and the number of web development team members can greatly vary. 

Hence, when hiring a web development agency, always ensure that you are aware of all the people that will be working on your project so that you know each one’s role and can communicate with the right person directly if need be.

3. What steps do you take to ensure a good user experience on mobile?

Responsive design is the “big thing” in web design right now. However, just as any other customer from a different domain, you might be uncertain as to whether or not a business’ website should be implementing responsive design, especially if you do not understand the concept.

Responsive design can help solve a lot of problems for your website. It will improve the way your website looks on devices with both large and small screens, make it mobile-friendly, and increase the amount of time that visitors spend on your site. It can also help you improve your rankings in search engines.

The ultimate goal of responsive design is to avoid the unnecessary scrolling, resizing, zooming, or panning that occurs with websites that haven’t been optimized for multiple devices. It is often very difficult to navigate these sites, and it may even cost you potential customers who become frustrated with trying to figure out how to do something.

Therefore, checking with the web developer if the website is going to be mobile responsive right in the beginning can make the task of deciding whether to choose their service or not a comparatively easier one.

4. What aspects do you plan to focus on in UX/UI design?

User experience, commonly known as UX, is a simple oversight that can make your business lose out big bucks. With poor UX, you can easily miss the opportunity to build a loyal audience, nurture prospects, and convert users into paying customers.

There are several components of a website that optimize user experience. Having an exceptional UX involves mapping out each of these elements, which include adaptability, design, functionality, navigation, and usability.

One important aspect of an exceptional UX flow is performance. When your business runs online, every second counts. Slow web applications are a complete failure and often lead to customers absconding your website, further damaging your reputation.

Some common performance issues are under-optimized databases, poorly written code, traffic spikes, unmanaged growth of data, poor load distribution, troublesome third party services, default configuration, etc. To tackle these issues, one needs to think about UX in terms of performance even before the website is developed.

Therefore, when looking for a web development company, always dig through their past work and ensure that they pay much heed toward optimizing the user experience of your website/app.

5. What is the plan of action to ensure the website’s discoverability?

Today, almost 75% of users never click past Google’s first page of search results. Your business, therefore, requires a website that can get ranked among the top search results. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in web development since it ensures customers keep pouring in for your eCommerce business.

Once the website has been coded, making technical changes regularly goes almost out of question as it affects the overall look of the website and depending on the gravity of the changes, it might cause downtime as well; which just can’t be afforded at any cost once customers start interacting with your brand online.

Hence, right from the start, you need to be aware if the developers provide SEO service and regular audits of the same as part of the contract. If yes, do they know the intricacies of SEO and if they’re following the right practices all along.

6. What kind of maintenance and support do you offer post launch?

Launching a new website is a huge task by itself. You may be easily enticed to see launch day as the finish line, however in reality, it’s the beginning of a new growth phase. After your preliminary website launch, you are bound to discover ways your website can be streamlined, improved, and even adjusted as per new needs. 

Typical post launch requirements can include troubleshooting for patches, updates, and fixes to your content management system (CMS). There are also analytics needed to help gauge web traffic behavior, important security updates to complete, and even new content to create. 

Your chosen web developer knows how the site is built in a comprehensive manner. Hence, they can jump in for support services immediately post-launch, without wasting any time onboarding as would be required in case of an outsourced support. 

Similarly, an ad hoc web repair consultant will require numerous attempts to make something function properly. Since such tasks are usually billed by the hour, what comes across as a bargain at the beginning ends up costing way too much in the long run. It’s always preferable to get it done right the first time to save yourself valuable investments in both cost and time. Therefore, ensure that the web development agency you choose is equally attentive toward post launch maintenance and support.

7. What is your take on security and how will you provide it?

In the midst of user experience and design, web app security often gets neglected. However, security should be considered throughout the software development life cycle, chiefly when the application is dealing with encrypted data required for payment details, contact information, and other such confidential information. 

There are several factors to consider when it comes to website security, such as the safety of user data, denial of service attacks, unauthorized access to restricted parts of the website, database malfunctioning, etc. Some of the common security threats include Phishing, Cross-Site Scripting, Shell Injection, Cross-Site Request Forgery, Session Hijacking, Buffer Overflow, SQL Injection, etc. The website should be carefully coded to be safe against these security concerns.

In fact, effective security measures should be taken beginning right at website development. This is because if your application is not tested and validated against security threats from the opening stages of development, it may fail to protect valuable corporate resources and data from malicious attacks at a later time. 

Therefore, an agency that provides the highest standards of security should be the key highlight while choosing one for your eCommerce business. 

Final Words

Asking the right questions when choosing a web developer can help you find someone who understands your vision and can give you the website you want within the budget you want, especially since development costs greatly vary across different US states.

When it comes to your website, you want to display the best you’ve got. It’s generally the earliest point of contact visitors have with your eCommerce brand, and you don’t want their first impression to be a negative one. Your website can make or break your business and how it performs. It’s important that it reaches your target market, gives them what they want and reaches company goals.

By being prepared with what you’d like to know, you have a better chance of working with someone who understands your vision and is willing to give you the website of your dreams. So, go ahead and let the questioning begin!