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Ecommerce development refers to making preparation for companies to conduct business as online merchants. The establishment of a professional and secure web site that is enabled for ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce or Internet commerce, is the principal part of the technological process of ecommerce development. There also is the administrative process, which involves making decisions such as who in the company will be permitted access to customer records and orders. Virtually any product and many services can be advertised and purchased entirely online, making the establishment of an ecommerce website a primary goal of many businesses.
The creation and implementation of a website for ecommerce usually requires outsourcing or hiring qualified personnel who will be responsible for web design and ecommerce development duties. Web design refers to the creation of the visual aspect of a website, which includes designing a user-friendly interface and a virtual store for the presentation of products or services for sale. Programming for the web, also known as web development, refers to the website's behind-the-scenes applications that allow visitor interaction to be functional. Ecommerce development for a small business might be handled by an individual, and development for a very large business usually requires a team of web designers and developers working together.
Projects involved in ecommerce development not only include the creation of a virtual store but also a database to hold product or service information. Products might need to be designated by choice of color and style, and services might need to be chosen by level or some other characteristic. Some electronic products are even delivered via download — a form of Internet commerce frequently used to deliver books, music and software. A host company has to be chosen for the site and a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) should be established on the server with a valid certificate that changes to a secure web address. Part of ecommerce development also requires deciding how customers' financial information will be handled.
Account numbers for credit cards, debit cards and checking accounts are considered very sensitive information. It generally is considered a very bad idea for online merchants to assume the responsibility of storing this type of information. Company executives therefore should be involved in ecommerce development when it comes to making this type of decisions. The business owner or owners, or the company's employees who are responsible for customer service, should be provided with a content management system that allows them to modify information as necessary, such as changes that need to reflect products or services that have been permanently discontinued.