So you want to build an e-commerce site? Here are a few things to consider.

This is a question I fell into recently where I offered a friend who’s starting a new business, why don’t I just build you a website for your business? He happily agreed and gave me a brief rundown on what he wanted on the site – and one of those things was an e-commerce shop to showcase his products.

Now, while I’m 100% confident in using the internet and building sites from scratch. E-commerce is not something I’d dabbled with before, sure, I know that Shopify and other platform exists on the market that promises to hold your hand for the process, but of course these services charge tens if not hundreds of dollars per month for their services.

So this lead me to this unique problem of, well, if I don’t want to use a paid platform, what options would I be left with?

So, I did the research on e-commerce. From what it takes to make a functional e-commerce site, to the pitfalls to watch out for when you’re starting out, including these 10 dos and don’ts… I’ve summarized through my research that, it comes down to what type of product or service the business offers.

For example, a web discount textbook store would function very differently from an online tutoring service. Physical products vs. digital services.

So first, be sure to ask your client even before sending them a proposal (just so everyone’s clear):

  1. What are your expectations from having an e-commerce site
  2. Is the product offered physical or is it a service?
  3. How many products are going to be listed? (This will usually determine how many pages a site would need)
  4. What’s the overall marketing strategy?
  5. What are the expectations for me the developer?

That’s just the start of my questions, which I’ll present the next time we sit down for coffee.

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Where does the time go? Long commutes are killing you, slowly

The other day I found myself on the same bus route I took in my college years. It then hit me: “Wow, how did I manage to do this for 4+ years, every weekday, and NOT expect to have a mental breakdown…”

Now I can explain.

At the time, because I didn’t know any better.

I didn’t see any alternatives to shutting up and swallowing my discomfort.

Actually, my parents were pretty good in raising me that way. “If other people’s kids wouldn’t have a problem with it, so why would you have a problem with it.” – aside from that, their ‘suck it up’ parenting style also made me realize I never want to have kids, ever.

I just accepted that commuting for 1.5 hours every single one way (which amounts to 3 hours everyday) was the necessary evil to get a higher education. ‘To be someone’ to prove that once and for all that ‘I’m smart.’

But you know what’s NOT smart.

A 3 hours loss for every weekday of the school year for 200 Days out of a year.

600 hours!

And times that by 4?!

2400 hours.

Say what?!

In hindsight, there was just so many things I could’ve done with that 2400 hours rather than commuting to and from school and being miserable for it and not achieving my true potential even though I tried my hardest to make things work. Because you have to realize, when you are young and foolish like I was – you also skimp out on sleep over other stupid things (sleep is critical to memory and learning. It helps us retain information. And getting a restorative night’s sleep boosts our otherwise impaired and caffeine dependent cognitive abilities). Who knew how much time I lost back then.

And the thing is, the other day, I didn’t even go the full route from my house to my old school. It might’ve taken me an hour instead of three, but still that was enough. I only went half way between work to a meeting to well a nice coffee shop in the area to work. On the way home, I was squished among strangers in an sweaty, foul smelling, overcrowded bus. Just like how I remembered.

I can only imagine how many have to put up with it on a daily basis and how lucky I am that I just had to endure the occasional ride here and there. Which is probably another good reason why I’m looking for digital alternatives to further my education.