Choosing a service provider can seem daunting, but with the right advice it need not be. Firstly, it is essential to choose one that understands the needs of your small business or organisation. You also need to look at the security and performance levels offered.
While larger providers usually deliver greater stability and features, they may not be able to offer the flexibility and aggressive price plans of smaller, more nimble suppliers. The quality of the service you provide to your members and customers is a major factor in determining their continuing involvement with you, and the same applies to your eCommerce service provider(s) in their relationship with you.
Remember that a high-priced service does not guarantee quality – although it can be a guide – and not to be seduced by a low price if it results in poor-quality service.
Choosing an eCommerce provider involves the same price/quality trade-off awareness that we discussed in Module 2, where we focused on the choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Like any ICT project, not asking the right questions during supplier selection can lead to trouble down the track. ACCAN recommends that you consider:
- Which merchant services are provided?
- Are the services appropriate for your needs?
- What is the provider's pricing structure?
- Can the provider's service be scaled up to meet your business needs?
- The provider's approach to security.
- The location of their data centres, and how safe they are.
- What happens if they lose your data?
- What customer support services are offered?
- What is the provider's down-time history?
- What assistance, if any, will be available when getting set up?