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Lesson 5 Products and services
Objective Define your products and services.

Define ecommerce Products and Services

Once you have chosen a site name, you need to focus on the product or services you are selling. That product or service will largely determine the site's front-end and back-end design. For example, if you decide to sell books, as does, you will probably want to allow users to search by items such as title, author, ISBN, and subject. To this end, you will need to develop certain back-end solutions, such as a searchable database. You will also have to find a way to make the database and the Web server communicate with each other. Using the table below, categorize your product or service to get a better idea of exactly what you need.

Product and Service Categories

Type of Goods Examples Web Sites
Hard Goods Physical items such as: books, CDs, auctioned items, and computer hardware.
Soft Goods Electronic goods such as: software, music, games, and online documents. Soft goods are downloadable.
Services Stock trades, airline or travel reservations, and employment services.
Portals A portal is a site that offers a centralized place for multiple goods and services for one-stop shopping.

Customer Demographics

When designing your site, consider who the users are, what tasks they will perform, and the environment in which they will operate. Users can include not only customers but also administrators and internal users. Business design goals are meant to support:
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Business Design Goals are meant to support the Consumer

  1. Easily navigable pages that present a clean interface
  2. User-friendly, attractive page areas that invite and reward user input
  3. Pages that allow user to navigate around a clear nexus, or central page
  4. Entire sites or sections that provide at least the illusion of intuitive navigation
  5. A minimal number of pages and options, so users can get the most out of their time
  6. Multiple payment options in a secure environment
  7. Product searching via multiple methods and pages
  8. Regular additions and updates to new products
  9. Client/customer hardware and software capabilities
  10. Integration with existing business systems to avoid duplicate data entry tasks.

The user's modem speed and browser compatibility might dictate a number of factors. If most users connect using 56 Kbps modems, you might be able to use more graphics, for instance. Do you want to take a middle-of-the-road approach for maximum browser compatibility and forgo most of the more visually ornate features, or can you afford to exclude part of the market to have that highly customized site?

User Experience

Consider the fact that the average Web surfer is not interested in a large number of options that require multiple decisions. Furthermore, most Web surfers wish to spend as little time as possible on one page. Give them what they want, then let them move on to another page. This is how you convince users to stay with and return to a site. In the next lesson, you will learn how to meet your customers expectations with archetypes.

Product Services - Quiz

Click the Quiz link below to take a multiple-choice quiz about ecommerce products and services.
Product Services - Quiz

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