Evaluate Customer Service
1. Some solutions are 'hosted', some you install on your computer and host anywhere. In general, a hosted solution will require less technical knowledge and you'll get the benefit of "one stop service". If you have a problem or question, you'll contact the provider. A hosted solution may involve a higher monthly fee. If the solution requires you to install software on your computer and find your own host, you'll need more technical knowledge. When you encounter a problem, you may have some difficulty in pinning down whether the problem is with your computer, the software, or your hosting company.
2. Get references. Contact a few current customers and ask if they are happy. Be specific. Do they get good service? Do they feel they are getting a good value? Do they get sales? You can't lay all the blame for a site with low sales on the ecommerce provider, but hearing from current customers that they do get sales is a positive indicator.
3. Pick up the phone and call the provider. Are you connected with a knowledgeable sales rep? If you end up in a phone queue, try choosing the selection for existing customer tech support. Are you connected to a tech support person? How long do you have to hold? Use this guide to develop a list of questions for the provider.
Making an informed decision when choosing a solution for your ecommerce web site can make or break your online success. Evaluating the options will take some time, but the investment in reviewing your options carefully will be well worth it as your online business develops.