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If you started an online retail business from scratch, or first ventured in selling products from your brick-and-mortar store, it will have been a daunting challenge. The choices are overwhelming in setting up an e-commerce website ranging from do-it-yourself solutions, seemingly low-price website builders, and pricey developers, to full-service companies. The quotes you will get will range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. All these suppliers will tell you that their e-commerce website solution is precisely what you need, and in most cases, will scale fully when your business takes off.

As you grow your business, you will need more functionality added to your e-commerce website. You might want to get some analytics deployed on your site. Or you need an email newsletter signup connected to your CRM system. Maybe it’s the right thing to do to get a product feed so you can plug directly into your Instagram following. Or you need to capitalize on your growing online social media audience, and you need a specific tag deployed for Facebook remarketing. As your business grows, there will be exciting and promising functionality you will want to add to your online platform. And with every addition there comes a price tag and, more importantly, increased dependency on your developer.

It is, unfortunately, very common to see online retail businesses having to rely on digital storefronts that are rife with zombie code and outdated functionality. Script and tags left on the website that are entirely irrelevant and slow download speeds. Or you find that a feature that is widely available for free open source packages is not only unavailable for your platform but will cost you a fortune to get it bespoke built. And at this point in the game, it’s too late; you are locked in with your developer as the amount of money you have spent so far just demands you to carry on.

To avoid such as situation you need to ensure you keep some form of control. Telling a developer they have free reign because you don’t know how to code is the worst thing that can happen. Make sure that you agree on what pieces of code are proprietary and what might happen if you switch developers up front. Also, demand access to all content and agree on ways content can be exported and repurposed. Ensure you have full access to container tag deployment and analytics solutions. This way you always have the option to get an external expert to audit the site. And for ease of mind, have occasional back-ups of the site stored with yourself or a 3rd party.

There is a lot to think about when running an e-commerce website and it’s not easy to stay up-to-date with all the new developments.