When it comes to E-Commerce Website Design and Development we get this question a lot: Why should I use BNG Design to build my web store? I always answer in the same way: There are probably only a handful of people in the country that understand e-commerce in the same way that I do. It all starts with the path that we went down to get to where we are today.

Why is BNG Design different from everyone else that builds e-commerce websites?

First off it is important to explain the path or evolution of our competition when they entered the web design industry. For the most part, our competition in the web development or e-commerce universe comprises largely of two types of companies. The first type of web development company is the average IT or managed services company that handles their client’s technology needs like their email server or computer support. Since this type of company operates in a number of related technologies, they started to get a number of clients asking if they do web design. At a certain point, they decided to capitalize on this and began hiring people that went to school for web design. Since they are an IT company and already understand servers and how to host a website, they figured it wouldn’t be that much harder to build websites. Unfortunately, they didn’t know much about putting a website together, much less, how to create an effective site. These IT companies got into the game early on and were able to improve over time on their web design services. Their biggest problem is that they are comprised mainly of individuals that went to school and were taught to design out of a text book that was out dated before it was printed. Even if they can make a site functional and look good, that doesn’t mean they know anything about how to effectively sell online or understand how to properly utilize search engines to drive sales.

The second type of company is the stereotypical advertising firm that, much like the IT company, had a number of existing clients that were looking into utilizing the web to promote their businesses. However, unlike the IT companies, the ad agencies were not looking to add an income stream, they were simply trying to keep their clients and add a website into their current advertising budget. Basically they had to adapt to the current needs of the market: they either had to hire people to start making websites or their clients were going to spend their advertising budget with someone who could build them a website. The biggest problems with most advertising firms is that they tend to look at web design in much the same way they look at print marketing, they make it look pretty first, put some catchy vernacular here and there, call it done and get paid. They are also hiring their developers out of the same pool as the IT companies, meaning they have the same issues with colleges teaching outdated information, and in many important areas no information. If you would like to test this, feel free to ask the next college student you meet who says they are going to school for web design. Ask them what classes they are taking on e-commerce or what they have learned about how to sell products/service/ideas on the web. I can almost guarantee you will get a blank look and a response somewhat like, “Huh, what do you mean? I am learning how to build websites in Dreamweaver. Why would I need to know how to sell things?”

How we got started in web development and e-commerce

Ryan Theis BNG DesignBNG and I (Ryan Theis) got started in web development in a very different way than our competing counterparts. The story began when I started selling credit card processing to local small and medium sized businesses for BNG Payments in 2007, only a couple months after the company was officially formed. I am not a natural sales person and consider myself to be an introvert, but at the time, being a sales person was what I was able to make the best income doing and I worked very hard to grow my portfolio of clients. BNG’s credit card offerings were, and still are, the best products, service and price in that industry; so I worked hard going door to door to area businesses. I had zero warm market in the Fargo, North Dakota area since I grew up in central Minnesota and at 22 years old it was incredibly hard to get someone who didn’t know me, or my small start-up business, to let me set them up with processing. It took a lot of persistence to get my first clients, and then I used their referrals to grow my business contacts. One day, about three months into my new career path, I was reprogramming an existing credit card machine for a new client. Mid-way through the program download the terminal flashed “BAD MEM” on the screen. It was shot and I needed to replace my new customer’s machine quickly since they only had one. I immediately went on eBay and searched for a new one. What I found was a number of credit card processors advertising machines for free with a processing account from them. I thought to myself, “Wow I should do that!” At the time I knew almost nothing about the web, aside from how to check my email and how to buy stuff on eBay. I knew that I could make my listings better than theirs, especially since theirs looked like crap and I had a decent background in graphic design. Unfortunately, I had no clue how to code the html to turn my ideas into reality.

I knew what was possible and I had some great ideas to sell my credit card services, all I needed was to learn how to implement it. So I started reading tutorials, lots and lots of them. Within a few months, I had created some very effective eBay listings and a very simple GeoCities website, all while I was still going out and selling every day. I started getting calls, lots of calls. More calls than I could handle while trying to sell face to face. One day, around six months into my new lead generating strategy, I realized that I was losing qualified sales when I would let my phone go to voice mail while I was trying to sell face to face to local businesses. It was at this point that I started changing my sales strategy to revolve around my new warm leads from my web marketing rather than my cold local leads with door to door sales. I began building my first, true e-commerce website http://merchantaccount-free.com using a shopping cart content management system called Zen-Cart. This first e-commerce site taught me a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the power of search marketing. I know the site does not look all that special by today’s standards, and it shouldn’t since it has been largely unchanged from 2008, but what is impressive, is that it sold 3/4 of a million dollars worth of credit card terminals and generated thousands of dollars a month in recurring credit card processing revenue. What I received from that first large web project was a level of knowledge in e-commerce that you just cannot get without building and managing a successful e-commerce store. If you are talking to another e-commerce development company ask them what they have sold on their online store, if they have never ran an e-commerce store before you should look for someone who has, like us.

Some of the key components in an e-commerce solution are the payment gateway and credit card processing account. Over the years, I have become a true expert in credit card processing and payment gateway technology. BNG has quickly become the largest credit card processor in North Dakota and is one of the fastest growing processors in the country. BNG is also one of the few processing companies so committed to e-commerce and software development, that we own our own online payment gateway that competes directly with Authorize.net and PayPal.

I have built many successful and profitable e-commerce sites, and every non e-commerce website that I have built was designed to generate sales either directly or indirectly. Take a look at our portfolio for some examples.

What is needed for an effective e-commerce website?

When going into an e-commerce project, clients ask what they need to make their site successful at selling. They usually have a number of things in their mind that they have read or heard about over time and usually they don’t have a very clear picture of what makes a good or profitable site.

What you need is a clear, easy to navigate website that is laid out in a way that visitors will naturally understand how to view or buy your products; a site that looks good and is coded in a way that search engines understand and view as a credible source of information. You need your message on the site to sell your core product/service well; it needs to be well thought out and designed to drive sales. You need an easy, fast, and simple to understand, checkout system. You need a payment gateway that works well with your shopping cart and your payment processor, but is also easy for you to use. Last, but not least, you need a credit card processing account so that you can get paid for what sells on the site.

e-commerce shopping cart

Choose The RIGHT E-Commerce Web Developer

Any modern shopping cart system should offer all kinds of bells and whistles; with a Facebook tie in here and email marketing built in there, and it should be designed in a way that makes it easy for you to add or change products. At the end of the day, none of that matters if the core pieces of the solution are not thought out correctly or poorly implemented. Don’t get caught up comparing the tools being used in the solution, spend more time choosing the right architect for the job.

I understand e-commerce from every angle and that is what sets me apart from any other developer you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. I used my knowledge to shape and form a team of designers and developers that look at each project from the angle of the website owner and ask how can we most effectively generate more profit for them. I teach my team what I have learned every day and I would put my designers up against anyone, because I know we are the best at what we do.

Contact us to set up a free e-commerce consultation today.

Ryan Theis
BNG Website Design
701-526-3539 ext. 9404