Whatever the true original purpose of the internet (it was militaristic, actually), it is now a universe that is almost a magic lamp for businesses. Whatever it is that you need to run your business web site, someone somewhere has written the software to handle it. This is especially critical for distribution companies. Your customer needs could be all over the map. Do you deal just business-to-business? How does your electronic business interact with your in-person locations, even if they are just warehouses?
What to a lot of people would be insignificant differences between web hosts, become greatly magnified for this type of business. If you run a distribution company, you are going to need a host that is strong in several key areas; and whether or not they are, you’ll see the results quickly.
Find the right Ecommerce software fit
Web hosts today offer Ecommerce, shopping cart, and database software as a matter of course, and several packages, like MySQL, are so common as to be near requirements for anyone trying to find a host to call home. The question for you is, which of these packages is the one that is going to process the customer data and interface it with your web site in the way that you need?
Customer service – a non-negotiable
This, then, becomes a great way to test their customer service. You’re going to need it, after all – even if you setup a lot of the software yourself, you are going to probably be in constant communication with your web host for a lot of site-related matters, such as software upgrades and browser compatibility issues.
Email prospective hosts, explaining in full detail exactly what you need your site to do. Don’t use any other contact method. Here’s why: there’s a lot of emphasis put on fast answers in web hosting these days, but there’s less emphasis being put on good ones. So, if you write a long email to them, and get back what feels like a stock answer or just a sloppy one, shop elsewhere. But if they write you back with details on how they can service your specific needs, then that’s a sign that later on down the road when you get into a jam, you’ll get good, quality service.
Get a good site builder
If you get good customer service, then find out how easy it is to build your web site using the software they provide. Most hosts have at least some software that will help you, but much of it revolves around blogging and personal sites. Especially if you are starting from scratch or don’t have any real tech wizards on your end, make sure you have the ability to create your site with relative ease.
Tricky but doable
There are web hosts capable of handling your distribution business no matter what it does: take some time to find the right one, and don’t sweat paying a few extra bucks if you have to. A good choice here will save you countless hours and dollars in the long run.