Turnkey Solutions: What You Should Know

January 8, 2008

The phrase “turnkey solution” is thrown around a lot in the e-commerce arena, hailed as a cure-all solution to anything and everything regarding e-commerce – but what exactly is it, and what’s so great about it? A turnkey solution is a one-stop shop that takes care of several needs at once – including but not limited to shopping cart functionality, transaction processing, and Web site hosting – with a single provider. In the world of e-commerce, turnkey solutions are the most effective tool on the market for maximizing the efficiency of your online business.

Turnkey solutions allow benefits that become highly evident within a very short period of time. With multiple services handled by the same provider, the finger pointing between vendors is all but eliminated; without this system in place, whenever an issue arises, one vendor will often look to another vendor as the source of the problem, regardless of where the actual problem lies. This typically results in the business owner having to make multiple phone calls to various companies trying to get an issue resolved, which can be a very lengthy process. With a turnkey solution, everything is handled all at once, so should an issue arise, only one contact needs to be made for a resolution.

With a full e-commerce turnkey solution, all the client needs is a product – the provider will get the product information online, make it available to purchase online, and deliver the end product to the end user. The online market makes this easy, as opposed to the tangible market where advertising and physical storage space must be purchased separately, amidst other companies competing for that same shelf space. Convenience is king, and downloads are becoming increasingly popular – people will wait several hours for a download if it means not having to go to the store to buy software.

When seeking out turnkey e-commerce solutions, selecting the right provider is crucial. A provider needs to fully understand the market and its trends, as well as the credit card transaction process. A provider should be able to host your product and content, give you a shopping cart, possibly handle web design, and facilitate payment processing with credit cards as well as alternate forms of payment, for customers who may not have access to credit cards. Keeping up with marketing trends is especially critical, given the pace at which things change on the Internet. Marketing channels on the Web can come and go in an instant, so having a trend-savvy provider is essential.

A turnkey solution provider must also be able to secure your content. This means that only authorized people have access to your content – for software companies and online music distributors, this may include digital rights management and anti-piracy measures, or secured member areas for subscription-based services. This will prevent content from being stolen, viewed or accessed without being properly paid for.

Good business ethics and practices are essential for any turnkey solution provider. If, for example, a provider is sloppy with credit card transactions, your business can be severely disrupted; sometimes catastrophically. The manner in which a company conducts itself is generally a strong representation of the quality of service provided to customers.

A provider that conducts itself well, gives prompt and helpful service, keeps up with market trends, and is effective in securing and distributing your content will be the strongest choice for your business.

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Jake Powers is the Vice President of E-Commerce for EC Suite; a leading provider of complete e-commerce solutions, affiliate management, wholesale bandwidth, and content protection. Learn more about e-commerce at http://www.ecsuite.com/.