Common Questions & Answers
Why not just use an open-source eCommerce platform?
A good question, and one which we asked ourselves when we made the decision to write bluCommerce. Simply put, they don’t cut the mustard. We found that they were all either poorly coded, difficult and time-consuming to customise, bad at scaling (not good for growing businesses), or simply didn’t have the feature-sets our clients demand, such as multiple sites off the same back-end. Our major driving factor to creating our own platform was one of maintainability, as we wanted to be able to provide our clients with a platform that would never “grow old”, in a maintainable and sustainable fashion. We happily leverage open-source technology where it’s appropriate and beneficial to do so, but ultimately our interest is to create the very best experience for our clients and their customers.
What makes you different to other eCommerce agencies?
We’re passionate about what we do, and everybody on the team plays an active role in working with clients and pushing bluCommerce forwards. We don’t have middle management. We don’t have TPS reports. We don’t go on 2 week training seminars or team-building exercises at our clients’ expense. We focus on getting the job done, doing it to the best of our (if we might say so ourselves) considerable abilities, and we don’t quit. We’re also transparent and open with our clients, and value personal relationships with them as much as, if not more than, business relationships.
Can you sell me bluCommerce and let me go make a site myself?
Not yet, but watch this space. We’re working on making bluCommerce easily customisable by third parties in due course.
Do you offer an SLA?
Absolutely. We now offer 99.9% planned uptime, with planned downtime only occurring during the darkest and quietest hours of the night, and our SLA details are available upon request.
Do you outsource your work?
Categorically no. The quality of our work is of prime importance to us, and while outsourcing can be cost-effective in the short term, it’s an expensive and painful option in the long term. Everything we do is completely in-house, in our office in Bath, with the exception of projects where we may partner with a 3rd-party design-agency if requested.
Will I get an account manager?
Yes, you’ll get a dedicated account manager who will be your primary contact. From the start your account manager will be involved with the project constantly checking progress and liaising between development, design and yourselves. Any issues, tweaks or changes will always go through your account manager which eliminates changes overlooked and allows a smooth process from start to finish.
So… how much does all this cost?
Our pricing is always under review, as we’re continually adding value to bluCommerce. We’re more expensive than your nephew, or a one-man-band web developer, but we offer far better value than large, bloated agencies. Our pricing is typically broken into the bluCommerce license (an annual subscription), and then we quote for bespoke design and development, based not only on the time it takes us to create it, but also on future utility for other clients – so, if you want a feature that could be useful to others, we’ll split the cost with you in exchange for non-exclusivity or limited exclusivity on it.
Once the site is built and trading, then what?
We’ll be there for you. Ongoing work with our existing clients is the foundation of our business, and we’re continually helping our clients extend their sites to be more marketable, by adding new functionality for marketing purposes, new integrations with business systems, and by producing design work for promotional materials. We don’t do the day-to-day management of your site, but we give you all of the tools you need to do so – we look after the technical side of things, and we’re always there at the end of the phone or email if you’ve got questions.
Do you do digital marketing campaigns?
No – but we know plenty of people who do, and we’re always happy to help you connect with the right people with the right specialties.
What about technical support? What if the site goes down?
We have 24/7/365 email support in a continually monitored support ticketing system, and we have at minimum one member of staff on support duty at all times, who gets paged with any urgent support requests or potential technical issues. During office hours, (Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm) we have phone support. You’ll also typically have the mobile number of at least one of the staff involved in your site, for those “just-in-case” scenarios. If your site ever should have availability issues, we’ll be on the case long before you’ve noticed, and we’ll be sure to let you know what’s going on at every point.
Can I host bluCommerce myself?
Yes, but we recommend against it, as it makes receiving updates difficult, and means that we can’t guarantee stability or availability of your site, as we can’t monitor third party servers. bluCommerce has a fairly extensive set of requirements in order to make it tick as well as it does, which require a good degree of technical expertise to both set up and maintain. If you’re certain that you’ve got the means to do a self-hosted install (technical staff, financial resources), we’re happy to get you started with it, and let you look after it yourselves.