We have finally chosen our web site service (shopping cart and hosting service) and feel very good about it. We are going to be using Volusion. They've got a large number of off-the-shelf web site templates with a large variety of looks and functionality. Some are free, some must be purchased, all are customizable. We've chosen the template that looks like it was developed specifically with us in mind. It's a nearly perfect fit. It's designed for a retail operation. It's a stripes and dots design - integrates seamlessly with the It'll Fit'll artmark. We're having it customized to change the colors so that they're compatible with our artmark. Also, the layout will be modified a bit to incorporate our vertical artmark. All of the templates are designed for a horizontal logo.
But, more important than the aesthetics - this web site builder and hosting service offers strong bones. Most important for customers: it has SSL security for safe credit card transactions, it's got the requisite certifications, 24/7 technical support, reliable hosting, great training videos for us (to teach us how to build and modify our site)
I visited nearly all of the web sites in Volusion's current customer gallery. I was struck by the fact that they did not appear to be cookie-cutter sites. Most of the sites seemed to have their own feel/design/sensibility. I also "shopped" on many sites and the experience was smooth and easy. Since I didn't complete my transactions, I can't speak to the totality of the experience. But, I expect that the order completion, notification, etc. would be smooth and professional as well.
There are plenty of web design and hosting services. Big, recognizable names like Yahoo, GoDaddy and smaller entities who must hope to be household names someday - like StartLogic and MouseWorks. So, there's a lot to evaluate and compare. And, every ecommerce business has their own needs and priorities. I am confident that Volusion is the right answer for us. I can't wait to have our template customized, and then to begin building the site, and then to have you guys come visit us on-line.