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If you own a business selling products or services online and wonder how to make it more successful, these eCommerce development best practices are solutions to apply.
Why do you need them to build this eCommerce platform? Let’s discuss the following.
Online eCommerce platform opens a vast range of new opportunities for your retail business as you can reach more customers from anywhere and anytime. Consider that 2.14 billion people worldwide shop online, making them 27.6% of the world population.
The eCommerce share of total worldwide retail sales is predicted to increase over the next four years as the younger generations prefer online store options instead of offline.
Thus, you need to adapt your offline business to new ecommerce technology trends and challenges.
Still, having an eCommerce website doesn’t mean you get all online clients. eCommerce is an extremely competitive niche. Therefore, you need to create a website for your business that will allow you to stand out from the pack for all the right reasons. To help you with that, we’ve prepared the ultimate tutorial on eCommerce online store development based on Softermii team experience.
The eCommerce Software Development Trends
The world is shifting away from COVID-19’s influence. However, the pandemic has left a significant imprint on how the various industries, including eСommerce, operate. In terms of retail, people are increasingly turning to making purchases online.
Many industries have suffered losses and issues due to the pandemic. In contrast, eСommerce has grown and continues to do so now. If 2019 online sales amounted to $3.5 trillion, by 2023, they would almost double.
Given the industry’s rapid growth, there is an increasing need for eCommerce platform development. So let’s look at some of the latest eCommerce software dev trends.
Remember the TV channels that focused on selling goods live? So, this method has gone digital and is one of the leading eCommerce trends for 2022.
Livestream shopping is widespread among businesses that sell clothing, beauty products, food, and electronics. This trend is especially noticeable in the United States, where merchants sell their goods through social platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live.
Voice shopping involves shopping through devices that support voice technology, such as smart speakers, smartphones, or tablets.
Voice selling has become a real discovery in eCommerce, especially after the pandemic. After all, it was then that users conducted about 50% of searches on the Internet thanks to voice-enabled devices. As for voice commerce, the industry will grow to $40 billion in 2022.
Augmented reality has also experienced a significant boost in eCommerce. About 20% of online businesses in the United States are interested in investing in AR technology. And almost 90% of US shoppers are now using augmented reality to make shopping decisions.
Define the Type of Your Future eCommerce Software
There are various custom eCommerce software you may apply to your business. We have specified the three main types for you:
A B2B marketplace platform is an example of eCommerce software. Let’s figure out what it is.
B2B is a commerce model where a vendor sells its products or services to other businesses. The end consumer in such a model is not an individual customer but an entire company. Hence, the term “business-to-business.”
Moreover, B2B eCommerce platform development involves various marketplaces subtypes, and here are the main ones:
- Vertical B2B platforms. They focus their efforts on one niche or individual business.
- Horizontal B2B platforms. They offer products and services for different segments.
- Product-based B2B platforms. These are those who sell physical goods.
- Services-based B2B platforms. These specialize in selling services like HR, content creation, and more.
Inventory Management Platforms
Inventory management platforms allow you to keep track of current inventory, such as which items have appeared, which have been sold, etc.
Companies can efficiently and timely replenish the required number of products and monitor their movement thanks to such platforms.
Enterprise Marketplaces with Storage Infrastructure Integration
Enterprise marketplaces are platforms that allow third-party vendors to place their products or services on them and interact with customers. Such marketplaces’ success directly depends on their usability for merchants.
This software type is quite challenging to develop, as different businesses will use it for their unique workflows. Accordingly, these third-party sellers will need different tools to streamline their sales.
The integration of storage infrastructure is mandatory for this software. In this way, merchants will be able to manage their goods, warehouse, and delivery.
Key Features for Your Custom eCommerce Platform
Before developing a custom eCommerce solution, learn about the main features you can include in your platform.
First, you need to create a database with products on your eCommerce platform. It will make controlling and replenishing goods in the store smoother.
The customizable reports function is required for strategic planning and using proper marketing tools in the online store. Such reports will automatically collect data and send it to vendors immediately on their dashboards.
This feature is responsible for managing baskets and updating goods on your platform. This way, sellers will know when and which products need to be replenished, and buyers will see how many goods are available in the store.
Payment Integration (Klarna, Stripe, Paypal)
Integration of payment gateways is mandatory in eCommerce. Whether you own a single store or a platform for third-party sellers, it’s best to integrate multiple gateways, such as Klarna, Stripe, or Paypal.
Shipping Options Integration (FedEx, UPS, DHL)
Integrate various shipping options into your platform. The most popular are FedEx, UPS, and DHL. By implementing the APIs of these companies, you allow your sellers and buyers to view the most convenient delivery method for them.
Content Management Platform
The content management platform will help users of your eCommerce solution create, manage and modify the content of their stores. These can be different attributes of goods, such as photos or product descriptions.
The analytical reporting feature will help you monitor your platform’s success in quantitative and qualitative terms. This feature will also be helpful to merchants.
Custom dashboards can make life easier for many platform users. For example, an administrator will be able to view and analyze the user activity, and sellers will get a visual representation of their store’s performance.
Livestream eCommerce is a feature that you can add to your platform by integrating social networks such as Youtube, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live. With this function, merchants will be able to sell their products live.
The eCommerce Platform Development Process
Whether you decide to develop an online retail store in your team or outsource platform building, you should follow some processes without missing critical points impacting the results. So, let’s dig deeper into this process:
1. Identify Your Products, Services, and Customers
Any business needs to understand who their customers are to reach out to them in ways that make the most sense. One way to better understand your potential customers is to look at who is buying from your competitors. By studying the demographics attracted to your competitors, you will know to whom you should target your marketing campaigns.
2. Consider All Aspects of the eCommerce Development Platform and Choose Your Development Team
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is critical for any online business, as it amounts to the very foundation of your company’s public face. But before choosing an eCommerce builder, think about who will develop it on a fully functional website.
If you don’t have an in-house ecommerce software development team, you should think about finding the right outside online shop developers that are the best fit for you. Until you have the team working with you that can get the job done, you won’t be able to move forward.
When choosing your eCommerce platform, you need to keep your business requirements and buyer portrait in mind. Make a checklist of features that should serve your goals and be handy for users. Here’s a list of platform aspects that we recommend you consider:
- ERP, CRM, and Database Compatibility and Integration
Choose a highly-compatible platform to ensure easy integration and prevent downtime during the transition. You will probably need professionals to assist you in this, but it is well worth the money and time to create a stable online store with excellent UX and appealing visuals.
- The Scope of eCommerce Platform Customization
Online stores must be capable of listing product or size variations. They have to list perishables with unique weight or size measurements and offer features such as shopping lists. Choosing a platform with ample scope for customization makes it possible for you to develop such features. That’s the first step toward delivering a satisfying customer experience.
- A Robust Backend Strategy
The best eCommerce platforms are supported by a robust backend web tech stack that provides high performance and safety of solution from one side and an easy-to-use administrator experience from another one. A high-quality platform will provide several admin features, such as multiple logins, easy changes in inventory, ways to take stock of orders, etc.
- Mobile-Friendly, Responsive eCommerce Platform
You cannot ignore the importance of a mobile-friendly eCommerce platform. Customers do much more than make purchases through their phones these days. It would help if you made your platform create an interactive and easy experience on mobile.
- eCommerce Marketing
It would be best to consider the marketing tools offered by your eCommerce platform. Some platforms offer integration with analytics tools, social media websites, email, promotional tools, etc.
3. Look Through eCommerce Platform Builders Comparison and Choose Your Best Match
Now, when you know what aspects of eCommerce shop development you need to keep in mind, it’s time to compare the top eCommerce website builders and choose the one for your business:
Arguably Shopify, compared with other eCommerce solutions, is the best platform for development on the market today. It can sell products across many social platforms, including Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, and more services. You can develop a scalable online store using the Shopify platform.
Wix is probably best suited for small businesses and startups. It has more than 510 templates, so you should be able to locate one that suits your niche, regardless of whether your company has to do with sports, beauty, children’s products, etc. All the templates are optimized for mobile use.
It is another great platform on which to base your eCommerce website. It creates a scalable site and features many useful SEO tools that its competitors do not.
With features like drag-and-drop, Weebly is one of the easiest platforms to master. One of the best features is that it allows you to create dedicated pages for all of your products. As an example, look how smoothly the Bliss store built on BigCommerce looks in real-life use, but it needs enough developers’ efforts to achieve that result:
Magento is one of the current favorite tools for developing eCommerce websites and online stores. All over the globe, developers of all descriptions and experience levels have been using it in professional settings. It integrates advertisement features, analytics, and content creation to provide the best user experience.
Some other eCommerce website development platforms are WordPress and Big Cartel. There are many more besides the ones we mentioned. Once you have decided on your eCommerce site development platform, it is time to formulate a plan to start the development process.
4. Choosing the Right eCommerce Hosting Platform
Your choice of server, hosting, and the domain name can make all the difference to the success of your eCommerce business. The importance of your platform’s accessibility and performance should always be in your mind.
It’s imperative to choose quality over cost-saving in hosting and support. Here is a list of requirements when choosing to host your online shop:
Your server should have the capacity to deliver stellar platform speed. Page loads that take longer than a couple of seconds will lose your customers. Retail functionalities are of secondary importance if your platform loads so slowly that people leave because they get tired of waiting.
The way to assess the kind of service you will get from your host is to check recent uptime records. Look at other platforms being hosted by the provider to get an accurate picture of what they can bring to the table.
Sometimes managed services also cover upgrades and a wide variety of other issues. Look at the contract that details what a service provides before committing to them.
Choose servers that can adapt rapidly to your business needs. You never want your platform to go down due to traffic overload. With an eCommerce hosting platform such as Cloudways.com, for example, you can scale specs such as storage, RAM, CPU, and bandwidth on-demand, reducing the likelihood of downtime to near-zero.
As an eCommerce platform, you accept payments online. Knowing this, you need servers that are fully PCI-DSS compliant. It is also critical to ensure all data security through your servers. That protects both your business and all of your valued clients.
5. Picking a Template for Your Platform
Templates are also known as themes, and they are what make your platform appealing. If you want to avoid coding, a template is unquestionably the solution. Setting up an eCommerce store with a template often means fewer headaches for you.
6. Identifying Needed Pages and Functionalities
Features are the key to a platform representing your business, its quality, and its values. Before you begin the design process, you should decide which features are the most vital to have in your store.
7. Building an Informative Product Page
Once you have customized your platform, it is time to add the products to your online store. You should add plenty of details to your product pages to make them more attractive to consumers. Those might include:
- Name of the product and the brand
- Weight for physical goods
- File (for eBooks, etc.)
All the eCommerce platform-builders have different policies regarding how many products you can feature. There are also different formats for setting up product descriptions and variations. Along with images and categories, the right product description is crucial to grab the consumer’s attention.
Remember, the best custom eCommerce platform design combines innovative ideas with traditional layouts to which customers will respond favorably.
8. Payment Methods and Shipping
Online stores are incomplete until they have a payment gateway. It is a crucial step in converting a site visitor into a buyer. These gateways connect the user directly to PayPal, Apple, and Google Pay.
There also must be a place for credit and debit card payments. Depending on your business model, the option for payment-on-delivery is what you might want to consider. The Shopify eCommerce store development company is an example of making payment options easy for the consumer.
Now, let’s talk about some of those payment options.
- Payment Gateway Packages
The software integrates all the options into one and processes your card payments with this method.
- Credit Card Payment
This more traditional payment method is integrated with the store’s cart. It means that shoppers don’t have to leave your platform to complete their payments.
The eCommerce platform-building tools use SSL certificates to secure the website. These encrypt user data while optimizing the customer experience. SSL is typically built into these tools, but it’s often available as an add-on if it isn’t.
- Shipping Integration
The next step is to integrate ecommerce logistics services into your retail store to deliver the products from your website to your customers.
9. Test the Platform, Then Take It Live
The final step before taking your platform live is to test it thoroughly. It would help if you made sure that every section of an eCommerce platform works perfectly, or else it will cost you business. The following are some factors that you should consider while testing your platform:
- Checkout Process
You need to ensure that every aspect of the ordering and checkout process works flawlessly. Your team has to test all payment methods to identify and eliminate any bugs. Ordering a product and then refunding it is the best way to do this for each payment method.
- Overall Functionality
Setting up an eCommerce platform should always be approached from the consumer’s standpoint. Make sure that all the links and buttons work, like the zoom-in feature. If any of the platform’s functionality is lacking, it will result in negative customer feedback.
- Mobile Optimization
You might think that you can develop only a web or mobile solution and it will be cost-effective and enough. But it’s not the case. You should make sure that your platform works on all mobile devices, such as iPhones, Androids, etc.
It needs to be easily reached on mobile to get the most out of your online store, just like Hollar did for its mobile marketplace app or a website.
- Compatibility with Different Browsers
The platform should be easily accessible on all the most popular web browsers. Check the loading time and speed and fix any issues before you launch. An eCommerce developer can help you with this if you’re unsure what steps to take.
Bonus Tip 10: Other eCommerce Website Features Worth Considering
- Responsive Design
The use of mobile devices to access websites is continually growing, and eCommerce sales make up a significant portion of this traffic.
Implementing responsive design to make a website accessible on every device is critical if the launch is going to succeed. Whatever platform you ultimately choose, mobile users should be foremost in your mind.
- Support Guest Checkouts/User Profiles
Companies with eCommerce platforms often require users to create an account to make a purchase. It allows for follow-up communication that encourages future sales. It’s also a way to track customer demographic information for regular sale analysis.
- Account Management Features
You should provide a page that allows your users to enter their basic information. That would include their full name, address, and preferred payment method. This page is also where you would provide each customer with information on their current and previous orders.
- Convenient Search
Search functionality must be available and easy to use. It’s also a smart idea to utilize features like autocomplete to help users find popular products related to their searches.
Faceted search is another way to help users find products. This functionality allows them to narrow their search in various ways, including by department, size, price range, manufacturer, etc.
- High-Quality Product Photos
High-quality images are necessary for each product as well. The best way to sell anything is to get it into a customer’s hands. Failing that, though, you need to give them a way of visualizing the product. That means as many high-quality images as possible.
eCommerce platform development services should always include security measures, so all eCommerce sites should support SSL to encrypt information. It is especially vital for credit card and payment information and other customer data, such as an address, phone number, email, etc.
- Optimized Platform Performance
You can compress images, allowing them to provide the best visuals at the smallest possible size. It reduces download times dramatically. You can also use caching to reduce the time spent sending data between the web and the database servers.
eCommerce Platform Development Cost
The cost of eCommerce platform development varies according to many factors. Some of them are:
- The number and complexity of the required functions
- Number of platforms
- eCommerce platform developer rates
Besides, application features are divided into three types:
- Customer Panel: Product Comparison Tool, Product Detailing (Image & Video Gallery), Personalized Results & Notifications, Product Wishlist, Product List & Categorization
- Vendor Panel: Active Subscription Plan, Managing Catalog & Orders, Set-up & Management of Multiple Stores, Registration/Login, Automatic adjustment of Inventory on sale
Admin Panel: Dashboard Management, Manage Users (Customer/Seller), Manage
Product category/subcategory, Login Input with Login ID & Password,
Manage Promotions, Rewards, Points
When starting an e-commerce project, it's better to firstly develop a basic set of features that will serve as a base ground for future solution development according to a business vision. You may go with common practice or breath in new life into something new that customers have never experienced before. Challenge us with your ideas – contact Softermii.
The basic set of features for Minimal Viable Product:
- Security, including encryption, credential management, integration with social media
- Roles configuration: customer, guest, vendor, admin.
- Product Catalog management: Product repository and inventory, Archive, drafting Products.
- Admin console, including analytics dashboard, user moderation, email campaigns.
- Search and Filtering.
- Product page: description, pics, reviews, availability, buying options, etc.
- Product Cart: payment, delivery address, and products management
- Payment Gateway.
Order Workflow: order processing handling through the warehouse, shipping,
tracking, and delivery.
Below you can see the approximate resource costs for each stage of the platform creation. You can understand what budget you need and when to plan a project launch date.
Time: 280 hours for initial platform (or 35 working days); 120 to 180 hours (or 15 to 22 working days) for additional
Cost: $8 400
You also need to create an eCommerce mobile app design. Designers and developers must work together to make the most convenient and understandable solution. The interface should look equally good on devices with different screen sizes. Learn about UX design in eCommerce.
Front-end and back-end development
Time: 640 hours or 80 working days
Cost: $25 600
This stage is a key part of your future project in terms of time and cost. Developers create your custom ecommerce system architecture, link databases to dataflow, create mechanisms, and much more. It takes solid expertise in building eCommerce platforms.
Time: 240 hours or 30 working days
Cost: $6 480
Testing your mobile application helps show you some flaws that professionals can quickly and easily correct, even at the stage of product creation. Only after this stage can you understand the level of readiness of your project. And you will know that your customers will not encounter errors.
Creating technical documentation
Time: 40 hours or 5 working days
Cost: $1 600
The company's IT specialists create a document that contains all the necessary information about your custom eCommerce development.
So, how much does it cost to develop an eCommerce solution? We have summed up the approximate price in the table below.
Front-end and back-end development
Creating technical documentation
1 200 hours (5 month)
Do you want to get the precise time and the cost of an e-commerce project development? Contact our Softermii team, and we will help you.
eCommerce Solution Tech Stack
A tech stack is a set of tools that allow developers to create a custom eCommerce web solution. Let’s have a look at the technologies that your team may use.
These are apps, frameworks, and languages used to develop your eCommerce platform’s visible part.
The backend is responsible for the functionality of your eCommerce platform. It uses server-side apps and languages to keep your product running smoothly.
Main technologies: Ruby-on-Rails, Node JS, Python, and .Net.
Read Also: How to hire .NET developers
Databases will store and manage information about your eCommerce operations.
Main technologies: Firebase, MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
Cloud services allow you to easily manage and quickly scale your business and eliminate the need to buy your own IT infrastructure.
Main technologies: AWS S3 and Firebase Storage.
Inventory Management Systems
Your eCommerce platform needs a reliable inventory management system, as it will allow you to track inventory levels in real-time and use tools to replenish goods.
Main technologies: Skubana, Inventory Planner, and Zentail.
Why Should You Develop a Custom eCommerce Solution?
The eCommerce market is not standing still, so your eCommerce platform should be just as flexible and adaptable. How can you achieve this if not through custom development?
Consider the following advantages of building a custom eCommerce platform.
The development team can create a solution prepared for growth and scalability from the beginning. You can also implement tools to help you anticipate and respond to market changes.
More Suitable for Investments
You know exactly what you’re getting when building your custom eCommerce platform. You only invest in the necessary features, and you will be able to witness the results of your contributions in a certain time.
Minimize Risks from Using Multi-vendor eCommerce Building Platforms
If your eCommerce platform is a multi-vendor marketplace, the risks associated with storing, shipping, or packaging the goods no longer bother you. The merchants who use your platform will take care of it.
Adapt the Solution to Your Business Volumes
Custom eCommerce development allows you to customize your platform to fit the size of your business. This way, your solution will adapt to your company’s workload.
Can you build an outstanding eCommerce startup these days? Many see this market dominated by giants like Amazon. But there is still room for a meteoric rise.
Subscription-based eCommerce Dollar Shave Club is a great example of such a rapid rise and billion-dollar acquisition. It showed the potential entrepreneurs and investors alike the illustrious parts of the industry that can and should be disrupted.
Dollar Shave Club offers a monthly subscription to deliver high-quality razors and other facial care products for men. They requested the Softermii team update their mobile app to provide flawless UX.
Users disliked the inefficient and poorly designed mobile application.
- Improved usability: our team worked in weekly sprints with Dollar Shave Club designers to improve the app’s UX.
- Improved conversion rate: we conducted A/B testing to ensure excellent performance results on any mobile device.
A year after working with Softermii, Dollar Shave Club noticed the significant benefits of our collaboration. Now the company is attracting more users thanks to decent UI/UX design and has received more than 400,000 regular orders through their mobile app.
Read Also: How to Build a Subscription App like Patreon
Hollar is an online discount retail platform where you can buy products at a very low price. Below we will tell you how effectively we have improved this application.
The task (challenge)
The client asked us to re-create Hollar's ease of use and intuitive Pinterest-like design in the mobile app.
Our team implemented a better UX and a more effective app platform to push mobile sales growth. Besides, we had to update the mobile catalog to feature thousands of SKUs in various products on iOS and Android.
We made an emphasis on boosting the core brand experience. Our team also added various useful features:
- Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Improved search functionality with predictive search
- A special friend invites on mobile to get $ credits for their purchases
- Exclusive promotions upon mobile app login
- Easy contact options with the customer support team for assistance
The eCommerce platform development may be a challenging and time-consuming process. First, you need to decide on the business model and then thoroughly choose your project’s features and technology stack.
Whether you decide to develop your custom eCommerce platform or still hesitate, we can state that it is a worthy investment as you see what real benefits a fully-functional electronic commerce solution can bring to your business.
Even if you have a tight budget or have doubts about what tech stack you need to apply for your platform, our team of developers can help you and consult on these and other questions on retail platform development.
Thus, if you want to outrank your competitors and exceed clients’ expectations with a perfect eCommerce platform, feel free to contact our experts.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost of developing a custom eCommerce platform will vary depending on many factors, including the developer’s location, the number of features and technology stack, and the number of third-party integrations.
We estimate that the cost can range from $10,000 to $500,000, depending on the complexity and needs of your business.
The eCommerce solution features include a product database, customizable reports, inventory management, payment integration, shipping options integration, content management platform, analytical reporting, custom dashboards, and Livestream eCommerce.
A custom eCommerce platform is easily scalable and can adapt to your business volumes. It is also more suitable for investments and minimizes risks from using multi-vendor eCommerce building platforms.
Three main trends include Livestream eCommerce, voice shopping, and augmented reality.
You need to follow these steps:
- Identify your products, services, and customers.
- Consider all aspects of the eCommerce development platform and choose your development team.
- Look through the eCommerce platform builders comparison and choose your best match.
- Choose the right eCommerce hosting platform.
- Pick a template for your platform.
- Identify needed pages and functionalities.
- Build an informative product page.
- Integrate payment methods and shipping.
- Test the platform, then make it live.
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