10 Things To Know Before Developing Ecommerce Website: Ultimate Guide
If you own a business selling products or services online and wonder how to make it more successful, then these eCommerce web development best practices are solutions you should apply for sure.
If you ask why you need to build this ecommerce website and why should you put so much effort to make it helpful, let discuss this a little bit.
Online ecommerce website opens an absolutely wide range of new opportunities for your retail business as you can reach more customers from anywhere and anytime. Just consider that 76% of all US clients shop online and 25% of them do that at least once a month under the survey by Marist College and National Public Radio. While the e-commerce share of total worldwide retail sales are predicted to increase furthermore for the next 4 years as the younger generations are totally preferring online store option instead of offline.
Thus, you need to adapt your offline business to new technology challenges.
But 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 is going to allow you to stand out from the pack for all the right reasons. To help you with that we prepare the ultimate tutorial on online store development.
The eCommerce Website Development Process
Well, regardless of whether you decide to develop a retail online store in your team or outsource website building, you should follow some process not miss some important point that can impact on the end results. So, let's dig deeper into this process:
1. Identify your products, services, and customers
It’s vital for any business to understand who their customers are so they can reach out to them in ways that make the most sense. One way to gain a better understanding of your potential customers is to look at who is buying from your competitors. By studying the demographics that are attracted to your competitors, you will know to whom you should target your marketing campaigns.
2. Consider all aspects of ecommerce website 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 ecommerce builder think about who will develop it on a fully functional website. If you don’t have an in-house software development team, then you should think about finding the right outside 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 to consider:
• ERP, CRM, and Database Compatibility and Integration
To ensure easy integration and prevent downtime during the transition, choose a highly-compatible platform. You will probably need professionals to assist you in this, but it is well worth the money and time spent to create a stable online store with excellent UX and appealing visuals.
• The Scope of eCommerce Website Customization
Websites 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 satisfying customer experience.
• A Robust Backend Strategy
The better eCommerce websites are supported by a robust backend web tech stack that provides high performance and safety of solution from one side and 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, and so on.
• Mobile-Friendly, Responsive eCommerce Website
The importance of a mobile-friendly eCommerce website cannot be ignored. According to Salesforce research, 60% of all e-commerce holiday traffic came from mobile devices in 2018. Customers do much more than make purchases through their phones these days. You need to make your website create an interactive and easy experience on mobile. To ensure that you can follow Google advice for making ecommerce site mobile friendly. Then for sure, there will be more chances that your users will convert.
• Ecommerce Marketing
You should consider the marketing tools offered by your eCommerce platform. Some platforms offer integration with analytics tools, social media websites, email, and promotional tools, etc.
3. Look through ecommerce website 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 comparing with other ecommerce solutions is the best platform for development on the market today. You can develop a scalable online store using Shopify platform. It has the ability to sell products across many social platforms, including Facebook, Amazon, Instagram and more services.
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.
This is another great platform on which to base your eCommerce website. It creates a scalable site, and it 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 using, but it needs enough developers’ efforts to achieve that result:
Magento is one of the current favorite tools for developing 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, then it is time to formulate a plan for starting the development process.
4. Choosing the Right eCommerce Website Hosting Platform
Your choice of server, hosting, and your domain name can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your eCommerce business. The importance of your website’s accessibility and performance should be in your mind at all times. It’s imperative to choose quality over cost-saving in the areas of website hosting and support. Here is a list of requirements when choosing to host for your online shop:
Your server should have the capacity to deliver stellar website speed. Page loads that take longer than a couple of seconds will lose your customers. Retail website functionalities are of secondary importance if your site 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 websites 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 you commit to them.
Choose servers that can adapt rapidly to your business needs. You never want your website to go down due to traffic overload.
As an eCommerce website, 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 Website
Templates are also known as themes, and they are what make your site appealing. Most eCommerce platforms let you design and develop your own website as well, but that requires coding. If you want to avoid that, then a template is unquestionably the way to go. Setting up an eCommerce store with a template often means fewer headaches for you. The following are some tips for choosing the right template.
6. Identifying Needed Pages and Functionalities
Features are the key to a website that is representative of 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. From there, you can set up site mapping, an About Us page, and so on.
• Homepage Style
The style of your homepage is the first thing consumers will notice when they visit your eCommerce site. Make sure that your chosen template allows you to craft a homepage that is appealing to those in your niche.
• Smooth Navigation
The navigation of the website should be simple and helpful. Remember that not everyone is extremely tech-savvy. Even a novice should be able to quickly find what they need on your site. How to develop an online shop functionality should be your main concern as don’t expect that every person who stops by your store can navigate it like an expert. So consider your navigation menu has all the needed categories that users can easily reach. For example, look at how our team of developers implemented that for Hollar online shop project:
• Theme and UI/UX Design
Select a theme that matches your ecommerce vision and customize the settings for your store. After choosing a template, you should have the eCommerce development tools in place that will allow the user to customize it. You must go to the store’s admin panel. You can modify virtually anything from there until the site matches your vision. That includes
- • Text Size, Color, and Fonts
- • Theme Color
- • Use of Images
- • Where the products are positioned
It’s also true that, according to Insivia, a website is 53 times more likely to be shown on Google’s first page if it includes motion. That means your design team shouldn’t just have static images for a customer to see when they arrive at your landing page
Next, you’ll need to make language choices, set up what forms of currency are accepted, and add contact details so you are accessible to your customers.
7. Building an Informative Product Page
Once you have customized your template, it is time to add the products to your website. 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 (If outsourcing)
- • Price
- • Category
- • Weight for Physical Goods
- • File (For eBooks, etc.)
All the platforms have different policies when it comes to 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 as a way of grabbing the consumer’s attention. Consider, how our development team built the product pages for the Dollar Shave Club online store project:
Remember, the best custom eCommerce website design is one that 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 needs to be a place for credit and debit card payments. The option for payment-on-delivery is something that you might want to consider, depending on your business model. The Shopify development company is an example of one that has made payment options easy for the consumer.
Now, let’s talk a little more about some of those payment options
• Payment Gateway Packages
With this method, the software integrates all the options into one and processes your card payments.
• Credit Card Payment
This more traditional payment method is integrated with the store’s cart. This means that shoppers don’t have to leave the site to complete their payments. A retail website builder will tell you that makes conversions far more likely.
The site-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 if it isn’t, it’s often available as an add-on.
• Shipping Integration
The next step is to integrate logistics services into your retail store so that you can deliver the products from your website to your customers.
9. Test the Site, then Take it Live
The final step before taking your site live is to test it thoroughly. You need to make sure that every section of an eCommerce site works perfectly, or else it’s going to cost you business. The following are some factors that you should consider while testing your site:
• Checkout process
You need to make sure that every aspect of the ordering and checkout process works flawlessly. All payment methods should be tested so any bugs can be identified and eliminated. Ordering a product and then refunding it is the best way to do this for each payment method.
• Overall functionality
Make sure that all the links and buttons work, like the zoom-in feature, for instance. If any of the functionality of the site is lacking, it will result in negative customer feedback. Setting up an eCommerce website should always be approached from the standpoint of the consumer.
• Mobile Optimization
You must make sure that your website works on all mobile devices, such as iPhones, Androids, etc. You might think that you can develop only web or mobile solution and it will be cost-effective and enough. But it’s not the case. According to the Smart Insights research, 53% of users browse on mobile but buy on the desktop while mobile devices drive still 37% of total revenue. To get the most of your web online store, it needs to be easily reached on mobile just like Hollar did for its mobile marketplace website.
• Compatibility with Different Browsers
The website 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 web developer can help you with this if you’re unsure of what steps to take.
Bonus Tip #10: Other eCommerce Website Features Worth To Consider
• 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 usage should be foremost in your mind.
• Support Guest Checkouts / User Profiles
Companies with eCommerce sites often require users to create an account so they can make a purchase. This 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. Think about a successful eCommerce site such as Amazon. All of the features that we’ve mentioned are there and readily accessible.
• Site Search
Statistics show that 30% of visitors to eCommerce sites use internal search to find the products for which they are looking. Therefore, it’s vital that search functionality 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 a variety of ways, including by department, size, price range, manufacturer, etc.
• High-Quality Product Photos
As an eCommerce web design company will tell you, 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 web development services should always include security measures, which is why all eCommerce sites should support SSL to encrypt information. This is especially true for credit card and payment information, but also any customer data, such as an address, phone number, email, etc
• Optimized Site Performance
Now, as a refresher, let’s run through a quick checklist of the features that an eCommerce website needs.
- • Content-Management Capabilities
- • Promotion and Discount Code Tools
- • Reporting Tools
- • An Integrated Blog or Article Section
- • Marketing Tools Integrations
- • The Ability to Scale Up with Your Platform
- • Social Proof to connect with your buyers on an emotional level
- • Security Features: providing security shows that you value your customers
- • Wishlist Management: When shoppers share their wish list with family and friends, it sends free traffic with built-in social proof to a website and increases business productivity
- • Simple Messaging: when clients can connect through instant messaging with the support team
eCommerce Website Development Cost
The cost of an eCommerce site varies according to many different factors. The complexity of your website and the number of products you feature are going to play a direct part in how much capital you’ll need to set aside for this venture. It might be as little as $10,000 in some cases when you prefer a website builder, or it can be as much as $500,000 if you need a full developers team to build it.
Anyway, whether you decide to develop your own website store or still hesitate, we can state that it is a worthy investment as you see what real benefits a fully-functional eCommerce website can bring for your business. Even if you have a tight budget or have doubts about what tech stack you need to apply for your website, our team of developers can help you and consult on these and other questions on retail platform development. Hence, you will be able to outrank your competitors and exceeds clients’ expectations with a perfect online store.