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eCommerce website development is a way to enhance brand reputation, reduce operational costs, and gain customer trust. Most millennials and Gen Z already prefer online shopping to brick-and-mortar and even the ones who don’t still conduct online research before heading to a physical store. In the post-pandemic world, businesses struggle to promote their brands and increase sales without an online presence. Luckily, modern eCommerce development services make website creation easier than ever. Various eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, OpenCart, and Shopify are easy to use and do not require any technical knowledge. However, some companies opt for web development services from scratch. Building your own website delivers an array of benefits such as flexibility and full control. 

What is eCommerce web development? We’ll discuss it in this article and also explore how eCommerce website development works and what a successful online shop looks like, and examine a step-by-step guide to creating a website. 

What is eCommerce Web Development?

eCommerce website development refers to building an online platform that allows businesses to set up online stores. The process involves establishing navigation, integrating secure payment gateways, managing products, providing analytics, and design services. The main goal is to deliver a fully-fledged system that enables business owners to offer their products and services over the Internet. 

How to Develop an eCommerce Website: Expert Tips

Before diving into concrete steps to eCommerce website development, let’s take a look at the expert tips for creating a well-functioning platform. 

eCommerce Website Development

Brand Establishment

Brand establishment is the process of identifying your business model and target audience. First, you determine whether you want to cater to businesses or consumers. Later, pinpoint the exact user groups you will be targeting. This step will indicate the entire production and marketing process, from website look and product description to packaging and shipping. Finally, come up with a catchy business name that conveys your brand and is easy to remember. 

Domain Name Acquisition

While buying a domain is a straightforward process on most eCommerce systems, choosing the right name can be a difficult process. Whenever you identify a domain that works with your business name and model, consider purchasing it as soon as possible. In-demand domains are sold fast and it’s important to reserve your chosen name in time. 

Hosting Platform

A reliable web hosting provider will help you cover all your needs, including shopping cart features, payment gateway integration options, database implementation, data protection, and more. There is currently a plethora of eCommerce hosting platforms you can choose from: Shopify, Bluehost, SiteGround, and many others. Invest some time into research to make sure your hosting partner is suitable for your goals and needs. 

Website Design

The first interaction your potential customers will have with your business is through eCommerce website design and navigation. It’s imperative not to drop the ball here and build a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and responsive design. Pay attention to how users navigate the website and ensure smooth and intuitive functionality. A poorly organized eCommerce website design is likely to lead to frustration and abandoned carts. 

Web Development

To build and launch your website, you can either take advantage of existing eCommerce solutions like Shopify and OpenCart or develop a brand-new website from scratch. While using available platforms is simpler as it doesn’t require extensive coding skills, having ownership of your website also has benefits.

While building your own platform enables more flexibility, scalability, and control, it does require technical skills and an understanding of eCommerce website development practices. To avoid investing a lot of money into hiring an IT team, some companies prefer outsourcing web development to a seasoned tech agency. This way, you can take advantage of the benefits of having your own platform without actually building it yourself. 

After completing eCommerce web development, take time to test it to make sure it’s fast, responsive, and user-friendly. Run various tests to experience the user journey step-by-step and deliver smooth and intuitive navigation. Don’t forget to set up Google Analytics to monitor the site’s metrics to continuously execute website performance optimization

Shipping Options

The next step of eCommerce website development is figuring out how you will be shipping your orders to the customers. You can commonly utilize third-party logistics companies, dropshipping, or build an in-house storage facility. The shipment methods will determine your marketing. How quickly and punctually consumers receive the orders should be explicitly mentioned on the website. 

Ongoing Maintenance

Continue to gather customer feedback to make necessary enhancements as well as update your stock and product line. This step also includes creating promotions and offers to bring existing customers back to the platform and cover their needs. 

What is a Successful eCommerce Website?

How can you make sure you have created a successful eCommerce site that will help you achieve your business goals? In this section, we will go over each aspect of an efficient website that online shoppers will appreciate. 

eCommerce Website Development

Good UI/UX

UI/UX stands for user interface and user experience and aims to improve the user journey from start to finish. From the search bar that generates recommendations to refined filtering options, make sure your customers can find what they are looking for as fast as possible. UI/UX also strives to offer a clean design that appeals to your user base as well as clear and concise copy that incentivizes users to make a purchase. 

Holistic Design

Holistic design refers to creating branding across all platforms, including brick-and-mortar. It’s essential to convey the same messaging and style on each platform you are using. If your eCommerce store has a drastically different look and feel compared to social media accounts, users might get confused and fail to recognize your branding. The main goal of your design is to facilitate the customer journey on your eCommerce sites which is why simplicity is preferable. 

During the eCommerce website development process, take a look at the latest trends in website design to appeal to the audience. For example, recent trends include elements of animation, kinetic typography, drag interaction, gradients, layering, and others. Try out different designs to find what complements and highlights your brand the most.

Robust Security

Data security is paramount for any website, especially one that deals with personal and financial information. Your database will hold data associated with banking information and private residence addresses which puts a target on your business. Adopt standard security guidelines to protect your and your customers’ data by applying multi-factor authentication, Transport Layer Security (TLS), Secure Sockets Layers (SSL), and HTTPS authentication. You should also pay attention to your partners and third-party services because their weaknesses in data protection might affect you. 

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and presents a set of measures to improve the visibility of your website and products. By employing various strategies and techniques, you can ensure that users will see your website on the first search results page using certain keywords. This applies to web copy, product descriptions, external and internal articles, as well as social media posts. 

Site Speed

Another integral part of the eCommerce website development process is delivering industry-standard loading speeds. Nowadays, users are quick to abandon a website if it takes too long to load. Not only do they not want to waste their time, but long loading speed is also an indicator of the site’s trustworthiness. Adopt various techniques to make your website faster, such as lack of complex design elements, file compression, browser caching, and minimal usage of plugins and redirects. 

Content Management System

Content Management Systems (CMS) allow eCommerce businesses to organize and manage content without applying any coding skills. For example, you can edit product pages, publish blog posts, and launch deals and promotions. The simplicity that CMS provides makes replying to customer inquiries easier which improves their experience and creates a trusting relationship. The best CMS for eCommerce include Magento, OpenCart, WordPress, and others. 

Product Management

Product management comprises a set of activities required to provide the best experience to the customer, including product description, categories, search, and filters. Product descriptions should be extensive and accurate to reflect exactly what the customer will receive. Delivering even a slightly different product may result in bad reviews and a lost customer. 

Additionally, consider adding a Quick View feature that summarizes the product description to help the user eliminate wrong options. This is usually a small pop-up that contains the most important product features that the user can read without loading a new page. Don’t forget to implement the option of adding the product to the cart or saving it to the wishlist. 

Product categorization is another step to enhance user experience. Group similar products together to help the customer find the desired item as quickly as possible. For instance, you can assign different labels to each category to ensure effortless transitions. 

Finally, during eCommerce website development, focus on building strong product search engines to enable a quick and accurate search function. First of all, keep the search bar present on each page to spare the customer time to go back to the homepage. Also, enable any type of keyword, including product categories, names, descriptions, and attributes. Consider providing an auto-complete feature that suggests items as the user is typing. Moreover, allow your users to filter out some options to narrow down their search results based on various criteria such as price, color, rating, popularity, etc. 

Payments and Checkout

To build a well-functioning website, it’s imperative to minimize the sign-up process during eCommerce website development to avoid abandoned carts. Allow your users to swiftly sign up using their socials and emails as well as offer a guest checkout feature. The goal is to make the checkout as quick and painless as possible while collecting the vital information. For returning customers, offer a one-click checkout feature to charge the already saved banking information. Finally, provide several payment processing options to make sure any customer will be able to make the purchase. 

Social Media Integrations

Creating and running social media accounts will help you expand your reach. The choice of online platforms depends on your product and consequently user demographics. For example, young adults stick to TikTok, while thirty-year-olds can be found on Facebook. Posting about clothing brands is more convenient on Instagram, while business-related services are promoted on LinkedIn. 

Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing for eCommerce is a broad concept that involves reaching customers through various channels. From diligently running social media accounts to adding a clear call-to-action to your landing page, it’s an ongoing activity aimed at generating organic traffic. For example, it could be a button reading “Proceed to checkout” or “See more products” to help the user find their way within the website. 

Another aspect of a marketing strategy is launching various offers and deals to incentivize users to make a purchase. Sales could be seasonal like Black Friday or flash sales which are short periods of discounted products. One of the latest web development trends is omnichannel marketing and support. Make sure you are providing an omnichannel presence and promoting your deals across all of your platforms to reach both desktop and mobile users.

6 Steps for Developing a Custom eCommerce Website

This part is devoted to a step-by-step guide that describes how to develop an eCommerce site that performs well. 

eCommerce Website Development

Identify Business Goals

Before starting eCommerce web development, businesses need to identify their goals and objectives. The process of development requires an investment of your time and money which is why having a concrete strategy is vital for success. Besides goals, think about the eCommerce KPIs you want to achieve. For example, how much do you need to sell online per month, or how will you grow your customer lifetime value? Let’s explore eCommerce business goals using the SMART system: 

SMART is an acronym that describes five key objectives: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

  • Specificity: The main idea should be so concise that you can explain it in one sentence. 
  • Measurability: Make sure your goal is measurable and can be analyzed over time using various metrics. 
  • Achievability: An achievable goal is a realistic one. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be ambitious but it must be realistic under current circumstances. 
  • Relevancy: Having a limited amount of resources, you should assess how relevant your business idea is for your company and the market. 
  • Timing: Evaluate how long it will take you to execute the eCommerce project and identify milestones and deadlines. 

Understand the Intended Shopping Experience

Identify your target audience and strive to create the best user experience for them. The online shopping experience encompasses an array of aspects such as excellent user interface and experience, omnichannel support, personalization, visuals, and more. For example, users of mobile devices tend to browse longer compared to desktop and tablet users. This metric is also contingent on the type of products people are looking for. When searching for a new pair of shoes, customers take longer to browse in comparison with kitchenware. The former can provide a therapeutic value and keep users on the platform while the latter is about purchasing a necessary household item. 

Choose an eCommerce Platform

eCommerce platforms provide easy-to-use tools to create and manage an online store even without any professional technical expertise. Using a drag-and-drop mechanic, you can build custom eCommerce websites from scratch by relying on predesigned templates and tips that the platforms offer. Let’s talk about the best available solutions on the market to help you choose the right eCommerce platform for you.

eCommerce Website Development

BigCommerce

One of the leading SaaS platforms, BigCommerce helps companies of any size with eCommerce website development, marketing strategies, and data analytics. The system is intuitive and easy to learn and it offers a wide range of useful tools.

Adobe Commerce (Magento)

Formerly Magento, Adobe Commerce is an eCommerce website development platform with robust inventory management functions, search engine optimization features, and a marketing automation suite. The biggest sale point for Adobe Commerce is its seamless integration with other Adobe products which can help you create incredible design elements.

Shopify

Another strong market leader, Shopify is a SaaS solution with reliable security systems, mobile-friendly design templates, and customization. The platform offers over 4,000 integrations to help you build a successful eCommerce website that meets your needs.

OpenCart

A free-of-charge system, OpenCart provides additional features for a small cost. The platform integrates with numerous payment gateways and shipping methods to help you expand your user base. Using extensive customization features and various themes and plugins, OpenCart users can enjoy smooth product management, order management, and customer management for accelerated business growth.

WooCommerce

With nearly 40% of the market share, WooCommerce is the biggest eCommerce platform on the market. Among the best open-source eCommerce platforms, WooCommers is a plugin for WordPress designed to help small business owners set up their online stores without leaving WordPress. The system offers a large collection of eCommerce website design elements, themes, and integrations, facilitating easy eCommerce web site development. 

Add Products

Once you are finished with your eCommerce website development, you can start adding products to your inventory. Any eCommerce solution will make this process easy for you as no coding skills are required. However, pay close attention to the images you upload and make sure to choose only high-quality pictures and videos to highlight your collection. Additionally, provide a detailed description of each item, including attributes, sizes, colors, technical aspects, and more. 

State Payment and Shipping Options

eCommerce platforms provide several payment systems that you can set up and make available to your customers. Aside from that, make sure to offer extensive information regarding shipping time and costs. You can rely on predesigned templates that most eCommerce sites have in store. 

Testing and Launching

Before opening the online business to users, take time to run various tests to ensure a high level of quality concerning performance, speed, navigation, and design. Here is a short checklist that will help you address every important aspect: 

  • Check call-to-action buttons to make sure they are working properly
  • Go through the checkout process to ensure a smooth experience
  • Verify payment systems to test how well they function
  • Check all images and make sure they are of high quality yet optimized for load speed
  • Examine product categories and descriptions to make sure they are correct
  • Double-check every link and form
  • Confirm your offers and deals and make sure codes are working 
  • Make sure both mobile and desktop versions of the eCommerce website display the same design and provide optimal experiences to ensure mobile responsiveness

Spartan Camera—eCommerce Website

Final Thoughts

If you want full ownership of your website and its content, it’s recommended to launch your own eCommerce website development and build it from scratch. NIX is a software development company that helps businesses achieve their goals and aspirations. Our team of the best talent is ready to create a website that covers your needs, appeals to your audience, and enables great user experience. Check our eCommerce cases to learn more about our methods and success stories and reach out to us for more information. 

eCommerce Website Development FAQ

01/

How Much Does it Cost to Build an eCommerce Website?

The final price of an eCommerce website development project depends on a number of factors, including design complexity, features, technology, the chosen platform, and the location of your IT partner. A small-scale eCommerce website may cost you around $10,000 to $50,000, while for large website projects expect to pay up to $250,000 or more. 

02/

What is Required for eCommerce Website Development?

A successful eCommerce website development project includes a great UI/UX design, robust security, and top-notch performance and speed. Your choice of eCommerce platform can also play a major role which is why it’s vital to research and find the best tool for you. Another important aspect of an efficient eCommerce store is a convenient and safe payment and checkout system. Finally, developing coherent marketing strategies will help you reach your potential audience.

03/

What is the eCommerce Website Development Process?

Like in any other endeavor, the first step is establishing a business model and identifying objectives. Once you know why exactly you need an online store, investigate what shopping experience is relevant for your user base. Now, you can build an eCommerce platform with an IT agency or use an existing system like Shopify or WooCommerce. After creating an eCommerce website, add products and payment and shipping information and test the site until you’re ready to launch.

04/

What is the Role of eCommerce for Web Developers?

An eCommerce website developer is a technical professional responsible for the performance, scalability, and security of your online store. They continuously collaborate with the store owner to improve website metrics and achieve eCommerce business objectives.

05/

Do I Need a Frontend Developer and a Backend Developer?

While the frontend is what the user interacts with, the backend is the mechanism behind the website. You cannot build and launch eCommerce websites without frontend and backend development as both elements are integral.

06/

How Do I Determine What Features My eCommerce Website Needs?

The most important features of a custom eCommerce website include content management, payment and checkout, SEO capabilities, reporting tools, marketing features, and scalability. When in doubt, take a look at the eCommerce platform you are using and follow their instructions. Most available systems try to make the process of eCommerce web development as simple and intuitive as possible.

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