In this era, the number of people shopping online is blooming and increasing every day due to the convenience of the Internet. Having an e-commerce website is now the key to reaching a wider range of global customers and boosting your business’s sales. However, developing an online or e-commerce store is not always straightforward if you are new to this. The good news is this post will provide you with a thorough e-commerce website development guide from scratch.
What Is An E-commerce Website?
An e-commerce website is a website that allows people to sell and buy products and services online. You can build a template-driven e-commerce website or a complex e-commerce website that may cost you millions of dollars to create and maintain.
Why Should You Consider Website Development For Your Business?
Having an online presence with an e-commerce website for your business may bring numerous benefits and opportunities.
Here are some reasons why you should consider building an e-commerce site:
- It is more cost-effective and affordable to build an e-commerce website than a brick-and-mortar store.
- Customers now prefer shopping online over going to the stores.
- The sales of e-commerce are rising dramatically.
- An e-commerce website lets you access a broader market, reach more customers, etc.
- E-commerce web development will result in increased brand awareness.
What A Business Owner Should Do Before E-commerce Website Development?
1. Choose a product or service to sell
You need to research what unique products or services the market demands to make sure that you understand what you are going to sell.
2. Identify your customers
Once you figure out what you want to sell, it’s time you discover whom do you sell to. Ask yourself these questions to know more about your target audience:
- Who are they?
- What can they get from your products/services?
- How your products/services can solve their problems?
- What are their buying preferences?
3. Research your competitors
It is incredibly beneficial to conduct competitor surveys to find out who your competitors are and what they are doing. Knowing your competitors can help you formulate your business strategies to bring the best result for your e-commerce business.
4. Figure out how to acquire your product/service
There are three common ways to acquire products:
5. Determine the type of e-commerce business you want to go for
- Business-to-Business (B2B)
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
- Consumer-to-Business (C2B)
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)
6. Come up with your business name and logo
You cannot launch an online business without a business name and logo. Take time to think of a name and design a meaningful and unique logo to attract customers’ attention quickly.
7. Write a business plan
When building an e-commerce website, it’s crucial to have a business plan for running and developing your business.
8. Write a list of requirements for your website
Before actually working on building a website, you should write down a list of features you want your e-commerce website to have and your requirements about the site.
9. Choose the most suitable e-commerce platform
Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms are:
10. Visit other websites to get inspired
If you don’t have in mind any design for your future e-commerce site, it’s a good idea to visit other websites to find out what features you like and what you don’t. Doing this will help you picture what type of website you want.
11. Choose a reliable e-commerce development partner to work with
Before developing an e-commerce website, the most important thing is to research e-commerce development partners and choose the most suitable and reliable services.
11 Steps To Develop An E-commerce Website From Scratch
Step 1: Start with registering a domain name
The first step to creating an e-commerce website is to develop a domain name to allow customers to find your website. Make sure to:
- Keep it short and straightforward.
- Don’t use creative spellings to avoid misunderstandings
- Stay away from generic names
After you have decided on your domain name, register before you start developing a website. It would be best if your URL could end with “.com.” There are two ways to purchase a domain name:
- Purchase your domain name from registrars, such as Namecheap or Bluehost.
- Purchase your domain name directly from your website builder.
Step 2: Choose a hosting service
When choosing, keep in mind the type of website you want to build, your budget, the resources you need, and your expected traffic when picking the hosting type for your site. You will most often come across six types of web hosting:
- Shared hosting: is the most affordable web hosting for low-traffic websites.
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting: The best web hosting for websites that have grown out of the shared hosting phase.
- Dedicated server hosting: The expensive web hosting for large companies that need control.
- Cloud hosting is the perfect choice for websites with rapid growth and needs scalability.
- Managed hosting is ideal for anyone with little technical knowledge who wants to leave the technical tasks to experts.
- Colocation: is the most expensive web hosting that gives you full control of the hardware and software.
Once you have decided on your hosting type, you need to choose a suitable hosting provider by carefully looking at these factors and evaluating each web hosting provider.
Step 3: Choose a reliable e-commerce website development company
If you are not a tech expert, it’s recommended that you work with a dedicated e-commerce website development company to help you with the technical process. To choose a site builder wisely, look out for these aspects:
- Their experience
- Their working process
- Their professional
- Their price
Step 4: Design your online store or choose a template and customize it
When designing your e-commerce website, you have two choices: create it from the beginning or choose a ready-to-use website template and customize it to fit your brand. Since customizable templates can offer a great time and money savings, most businesses go with the second option.
Consider these factors when picking a template:
- Suitability for your products
- Fast loading speed
- The ease to use
- Good reviews
Step 5: Take product photos
When taking your product photos, focus on the product, and the colors are accurate to the products in real life. You can also edit these images to make your products look more attractive.
Step 6: Add products and content to your website
The next step is adding products (using a CSV file) and product descriptions to your website to help customers know more about your products and decide to purchase. Remember to organize your products in different categories to help customers find the products they want faster and more efficiently.
Step 7: Add e-commerce features to your site
Think of some functionalities you want your site to have before building it. You need to figure out what pages and categories you want to add. However, there are some features that your website must have:
- A search bar
- A shopping cart
- Wish list function
Besides, include these supporting pages on your site to make it look legit:
- Terms & Conditions
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Shipping & Returns
To make your site fully functional, using add ons and extensions is an affordable and convenient solution that you can consider.
Step 8: Find the proper payment methods and enhance security
You must decide how you accept payments. You can connect with third-party processors such as PayPal, Stripe or use built-in tools to take payments from anywhere. Don’t forget to take care of security to deal with all inbound traffic and internet fraud.
Step 9: Choose shipping partners and set up shipping options
Shipping is an essential part of the e-commerce web development process that you cannot skip, especially when you have large volumes of orders. You can work with e-commerce logistics aggregator services to help you with shipping orders, but remember to research carefully before choosing whom you would work with.
Step 10: Focus on checkout experience
Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest issues an e-commerce business faces every day. To avoid cart abandonment when developing an e-commerce website, you notice these things to create a great checkout experience for your customers:
- Allow customers to buy different products at once
- Offer free shipping (if you can)
- Be as clear about shipping costs as possible
- Optimize the checkout process for mobile users
- Send out cart abandonment notice when customers don’t finish their orders
Step 11: Test the website before launching
Once you finish setting up your site, it’s time to test the main customer shopping journey from start to finish, starting at the home page, filling out order information, and submitting the order request.
If you have done everything above, then it’s time you launched your e-commerce website and started selling.
What You Do After Launching Your E-commerce Website
Once you launch your website, you still have a lot of work to do:
- Attract your first customers
- Check all settings again
- Focus on digital marketing
- Optimize website for search engines
What Is The Cost Of E-commerce Website Development?
It’s difficult to give you an exact number. The cost depends on several factors that impact the total cost of developing an e-commerce website:
- E-commerce platform
- Web domain and hosting option
- Template and custom development
- The add-ons and extensions
- Interactive multimedia elements
- The maintenance cost
The e-commerce platform cost
The big plus of an e-commerce platform is that it saves you the time and effort to code the whole website from scratch. Let’s look at some of the most frequently used e-commerce platforms and their prices.
Magento Open Source is free and open for everyone, while the premium version (Magento Commerce) cost around $22,000 per year.
Depending on the number of your accounts and location, the cost varies from $29, $79 to $299 a month.
WooCommerce is free to install, but you still need to buy many extensions to make your website look good and actually function.
Based on the SaaS platform, Bigcommerce offers functionalities for different business models with a monthly subscription ranging from $29.95 to $299.95.
The domain cost
Typically, the average domain name will cost you around $10 to $20 per year.
The hosting cost
Below is the suggested budget for an excellent hosting service based on your business’s size:
- Small business: $5 to $20 a month
- Medium business: $20 to $100 a month
- Large business: $100 to $800 a month
The theme and design cost
Themes for large-scale businesses with great functions and supports can cost you from $350 to $500, whereas you can find beautiful themes at $100 to $300 or even free themes with less impressive functions.
If you are not interested in already-built themes, you can invest in a designer or expert team to design your unique website with a price ranging from $2,000 to more than $35,000.
The add-ons and extensions cost
Five to ten extensions are good enough for your website because having too many extensions will slow down your website. Generally, valuable extensions are from $50 to $250.
To be more specific, here is the extensions price of some popular platforms:
- Magento: $40 to $500
- Shopify: $5 to $99
- WooCommerce: Free to $199
The website’s interactive multimedia and marketing cost
It is difficult to determine the cost of marketing and interactive multimedia, but it should be around 10% of your business’s revenue.
How Long Does It Take To Build An E-commerce Website?
The answer to this question varies depending on the website development approach.
If you decide to do everything yourself, from coding to customizing your website, it will take months to build a website. Plus, it is almost impossible for a beginner with no prior technical skills to create a fully functional website.
If you use an e-commerce web development package, the time will be reduced significantly. It will only take one week to one month to have your e-commerce website available for business operation.
If you use a custom e-commerce website development service, it takes one to three months to develop the website, depending on your requirements.
What Is Left To Say?
Developing an e-commerce website from scratch often takes time and effort. This e-commerce website development guide has covered almost everything you need to know to create an e-commerce website.
However, remember that you don’t need excellent coding skills to develop an e-commerce website. With various website builders and e-commerce tools available, building and maintaining an e-commerce website has become a relatively simple task, even for owners with no prior experience.