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E-commerce website development is undoubtedly the most trendy online business nowadays. By 2040, 95% of every purchase will be done online. This is an advancement you don’t want to miss out on, and a great time to get started is now.
An eCommerce website is crucial for reaching and offering your services to customers. Moreover, the web development process is a great way to leverage the future potential of your e-commerce websites and guarantee high conversion rates.
This article takes you through the step-by-step process of e-commerce website development, why it is crucial, and the key features that should be present in every e-commerce website.
What is e-commerce website development?
E-commerce website development encompasses the technical process that enables the smooth functioning of any e-commerce website. This includes the front-end and back-end development efforts to ensure that your website stands out regarding user experience, design, and working functions.
What are the benefits of e-commerce website development?
Your e-commerce website can be your greatest asset in conversion and driving online sales, and the website development process is the pillar towards achieving this. Here are some great ways your business can benefit from e-commerce website development.
- Creating a great first impression: Your eCommerce website design and overall performance contribute to your customer’s perception of your brand, which determines how likely they will revisit your website or convert.
- Gives you a competitive edge: Having every vital website component in place and functioning ideally helps your business stand out and get more recognition from customers and competitors.
- Provides a great user experience: Website development is your key to creating an interactive environment that adequately meets your customers’ needs and quickly provides any required information. It ensures the smooth flow of activities on your online store without any technical issues, and above all, it makes every visitor satisfied with their experience on your online store.
E-commerce website development prioritises a user-friendly setting, full functionality, and design to give your e-commerce business all these benefits.
The core processes for e-commerce website development
A popular misconception that several business owners have about e-commerce website development is that they presume it needs to be done from scratch.
While this is not necessary or even recommended, it is essential to know that this procedure goes in-depth beyond choosing a suitable platform.
The web development process is an eCommerce project that involves planning, designing, technical actions, and maintaining your e-commerce website. In this section, we have broken down the core processes of e-commerce website development to understand better its involvement in building a great e-commerce website.
Plan your approach
Effective planning goes a long way in ensuring that the web development process goes smoothly. It ranges from determining what you want to sell to your target market to how you intend for customers to interact with your e-commerce website. Here are the primary ways to plan before diving into the main development processes.
Identify Your Target Audience
Before starting an e-commerce business, you already know who will likely be your targeted audience based on your products. However, making an extra effort to understand your target audience better is an excellent determinant of the growth of your e-commerce website.
The reason is that tailoring content, web design, user experience, and user interface will meet your customers’ needs and give them a more personalised shopping experience to gather positive responses.
Some information related to your target audience you can consider;
Another way to identify and get more insights into your target audience is to know what business model you specialise in. Will your e-commerce website be a Business to customer (B2C) or a Business to Business (B2B) website?
- B2B e-commerce websites: As the name implies, a B2B e-commerce website dedicates its efforts to providing products and services to other businesses. Web development for this business model will be more complicated and require unique layouts and technical processes for complex workflows, the latest B2B tools and integrations, and international payments.
- B2C e-commerce websites: E-commerce websites under this category deal with companies providing a medium to interact and sell directly to their customers. The development process for B2C e-commerce websites is more straightforward and contains a few essential elements.
Working out which business model your brand belongs to is the foundation for developing your e-commerce website. Before the development process, you can also consider more specific business goals, like getting more visits in your physical locations or market expansion.
Understand the expected shopping experience
Understanding the habits and the actions your customers are likely to take will help you determine what features you can include to enhance their shopping experience. Some changes you can make based on your target audience and their intended actions include (but are not limited to)
- Search filters based on different categories of your products or other factors
- Easily accessible shopping carts
- Special offers and discounts for some products
- Side-by-side comparison of two products
These features make your website more memorable and more likely to convert because of how easy it was to navigate and checkout and how these features aided our customers through the customer’s journey.
Find a Suitable Platform
Long gone are the days when developers built websites from scratch. Website hosting platforms make it easier to achieve your goals with fewer processes and efforts involved. These platforms are categorised into self-hosted e-commerce platforms and hosted e-commerce platforms.
Self-Hosted E-commerce Platforms
In self-hosted e-commerce platforms, your business is responsible for hosting. You will need to create a server on the cloud that will store every data and file concerning your e-commerce website.
Self-hosted e-commerce platforms offer flexibility and a wide range of customisation options; however, you will be responsible for every facet of building the website. This can be a great deal of work and is not an option recommended for small businesses and the time-starved. For best results when working with self-hosted e-commerce platforms, outsourcing a team to help with design and other elements will make things easier.
Finally, if you intend to manage a self-hosted e-commerce website on your own or with a small team, you will face technical, maintenance, and safety difficulties. Some popular self-hosted platforms include;
- Woo-Commerce (which is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress sites)
Hosted E-commerce Platforms
Hosted e-commerce platforms are elaborate. In a hosted e-commerce site, your business data and files are automatically stored in the cloud without you creating a server. Hosted platforms are easy to use and maintain; this is a great and quick option if you want an online store.
A hosted e-commerce platform is also beneficial because of its adaptiveness and scalability; in other words, it readily grows in organic traffic, and your business progresses alongside this growth. The available plans for a hosted platform vary based on different criteria, and unlike self-hosted e-commerce platforms, it costs more.
Despite its reliability, your choices on customisation are narrow, and there is a massive dependence on customer support to resolve some issues. If you’d love to save a lot of time and, to an extent, some money, you can easily opt for using hosted e-commerce platforms like
An ideal eCommerce platform should be responsive and secure, offer a wide range of themes, and have adequate technical support.
Design and Layout
The layout of your website consists of pages and contents that will make navigation and access to relevant information easier for your customers. Correspondingly, the design aspect covers the visual elements of your site or the front-end development that your customers see and interact with. According to Top Design Firms, 50% of consumers believe that brands should prioritise website design.
The homepage of your website is the first thing your customers see, and it determines their first impression of your brand. Seeing how robust e-commerce website design is in retaining visitors’ attention, you should consider essential elements like colour themes, pictures, videos, infographics, and animation. It is as simple as making your site attractive and memorable and ensuring that it makes your customers naturally inclined to purchase a product.
Code Your Website
Website coding deals with the back-end development of your website and handles essential tasks like payment processing, data storage, and report generation. Another critical task of website coding is ensuring that the front-end features perfectly sync with your back-end. You can achieve this by writing codes, managing databases, debugging, and using the right frameworks.
With e-commerce websites, you can utilise a content management system (CMS) that handles these complex processes without requiring much technical knowledge. Alternatively, you can manually code your website using python, HTML, Java, and CSS, which involves a lot of technical expertise.
Setup Payment and Shipping Options
After a great experience in your online store, a customer may want to leave with a product, and at this point, a smooth payment and checkout process is necessary to close the deal. Your customers should be fine with checking out, as they tend to leave your site when this happens.
Providing multiple payment and shipment options allows you to reach a wide range of audiences and achieve this quickly using integrations. A website developer ensures that these processes run smoothly for a great user experience. You can diversify your payment options using credit cards, debit cards, and third-party payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, and Apple pay.
Installation of Third-Party Apps and Plugins
Third-party apps and plugins make it possible to add extra features to your site with minimal effort and time rather than creating them from scratch. These apps and plugins can help with customer relationship management (CRM).
These integrations can help with newsletters and email management, social media, SEO, payment, shipments, and backups. There are a lot of plugins available for e-commerce websites, but choosing the ones with the features you need for CRM should suffice.
Launch Your Site
You can launch your e-commerce website and start selling with the production processes covered. However, before you proceed to launch your website, there are some things you need to review.
- Your CTAs: Ensure that all call-to-action buttons and landing pages function as they should and with optimum speed.
- Payment checkout: ensure that all processes and integrations involving payment and checking out run smoothly without any technical interference.
- Cross-check product categories and visuals: Ensure that product categories are complete and that you classify all products accordingly. Check that your product images consider essential details and are uploaded at high quality; they also need optimisation to guarantee fast page loading speed.
After launching your e-commerce website, your next goal should be to make your website easy to locate by your target audience, and you can achieve this by implementing some marketing tactics. Some strategies you can execute to promote your online store include;
- PPC marketing: Pay-per-click advertising involves bargaining for specific keywords to make your website easy to find when these customers type out these keywords. PPC marketing is a great way to promote your e-commerce site to your target audience.
- Social media promotion: You are more likely to reach your target audience by sharing your online store on social media. You can achieve this by using social media ads or creating relevant and engaging content to attract customers.
- Email marketing: Email is a great channel to showcase your products to your customers, but you have to be sure that every email targets a potential customer who is likely to purchase your products. The best way to achieve this is to contact visitors who have interacted with your e-commerce website in one or more ways.
Promoting your e-commerce site after launching is essential to gain more traffic and drive online sales.
Maintain Your Site
It’s easy to stop at the production and promotion stage when handling your e-commerce website, but your efforts should also funnel to maintenance. Maintenance primarily involves regular updates, analytics management, and backing up relevant data. You can also check for bugs, errors, and other technical issues that may disrupt your customers’ experience on your site.
Here are some maintenance practices you can establish to guarantee the continuous growth of your e-commerce website.
Install Website Tracking Tools
Website tracking tools monitor, assess, and inform you about your website activity and visitor behaviour. Factors like demographics, referral source, and region determine the reports you receive concerning your visitors’ activity. Some other essential features of these tools include reports on traffic, clicks, conversion rate, session replays, and incident detection.
These tracking tools are crucial for determining your next course of action in optimising and tailoring content to your target audience. It also informs you about rewarding efforts and areas you need to improve to drive sales on your online store. Some of the best website tracking tools include Google Analytics, Google Console, Meta Pixel, and Google Tag manager.
Updates cover the content and design aspects of your e-commerce website, which are essential to convey that your business is still up and running. For content updates, you can share information on new pricing, coupons and discounts, security options, contact information, payment methods, shipping options, upgrades in products, and newly stocked products.
Design updates usually occur less than content updates and mainly involve website makeovers. When transforming the design of your e-commerce website, you should consider that some already existing customers may take some time to warm up to the new change, so it is important to ease them correctly. You can outsource help from design services for the best visuals on your site.
It is vital to prepare for unpredictable events involving your e-commerce website, and one way you can do this is by adopting an occasional backup routine. Regularly backing up files and data on your website will save you a lot of time and resources required to build up a website from scratch if something goes wrong.
Carry out website backup regularly; some backup services can securely help carry out this task automatically and restore your site to its previous version instantly.
Elements of a Great E-commerce Website
Several key elements should be present in every e-commerce website to ensure success and drive more sales. These features determine the quality of your customers’ experiences in your online store.
Good Online Security and Privacy
With more people spending their time online and internet fraud becoming increasingly popular, guarantee your customers’ sensitive information like their names, locations, credit card numbers, and other data will remain safe and unbreachable in any way. Good online security on your e-commerce website establishes trust in your brand and attracts more customers.
Safe transactions are another thing you want to guarantee your customers. And to achieve this, you need to guard sensitive data like these with a strong password. You can also consider using web security protocols like secure sockets layer (SSL), HTTPS authentication, and transport layer security (TLS) to ensure that all shared data remains secure.
The user interface and user experience comprise friendly user designs and features that make your e-commerce website easier to navigate and more interactive.
WebFX shows that 89% of consumers are more likely to shop with other brands due to terrible experiences;
This statistic calls for prioritising your website user experience. Here are some changes you can incorporate to make your online store more interactive and easy for your customers.
- Provide users with personalised product recommendations based on previous purchases or viewed products
- Improve your page loading speed
- Enable easy navigation
- Choose themes and designs your customers will find interactive
- Use detailed product images to give customers more insight
- Effortless payment and checkout process
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial for ranking higher on the web search engine. SEO involves using tools and strategies to boost your website visibility and drive more sales on your online store. Here are some features you can optimise for SEO on your website.
- Eliminating irrelevant, broken, and non-descriptive links from your website
- Proper format (H1,H2, H3, and H4) on your website
- Including keywords on your homepage and product descriptions
Employing SEO and other marketing strategies will help you easily reach your target audience and scale growth.
Great Mobile User Experience
With 92.6% of people using their mobile devices to go online, your e-commerce website must deliver a great mobile experience to reach most customers. A great mobile experience includes a responsive design that displays on mobile devices and a high page loading speed, as most customers expect a website to load in 3 seconds.
Every good e-commerce website should have options between switching from a desktop experience to a mobile experience. It is a great approach to consider the mobile experience first during development.
E-commerce website development involves every technical process that ensures the smooth functioning of an e-commerce website. Website development for your online store is your key to standing out and gaining an edge over your competitors; it also helps you reach more of your target audience and convert them into customers.
The development process involves:
- Planning and conceptualisation.
- Finding an e-commerce platform.
- Website UI/UX design.
- Carrying out some back-end coding.
- Setting up payment and shipping options.
- Installing third-party apps.
After building and launching your e-commerce website, you need to employ some marketing strategies to help you reach customers. For a start, we have recommended PPC marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing. You can delve deep into other marketing options with time.
The primary features of every top e-commerce website are that it provides an excellent user interface and experience, prioritises online security and privacy of their customers, SEO optimisation for the search engine, and provides a functional and interactive environment for mobile users. Maintaining your online store also goes a long way in the growth of your e-commerce business. This covers meaningful updates on changes in products and customer services, backups, and tracking your site’s analytics.
If you need help building your e-commerce website, Digitexe is a team of strategic and creative developers and marketers.
As per Digital.com evaluations, 24% of business owners do not own an e-commerce website because they need to learn how to create one.
If this is you, Digitexe is a team of strategic and creative developers and marketers based in Australia who can help you reach a broader audience and achieve scalability.
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How long does it take to build an e-commerce website?
The duration for building an eCommerce website ranges from 2 – 12 months. This time depends on the complexity of the project and the urgency of an e-commerce website. Integrating your website with third-party apps and plugins will require additional time.
How much does it cost to build an e-commerce website?
The cost of developing an eCommerce website depends on the difficulty. But it costs between $1000 to $5000 to build an essential e-commerce website.
What are the benefits of using Australian-based e-commerce designers?
For a business based in Australia, using the services of designers and developers based in this region assures you that a deep understanding of Australian trends and the market will be in consideration throughout the whole process. Communication and negotiations are also easier when outsourcing help from individuals in your region.
Which domain is best for e-commerce websites?
Your website domain should be unique. Most businesses usually use their brand name to stand out, and it is ideally short and memorable. Several tools can help you pick a domain name for your website if your desired domain name is unavailable. The best tool for this task is Dot-o-mator.
Which platform is best for an e-commerce website?
Many great e-commerce hosting platforms exist, but you must consider your goals and requirements before choosing. If you prioritise simplicity, security, and growth, you can use a great hosted e-commerce platform like Shopify.