People love to buy. Modern people love to buy quickly. In the dynamic world that we live in today, e-commerce combines ease of purchasing, speed, variety of products and product categories to choose from, wide price ranges and many more. Especially now, when we are caught in the middle of the pandemic, e-commerce satisfies our desire to buy stuff.
According to Statista, 2.14 billion people, which is, in fact, a little about 27.2% of the world population, are expected to go in for online shopping. Those people’s shopping on the web is projected to account for 19,5% of all retail sales. The numbers are really impressive: since 2019 the share of e-commerce of all retail sales skyrocketed from 13.6% to substantial 18% in just one year. And the trend line shows the people are not coming back to offline stores: in the coming years e-commerce will grow. Slowly, but confidently.
So, strike while the iron’s hot. It’s never been easier to get your product out there online, however, it’s not that easy to stay on top of the wave. For that, you need a competitive high-quality e-commerce website. Read on to learn about all the peculiarities of e-commerce development: a step-by-step guide, tools, tips, and tricks to make a product that will sell!
What Is an E-commerce Website Development Project Plan
E-commerce website development project plan comprises all the required documentation related to the project. It is divided into different sections listing stakeholders’ roles and names, deadlines and timeline for the project, budget allocations, risks and assumptions for the projects, change request management, etc. Ultimately, an e-commerce website project plan includes all reference documentation for the project to rely on and turn to in case of implementation issues.
Ecommerce Website Development Requirements
Let’s now talk about the essentials of any successful e-commerce project. Get your e-commerce website development checklist:
Mobile First is a way to design a website to be preferably used by mobile users. Today, the number of mobile requests in search engines equals PC ones. In this regard, a special algorithm was developed that takes into account websites’ compatibility with mobile devices when ranking websites. To get the best rankings, developers can either optimize their website for mobile devices or create a mobile version of an existing website.
Here are some of the principles to be taken into account when developing a Mobile-First website:
- Show the most important details at the very beginning;
- Take into account that the mobile network may be weak, so the site should be lightweight;
- Mobile internet is more expensive than wired internet and therefore the site should load a minimum of resources, namely, only what a user needs to get the necessary information;
- Consider a user-friendly interface and navigation for a small screen.
Make sure you provide the best user experience in your niche. Make your clients want to come back. The basic UX rules for e-commerce are simple:
- Keep your e-commerce website design simple. All clients should feel comfortable. Navigation should be clear. All information should be easily accessible.
- Provide details of your products, such as photos, descriptions, zooming options. The more information customers receive, the more likely they are to purchase a product.
- Create a personal account page. Save recent orders, enable customers to create wishlists, and save items to their shopping cart.
- Add a feedback form. Give your customers a chance to contact, ask questions, and share feedback. In such a way you’ll make them feel heard.
- Add detailed information on delivery options, as well as on the website’s terms and conditions of use. Describe payment methods, shipping conditions, and return policy. Make sure the website contains everything related to the purchasing process. In such a way you will protect yourself from customers’ claims.
- Make your website dynamic and lively. Add collections and lists, create a page with special offers and bonuses. Update your website regularly. Your customers will want to come back if they know something is always up on your website.
Search Engine Optimization
If you skip the SEO part when developing an e-commerce website, it has no chance of getting into the top of search engines.
SEO design is there to make the website index and get higher positions in the search engine. At this stage, the semantic core is formed, commendations on the structure and content of the site are drawn up, technical requirements for proper development in accordance with the requirements of search engines are prescribed.
Of course, there is little chance that Google or any other search tool will show your site in the top 10. SEO is, in general, a long process. However, by setting up a proper SEO design firsthand you will have all the tools to quickly occupy good positions in the SERP, compared to sites that are designed without taking into account the requirements of search engines.
Keep in mind that your audience is always looking for useful content to make a weighted purchase decision. This means that you need to make sure your website is content-oriented. Often, the amount of content is as important as its quality. Thus, try to post valuable content consistently and throughout the whole website in the form of blog posts, videos, photos, or anything that works with your brand.
Focus On Return Customers
Customer retention should also be one of the top priorities. They are already familiar with your business and are more likely to remain loyal. Keep in mind that every returning customer was a first-time buyer once. That’s why you need to optimize your platform to turn ex-buyers into buyers for life. While post-sale follow-up may not be integrated directly into your website design, you can collect customer information and contact them directly to further personalize their purchases.
The flexibility of payment methods available indirectly affects the ranking.
Search engines evaluate not only the number of offered payment channels. They also take into account the credibility of the service, the level of customer satisfaction with existing payment methods, and the quality of service (namely, its speed).
Thus, e-commerce websites should provide a variety of payment methods. If it is so, the usability of the project grows, as well as its ranking positions. In such a way the commercial performance of the project increases.
Imagine, you are looking for an online store, find two suitable options, and open two pages at once. One is loaded in 3 seconds, the other one – in 10. Which page are you likely to stay on? Probably, the fastest one.
Naturally, search engines rank websites that take a long time to load low due to their poor conversion. It is also because of the slow loading on mobile devices.
In fact, in 2021 almost everyone uses smartphones. More than half of the customers on your website make purchases using devices on Android or iOS. So, don’t neglect to optimize your website for mobile devices to support fast connection.
Ultimately, the main requirements for e-commerce websites come down to the following:
|Mobile First Methodology|
|Well-done User Experience|
|Good Search Engine Optimization|
|Focus on Return Customers|
|Support of Various Payment Methods|
|High Loading Speed|
How to Build an E-commerce Website Step by Step
Alright, now when you know the basic requirements for a successful e-commerce website, let’s talk about the development procedure. Find a step-by-step guide to develop and launch an e-com online platform:
Choose a product to sell
This is a crucial step. Basically, at this stage, you provide for the future success of the entire project.
To select a potential product to sell, you need to analyze the volume of a specific market segment. And before you make a decision in this matter, answer a few questions:
How popular is the product?
What are the storage conditions?
Who will buy this product?
Is there the same product in other online stores?
What is the forecast demand for this product?
Is there a good supplier base for this product?
Choosing a product to sell must be thought out, taking into account both current market conditions and growth perspectives.
Choose e-commerce business model
The B2C and B2B business models are different types of business conduct targeted at retail customers and business representatives respectively. Let’s talk about the peculiarities, pros, and cons of those two.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
B2C (Business to Consumer) is a model in which an entrepreneur interacts with an end consumer. He sells goods that people buy for themselves or as a gift, but not for later resale.
B2C clients are looking for quality services, various bonuses, and discounts. They most often purchase a small number of goods at a time, however, this segment is characterized by a higher marginality.
In the B2B segment, reputation and managerial talent play a huge role; in B2C, good advertising and understanding of the psychology of a potential client is a key to success. Online store owners targeting the B2C segment should invest in different marketing channels, such as:
- Contextual, teaser and display advertising;
- SMM marketing;
- Advertising in mobile applications and on YouTube;
- Cross marketing, and others.
Ultimately, the B2C model is characterized by the following points:
- Products in the b2c segment are purchased by consumers for personal use and are not subject to resale;
- Most of the purchases are made by consumers due to an emotional, not a logical factor;
- B2C sales provide for a simple and short process of selling goods and services, which, as a rule, follows the same well-defined scenario;
- Customers don’t have in-depth expert knowledge of the products;
- One customer purchases a small amount of the same product;
- Demand for B2C segment products is relatively stable;
- Demand for products is not concentrated in one territory (unlike B2B sales) but is scattered geographically.
Business to Business (B2B)
B2B (Business to Business) is a model in which an entrepreneur interacts directly with business representatives. These are, basically, legal entities that order products with various purposes:
- Provision of their own production with intermediary elements;
- Further resale;
- Meeting the needs of the company (office supplies, uniforms, etc.).
This segment is characterized by lower margins, however, the profit comes from large consignments of goods. In the B2B segment, expensive products are usually sold: medical and industrial equipment, IT products, etc.
When developing a strategy for doing business deploying a B2B model, it’s a top priority to attract experienced managers, who’ll be able to present the products in the right way.
The pros of the B2B model of sales are the following:
- B2B competition is not as fierce as a B2C one. In addition, in B2B the seller himself together with his skills and talent play a major role.
- In B2B, buyers are also professionals – they know what they want, as well as what they need. If in B2C, your marketing approach matters, then personal sales take place here.
- There is a lot of inside information that can be used to increase profits.
- In B2B sales, the initial stage does not require such serious investments as in B2C. In B2C, you need a good office, a serious examination of advertising channels, etc. In B2B, as a rule, there is no such thing. Therefore, it is quite easy for wholesalers to work across the country, therefore B2B is not attached to a place.
Among the cons we can name the following:
- Dependence on suppliers.
- The risk of losing key customers.
- Low marginality.
When coming up with a portrait of the target audience, you should take into account the following “baseline” factors:
Gender. Clothing stores, cosmetics, perfumery are targeted at a female audience. The websites that sell different tools, spare parts, etc. are more often visited by men.
Age. People of different ages behave differently in the store. Older buyers choose more thoughtfully, carefully researching the details about the product. Young people, in general, tend to make spontaneous purchases, paying more attention to the visual content, rather than text.
Material status. Customers with lower incomes choose cheap items in the store. Buyers with average wages do not want to overpay, but they are not ready to compromise quality. At the same time, people with high incomes are ready to shell out a considerable sum and are looking for exclusive, designer products.
The other features of your audience should also be taken into account. For example:
- Property owned;
- Marital status;
- Children, etc.
Make a list of problems each client has that you can solve. Create a template for and scratch the following business model based on it.
4. Creating a brand
An e-commerce brand isn’t only about a logo, brand name, and catchy slogan, but also about what people say about your business. This is the impression people have of an online store with which they have interacted directly or indirectly. This is the first thing that comes to mind when customers hear your company’s name.
Building an e-commerce brand is critical to business growth. Strong branding means that customers are more likely to choose you, which gives you a feasible competitive advantage.
Any brand should be based on these 4 pillars:
For your e-commerce website to be attractive to consumers, you must be guided by a clear vision. Revisit the origins of your company, dive into its history, and try to find out what inspired its creation. Answer those questions:
Why did you create your store except for making a profit?
2/What do you reckon people should feel or think after interacting with your store?
Values are what you and your audience hold dear. Your values define your organization and communicate everything you do and how you do it. To determine your values, answer these 3 questions:
What do customers say about you? Check out reviews or make a public poll to see what you’re doing well.
What are your top three priorities? This question will help you determine what is important to you.
What are other brands doing that your audience likes? People identify with brands because they share their values.
Just like people have great, recognizable voices, your brand also has a voice. Brand voice is how you speak to your audience.
Visual content is the visible symbols associated with your company. Below we have listed three visual components of brand identity:
- Logo, which is a unique mark or image that is the face of your brand.
- Typography, which is all about fonts and styles of written text.
- Color, which should deliver a specific mood of your brand. Color is what evokes the strongest emotional reaction.
5. Purchase a domain name
The domain is a unique name for a website. For example, the domain name of our website is joinsoft.com.
The website domain is your virtual property, as well as your identifier on the web, by which people find you. The perfect domain for an online store should be:
- concise (one short word, maximum – two);
- easy to remember;
- easy to write and pronounce;
- characterizing your business;
- without punctuation and numbers in the name;
- using a key query.
Domains are purchased and registered on the websites of companies that have the right to create new domains and renew existing second-level domain names.
6. Find the e-commerce platform
Choosing an e-commerce platform is a very important step. A great lot of things depend on this choice: budget for developing a website, store capacity, search traffic, etc.
Here are 4 general criteria that you should pay attention to when choosing a CMS for an online store:
- Popularity in your region. Popular CMS is easier to modify (there are many developers majoring in that specific platform) and is well-known by users.
- Price/functionality ratio. It is important that the price of the platform matches its functionality. Note, that if the platform is free, you should take into account the costs of additional modules and improvements.
- Ease of operation. Sometimes the most functional platforms are the most complex. There must be a balance here, too. The abundance of functions is useless if they are difficult to understand and operate.
- Opportunities for customization. The platform for launching an online store must be customizable, otherwise, you will not be able to adapt it to your business and expand it in the future.
- SEO adjustability. An important point for a successful store, since the success of an e-commerce business largely depends on how well it can be indexed by a search engine (and found by potential customers).
7. Internet marketing
Marketers attract visitors to the website and generate leads. If the company is small, one person can discharge marketing along with operational duties. However, as the company grows, expanding its assortment and client base, it is necessary to attract other professionals for different functions, including marketers. Good organization of the marketing department is an important component of success.
The most popular digital channels for attracting customers to an online store are:
- Paid advertising in search engines – Search Engine Marketing (SEM or contextual advertising);
- Free search traffic – Search Engine Optimization (SEO);
- Price aggregators and marketplaces;
- Sales via mailing lists – Email Marketing;
- Online publications, PR, and writing guest articles (Content Marketing);
- Social Networks – Social Media Marketing (SMM);
- Other types of content marketing (bloggers, Youtube, special projects, etc.).
Ecommerce Website Development Tools
Alright, let’s now talk about the most popular e-commerce website development platforms and tools.
According to statistics, the No.1 platform for creating online stores in 2021 is WooCommerce, accounting for 26% of the entire market. It is followed by Shopify with its 17%, and Wix Stores, holding their well-deserved 13% market share.
Task for Designers:
remake using JoinSoft branding
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. Over 63 million websites are powered by WordPress. The fact is that this platform is universal, and hosts all types of websites. WordPress itself is not really suitable for creating online stores, and here is where the WooCommerce plugin comes to help.
Shopify is a constructor for creating stores of various complexity. It can be successfully used by both beginners and advanced users. It is a specialized online store constructor and an undoubtful leader in this specific niche. Users love Shopify for its modern design, built-in templates, as well as fast and easy store launch.
Wix is a very powerful website constructor. Undoubtedly, it is very easy to use and provides a wide set of functions. For online stores, the constructor has a separate “Store” menu. It enables users to:
- Add goods, edit their cards, group goods into collections
- Set payment methods and delivery regions;
- Execute order management;
- Compile analytics and reports.
Ecommerce Website Development Steps by JoinSoft
At JoinSoft we provide high-quality custom e-commerce website development services that will make you sell. We build engaging and converting user-friendly websites to satisfy your customers.
We take benefit of the latest technologies and methods and provide innovative solutions to solve your business needs. Taking care of all details we make sure you get exactly what you’ve expected.
Here’s what we offer:
- Development of your shopping cart solution;
- Integration with a payment system of your choice;
- Designing a mobile app for your business to enable your customers to make purchases on the go;
- Integration of your e-commerce website with a CRM, ERP, or back-office system into one complex solution;
- Assessment in implementing a proper inventory management system.
Our Retail Software Development services include:
- Support and Consulting;
- B2B eCommerce Hosting;
- Fraud protection;
- Systems integration;
- B2B website design and development;
- B2B eCommerce platform selection;
- Customer Journey Mapping;
- Data and website audits.
We love what we do, we love our clients, and we love to see our products deliver exactly what was expected. We are guided by the rule of “there’s always room for improvement”. That’s why we never stop educating ourselves to always be there for you. Better than yesterday, and the best of today.
Final Thoughts About Ecommerce Website Design Steps
Whether you are entering or expanding in the e-commerce business, you definitely need to have these 3 keys to success: perfect knowledge of the market, understanding of your product, and a well-designed website for your online store.
Now that you know how things with developing an e-commerce website are going, namely, the requirements for selling online stores, steps for their creation, tools, and platforms, take your time to process the information, maybe drink a cup or two of tea, and consider JoinSoft as a helper in your e-commerce business initiative. We offer competitive e-commerce website development services for your business to take off smoothly. Good luck and see you on the other side!