A detailed guide on how to build an eCommerce website

A detailed guide on how to build an eCommerce website

Ecommerce has evolved a lot over the years and with the advent of new technologies, it’s changing the way we live, shop, and do business. Nowadays with the increasing popularity of eCommerce and online shopping that become the most popular way to buy products in a few clicks, it is important to make sure you have a store that can compete with other stores. You need to make sure your business is visible to the world by investing in an eCommerce website that can keep up with the latest trends and technology.

Building an eCommerce website was never easy, particularly if you’re not tech-savvy and can’t code. Luckily, there’s now a way for anyone with some basic knowledge of the web and an internet connection to open their eCommerce business store as long as they have a computer and the required knowledge. The good news is that with our step-by-step guide you can build your very own successful eCommerce store quickly and easily.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Introduction

What is eCommerce?

The most simplistic definition of eCommerce is that it’s a “commercial transaction that takes place on the internet“. Ecommerce (or electronic commerce) is the process of buying and selling any products, items, and services on the internet, you pay for the required item and the seller gets his money.

In the past, businesses used an eCommerce store to conduct their marketing activities and a separate logistics platform to manage their fulfillment. Nowadays, many companies use one platform for all of these tasks with the involvement of a variety of data, systems, and tools for online buyers & sellers to shop & pay with ease.

What are the types of eCommerce models?

Businesses have a lot of eCommerce models from which to choose, but the six most common ones are:

  1. B2C
  2. B2B
  3. C2C
  4. C2B
  5. B2A
  6. C2A

1. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

B2C eCommerce encompasses transactions made between a business and a consumer. This is one of the most popular sales models in the eCommerce context, for example, when you buy clothes from an online clothes retailer it’s a business-to-consumer transaction.

2. Business-to-Business (B2B)

B2B eCommerce is a term used for any type of business-to-business commerce. Unlike a consumer-facing business, B2B is not visible to the customer and is strictly based on business dealings. Business-to-business sales often focus on raw materials or products that are repackaged before being sold to customers.

3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

C2C is one of the earliest forms of eCommerce. It includes buying or selling products or services between customers, which you can see on AliExpress, eBay, or Amazon.

4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

C2B flips the traditional eCommerce model on its head. Individual customers make their products or services available for business buyers. For example, the ThemeForest business model in which codes, themes, or any other materials are available online for purchase directly from different developers.

5. Business-to-Administration (B2A)

B2A handles the transactions made between online businesses & administrations. An example would be the products & services related to legal documents, medical insurance, etc.

6. Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)

C2A is a 2-way that enables consumers to buy and sell goods or services online. It might include consulting that’s completed remotely for education purposes, tax preparation, etc. B2A and C2A are focused on increasing efficiency to better the government. They support information technology to advance this goal.

Advantages of eCommerce

Ecommerce has many benefits – from access to the fastest payment methods to the ability to reach an international audience of millions 24/7. Now let’s look closely at some of the top advantages.

  • Faster shopping for customers
  • Newmarket attainments
  • Comfortably reach new clients
  • Unparalleled shopping experiences
  • More lowering operational expenses
  • Establish your trademark

Disadvantages of eCommerce

  • Poor communications with customers
  • Technology failures can affect the ability to sell
  • No experience to examine or try on

Building your successful eCommerce website step-by-step

Example of an eCommerce page design
Example of an eCommerce page design – by Emy Lascan

Building an eCommerce site may appear daunting but now that there are web-based solutions, it’s simple. You just take the web-based editor and place your products within the eCommerce platform. Make sure to understand what’s offered and what your shop needs. Research extensively to inform your decisions for your site so that years down the road it continues to grow and evolve with you.

  1. Obtain a memorable domain name
  2. Choose your ideal eCommerce platform
  3. Get a developer or a company
  4. Customize your eCommerce look and feel
  5. Add your stocks
  6. Setup payment selections
  7. Handel shipping settings
  8. Test and publish your online store
  9. Promote your online store

1. Obtain a memorable domain name

A domain name is one of the most expensive outlays for an online store, but it’s also one of the most important investments since it’s the first thing for a customer to see. If you already have a domain name, it can be transferred to your online store platform. If not, make sure that the URL you are purchasing follows these best practices mentioned below:

  • Evade generic names: A generic name has more downsides than upsides: people will either forget it or go for a more popular brand with a higher SEO ranking. A memorable, intriguing domain name is the way to go.
  • Evade formative spellings: A domain name should be memorable and easy to type using a keyboard, so avoid creative spellings. It doesn’t need to pass a spelling test. Also, make sure that it’s also easy to pronounce. If people get tongue-tied trying to say it out loud, they won’t tell their friends about your business. Finally, avoid hyphens and numbers in your URLs, as this makes it overly hard for people to share your web address.
  • The shorter, the more beneficial: Strive to make your domain name short around 6-14 characters in length, but also relatively easy to remember. A long, hard-to-remember name can hurt your customer loyalty so it’s best to try and keep the domain name as easy as possible for both parties.

Top domain provider to help you find a domain name:

2. Choose your ideal eCommerce platform

The business landscape is much different than it was just a few years ago and this means that you need to be smart about the tools that you use to help your business grow. For many, eCommerce platforms are now essential and they can provide your business with a strong online presence in today’s digital world. Choosing the right platform can be hard, but we will try to make it easy for you.

Varieties of available eCommerce platforms.

There are three main types of eCommerce platforms to choose from, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

  • Open source platforms: Open-source platforms release their source code to the public for free and it can be modified and customized extensively. However, these platforms usually require advanced coding knowledge to install them. Companies and their users need to be mindful of security concerns and may end up wasting funds on security that is not needed with a subscription to another type of platform.
  • SAAS (System As A Service or Software As A Service): SaaS is an eCommerce platform that’s offered as a subscription service. These systems are generally easy to use, scalable, and have robust security features. As they’re designed specifically for eCommerce, they can handle the logistical processes like check-out and combining purchases so you don’t need to worry about it. A concern with SaaS is that there is a monthly subscription fee, as well as occasional transaction fees and expenses for plug-in apps. Some services may also have limited branding which might make your creativity restrict when designing.
  • Headless commerce: Headless commerce is the understanding that the online experience does not need to be coupled with your software. With headless systems, you can now focus all your energy on delivering an optimized eCommerce solution. Putting it simply, headless commerce helps you separate your storefront from the technology behind it. This means brands can feel more empowered to offer their clients a highly personalized experience.

3. Choose your hosting options

An important note to consider is the eCommerce platform hosting. Choosing the best eCommerce web hosting provider is no easy task. You want to ensure that your data is safe, but it also needs to be accessible by your website visitors. When you are shopping around for a new provider, there are several things you need to consider. Be sure to do enough research to find the provider with the best options for your specific needs. There are two main eCommerce hosting:

  • On-Premises: Sometimes open-source programmers will outsource all the work to a third party that offers hosting services, but other times the business will host the site on their machines. The company will need space for a server and to hire people to keep it running. Large companies are generally the ones that have the resources available to them for this type of hosting.
  • Cloud: Cloud hosting is delivered off-site to other providers. This type of service can help take care of tasks like website uptime, updates, patches & upgrades that will keep the site secure. Open-source solutions like Shopify usually come with a cloud hosting option, which includes the costs of hosting, but also requires security maintenance.

4. The top 5 eCommerce platforms availabe

  • WooCommerce: Is an open-source WordPress plug-in, so it’s free to install. It’s generally used by those with an existing WordPress site because it can do anything that a normal WordPress site can do. WooCommerce is flexible and has limitless customization options as well as industry experts who monitor its security.
WooCommerce open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress
WooCommerce open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress
  • BigCommerce: Is a scalable SaaS solution that provides 24/7 customer support. If you have a big account, then you can receive priority support. Built-in features such as security and local payment methods can help attract customers from around the world. BigCommerce has a flexible and headless CMS, which helps brands deliver API-driven experiences through CMS or applications.
BigCommerce eCommerce platform SAAS
BigCommerce eCommerce platform SAAS
  • Shopify: Is another SaaS app that makes it easier & quicker to set up your e-store. It comes with a lot of great features like easy set-up, collaborations, responsive design, and integrations with many apps. The only downside is the cost; it can quickly add up if you need many of these features all at once. Since Shopify can handle a high number of transactions per minute – it can easily cope with traffic spikes.
Shopify eCommerce platform
Shopify eCommerce platform
  • Magento: Is an open-source e-commerce solution designed for online merchants. Magento is a self-hosted solution, so you have total creative freedom. If you’re not a developer, Magento offers an easy-to-use interface to manage your store’s content and design. You can also find many third-party integrations to extend the functionality of the platform.
Adobe Commerce Powered by Magento
Adobe Commerce Powered by Magento
  • PrestaShop: Is an open-source eCommerce platform with a strong community of developers and users around the world. It has regular updates and bug fixes, and new versions are released every few years. PrestaShop provides the most powerful functions for running an online store, including listing products, managing orders, managing shipping options, tracking inventory levels, and more. The platform includes everything needed to start an eCommerce store.
PrestaShop freemium open-source e-commerce platform
PrestaShop freemium open-source e-commerce platform

5. Points to consider when determining your eCommerce platform

  • Performance: Make sure your platform is reliable and has a strong uptime record, so your site is accessible when customers want to shop. Unlimited API calls help make things easier to manage and pages that load quickly can give customers the best experience.
  • Optimization: One of the most important aspects of optimizing your online store is the mobile version. More people are shopping on their phones, so it’s worth making your site mobile-friendly. You can do this by optimizing your site for a better customer experience, like adding geolocation capabilities that help you provide them with the products they need wherever they are.
  • Payment options: Today, many eCommerce stores have found that providing a variety of payment options for their customers can increase the number of sales they make. This is because not only with convenience in mind, but a customer who can choose their preferred payment method is more likely to buy from your store if they have the freedom to do so.
  • Security: The platform must protect your data and your customers’ data. Robust and clear privacy and data protection policy is key for any business trying to run smoothly these days!. Platforms like SaaS with security built-in come with monthly plans that address these issues. Self-hosted or free open source solutions require a bit more work in terms of security.

6. Get a company or a developer

Even if you’re the only person on the team, a development company or developer can make the process of setting up an eCommerce site simpler. They have the technical know-how to get you set up quickly, which means you’ll be selling sooner than you think.

Before hiring a company or a developer, figure out your timeline. Ask them to show you previous websites they’ve built or gotten references from other people who have worked with that company. It’s important that the entity you have building your site shares the same vision as you and can create what it is you want.

You can find many eCommerce developments agencies out there if you did some search, but if you want to go quickly and professional you can check the below suggestions to help you:

  • Simplix innovations: We are a group of innovative web developers and designers who specialize in providing the best, most advanced eCommerce solutions for affordable prices. Our team is committed to delivering the best possible service to our customers, which has been recognized by our industry peers as well as individuals who have had a chance to use our services.
  • UpWork: You can find and work with great talent at UpWork, the best marketplace for freelancers and agencies in the world. Build your business, take your career to the next level, or get help with any of your projects with our wide selection of services.
  • Toptal: This is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. Toptal’s freelancers are hand-selected from the top talent around the world and are trusted by some of the most recognized companies to take on some of their most important projects.

7. Customize your eCommerce look and feel

Personalizing your eCommerce website will give you a tangible edge over the competition. This is because it shows consumers that you’re different and committed to their experience. There are many options to help you get the appearance you want quickly like using templates, or themes. They are ready-built pages that you can customize to suit your brand and help your site look good without design or coding skills. Some of the areas that you could focus on:

  • Style of the homepage: Your homepage needs to reflect your brand, including images, videos, etc. Ideally, the homepage should summarize your story. A customer should instantly know the type of business they’ll be browsing and what they’ll find by looking at your store’s homepage, so make it clear.
  • Style of the navigation: Fluid navigation is necessary to provide an exceptional customer experience. If shoppers can’t find what they want, they’ll hit the back button and shop somewhere else. On the left side of the page, you will find a navigation bar to help you easily navigate through our site. This navigation bar is easy to read and is located on the left side of the screen as customers tend to use scroll bars on the left for this.
  • Style of the options: What can you customize on the page? Most eCommerce templates are customizable for specific needs. This means you can choose how much you want to customize your template based on the number of applications you need to work with. Is there a specific font you would like me to use? Can I change the color scheme? You can include as many images as you like, and they will be displayed on the slideshow.

8. Add your stocks

Now you have done everything as it should, it’s time to add your products to start selling. One of the most important pages on your site in terms of converting traffic into customers is the product page. Make sure you spend time crafting optimized descriptions & eye-catching imagery to hook new visitors, as they show your customers what you have to sell. Few important notes to consider when adding your products:

  • Product descriptions: Are an essential part of any eCommerce site. They tell the user what the product is, what it is used for, and its size and measurements. This allows bots to index your page for search engines, giving you a higher ranking in search results related to your products. Be careful not to overdo it with cliches or long sentences in order not to make it easy for search engines and users to find your product, and make sure the descriptions answer the following questions:
    • What is the product for?
    • What are the product’s essential details?
    • Where would someone use that product?
  • Product images: Visitors tend to be more engaged by visuals, so high-quality product images are essential. When producing photos to upload on your website, consider the following areas:
    • High-Quality images usage
    • Pixel-Perfect size
    • Alt and refernce to used images
    • Add product variation images
  • Product categories: Products can be categorized to help your customers find what they’re looking for. Categories can also be used with filters to keep your customers within a specific price range or from a particular brand. Featured items are a great way to lead customers down your desired shopping path.

9. Setup payment selections

To avoid losing potential customers, it’s important to have an easy-to-use payment method. This will reduce the chances of being abandoned mid-process. It needs to also be safe and reliable to meet your company’s specific needs. For choosing a payment integration, follow the below points:

  • PCI compliant and secure: PCI is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard which was established to help protect credit card details. Non-compliance will likely hurt your company’s business, so it is important to stay on top of trends in the industry and know what you need. Make sure your gateway will be able to protect your customer’s information and make sure you have an SSL certificate for added security. You also want to make sure any changes you make are compliant with the latest standards.
  • Fees: There are fees involved in every step of the process, including processing payments and refunds. Make sure you review the pricing plan before signing up for this type of service, so you can determine what might be best for your company.
  • Ease of integration: Think about how easy it is to integrate this system into your site. Does it work with the eCommerce platform you’ve selected?

10. Handel shipping settings

Shipping is a critical component of any eCommerce business, particularly for customers who are looking to get the products they ordered promptly. Anything that you can do to ensure that orders are shipped out promptly will make your customers happier- so be sure to choose the right shipping settings for your store!

An important point is your shipping policy includes fees and carriers. Do you offer to ship on your site? If so, which methods of delivery do you provide? Who are your preferred shippers? If you don’t ship internationally, make it clear from the get-go. Otherwise, international shoppers will be turned off at increased rates.

11. Test and publish your online store

A successful launch relies on everything in your store working as it should. If a link doesn’t work, payments don’t process, or the site doesn’t look good on mobile devices, then you can expect to have frustrated customers who will never return to your website again. You must make sure all of these tasks function properly before officially launching your store online. A few points to double-check they’re working:

  • Cross-brwoser compatibility: We encourage you to explore your store on different browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge to make sure that all customers have the best possible experience when visiting you on their chosen browser. If you have any issues with the store or find that it doesn’t work on your chosen browser, please let the developers or the company that helped you to develop your online store to know so they can fix it as soon as possible.
  • Store information and settings: You will need to make sure that all of the store settings and informations are set appropriately before you attempt to launch your store. These settings include things like language, time zone, address and contact details, taxes, and measurement units. Check these all before you get too far into the process.
  • Store functions and links: Click on every button and link that is found in your store. Does the action perform to take the customer directly to a functional page? Do filters and categories work correctly when sorting through your products? If a link doesn’t work, does your 404 page direct customers back to your site?
  • Checkout and order shipping: Complete and comprehensive testing on an order from start to finish. Did you add products to the cart and is working? Did you complete the payment? Did you receive all of the confirmation emails that you were expecting?

12. Promote your online store

Instagram Stories Templates
Instagram Stories Templates – by Janna Hagan

There are many different things that you can do to get the word out about your store, but we’re going to focus on just four here – the ones that are most likely to work now and beyond. These four options will help you reach your goals with minimal effort.

1. Paid Ads

Paid advertising is an incredibly effective way to reach your target market and create a measurable return on investment. Paid ads don’t ever fail if you make sure that you are targeting the right market, and following through with the tried and true approach of carefully selecting demographics, designing targeted ads, and making sure to check conversion rates constantly.

Google AdWords is one of the best places to get your products out there. Compared to other newer platforms, it has the basics covered and Google will help you with tutorials & guides as well as additional features.

Facebook Ads uniquely developed for reaching out to future customers and fans. Create an Ad. Check out our advertising solutions, offering advertising solutions for every level of expertise, so you don’t have to be an expert to start advertising on Facebook. Create and run campaigns with the simple self-serve tools provide and track your performance with easy-to-read reports. Also, check the online learning center to get the most benefits from Facebook Ads.

2. Social Media

It’s important to promote your store on all of the most influential social media networks, including Instagram Ads with the complete learning tutorials they have. Though it may be the most trendy network today, this doesn’t mean that it’s the only place where you should put your promotional time and money.

In the modern world, businesses need to be present in all of the places where their customers might be to reach them and provide them with a personalized experience. That is why in today’s age businesses need to have a presence on the most popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and optionally Pinterest. Your objectives for these networks will be largely the same, but the way you construct your messages and some of your objectives will differ from each network.

3. SEO and Content Marketing

Nowadays, content marketing and search engine optimization are the most effective methods to promote any website (including eCommerce stores). Content marketing comes to life when you join in with conversations that are relevant to your business. You share insights into topics that people will find valuable and shareable, which will in turn create interest in what you offer.

Optimizing your content for Google will help make it more searchable. 94% of all organic traffic on the internet is attributed to Google, so it stands to reason that by optimizing your content for this search engine you are helping improve the number of people who can find your site.

4. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become a very popular way in which brands can promote their products or services. It is done primarily through social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube. The evidence for this method is growing rapidly because of the potential to reach a much wider audience economically.

Conclusion

Congratulations! If you followed our guide, you should now know how to get started with your online store. Always remember that a great eCommerce site is more than just an online store. It’s a place where a business can create an experience and cultivate customer loyalty, and it’s where it can foster brand advocacy.

With an increasing number of eCommerce stores flooding the market, it is vitally important to keep up with the competition. However, your success can be determined by the platform you choose and how you utilize it.

Don’t forget to check the 20 must-have features for a successful eCommerce. If you don’t have the required time or expertise to keep your online store or business website up-to-date, then Hiring us today will enable you to focus on what matters in your business.

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