If you own a company that sells products or services, it’s more important than ever to have an online presence from which you can sell these items. When you find yourself in this situation, you should consider developing an eCommerce website that will represent your brand and act as an online storefront for the products/services your business currently offers.
An eCommerce website is one that provides consumers with the ability to purchase and sell services, digital products, and physical goods via the internet as opposed to a brick-and-mortar location. Once you’ve created an eCommerce website, you’ll be able to accept payment, process orders, provide customer services, and manage shipping.
Today, there are more than 24 million eCommerce websites on the internet. If you want to make one of these websites, eCommerce website development is necessary. This process involves developing all of the technical components that are required for an eCommerce site to be operational. The development team in charge of developing this type of website need to make sure that the site functions properly, behaves correctly to user actions, accepts payments, and has an aesthetically appealing look.
Because of how much competition is present online, eCommerce web development is essential if you want consumers to be satisfied with the experience they have when browsing your online storefront and making purchases. Developing an eCommerce website involves everything from researching your target audience to using the right shipping software. The following is the ultimate guide to eCommerce website development.
What are Ecommerce Websites?
An eCommerce website is a type of website that provides consumers with the ability to sell or purchase products/services online. These websites are ideal for giving consumers the opportunity to browse and research products they want before making a final purchase from anywhere in the world. Whether the consumer is using a mobile device or desktop computer, they should be able to access the eCommerce website they’re interested in.
Keep in mind that two types of eCommerce websites exist, which include vendor-specific websites and multi-vendor marketplaces. Vendor-specific sites are easily the most common form of eCommerce website and are designed to be managed by a single business that will be the only seller on the website. Multi-vendor marketplaces are designed to offer services and products from many different sellers. The most popular multi-vendor marketplaces include eBay and Amazon.
What is Ecommerce Web Development?
In order to create an eCommerce website, it’s first important to implement eCommerce web development. This process involves designing and building an eCommerce site that allows consumers to purchase your products online. Since these types of websites are exceedingly popular among the majority of consumers, having an online storefront for your website can help you increase revenue and conversion rates.
The web developer or team you hire will be focused on developing the design prototype that will essentially bring your website to life and allow it to function like any other eCommerce site. Web developers are oftentimes tasked with implementing contact forms, navigational buttons, hyperlinks, and calls-to-action.
Why is Ecommerce Web Development Important?
When implemented correctly, eCommerce web development allows users to quickly navigate pages, discover the products they’re looking for, and complete transactions without issue. This form of web development is likely important for your business because it:
- Creates a first impression
- Boosts any SEO strategy by facilitating quick page speed and proper coding
- Enhances user experience
- Helps your site stand out among the competition
How to Develop Ecommerce Websites
When you want to develop an eCommerce websites for your business and brand, it’s highly recommended that you first learn the fundamentals of web development. Having a grasp on web design, content strategy, and branding are essential for eCommerce website development because of the need to provide users with a seamless and hassle-free experience. Here are nine steps on how to develop an eCommerce website.
1. Figure Out What to Sell
The first step towards developing an eCommerce website involves figuring out what your business is going to sell. If you’re just starting out and have yet to develop products/services to sell, you have the opportunity to research the types of products/services that you’re passionate about and believe would be appealing to consumers.
Whether you offer solutions that have yet to be placed on the market or have identified a need that a specific market has, there are many reasons that could compel you to sell a specific product or service. Before you settle on an item to sell, you should first perform extensive product and audience research to determine how you’re going to sell the item.
If you’re entering a market that’s already been established, consider studying this market to identify what works and what doesn’t. Always take the competition into account. If you’re entering a market that’s comprised of numerous businesses with extensive marketing budgets, you may find it challenging to garner attention. It’s easier to find a niche and develop an eCommerce website around this niche.
2. Determine Your Ecommerce Business model
There are two distinct eCommerce business models that you could use with your company, which include B2B and B2C. The B2C business model centers around a business providing consumers with products and services.
Popular B2C businesses include Target and Amazon. The items on these websites are sold directly to the general public. The B2B model involves businesses selling products or services to other businesses. A B2B business can be a reseller, producer, or institution.
3. Know Your Audience
If you’ve already established a brick-and-mortar store for your business, you should have a firm understanding of who your audience is. However, you should still consider performing audience research to make sure you know what your target audience is looking for when buying products online. Keep in mind that every facet of your website should be tailored to your primary audience, which include the site’s content, visual design, and user interface.
You can locate your main audiences based on current product trends as well as numerous marketing factors, which include behavior variables, geographics, and demographics. How old is your target audience? What is your audience’s income range? Answering these questions should help you create a strong eCommerce website that meets the needs of your audience.
Determine Your Branding
The most popular brands like Apple and Nike have consistent and well-designed branding, which is also key towards obtaining success as an eCommerce website. Consistent branding makes it easier for customers to recall your brand whenever they see a logo or hear a tagline. The right branding can facilitate a deeper emotional connection with your audience.
Several of the more important branding elements include the color palette your company uses, the voice that’s displayed in all marketing materials, and your company logo. These elements form a brand personality. It’s also highly recommended that you tell a story of your business that humanizes your brand.
5. Write Descriptive Product Copy
Along with consistent branding, it’s important to implement consistent and well-written product descriptions on your website, which can help push site visitors into making a purchase. Dull product copy only serves to make your products less appealing. Every product description should highlight key features, detail benefits of using the product, and provide customers with everything they need to know before going through with a purchase.
Make sure, however, that the copy isn’t too dry. Always keep the customer at the front of your mind when writing product copy, which involves detailing how the product will solve the customer’s problems.
6. Find the Right Shipping Software
All eCommerce platforms must have great shipping software if they want to keep customers satisfied. The right software can make it much easier for your business to ship products and fulfill any orders that are made. The top shipping software solutions for eCommerce websites include Shippo, ShipStation, ShipRush, and ShippingEasy. For instance, Shippo allows customers to use numerous carriers when shipping products, which include everything from USPS and UPS to FedEx and DHL Express.
7. Take Detailed Product Shots
If you want your products to stand out, you should take detailed and high-resolution product shots, which can be done with a premium smartphone camera or a tripod. In the event that you have enough room in your budget, consider paying a professional to take high-quality images. The images you take can be further enhanced with photo editing. Because online shoppers are unable to hold or view the product in person, good product photos are essential.
8. Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform
There are many eCommerce platforms that you can partner with when creating an online storefront, which include everything from Shopify to Amazon. Each platform has its own unique benefits, which means that the one you choose depends on the types of products you offer and how you want to sell these products. The many eCommerce platforms at your disposal include Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
Regardless of the platform you’re interested in, the features that your platform of choice should offer include:
- A fully responsive design that works on any device
- Extensive product management functionality
- A content management system that makes it easy to place content on your site
- A customizable shopping cart
- Payment processing
- A checkout page
9. Build Your Website
Now that all of the aforementioned pieces are in place, you can get started on building and launching your website. Keep in mind that building a modern and well-designed website that provides users with interactive features is crucial if you want your eCommerce website to be successful. When creating a design, it’s highly recommended that your finished website performs well and matches your brand image. Make sure that calls-to-action are regularly implemented on all site pages.
Having an eCommerce website can help your business grow and expand. In fact, nearly 80% of the U.S. population shops online, which gives you an opportunity to bring in new customers. This guide tells you everything you need to know about starting eCommerce web development and bringing your website online.