From where did you buy your brand new Apple smartphone last month? Or from where did you purchase those Reebok running shoes as a birthday present for yourself? Most likely from Amazon, eBay, or other similar eCommerce stores, right?
As internet boundaries are expanding and connectivity improves, more and more physical or brick and mortar stores are transitioning to digital space. This process gives rise to the massive ecommerce industry that exists today. However, you must be wondering what an ecommerce store is, how to create an ecommerce website, and what are some proven ecommerce website development tips.
This blog will answer all of these questions in the most lucid and informative manner possible so that a non-technical audience can understand these subjects as well. Along with this fundamental understanding of the ecommerce business, we have also discussed the benefits of ecommerce, ecommerce website builders, and how to market an ecommerce store to ensure its success in the sections that follow.
Let’s start with an explanation of what an ecommerce website is.
What Is Ecommerce Website?
Simply put, an ecommerce website, also known as an electronic commerce website, is a digital space where you can buy and sell physical goods, products, and services.
In other words, ecommerce takes place whenever individuals or businesses buy or sell products or services online. Other activities covered by the term e-commerce include online auctions, internet banking, payment gateways, and online ticketing.
Let’s take a brief look at ecommerce history.
- The origins of e-commerce can be traced back to 1979, when Michael Aldrich, an English inventor and entrepreneur, invented online shopping. This event is regarded as the foundation of today’s massive ecommerce industry.
- Many notable events occurred in the ecommerce industry in the following years, including the first online purchase in 1994, when a man sold a CD to a friend via NetMarket, a retail platform.
- This was followed by Jeff Bezos’ establishment of Amazon as a book store in 1994.
- Later, with the establishment of the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council in 2004, online payment processing became more accessible and secure.
- After four years, in 2007, the invention of modern smartphones–iPhones significantly increased the popularity of mobile ecommerce.
Let us now look at the various types of ecommerce sites.
Types Of Ecommerce
As we all know, there are various business models. You can categorise them based on their offerings, such as service or product-based, and you can also categorise ecommerce business types based on the audience class. The four major ecommerce business types are as follows.
- Business-to-consumer (B2C)
- Business-to-business (B2B)
- Consumer-to-business (C2B), and
- Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)
In addition to these four primary types, there are two lesser-known and less-used ecommerce business models, namely business-to-administration (B2A) and administration-to-business (A2B).
However, in this guide on how to develop an ecommerce website, we will learn about the four major e-commerce platforms only.
Business To Consumer (B2C)
The B2C ecommerce model, as the name suggests, represents a transaction between businesses and individuals. B2C ecommerce is the most common business model in both physical and online stores. For example, when you buy a mobile phone or shoe from an online retailer, you are engaging in a business-to-consumer transaction.
Business To Business (B2B)
B2B is a business-to-business transaction that takes place only between businesses. In this type of transaction, one company provides goods and/or services to another. Business-to-business sales frequently revolve around raw materials or goods that are repackaged before being sold to customers.
Consumer To Business (C2B)
C2B e-commerce works in the opposite direction of traditional ecommerce in that individual consumers sell their goods or services to business buyers. As a result, consumers contribute products and/or services to businesses, collaborate on initiatives, and ultimately assist firms in increasing their profits.
Consumer To Consumer (C2C)
The sale of goods or services between individuals is referred to as the customer-to-customer (C2C) model. It is one of the earliest forms of e-commerce. eBay and Amazon are two examples of online marketplaces where people can buy and sell goods.
So these are the 4 major types of ecommerce. It is recommended that you analyse your goal, your products or services, and then select the best ecommerce model based on the findings.
Let us now study why we require ecommerce stores in the first place, why are brick & mortar stores insufficient, and what are the compelling advantages of ecommerce?
Why Do We Need Ecommerce Websites: What Are The Benefits Of Ecommerce?
Along with all the benefits of ecommerce that we are aware of, such as a convenient shopping experience and a wide range of products, there are plenty others. Let’s take a quick look at each of the major advantages of an ecommerce website.
1. People Spend Money Online
According to Statista, the number of online shoppers have increased from 1.32 billion in 2014 to 2.14 billion in 2021. In just seven years, there has been a 55 per cent rise! Isn’t this statistic indicative of the ecommerce industry’s bright future? The data also show that people who were previously uncomfortable or afraid of ecommerce shopping are now shifting to digital shopping. This is the primary reason why you, as a seller, should transition to or invest in an ecommerce business as soon as possible.
2. Allow You To Add Infinite Products
Another advantage of an ecommerce website is that it allows sellers to add hundreds of products to online stores, which is not possible in brick & mortar stores due to space constraints. From a customer standpoint, the ability to add as many products as possible benefits them as well. They gain access to more products, are able to compare and analyse them, and select the best one.
3. Easy Scaling
E-commerce is also the best business type for sellers because it allows you to scale your business as needed to accommodate increased customer flow. Furthermore, it is simple and does not incur any additional costs. This means, you can start your ecommerce store on a small scale and then scale it up as needed. For example, if you are starting an apparel ecommerce website, start with only men’s or women’s items and then add children’s or kids’ items if everything goes as planned.
4. Require Less Humanpower
In order to manage and run a successful brick & mortar store, you must have a sufficient number of employees. More human resources inevitably result in higher operational costs. However, when it comes to ecommerce, you require comparatively less human labour because most processes are automated. The lower the workforce, the lower the operational costs and the higher the revenue.
5. Cost Less Than A Brick-and-mortar Store
In the case of a brick and mortar store, you will need to purchase expensive space in a prime location, redevelop it, and give it a fancy makeover to ensure it aligns with the products or services you offer. You’ll also need a large workforce, and there will be several other expenses. In a nutshell, it’s an expensive affair. However, in the case of an ecommerce website, you do not need to spend money on either space or fancy makeovers. This will significantly reduce the budget.
6. Offer 24×7 Availability
Another significant advantage of ecommerce stores or online stores is that they are available 24/7, which is not possible with brick & mortar or physical stores. It’s a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers. Sellers benefit from the ability to keep the store open and available to customers 24/7, resulting in increased sales and revenue, while customers benefit from the ability to visit the store and make a purchase at any time, whether it is early morning or late at night.
7. Safe & Convenient Shopping Experience
Last but not least, online shopping or ecommerce websites provide a secure and convenient shopping experience. Users can visit the store whenever they want, compare the items on their shortlist, and place their order in no time. It also saves time and money on the commute. You do not need to take a day off from work to visit the website; you can do so whenever it is convenient for you. All of these factors combine to make ecommerce shopping a safe and convenient experience.
These are the primary advantages of an ecommerce store. All of these advantages highlight that you should contact an ecommerce website development company as soon as possible to have your physical business store converted into an online store.
Let us now proceed to the next section of the blog– Different Types Of Ecommerce Website Development Platforms.
Different Types Of Ecommerce Website Development Platforms
As one might expect, to build or develop anything tangible, certain technologies or platforms are required. In the context of ecommerce website development, such platforms are known as ecommerce website builders.
There are numerous website builders on the market. However, we have covered the 6 best ecommerce store builders in this blog. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
1. BigCommerce Ecommerce Builder
BigCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. However, while BigCommerce and Shopify both have similar out-of-the-box functionality, BigCommerce’s functionalities and features are more simple and sophisticated.
BigCommerce’s customer service is available 24/7, and they help merchants migrate from other platforms. Using the platform’s multi-channel ecommerce capabilities, merchants can also sell on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
- Personalized site audits and tailored advice from BigCommerce experts
- Community forum for webinars, tutorials, and guides
- 24/7 Global live BigCommerce support
- Seamless path to purchase and advanced marketing tools
2. SquareSpace Ecommerce Builder
Squarespace is excellent for building an ecommerce website. It has the highest quality designs and features in the market, and while it may take some time getting used to, the end results are well worth the effort. This website builder provides 113 templates that are easily adaptable to mobile devices. The builder also has robust customer support and live chat service.
- Stunning templates optimized for desktops, tablets and mobile devices
- Squarespace mobile apps allow you to edit pages and blog posts
- Ability to restore deleted posts and pages for up to 30 days
3. Magento Ecommerce Builder
Magento is a highly adaptable ecommerce platform for growing medium-sized businesses. Magento provides a comprehensive set of advanced ecommerce features, a content management system, and consumer segmentation tools.
Many people consider Magento to be a complex ecommerce platform, but it helps clients by maintaining an active community of Magento developers and professionals eager to help newcomers with the upkeep of their online store.
- Control multiple websites and stores from one administration panel
- Define roles and permissions to control access to administrative features
- Save unpurchased items for the shopper’s next visit
- Easily manage inventory with support for backordered items
4. Volusion Ecommerce Builder
Kevin Sproles founded Volusion in 1999. Volusion offers a completely cloud-based ecommerce platform. The company provides all of the basic functions required to run an online store, as well as some unique features that set them apart from the competition.
Volusion has recently been updated to ‘V2,’ a new operating system that includes some UX (User Experience) enhancements. In addition, it offers a wealth of useful data, analytics tools, and payment methods.
- Responsive Themes
- Rich Content Editor
- Product Display Customization
- Tax Rate Calculator
5. Shopify Ecommerce Builder
Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform that debuted in 2004. It is used by over 2,921,565 merchants from a variety of industries. This platform has variable shipping rates, automatic taxes, over 150 payment channels, a user-friendly and intuitive interface, and dozens of themes.
This product will be most useful to small businesses looking for an all-in-one ecommerce solution.
- Fully customizable website, online store, and blog
- Unlimited bandwidth, product inventory, and customer data
- All popular payment gateways are supported
- Automate your fulfillment process with 3rd party shipping apps
6. WooCommerce Ecommerce Builder
WooCommerce is one of the most popular open-source e-commerce platforms. It includes several themes that are specifically designed to work with WordPress and can assist you in creating a unique online store. In addition, you will receive an infinite number of products, unrestricted personalization, order management, and free shipping, among other benefits.
This plugin will be most useful to small businesses that have a WordPress-powered website.
- Seamless WordPress integration
- Open source development platform
- Extensive theme options
- Smooth integration with your marketing tools
- Built-in blogging feature
These are the top six ecommerce website builders available right now. Choose the best option based on the features and pricing model that best meet your needs.
How To Develop A Ecommerce Website?
Let us now look at how to build an ecommerce website or what the various stages of the ecommerce development process are.
1. Figure Out What You Want To Sell Or Offer
First and foremost, you must decide what you want to offer or sell. Since there are thousands of products available, including cosmetics, clothing, toys, footwear, electronic goods, furniture, and gardening supplies, picking the best product that is right for you is a necessary job.
Make a list of and analyse the products you want to sell. If you have prior experience in a specific industry, selecting those products would be a good choice.
2. Pick the Most Appropriate Ecommerce Model
Once you’ve decided on the products or services you want to offer, it’s time to choose the best ecommerce business model for you. As previously stated, there are four types of ecommerce: business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and consumer-to-business (C2B). Choose the best ecommerce model that matches your requirements and capabilities.
3. Select A Website Builder That Is A Perfect Fit For Your Needs
Now, you’ve arrived at the core of the ecommerce development process. It is now time to choose the website builders. As previously stated, there are various types of website builders available, including Shopify, Magento, Wix, SquareSpace, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, among others. As we have seen, each of these ecommerce website builders has its own set of functionalities and features. Choose the one that can meet your most requirements.
4. Get A Domain Name
The next step in building an ecommerce website is to purchase a domain name. For the uninitiated, a Domain Name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control on the Internet. Too many technical terms, no? In layman’s terms, a domain name is the address of your website that people type into their browser’s URL bar when they visit.
Make sure the domain name you choose is short, contains keywords, is geographically targeted, and does not contain any numbers or hyphens.
5. Put The Tool To The Test
It is now time to put the tool to the test. Yes, preliminary testing is always advised before moving forward with full-fledged testing.
Testing before you begin the actual work has several advantages, including finding out how easy the ecommerce website builder is to customise and whether the theme or templates offered by the builder are appropriate for your business type or not. Furthermore, by using the website builder, you can get ideas about other features as well including navigation systems, and other necessary technical aspects.
6. Purchase the Appropriate Plan
You are nearly halfway through the development of your ecommerce website. Once you’ve finalized and tested your e-commerce site development platforms, it’s time to pick a strategy and begin the development process. The majority of these tools provide a variety of features, functionalities, and pricing models. As the price rises, so do the features. Select a model based on your business type, products, and needs.
7. Examine Competitors as well as Successful Ecommerce sites
After that, examine the competitors and successful ecommerce sites such as Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, and others to examine their website design, functions, and exceptional features, among other technical aspects. This exercise will be extremely beneficial to you. Examine how they have classified the products, what the different categories are, what payment gateways they offer, and what their return and shipping policies are.
8. Choose The Best Template For Your Ecommerce Site
Choose a beautiful website template based on the results and ideas you get from your analysis. Your ecommerce website’s template or theme must be compatible with the products or services you provide. For example, if you only sell gardening supplies, the primary colour of the theme should be green or something related. Similarly, if toys are your primary products, you should have various colours that give your website a kid-friendly appearance.
9. Create A Layout, Design, And Branding Strategy
After you’ve analyzed and gotten ideas from other online stores and selected a theme, you’ll need to plan the website layout, purchase route, product page design, and branding, among other things. Make certain that the design is engaging, and neat & clean. Don’t overdo it with bright colours or distracting layouts. Use as many solid colours as possible. Also, only use the colour set that corresponds to your theme.
10. Add The Products Along With Description & Categories
Now that you’ve completed the design, it’s time to begin adding content. Begin by categorizing your products and providing detailed descriptions for each. The majority of these ecommerce website builders have a simple process for adding products.
Along with the product name, you should include other matching information such as HD photos, price, variants, category, description, application, weight or related parameter, installation procedure (if applicable), and so on. Keep the product name short but descriptive so that the buyer can get a sense of the product just by reading the name.
11. Add Multiple Payment Option For Minimum Cart Abandonment Rate
After that, include as many online payment gateways as possible on your site to ensure that shoppers have the most options and that no shopper has to abandon the cart due to a lack of their preferred payment option. Credit card, COD and UPI are some of the most preferred payment options. If a customer cannot find his preferred payment method, he will most likely never return to your website.
12. Draft & Add Different Policies – Payment, Shipping, Return
The majority of the ecommerce site development tasks have now been completed. However, there are still some important tasks to complete, such as policy drafting. Some of the policies you must carefully design are the shipping policy, the return and replacement policy, and the payment policy. Include every point, section, and subsection to ensure that there are no loopholes in the terms and conditions that may harm your business or reputation.
13. Carry Out SEO
Once everything is in place, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be your next ecommerce website development task. Use unique title tags for each page, include keywords in headings, reference keywords in all URLs, add image alt text, use rich snippets, and perform on-page and technical SEO, among other things, to optimize your ecommerce site.
14. Make The Necessary Changes To The Online Store
You should add as much functionality as possible to your website in order to make it more engaging and user-friendly. For example, add the multi-language option, the different currency option, the different time zone option, the customer service address and contact details, the tax and other charges details and every other required details to make the process transparent.
15. Carry Out A Quality Test
You are now one step closer to launching your ecommerce website. The second and final task you should complete as part of ecommerce site development is to run a quality test. Quality analysis is a critical task that must be completed prior to going live. This practice will assist you in locating flaws, loopholes, and broken links on the website. It will also assist you in analyzing the website’s usability.
16. Go Live!
After you have completed all of the preceding tasks, it is time to publish the website. If you are completely confident in the website’s reliability, you can launch it for all of the states and cities you have decided to serve, else you can launch it in phases.
For example, you can launch it for a specific state or city, then check the stats and monitor performance for a week before launching it for another city if everything goes as planned. Continue in this manner until you have covered every region you intended to cover.
So those are the 16 steps necessary for creating an ecommerce website. Make sure you follow each one in the correct order so you don’t miss anything and everything goes as planned.
In the following section, we will learn about 10 crucial ecommerce website development tips.
10 Proven Ecommerce Website Development Tips
Even though you have created the ecommerce website, there are many more things you must have to remember, such as adding a separate page for each product, adding a search bar, offering multiple payment options, conducting regular analysis, and so on. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 ecommerce website development tips.
1. Create A Separate Page For Each Product
When it comes to ecommerce website development, it is critical to create a separate page for each product or service you provide. Dedicated product pages will not only help with SEO but will also allow customers to access the specific product directly from the search engine without having to navigate through the website.
2. Add A Search Bar
A search bar is an essential feature for any ecommerce site. It allows users to quickly find the desired product among the thousands of similar products available on the website. Make sure that the search bar is in the proper location and is easily accessible. In most cases, search bars are added to both the top and bottom of the page. Also, make certain that the search bar saves the most recent searches.
3. Include A Review Section
Reviews are very important in the purchasing process. Most people will read reviews before making a final decision or placing an order. Positive reviews establish the product’s quality, whereas negative reviews alert customers from purchasing those items. However, you must ensure that competitors do not manipulate each other’s reviews.
4. To The Point & Detail Product Description
Providing a concise and detailed product description is essential because it allows customers to learn more about the products and make an informed purchase. Make certain that the product description is complete and accurate. Include the installation process, warranty period, care guide, and any other product-related necessary information.
5. Include a Wishlist Feature
People do not always have enough money to buy what they want. It is very common for users to add their favourite products to their wishlist and then purchase them at a later date or time. As a result, adding a wishlist feature during ecommerce store development is essential. Also, add a functionality that notify users when items in their wishlist goes out of stock.
6. Incorporate Effective Search Filters
You must include multiple search filters in your ecommerce website, just like a search bar, to ensure that customers can easily find their desired items among the hundreds of items available. However, remember that each product necessitates a unique set of search filters. For example, shoes and mobile phones cannot have the same search filters. As a result, make sure to include product-specific search filters to assist customers in finding the best products for their needs.
7. Offer Multiple Payment Options
As previously stated, providing multiple payment options is a critical aspect of ecommerce website development. The more options there are, the less likely it is that customers will abandon the cart due to an unavailable payment option. Furthermore, if a customer discovers that you do not accept the payment method that he prefers, there is a good chance that he will not return to your online store in the future.
Remember that, credit card, COD (Cash-on-delivery) and UPI are some of the most preferred payment options.
8. Incorporate Product-sharing and Product-comparison Features
People frequently share and seek advice from their friends and family about the products they intend to buy. As a result, it is advised that you include product sharing options so that they can easily share those products via WhatsApp, Instagram, Gmail, or other platforms. This will also enhance your online presence.
Similarly, people used to compare various products in order to select the best one. For example, when you have purchased the latest iPhone or Android smartphone, you must have compared it to phones with a similar budget or features. This is why it is suggested that you include a compare feature as well.
9. Effective Call-to-action (CTA)
The call-to-action (CTA) is an excellent marketing feature that plays an important role in generating sales and encouraging customers to buy. For the uninitiated, a CTA is simply a button that is added to the websites to encourage users to take a specific action. CTA examples include Buy Now, Make a Call, Register Now, Learn More, Add to Cart, and so on. Increase your sales by including as many CTAs as possible.
10. Regular Analysis & Reports
The analysis is a critical component of any ecommerce marketing strategy. After you’ve completed each ecommerce store development phase and made the site user-friendly, it’s time to assess how well you’ve done or how good your website is. For that you can either buy a content management system (CMS) or use a customized software.
Collect and analyse data such as the bounce rate, conversion rate, exit rate, average order value, cart abandonment rate, cancellation rate, new users, return and replacement rate, purchase to return rate, and so on. All of this information will assist you in making necessary changes to the ecommerce site.
So those are the top 10 ecommerce website development tips or best practices. Make sure to get the most out of it in order to make your website a huge success. Also, with this, we come to the end of our How to Create an Ecommerce Website Guide. We are confident that this information will assist you in creating the best ecommerce website for your company.
The Bottom Line: Moving your business to digital space or creating an ecommerce website for your brick & mortar store is a necessity of the hour. However, in order to create the best ecommerce store, you must follow all of the above-mentioned steps as well as all of the tips. Furthermore, make certain that you select the appropriate ecommerce type and website builder that perfectly matches your requirements.