10 Simple Steps to Process Your Custom eCommerce Web Development
Online shopping is booming more than ever. It is estimated that by 2040, 95% of purchases would be made through the Internet. This makes setting up an eCommerce website and starts selling a lucrative idea for aspiring entrepreneurs. Especially when technological advances have made it practically possible for anyone to establish an online presence. Should you wish to have your custom eCommerce web development in place, keep these 10 steps in mind to get started off on the right foot.
1. Do your homework
Always start with a background check before attempting any business. Figure out the market’s pain points. Then think about what products you can offer to ease these pains. Moreover, good understandings of target customers and competitors can actually leverage your business. Such knowledge informs you of any potential opportunities as well as possible challenges along your journey, allowing a prepared and seamless execution phase.
A well thought out business plan provides a solid basis for your custom eCommerce web development. It puts the website into the right context with precise goals and objectives. If you have trouble listing out all the essential factors for your business, consider taking a look at the Business Model Canvas to assume a better idea.
Key areas to address in a Business Model Canvas
2. Secure a domain name
Once you have got the foundation for your business, the next step would be to acquire an exclusive domain name before proceeding with the actual custom eCommerce web development process.
This is one essential step, since your eCommerce website cannot exist without a domain name. Moreover, while changing domain name later on is possible, it is still a pretty long and tedious process. Therefore, put some serious thoughts into this decision.
Make sure the domain name of your choice is available. There cannot be two same domain names at the same time. You should list out all the alternatives of the name to choose from, in case unexpected things turn up.
Be careful when adding country-specific extensions like .uk, .jp, .au also. When these extensions are included in your domain name, Google will target your eCommerce site to people from that region only, making it a challenge for you to reach the global customer base.
One last tip, keep your domain name short and simple. People are impatient, especially in this fast-pace era. Never make them stop and rack their heads just to figure out how to pronounce and type your name, oftentimes they would just walk away without a second thought.
3. Choose a hosting service provider
The next decision to make is the place to host your website.
Imagine websites as a stack of books. If the books are kept in your home, most likely you are the only one that knows of them. When they are placed in a library, however, anyone can read. A hosting server is similar to that library. If your website is not stored on a server (in other words, hosted), no one can access them. What use of paying for a custom eCommerce web development if there are no visitors?
It should also be noted that your choice of web hosting service provider will influence the performance of your website greatly. The capacity of the hosting servers plays a role in determining the website’s loading speed, security and scalability. A careless hosting decision can therefore mess up your website a whole lot.
Due to the aforementioned reasons, hosting is critically essential. For new starters, you would want to grab a reputable custom software development company to assist you through the decision-making process.
4. Define an custom eCommerce web development solution
Now comes the question of what tool to utilize in your custom eCommerce web development: hosted or self-hosted.
Hosted eCommerce platforms provide standardized options. These platforms are like the one-stop-shop for coding an eCommerce website. Pay a fixed fee every month and you can have access to all the basic options on an eCommerce site, the service providers will take care of all your technical integration needs. However, the functions you can utilize are standardized for mass audiences, and little customization is involved. Nevertheless, it is still a good choice for start-ups with limited budget. Shopify, BigCommerce and Volusion are some of the most popular platforms of this type.
Examples of Hosted (left) and Self-hosted (right) eCommerce platforms
Self-hosted eCommerce platforms, on the other hand, grant you total control and freedom in your website customization. You can have a completely unique website for your eCommerce business. The capability to expand your website in the future is also enormous. The downside is that you would have to take care of hosting services on your own. Plus, customization requires a high level of technical expertise. As such, in the case that you cannot configure the website yourself, you will find yourself spending quite a sum of money to recruit the right people for custom eCommerce web development. Some of the most popular self-hosted eCommerce platforms are Magento, OpenCart and WooCommerce.
5. Prepare content for the website
Content is one vital component on your eCommerce website. After all, people are buying from you. For them to make that decision, you must convince them that the products you have on sale are beneficial for their problems. Persuasive descriptions are what will help you achieve that goal.
The most basic information that you should include on your website is as follows:
Contact: comprehensive details on contacting methods (valid phone number; office address, business email) promotes the authenticity of your eCommerce website.
About us: This is the section where you can, and should, communicate the reasons for your business existence as well as your vision for the future. An inspiring and compelling story can effectively nurture and convert your leads.
- Name: Some people enjoy being creative with names. However, make sure that these names can get across to your customers. Otherwise, your creativity would go to waste.
- Description: Keep it succinct and informative. A well-crafted description provides enough specifications without confusing customers with sophisticated terms.
- Image: Provide pictures at high-resolution from different angles for better visualization of the quality.
- Review: A review section in place is not a must, yet it would contribute a lot in facilitating the purchasing journey.
6. Add a shopping cart
Unlike normal websites, eCommerce websites require specific features to facilitate business transactions. Shopping carts are one of these features. The e-carts have the functions of storing the product data, managing the customers’ order information, as well as handling tax and shipping calculations.
Shopping cart is the must-have feature for eCommerce websites
OpenCart, Zen Cart and OsCommerce are some of the shopping cart services providers that you can leverage during your custom eCommerce web development.
7. Set up a payment method
Think about how your customers will pay for the products/services. Are they going to pay in cash upon delivery? Or would the payment be made online by cards or e-wallets instead? If it was the latter case, then payment gateway would definitely be indispensable on your eCommerce website.
Generally, there are two types of payment gateways: hosted and integrated. Each has its own merits, in terms of convenience and security.
Hosted payment gateway is separated from your eCommerce website. When the customers check out, they will be directed to another site (i.e. the payment processor’s website) to proceed with the transaction. You won’t have any technical worries when implementing this type of payment gateway. The payment host will handle everything, from integration to security protection for you. Nevertheless, you risk losing customers upon the transit from site to site.
On the other hand, an integrated payment gateway is embedded within your eCommerce site. Thus, it enables customers to pay directly in your e-store, making it more convenient and enhancing conversion rate. However, you will have to set up the security layer for payment yourself. Plus, technical know-how in eCommerce web development is required to ensure a seamless customization and integration.
Your choice of payment gateway shall be dependent on several factors, namely business needs, setup fees, feasibility of backend integration, etc. If you are just starting out, it is recommended to opt for hosted services, at least until you have a better grasp of payment execution on eCommerce sites.
8. Secure your website
Security is extremely important for online business transactions. You wouldn’t want to get into trouble due to personal information leaks of your clients.
Thus, getting a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate when developing an eCommerce site is a must. This certificate validates your business’s identity. It shows that there is an actual person behind that kept the business running. SSL certificate is also a determining factor in Google’s algorithm on website ranking. Thus, having it installed can greatly improve your eCommerce site performance.
Not only that, it adds a layer of protection over information sent into your site, further enhancing your customers’ confidence and your business, and positively influencing your conversion rate. In fact, half of customers abandon their shopping cart for fear of identity theft online, according to a recent survey by GSMA.
Start building up the barriers of protection for your eCommerce website with our Cyber Security services!
9. Launch & market your eCommerce website
The completion of your eCommerce web development is not yet the end. On the contrary, a well-functioning website is actually just the first few steps on your long journey.
The next course of action after launching is to execute Marketing activities for your site. Get the word out there, attract people onto your website and start selling.
Some of the Marketing tactics that you should give a try on your website is as follows:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy for your content: A good strategy improves your ranking on Google Search Page Result. Higher ranking rewards you with a huge volume of organic and warm traffic, who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Executed well, and you literally pay next-to-nothing for Marketing.
Leveraging Paid Advertising: Paid ads is a good way to gain the first few and instant customers. An ample paid ads budget combined with a good content strategy enhance your conversion rate. Always keep your budget under check, however. You can easily overspend with just a slip of notice.
Newsletters subscription: notify customers of your new products, vouchers and sale-off campaigns with the help of emails. Email remarketing is also a great way to remind customers of their wish lists and encourage them to make the final decision. Remember to pay attention to your frequency of emails send out. Excessive and irrelevant contents may be marked as spam and reduce the conversion rate.
Mastering the act of putting your eCommerce website on the map of the Internet with our Digital Marketing Services today!
10. Monitor & perform maintenance
Constant monitoring and frequent maintenance are key to keep the performance of your eCommerce business on the right track. These practices allow you to discover bottlenecks in a purchasing journey and address them as soon as possible. A bug-free website also keeps your customers happy, and happy customers reward you with more money!
Hence, it is suggested that you enable tracking on your eCommerce website. These are several metrics that you should pay attention to often.
- Traffic sources (search engines; social media; paid ads; returning users; referral channels;…)
- Monthly traffic volume
- Average time on individual pages & time spent on website per session
- Sales volume per product/category
- Average order value
- Shopping cart abandonment rate
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
If you find yourself in the situation of lagging behind in those metrics when compared to the market standards, consider reassessing the web performance and address possible problems as soon as possible to ensure the optimal return for your business.
Technology development has come a long way in simplifying transactions through the Internet. However, behind such convenience is a network of decision-making being involved. We believe that our comprehensive steps of processing custom eCommerce web development shall assist you greatly in your web design journey.
Explore more: 10+ Tips You Must Take for Successful eCommerce Web Development
For over 7 years, fram^ has been making a name for itself as a reputable and trustworthy custom software development company, especially in eCommerce development services. We cater to your every need in operating business online, from consultancy, website building to post-deployment maintenance and support. Write your eCommerce success story with us today!