E-commerce is the rising trend year after year that’s only seeing an upward trajectory. 2.14 billion global digital buyers are the expected number in 2021 (source: oberlo.com). Furthermore, by 2023, eCommerce purchases are set to rise from 14.1% to 22% (source: ecommerceguide.com). It is now seen as a lucrative and promising market for developers.  The development is a different ballgame from a strategic and business viewpoint. This is because an e-commerce website involves extensive planning, supply chain management, and fundraising.

The focus of this article will be on the foundational development-related aspects. It will shine some light on the simple yet basic steps of e-commerce development. It will help you lay a good and strong foundation for any complex tasks in the future.

 Decide your products & figure out your eCommerce model.

Ask questions like:

What are you going to sell? A product or service? What are the supply chain components and distribution methods?

A business model which sells the products to the consumer in a marketplace is a B2C business model. Examples of this are Amazon, Alibaba, or MakeMyTrip. In a B2B, model businesses sell to other companies and will determine your target audience based on these decisions. 

Choose a name and register a domain.

Your eCommerce website name should be catchy, recognizable, and memorable, but it doesn’t need to be too long, abstract, or complex. Buy a custom domain (SSL) name for your website. It is typical for there to be a yearly subscription for it.

 Choose the right website builder.

It’s crucial to select the right website builder for development.

  • Wix – generally used for all kinds of online stores
  • Shopify – great for beginners
  • SquareSpace – for creative, artistic online stores and photography
  • Weebly – suitable for small stores, start-ups
  • BigCommerce – for quick scaling up at affordable rates.

Get the right tools for advanced analytics.

These tools mentioned above should come with in-built tools for analysis. Examples of this could be revenue analysis, site visits, and understanding traffic trends. Some advanced tools you should explore are Kissmetrics, Google Analytics, HotJar, Woopra, Piwik. You will find it easier to improve the algorithms and development when you have real-time data and insights.

You can measure the impact of live chats, marketing campaigns, email, social media campaigns, and other variety of sources. This will help improve your sales due to actionable insights and reports. They can identify each area that is not performing and the underlying correlation.

Include responsive design & other UI trends for more traction

E-commerce websites need to be not only resized for different screen sizes. Instead, it’s imperative to focus on the latest trends in responsive design and use them in a uniform fashion cross-platform. Such as multi-directional layouts, animations for page transitions, 3D modeling, AR/VR powered displays, super-fast loading speeds, and other relevant additions. This makes the website even more appealing and generates positive reviews among visitors and shoppers.

Payment integration with security measures

Integrate payment gateways for direct payment in-app, like PayPal, Apple, and Google Pay. Or even payment on delivery, credit/debit, NetBanking, mobile banking, and digital wallets. Blockchain technology is universally accepted as the future of digital payments. There’s no way around an all modes inclusive payment integration approach if you want your e-commerce site to be a success. Testing and security protocols such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) accreditation, firewalls, antivirus and malware software, multi-layer authentication solutions like two-factor authentication, Content Delivery Network (CDN) against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, upgrading to HTTPS for updated security, securing servers and admin panels, get the highest Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates, fail-proof backup and recovery plan with security plug-ins.

 Have a content/marketing strategy

You have to know your audience profile and demographics. Use the best features of your website, and incorporate a branding strategy in your marketing plan. These include traditional marketing like email campaigns and social media and integrated marketing strategies.

Other content strategies are memes, blog posts, listicles, SEO optimization, Google AdWords, remarketing, and digital ads to get brand recognition and increase traffic. This while also generating new sales and repeat customers.

 Focus on product description and pictures

When developing an e-commerce website, you must create a welcoming and appealing experience for the customer. This includes stunning, high-resolution images, 360° product views, AR/VR/MR integration whenever required, clean and precise product description, catchy headlines, non-intrusive and easy to navigate subsets of information. Ethical standards of graphical design are also important so that the customer has a delightful experience without any unnecessary gimmicky distractions.

Include measures that reduce cart abandonment. For instance, easy coupon redemption, fewer steps to checkout, auto-fill options, quick loading speeds, visible review options, and easy to edit tabs. These measures will aid in cutting the loss caused due to shopping cart abandonment. Also, you can embed an automated push notification in the app during the development stage.

Invest in search engine optimization

SEO strategies will help you get high in ranking and are vital for discoverability. Some best practices include basing site architecture on keyword research, technical SEO to ease the crawlers used by search engines, keyword optimization in meta tags, and building links to increase traffic flow and mobile optimization. To get ahead in rankings, make sure the webmaster is implementing structured data on these pages where users search like Google, Facebook, etc.

Consider peripheral measures

Designers and developers can sometimes be so consumed and have a narrow focus on particular programming tasks. Because of this, they may miss small but significant measures. But from a project leader or founder’s perspective, other strategy-based factors should come into play, no matter how small or big. Such as buying a premium web hosting service, embedding automated escalation measures in chatbots, ensuring code value proposition placement, and writing it with a strategy, displaying customer ratings and reviews in a prominent fashion, upsell, resell, and navigational features. It will show a significant reduction in the checkout time.

These are the basic building blocks of creating a sustainable e-commerce website or app. But, research for each stage must be thorough. Also, having appropriate crisis control and risk assessment policies in the business/development plan.