eCommerce is poised to become a major sector in the global retail market. Statistics say that by 2040 95% of all the purchases will be made through eCommerce. The growth of the eCommerce sector has been so impacting that even established businesses have started an eCommerce store as a complementary effort.
Though there is a specific way of creating an eCommerce website and a professional association with an website development company is always solicited for such efforts, it has become easier than ever to set up your eCommerce store with just a few clicks.
For those of you who have never tried creating a website, it can seem like a daunting task. But, it’s not rocket science. In this guide, we zero in on how to build an eCommerce website in 9 simple steps, without any special technical skills or experience.
THE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BUILDING AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE
1. Start With A Deep Research
The first step in an eCommerce website development process is to conduct in-depth research and gain a thorough understanding of your niche. Conduct a market analysis to know your competitors, their strategies, and other loopholes of the market. You need to ask yourself a few important questions like
- Who is your target audience?
- What is their preference?
- What are you going to offer to them?
- What is your set business target?
The answers to these questions are going to assist you in finalizing the main features of your eCommerce website and making the website as per your target customers’ tastes. It will also leave your competitors behind and give them neck to neck competition.
2. Choose a Business Model
As an eCommerce business owner, you need to size up your requirement before starting the development process. The more precise your requirements are, the better the end product you get. You can either have a full-fledged eCommerce website or create a marketplace to let others sell their products on your site. Though there are various business models, we’ve explained below the three most common categories of business models
Business to consumer (B2C)
If your product is desired to meet the needs of end-consumers, then you need to choose this model. Example – Amazon
Business to business (B2B)
If you wanted to sell-off your products to other businesses, the B2B business model should be your choice. Example – IndiaMart
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
If you wanted to create a platform for a private individual to enable trading with other individuals, you need to choose a C2C business model. Example – eBay
3. Purchase a Domain Name and Choose a Hosting Provider
Once you have decided on your business model, the next step would be to choose a domain name. A domain name is the part of the URL that has the name of your business. Example flipkart . It forms the identity of your business, making it easy for online buyers to recognize you. It is crucial to have a domain name that is relevant to your products and easy to remember.
Here are some tricks and tips on how to choose an appropriate domain name for your eCommerce website.
- Make it succinct
- Be unique
- Avoid using brand names
- Add a keyword
- Pick a correct country code
Once you complete the purchase of your domain, you will also need a hosting provider to host your website on the internet. There are various types of hosting, such as Shared hosting, Dedicated hosting, Cloud hosting, etc. To start with, you can either choose dedicated or shared hosting. With shared hosting, your website shares a server where a lot of other websites are hosted. It is cheaper but gives you less control over your website. Whereas a dedicated server is where an entire server is provided exclusively for your website. You can choose your hosting provider based on your budget.
4. Pick The Right Platform For Your eCommerce Website
Your eCommerce websites’ success or failure is greatly influenced by the platform you choose. An eCommerce platform should be chosen based on the complexity and size of your online store.
The good news is, there are various eCommerce platforms available like WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, etc. The bad news is, it can be hard to choose the right fit for you.
Do not fret, we make it easy for you to choose the best CMS for your website. Look out for these key features in your eCommerce platforms
- Highly Responsive Design
- Simple Product Management
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Customizable Shopping Cart
- Seamless Checkout
- Accepts all Forms of Payment Like Credit Cards, Electronic Payments, and Other Payment Gateways
5. Create a Responsive Website Design
The next phase of your eCommerce website development is creating a visually-appealing, user-friendly, and highly responsive website design to take steps further towards owning a successful eCommerce website.
While the designing process of an e-commerce website is not entirely different from the process for any other kind of site. There are a few additional things to consider in designing an eCommerce website, which is mentioned below.
- Ensure that your website is mobile-optimized with scalable content, images, elements & buttons
- Have a consistent design for all of your e-commerce website pages with clear branding elements
- Group products and use the drop-down menu to ease access to product categories and sub-categories
- Integrate search and filters to condense the search results
- Display your product with high-quality images
- Use a brief product description with all the necessary details
If you lack technical knowledge, you can either choose a drag and drop website builder like Wix or hire a company offering eCommerce website development services to help you in the designing process.
6. Set Up Your eCommerce Site
The next step is to add a few elements to your site that will allow you to sell products online.
i. Create Effective Product Pages
Once you have customized your design, it is time to add product pages. Every product you add must have the following details to lure the customers
- Product name
- Brief Description
- Product delivery fee
- Product images
You can add physical products or virtual products (eBook downloads) to your eCommerce website.
ii. Integrate An Online Payment Gateway
Your eCommerce website will be incomplete with a payment gateway. You need to set up your accepted payment methods to convert your consumer into a buyer. You need to include all the convenient payment options like net banking, payment wallets, and credit or debit card payments. You can also provide cash on delivery option. The two most popular payment options are
Credit card – This payment option gets integrated with your store cart, and your buyers do not have to leave the site to make the payment.
Payment gateway – This option integrates all your payment options into one and processes your card payments. Example – PayPal
Different payment options come bundled with varying processing fees. Figure out their charges before you make your final decision.
iii. Select Your Shipping Partner
The next step is to set up the shipping settings to deliver the product to your buyers. Draft your shipping rules, determine the locations you cover, select your shipping partner, and calculate your shipping charges. Various reputed logistics service providers could ship your product at the lowest shipping charges available. So, be wise in choosing your shipping partner for a perfect delivery, which could enhance the trust among your buyers.
8. Look Out For Additional Settings
Your online store needs to run seamlessly, and this needs proper settings. You can do this by filling out your preferences for each of the following in the store setting section of the tool.
- Language – Allow the customers to select the language of their choice
- Search Bar – Offer advanced search and filtering option
- Time Zone – Set the time zone to help the customers track their orders
- Contact Us page – Provide a contact number and an email address
- Shopping Cart – Let visitors that add items to a shopping cart
- Include Wish List – This will enhance your future sales
- Include Reviews – Include product reviews to help customers in their decision-making process
- Return and Exchange Policy – Declare a clear return and exchange policy along with a FAQ page
- Social Media – Connect your social media accounts with your eCommerce website by displaying icons
- SSL Certificate – Secure your buyers’ personal information and payment transactions with an SSL certificate
- Have a Thank You Page – Have a thank you page to confirm payment completion
9. Test and Launch Your Site
If you have completed all the above steps, Voila! You are ready to launch your eCommerce website. However, it is crucial to test your site before launching it. Test all components and features to ensure launching an efficient, flawless online store. Your testing should include the following
- Broken Links
- Checkout Process
- Security Level
- The functionality of tracking codes and coupons
Once you have tested the above and find zero errors, you can make your eCommerce website available and accessible to potential customers to buy the products.
Building Your eCommerce Website Made Easy
Creating an eCommerce website does not have to be a complicated one. I hope this detailed guide has helped you have a better understanding of how to build your eCommerce website from the ground up like a PRO. All it takes is dedication, time, effort, and a little bit of startup capital to get started. Take your first step on the path to successful entrepreneurship with this guide.