When it comes to creating a website, for any reason, a multitude of factors need to be considered. However, Ecommerce website development poses several unique challenges. while solutions

Eye-catching aesthetics, streamlined navigation and clarity of purpose are important elements in any website that are intended to convey a message from you to anyone who visits the site.

These are certainly still essential in the design of a site created for e-commerce, where it’s likely that potential customers are interacting with you and your business almost exclusively through your website.

Additionally, you must also consider fine-tuning the ease of use, reliability, and user interface options to meet the expectations of modern eCommerce users.

Building an ecommerce site can be an exciting yet daunting task, especially with the wide range of ecommerce platforms and solutions available today. In the UK alone, ecommerce sales are projected to reach £260 billion in 2023, up from £215 billion in 2021, according to IMRG. With the right approach, you can launch a successful online store.

Guide to ecommerce website development featured

That drives revenue and growth for your business. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform in 2023. We’ll compare the leading options, like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce, with the pros and cons of each. You’ll also get tips on designing high-converting stores, managing inventory, driving traffic, and more so you can build a thriving ecommerce site.

The History of Ecommerce Website Development

Online retail business, or eCommerce, is thriving. While it continues to grow more popular each year, the competition for customer loyalty is becoming fierce and increasingly global.

The results of the third annual Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Survey, released in October of 2016, showed that out of all shoppers who make domestic online purchases, 66% of those shoppers have also made purchases through foreign websites.

A surprising 58% of those shoppers reported making “cross border” purchases monthly.

In the seven-year from 2014 to 2021, the total value of e-commerce sales has trebled:

Ecommerce website development stats
The global value of e-commerce is skyrocketing. Image credit: Kinsta.com

While this growth is great news for online sellers, it also means that competition for eCommerce traffic has never been stiffer.

In this guide, we will look closely at some of the elements you must consider implementing to make your eCommerce website stand out and attract customers in an ever-widening marketplace.

Top 10 Essential Skills in Retail Management

Let’s start with the basics. But before we do – we will share some of our YouTube training on retail operations, which covers the basics you should consider before moving to your new eCommerce set-up.

Principles of Retail

Getting Started with Ecommerce Website Development

Two kinds of businesses might want to move into eCommerce. These are existing brick-and-mortar retailers and entrepreneurs who want to start an online business from scratch.

For both groups, several options are available for creating an eCommerce site. These include implementing an eCommerce solution onto an existing website or starting from scratch with a dedicated site.

Of course, there is also a lot to be said about your product offering. However, we’ll begin with the assumption that if you are at the design phase of your eCommerce website development, you have all of your product and branding details worked out.

These will be a driving force for several of the decisions you’ll need to make regarding the look and feel of your website.

5 Steps to Consider When Opening a Retail Business

Ecommerce Website Design: Understand the Basics

Web design isn’t all about showing off how much you can afford to spend on your site. Instead, your goal is to create an experience which users find enjoyable. Ultimately, this is what leads them to make a purchase.

This is referred to as user experience or UX.

When a potential customer visits your website, before they read a word, their first impression will be based primarily on the look and feel. Details like colour palette, logo design, and legible, appropriately themed font combine to create the impression you want to make.

Consistency in this regard is a must.

Every site page must follow the same aesthetic guidelines to make a customer’s experience feel cohesive. Still, don’t go overboard – concise, minimalist designs work well and also make it easier to provide the hassle-free customer experience that shoppers want.

Keep in mind that if a new visitor to your site finds your website unappealing in any regard, they can go directly to the site of a competitor with the click of a button.

eCommerce User Experience Essentials

At this point, eCommerce development begins to overlap with the operational side of your business. That is, many of what online shoppers expect is highly tied up with running an effective and efficient business in the background.

Data collected over the last few years has revealed a lot of useful information that can be used to tailor your eCommerce site to the needs and expectations of your customers. Here are some of the things that online shoppers look for specifically when making a purchase:

Free or low-cost shipping deals,

  1. Reliable, 24-hour customer service contact options,
  2. Clear pricing details and a secure, streamlined payment transaction process,
  3. A choice of delivery options,
  4. A search function that allows them to filter products and find what they want quickly,
  5. Reviews and testimonials from other online customers.

The key here is to ensure that all of these elements are accessible and easily located for users. The number one rule of an eCommerce design is to remove as many obstacles as you can from the purchase process.
When customers cannot locate a key piece of information relating to their purchase decision, this creates an unnecessary pinch point in your sales funnel.

Offer a Variety of Shipping Options on your Ecommerce Website

Shipping options are among the most important parts of any online shipping experience. One of the benefits of eCommerce is the practicality and convenience it offers to consumers. Otherwise, they may as well just head to a physical store.

Your shipping options are also a powerful selling tool.

76% of online shoppers will actually add more items to their cart to meet the qualifications for free shipping on their order. If offering free shipping isn’t beneficial for your business, try offering a wider variety of shipping options and more control over the delivery timing to your customers.

The tricky thing is everyone wants their favourite shipping option, but this actually varies from person to person. For example, some people’s top concern is price, while others are more worried about speed.

It’s also surprisingly common for users to abandon a purchase if they’ve had a bad experience with whichever courier they use.

Guide to ecommerce website development featured image
Providing various shipping options is a surprisingly effective way to boost sales. Image credit: Bench Accounting

66% of shoppers also reported looking up the return policy of a website they are considering purchasing from. Most people are also likelier to repeat purchases from retailers offering simple, free returns.

How to Build Customer Service into your Ecommerce Website

It may seem like a given that consumers expect excellent customer service from any retailer, but online shoppers expect more than one way to get in touch with your business if they need to.

Customers need to trust an online seller. Think about it – if you buy something from a physical store, it’s easy to go back and cause a stir when things go wrong. Consumers lack the same power over eCommerce stores.

In recent years, the rise of dropshipping has led to countless horror stories of dodgy online stores. In extreme cases, an eCommerce site might stay live for a week or so, just long enough to collect a bunch of cash from online orders.

They’ll then shut up the shop without owning any stock, and the customer cannot get their money back.

Online shoppers are highly aware of this risk.

Make your customer service options highly visible on your e-commerce site, and offer as many avenues to reach someone friendly and knowledgeable as possible. You need to cover a variety of demographics’ expectations and levels of digital literacy.

Some shoppers prefer to make a phone call and speak to someone directly, while others prefer contacting through email or live chat.

Be sure you have systems in place to keep track of the customer service-related interactions that you have with individual shoppers. This allows your customer service representatives to have the same details regardless of the method by which they were contacted.

Ensure High Navigability on your Ecommerce Website

While minimising clutter in your design is a necessity, it’s also important for your customers to have the information they might need on a given page at a glance.

Additionally, it should be easy for users to find relevant pages on your site. Generally, each page should be accessible from any other page in 1-2 clicks.

Creating a navigable eCommerce site creates a couple of extra challenges. For one thing, customers are likely to move back and forth between different products while they’re trying to make a decision about which to buy. Customers may also want to review the items they’ve placed in their baskets.

This requires utilising drop-down menus for navigation or allowing customers to view the number of items and the current total of what they have in their cart from any page. Ensure that any potential extra costs related to shipping or delivery are outlined clearly.

Product pages should consist of a high-quality image of the item, personalization options, a brief description, price and the availability status of that product. If applicable, list or link to product reviews from other customers, as well as related items.

Reading other reviews can increase the likelihood that a browsing shopper chooses to buy.

Create a Mobile and Cross-Channel Ecommerce Experience

Mobile shopping has grown tremendously in recent years, with consumers purchasing from their smartphones or tablets. Shoppers utilising mobile devices do so because of discounts or special deals which are available through mobile sources.

47% of surveyed consumers also prefer the “round-the-clock” shopping that’s possible through online shopping rather than being restricted to the schedule of a brick-and-mortar location.

Many online shoppers also look for some kind of social media presence, particularly Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, from online outlets that offer unique deals to followers. This is also an excellent way to target repeat customers. The following are some of our most popular articles on eCommerce Websites and business set-ups that we believe you will find useful:

  1. If you are a start-up – you should consider start-up support to help you avoid some mistakes in setting up and running your business.
  2. Add an Online Store to Your WIX Site
  3. Choosing the right WIX Premium Plan
  4. What is HTML and CSS?
  5. What to consider when creating a successful B2B website
  6. What is a Market Penetration Strategy?
  7. Explore the Best Media Buying Software and Tools
  8. What is a Competitive Environment Analysis?
  9. How to Start an Ecommerce Business?
  10. Top 4 Best Wix Apps for eCommerce

More Tips For Your Ecommerce Website Development

Focus on Increasing Average Lifetime Value

Customers who have made a previous purchase on your e-commerce site will spend over twice as much time on a repeat site visit than new visitors. Naturally, this makes them more likely to make a purchase as well.

As such, the best way to grow your eCommerce business is to focus on your customers’ average lifetime value (ATV). Essentially, this is the average user’s total amount from their first purchase to their last.

This can be improved by improving your customer retention rate so your users stay loyal to your business for longer. Alternatively, you can maintain your retention rate and increase the average order value of your customers through upselling.

Offering sales and special incentives to customers who have purchased with you in the past makes them more likely to return. They’re also more likely to mention their positive experience with your website to other people.

There are several ways to do this.

One is to offer unique discounts which reward customer loyalty. You can also create a referral marketing program to reward customers who recommend your products to a friend or relative.

Ecommerce Website Platforms:

While solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce make launching an online store quick and easy, they may not offer all the advanced functionality enterprises need. Platforms like Magento hosting solutions, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud provide robust scalability, customization, and built-in B2B ecommerce features for large or complex sites. Consider the long-term goals and expansion plans for your business. Read our detailed comparison of Magento vs Shopify for small businesses vs enterprises.

Ecommerce Website Payment Gateways:

Don’t just use the payment gateway that integrates with your chosen ecommerce platform by default. Thoroughly research options like Stripe, PayPal, Square, PaymentCloud, and Amazon Pay to see which offers the best rates, fraud protection, and flexibility. For example, Stripe is ideal for global businesses as it allows you to accept payments from over 135+ currencies. Additionally, when implementing payment solutions for your WooCommerce store, consider optimizing your revenue streams with features like WooCommerce dynamic pricing & discounts. This strategic approach can enhance your sales strategy by tailoring pricing strategies to customer behavior and market trends. Check out our 2023 guide comparing payment gateways in the UK for ecommerce stores.

Ecommerce Website Design:

Professionally designed websites have a major impact on conversion rates. Consider investing in a custom site design tailored specifically to your brand and products. Utilise high-quality product images, minimalist layouts, and clear calls to action. Optimise your site for mobile shopping, as 51% of UK ecommerce transactions happen on smartphones. Learn how to create trust and encourage sales through effective web design.

Ecommerce Website Marketing & Driving Traffic:

Once your online store is up and running, the real work begins – driving qualified traffic to your site. Create targeted PPC and social media campaigns. Produce blog content around your products for SEO. Partner with relevant influencers and brands to expand your reach. Send personalised email campaigns to re-engage customers. Download our free ecommerce marketing strategy guide for a detailed plan.

Ecommerce Website Development
Video Thumbnail: What is an E-commerce Website Project? | Guide to E-commerce | eCommerce | How to Build a Website

Ecommerce Website Development: Final Thoughts

With the endless variety of online options, it can take some time to build your customer base, but don’t be discouraged. There is indeed a lot of competition out there. However, most eCommerce businesses aren’t in it for the long haul.

By considering a long-term investment, you’d be surprised how quickly you can rise above the fray. A big part of this is investing in quality eCommerce website development. You’ll probably receive the best ROI by engaging a design company.

When you try to understand and provide the kind of reliable, informative and streamlined experience that today’s savvy online shoppers have come to expect, you can ensure that your eCommerce website will be successful and see sustained growth.

Ecommerce Website Development: FAQ section:

Q: What is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses?

A: Shopify and WooCommerce are two great options for small businesses starting. They are easy to use, have low monthly costs, and offer many themes and integrations.

Q: What features should I look for in an ecommerce platform?

A: Key features include intuitive store management, SEO optimisation, secure payment processing, promotions/discounts, inventory management, shipping and fulfilment integrations. Make sure to factor in scalability, too.

Q: How much does it cost to build an online store?

A: The cost ranges widely, but plan for an average budget of £5,000-£15,000 for a custom ecommerce site, including the platform, design, development and launch. Ongoing costs include web hosting, domain registration and subscriptions for ecommerce platforms or software.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *