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What an E-commerce Website Is and How to Build One in 2022

If you are thinking about entering the e-commerce business, be aware it's highly competitive. A well-thought-out project strategy in place may help you succeed in a very lucrative niche. This article discusses how to build an e-commerce website from the ground up, plan your project budget and save costs, and equip yourself with a competitive advantage.

Building your e-commerce website
By Katrine Spirina, Content Manager
February 23, 2022

What Ecommerce Website Definition Is?

E-commerce or e-business means marketing and purchasing goods and services over the Internet, which resembles brick-and-mortar stores except for the fact that the process goes online from beginning to end.

A customer finds a product or service on related pages where a relevant description goes in detail along with price tags and CTA buttons like 'Add to cart' or 'Order now' placed near the description. All customers need is to make up their minds, simply click the button, and proceed with paying.

After filling up an order form online, they will have to choose a method to transfer funds, like PayPal, Google Pay, or credit cards, to finish the ordering process.

Partly due to the pandemic restrictions, the e-commerce industry demonstrates staggering growth: in 2021, it was projected to reach $758, and by 2024, estimated to reach over $953 billion. Besides, trends like eco-awareness, recycling, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality are contributing to the rapid growth of this industry.

E-commerce websites, aimed at web and mobile, facilitate online interactions with customers. With a single professionally built website, you can execute all vending operations online, promote your goods and services digitally via email marketing and advertising, find and attract more customers while building up your audience and increasing sales.

Are you interested in how to build a website for e-commerce? Follow this article to learn about the types of e-commerce business websites, customer engagement features, and a platform you can opt for creating your solution.

Types of E-commerce Websites

Before building an e-commerce website from scratch, you should define what website type and functionality best serve your needs. Different types of them match different business goals and audiences.
  • Business-to-Consumer or B2C solutions imply relationships between organizations and consumers of their goods and services, such as fashion marketplaces.
  • Business-to-Business or B2B e-commerce aims at transferring services and goods between organizations, like SaaS solutions or quality assurance services.
  • Consumer-to-Consumer or C2C websites allow consumers to sell and purchase goods or services, often with the help of a third party, like eBay.
  • Consumer-to-Business or C2B relations can be between individuals offering services or goods to organizations. For instance, Shutterstock serves as a mediator between contributors and consumers who need media for their business, ads, websites, and so on.
If you have defined the e-commerce website type you need, let's clarify your next steps in building an e-commerce website.

E-Commerce Marketing ABC for Your Website

Before starting the development of an e-commerce website, make sure you have a thorough understanding of your highly competitive business niche. Without this important step, you risk creating something that won't solve real challenges.

Analyze the market before developing your e-commerce solution. This will give you insights into the audiences and their challenges, and you'll be able to ensure that your solution brings the most value to the table and attracts the right customers.

To conduct your business research, you can surf the web for the most popular e-commerce websites. Look for relevant publications and communities to learn about current trends, existing solutions, and acute issues that you may try to solve to meet the audiences' needs. You may also define your potential clients, their average age, location, income level and identify ways to approach them.

Think about website promotion, which can bring you big profits. If your brand and content are invisible, your consumers won't be able to find you and learn about what you have to offer.

You will need to rank in search engines, and for that purpose, you might use some channels you've discovered during your research. Cooperating with influencers and employing brand ambassadors is one of the best ways to make your marketing content visible and use consumer-generated content for your brand promotion.

When you finish with business and market analysis, you may search for a suitable web and mobile software development company to handle your e-commerce website creation.

Creating E-commerce Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Done is better than perfect. If you wish to succeed in the e-commerce market that has an abundance of solutions for every taste and budget, start with MVP development to test your idea.

Create an MVP in a short time frame and then launch it; the perfecting can be done later. In the early days of your MVP, try to balance reliable performance with a neat design. Your key objective is the feedback by early adopters, which will let you implement necessary changes swiftly and save resources. Present your MVP to the audience, analyze purchasing rate, likes, comments, shares, and other consumer data so you can see how your solution compares against the top e-commerce websites.

The very successful UK-based fashion rental startup The Devout prioritized on time-to-market and focused the developers' attention on this specifically. The development team decided on using the Laravel framework to develop an easy-to-use admin panel and order management system for the client's website. The Devout received a robust MVP without any delays, and during the next six months, the dedicated engineering team continued to improve it.

Top 3 E-commerce Platforms to Consider in 2022

Your online store needs a good basis, like a house needs a solid foundation. By choosing a reliable platform for building your e-commerce website from scratch, you ensure support of the entire construction and further growth of your online store.

Simply put, there are the best e-commerce platforms with proven efficacy to ensure business success in the online retail niche.

Shopify
Shopify is a web app that provides many customizable templates for building an e-commerce website easily. As a website owner, you may change the basic design and choose the layout and features that meet the brand's needs.

Shopify e-commerce website dashboard
Creating an e-commerce website with Shopify requires little to no technical experience. Shopify provides an entire CMS that you can use to manage your e-store's functionality and payment methods and modify your mobile app.

Magento
The most widely used across the world, the Magento open-source e-commerce platform helps create efficient solutions for B2B e-commerce businesses. Among the benefits it offers are advanced CMS, mobile-friendly and responsive to various devices UI, profound SEO optimization features, customizable security authorization options, and many more.

Magento e-commerce website dashboard
Magento supports easy integration with third-party modules and allows handling several e-commerce stores at a time, even if they are in various languages and operate various currencies. Users can opt for a basic free version or an enterprise version for $20,000 per year.

BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a top cloud e-commerce platform famous for the low costs of creating your e-commerce website and adaptable APIs. You get a profound set of tools and features you need to tailor your B2B and B2C solutions as per your needs: customized price lists or catalogs, smooth integration with other e-commerce solutions, real-time shipping statuses, multiple sale channel options, 24/7 support, product review, staff accounts, and so on.

BigCommerce e-commerce website dashboard
BigCommerce has built-in features that might be complicated to interact with and require extra learning time before you begin. Nonetheless, the starting process is easy with the guides and support from the side of BigCommerce.

Choosing Your E-commerce Website's Name and Domain

Your website's name is what makes the first impression on your clients. It will be associated with your brand and offers. The title is the first item your prospective clients will find when looking at search engine results and the first thing they might remember.

Use keywords and unique tags focused on your goods and services as it is vital to your retail business's SEO strategy. Also, tags are highly important for your website's indexing by search engine and will help you rank higher in the results. That will help you make your name more memorable and increase traffic to your website.

A typical cost for the make may amount to $12 of $25 yearly. The final price will depend on the services you offer, the ads you employ, and the scale of your website.

Plan Out E-commerce UI/UX Features

You might wonder how to win the race to acquire new consumers.

Make your website stand out among other e-commerce businesses by implementing features that lure customers. Focus on enhancing user experience and elevating your e-commerce website design.

Here are some inspirational examples for e-commerce website development projects. Review them to get ideas about how to level up your own website.

Ride the Trend Wave

Eco-awareness is a trend that is intensifying. The search query "alternative to single use" grew steadily during 2019-2021. Consumers increasingly focus their attention on long-lasting materials and products that lessen the negative impact of manufacturing on the environment.

For example, how to start an e-commerce clothing site and be all the rage? The Devout employed the concept of eco-consciousness and sustainable consumption. This fashion e-commerce platform allows clients to rent designer or vintage items and later exchange them using a monthly subscription service. The brand's outreach is growing among eco-aware millennials who wish to wear the latest trends without seriously damaging the environment.

Another game-changing factor is multi-channel retail. Depending on the number of channels you use, you may increase e-commerce revenues by 38%, 120%, or even 190%. Promote your product and sell to customers right where they are, be it social media, messengers, and e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. The point here is to be on the same page as your audience.

A Pinch of AI Personalization Changes the Game
E-commerce businesses increasingly employ AI-based features to drive sales. Apart from intelligent targeting, personalized emails, and to-the-point recommendations, they embed smart search options. It allows customers to upload images from Instagram or from anywhere on the web to search for similar items in an e-shop.

AI search by Neiman Marcus
Source: pinterest.ca
Such fashion brands as Boohoo, ASOS, Neiman Marcus, FarFetch empower iOS mobile apps with this excellent feature to attract customers. For example, ASOS estimated that 70% of their traffic and 50% of orders come from mobile device users.

By taking a picture and uploading it to the app, a buyer gets a list of similar products that can be purchased from a brand. Not only are they already interested in buying, this feature also brings the customer experience to a whole new level and makes the search process quick and easy. Boohoo doubled its revenues from 2017 to 2018 and reached $308.6 million thanks to AI-driven marketing.

Integration of Third-Party E-Commerce Augmented Reality Stylists to Delight Customers
The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the use of AR in many fields, and the global AR market is estimated to go from $6.12 billion to $97.76 billion by 2028.

Consumers value their shopping experience above all, and 74% would buy based on the experience an e-commerce platform offers. AR is a powerful technology to provide an unrivaled experience.

E-commerce AR technology offers the opportunity to enjoy shopping similar to what it was like before lockdown. It offers massive support to people who have to stay in isolation. Consumers may find it hard to get used to purchasing online without the help of a human consultant or the option of visiting a fitting room.

Brands like IKEA, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Estée Lauder, Prada Eyewear, and many others embed the "try-before-you-buy" experience, which is fun to use and which raises conversions.

try-before-you-buy by Estée Lauder
Source: esteelauder.com
Embedding AR into an e-commerce platform may help create a 'wow' customer experience. It helps customers make the right choice, be it a new lipstick or a pair of designer sneakers, and buy exactly what they want.

AR try-on for Gucci
Source: medium.com
Since AR is gaining traction due to the technology evolution and the pandemic outbreak, now may be the right time for you to integrate your e-commerce solutions with this emerging technology.

Embed Customer Retention Features
About 70% of sales are sales to current clientele. Chances of brands to sell to new audiences account for only 5% or 20% at best.

The reason behind that is the keen customer interest to spend more on goods and services by familiar brands. They know the quality is up to par, and the seller brand is reliable. To attract new customers, brands might have to invest significant amounts of time and resources.

Customer retention is the absolute priority if you wish to increase revenues and unlock new opportunities for growth.

You need to identify effective customer retention tactics and tools that will work for your brand. Here are several components you may use to strengthen your strategy:
  • Make offers at the checkout, which may help you improve an average order value
  • Implement a subscription pop-up on your platform to capture emails
  • Set up automated email notifications for customers who left before making a purchase
  • Plan awards for ambassadors who might help you increase customer engagement and referral sales
  • Create special offer pop-ups to offer more products
  • Use Facebook targeting opportunities and Google Adwords
  • Develop loyalty programs and bonuses to entice customers to return
  • Create newsletter emails that notify about product updates and special offers
  • Personalize email and offers to make a customer feel your brand cares about their particular needs
In addition, you can plan where cutting-edge technology will come into play. Read on for some great examples of how the best e-commerce platform for clothing uses the power of AI, AR, and predictive analytics.

Conversion-Friendly Shopping Experience
When you have a valuable product idea and your MVP development is underway, you can begin planning the usability features needed for your e-commerce website construction.

Consumers want instant answers and an easy shopping journey. If your product is awkward to use, 53% of U.S adult consumers are likely to leave and go to a competitor's e-store. So, advanced, easy usability may help you gain an edge.

From the case of The Devout, you can see that features such as a user-friendly shopping cart, handy catalog, and private account system are vital to streamlining the shopping experience.

Personalization is also critical: 80% of customers prefer a personalized approach by a brand. This way, they would feel a personal touch. To retain them, you may implement AI-based recommendation logic, a coupon system, and a secure billing solution like Stripe to offer an enhanced user experience.

The back-end and front-end specialists may help you decide on the necessary features and plan methods of implementation. Professional assistance will let you make your dream MVP come true.

Conducting Quality Assurance and Testing

The correct functioning of your entire system and its attractiveness to customers will drastically impact the volume of sales and conversions. So, don't move forward blindly: quality assurance and testing professionals would help you estimate the current status of your e-commerce solutions and suggest value-adding improvements.

They will start with testing a data layer and payment processing systems on your platform. For that reason, professionals will use various tools to test data layers, Pixel tools to validate visuals, location-specific analytics tools to gather and analyze data about user actions on a given platform.

Testing the payment layer is critical to ensure users wouldn't have any troubles while purchasing. To test payment processes on a sandbox layer, QA engineers would need to study lots of documentation you should give them.

Don't forget about the visual appearance of your e-commerce website. Testing UI/UX, engineers will scrutinize layout components, pop-ups, redirection links, cart or bag functioning, legacy design, and much more. They would apply A/B testing to identify the options that would work best for you.

Business managers like Salesforce make it easy for a testing team to work with such entities as sales, promo codes, or shopping items. Engineers will test how all the elements work together and will get a comprehensive view of your platform.

Costs of Building Your E-commerce Website

It comes from the above that the basics for building a custom e-commerce solution are different. Likewise, the total costs will vary depending on the service rates, business scale, staff augmentation or a dedicated team model, key features, and specific client requirements.

Custom solution development costs may also differ depending on the location of outsourcing. An equally skilled developer from an outsourcing destination is likely to charge rates significantly lower than a senior software engineer in the US. Generally, the price for building an e-commerce website starts from $30,000.

Fundamentally, e-commerce website development encompasses costs for UI/UX design that may go up to $4,000 and higher, business analysis costs, starting from $2,000, and $7,000 and more for project management.

Besides, you should consider allocating at least 15% of your project budget to quality assurance to save time and resources and mitigate quality-related risks and consequent customer churn.

The Final Word

To enter a highly competitive e-commerce market, you need to have a thorough business strategy in place, think over platform choice, plan your budget, and find your reliable e-commerce solution development provider.

The latest technology may help you make your platform stand out. Implement AR assistants, use AI-driven recommendations, visual search, and offer bonuses and loyalty programs to grow your brand's popularity among users. Remember that selling to your existing audience is 70% more efficient – so retain your customers.

Testing and QA for your e-commerce website is critical to ensure every UI/UX feature is in the right place and works properly. Software quality assurance is the aspect many companies might skimp on, and that's a mistake. The higher the quality of shopping experience your platform provides, the lower the churn rate and the higher your sales volume will be.