Do you need to design an eCommerce website and you’re not sure where to begin? Perhaps you already have a website and it needs to be optimized? An eCommerce website is basically your 24/7 storefront. Since first impressions are everything, you want to make sure you have an appealing, easy-to-navigate website. In this article, we will discuss building eCommerce websites and explore some of the different eCommerce platforms available. 

Building an eCommerce website is a must-build step for you to start your online business, and must be well thought out and includes many steps. However, once your website is built, selling online is a breeze.

How to Build an eCommerce Website

Choose a Name and Get Your Domain

Choosing a domain name is important to your brand and overall success. Using descriptive keywords in your domain will tell your customers what your business is about. It will also help you rank well in search rankings. It’s best to stick with .com, when possible because it’s the most recognizable extension. However, if .com is taken .net and .co are other recognizable extensions.

Your domain name generally costs $12-$25 a year. Some eCommerce platforms will offer a free domain with your purchase.

Pick Your eCommerce Platform 

There are many eCommerce platforms to choose from. Some eCommerce platforms are free with limited features.

Here are a few popular platforms:

  • BigCommerce
  • Shopify
  • SquareSpace

Later in this article, we will focus more on popular platforms for eCommerce websites in 2022.

Plan and Build Your eCommerce Website

In order to plan and build your eCommerce website you’ll need:

  • Logo and brand imagery 
  • Product photos, descriptions, and data
  • Your story
  • Customer service pages
  • Blog content
  • User-friendly navigation 

Set Up Payment, Tax, Shipping, and Marketing Tools

Setting up these features is dependent upon the platform you decide to use. Some platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, come with built-in payment processing, tax calculations, shipping label printing, and marketing tools. Most others require integrating a few outside services to handle these tasks.

Test and Launch Your eCommerce Website

Lastly, you can process a few test orders. These orders will connect to your payment processor without charging your card. Once you’ve worked out all the bugs, you can officially open your eCommerce site!

eCommerce Platforms

When deciding on an eCommerce platform, you’ll find there are many different options to choose from. Here are some options to consider.

Wix

Wix is best for flexibility and customization. It’s an affordable eCommerce option. Wix is the perfect eCommerce platform if you have a small store or have special design requirements. It’s known for its drag-and-drop features to help create a nice design. Wix also gives you access to 500 website templates and customization features. Wix includes a variety of marketing features:

  • Email accounts 
  • Sell directly via social media
  • Worldwide shipping and taxes
  • Coupons and discounts

SquareSpace

SquareSpace is the best eCommerce platform for creatives. It’s a well-known free website builder with eCommerce packages. SquareSpace gives you artistic freedom and you can install and customize multiple templates at a time until you find the one that suits your needs. Some other features include:

  • Subscriptions, digital products, and in-person compatibility
  • Mobile-optimized checkout
  • Mobile store management
  • Real-time shipping estimates

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is best for medium to large stores. It’s an all-in-one eCommerce website builder for larger stores. BigCommerce has advanced eCommerce features for managing high volumes and a large number of products. This is a perfect option for an established business or if you plan to sell high volumes. Some features include:

  • Customer accounts for faster checkouts
  • Mobile-optimized checkout
  • Coupons and discount codes
  • Advanced inventory management
  • Built-in shipping management
  • Advanced product filters

Shopify

Shopify is the best all-in-one eCommerce platform and powers more than 1 million online stores! It is a more advanced platform because it’s built specifically to host online stores. It’s easy to use and has the right level of flexibility. Some features include:

  • Point of Sale for brick and mortar shops
  • Real-time carrier shipping rates
  • Abandoned checkout recovery
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Advanced inventory management
  • Unlimited products
  • In-depth analytics

WooCommerce

WooComerce is best for WordPress websites. WooCommerce is a lightweight plugin that adds capabilities such as:

  • Accepting online payments
  • Configurable shipping options
  • Product listings to your site

Some features include:

  • Support of subscriptions and deposits
  • Automated tax calculations
  • Real-time shipping rates
  • iOS and Android mobile apps
  • Physical and digital product capability

WooCommerce is a free plugin to download, install, and use forever. The sky’s the limit with WooCommerce, and we have a great guide on how to start with it. However, it’s not the easiest or most intuitive eCommerce platform, unless you’re already using WordPress.

OpenCart 

OpenCart is the best eCommerce platform for selling digital products. It is free but you must have an existing website to use OpenCart.

Some features include:

  • Simple and centralized admin dashboard
  • Manage multiple stores from a single dashboard
  • Discounts and coupons
  • One-click digital downloads

Custom eCommerce Platforms

A custom eCommerce platform is built specifically to meet your business needs and goals. There will be no other website like yours. You can personalize it as much as you want, based on where your company stands now and where it will go in the future.

Things to Consider Before Developing an eCommerce Website 

Research Your Business’ Industry

Before starting the eCommerce website development process, you should thoroughly analyze and research your business’ industry. Delve deep into your customers’ preferences, age, and other factors that will help you develop product categories, descriptions, payment gateway, product images, and other aspects effectively.

Understand the Needs of Your Target Audience

Next, you should prioritize your potential customers and understand their culture, geography, demography, and purchasing inclinations.

Determine Your Branding and Plan a Content Strategy

You should consider your brand. Think about a logo, visual images, your company’s voice, and emotional connotations. Establish a strategy for growth and development.

Keep Your eCommerce Budget

It’s easy to go overboard with your budget, especially at the beginning stages of development. It’s best to be cautious, stay within your budget, and implement strategies to help you do so.

Know Your Competitors

You want your business to stand out above your competitors. In order to do this, you must analyze them and see what’s working for them and what’s not. Pay attention to the technical aspects, such as the hosting tool, domain name, content management system, or other add-ons that they are using.

Outsourcing Your Custom eCommerce Website Development 

There are many ways outsourcing your eCommerce website development could be beneficial for your business.

  • Increase traffic
  • Grow your business
  • Drive performance

There are many eCommerce website platforms to choose from. Hopefully, this gives you a place to start when it comes to choosing a platform and designing an eCommerce website. With the right platform and a well-designed website, you will see your business grow and sales increase.

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