How to build a successful e-commerce website: Tips and Best Practices
So e-commerce. We’ve all heard the term, and everyone seems to think it’s oh so complicated, but just like your last relation… okay, let’s not go there but you get my point. It isn’t complicated at all. It’s basically just a fancy-sounding word being thrown around made to seem like not everyone can do it but that cannot be further from the truth, and in this blog, I’m going to walk you through the basics of building an e-commerce website.
Firstly, let’s start with what e-commerce means. It is defined as the process of listing products and carrying out transactions on an online platform. For example, eBay, Amazon and even those monthly subscriptions to your less-than-PG streaming website. Yep, that’s e-commerce too.
So, let’s dive into the different types of e-commerce platforms. There are three main platforms to choose from which vary according to what exactly your business needs. There’s no wrong way to go here, just a case of preference.
1. Open source
Open source platforms offer their source code to anyone and everyone that may want to use it. It’s free to get and is extremely customizable. The one catch though is that you would need advanced coding to use it. Another concern with open source code are security breaches, which could be absolutely catastrophic.
2. SaaS platform
SaaS means Software As A Service. These platform are usually very easy to use and are extremely secure. Handling secure processes like checkouts, payments and such are an absolute breeze with SaaS platforms. The catch though, is that is it quite expensive. SaaS platforms have a monthly subscription fee, transaction fees and so on.
3. Headless commerce
Headless commerce enables customer-facing changes to be made quickly and gives businesses plenty of creative control. It also lets companies get to market faster, with a lower total cost, and businesses get increased control over their store while outsourcing security and PCI compliance.
So now that we’ve explored the definitions and the types of platforms, it’s time to move on to hosting.
There are two main e-commerce website hosting types.
We all know what cloud means. Cloud connectivity are associated with headless platforms and SaaS platforms. It basically refers to the e-commerce site’s data being hosted off-site. This helps keep the site secure. Open source platforms could technically adopt this as well, but constant security patches would need to be done to make sure it is secure.
On-premise hosting refers to e-commerce sites that are hosted on servers owned by the business and is usually found with open source solutions. The company needs to have space for the server, handle the installation, and hire people to look after it to ensure that the site stays up and secure. This usually is more feasible for large corporations.
Here are the essential steps you need to take to build an amazing e-commerce website:
Select your perfect platform
As we discussed before, the platform is everything, be it open-source or SaaS, you need to make sure you pick the correct platform for your business.
Purchase a domain name
This is basically a no-brainer, but you need to pick a great, catchy name for your website and then make sure it is unique enough for SEO performance whilst still sticking to the theme of what you’re selling. Then, check for website name availability and voila, you’re ready to start building.
Pick the right developer
This is the most vital step in this process. Why? Because whoever you entrust the task of building your e-commerce website is solely responsible for how successful your e-commerce site will perform. The code needs to be sound and not easily breached.
Finalize your UI / UX
If you want to know what UI / UX is, click here. For those of you who know, user interface and experience will define how your audience feels when scrolling through your website. This will either make or break their loyalty in terms of whether or not they want to revisit your website in the future. This is almost as vital as the development.
Add your products
Now it’s time to add the products that you want to showcase on your website. Your images and videos need to be clear and extremely attractive.
Setting up payment gateways
Your payment partners will define who buys what and where. It is important to incorporate every possible payment method because that opens your website up to basically everyone that visits it. Whether they want to pay with their Visa card or Bitcoin, your website should be able to support all payment platforms.
Testing, testing and testing
Rigorous testing is required, as is the case with every single product. This will help fine-tune your e-commerce website and fix all bugs prior to going live. Less bugs means better efficiency and that will translate to more return customers.
In conclusion, building an e-commerce website can be done through many platforms, but you need to get the basics right. Elements such as domain names, payment portals and UI / UX will define the success of your e-commerce website, but if that is all done the right way, you will see amazing results.
(1) How To Build An eCommerce Website (2023 Guide) – Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/how-build-ecommerce-website/
(2) How to Build an E-Commerce Website: Your 2023 Guide. https://www.coursera.org/articles/ecommerce-website
(3) How To Build A Successful E-Commerce Website – TechSling Weblog. https://www.techsling.com/how-to-build-a-successful-e-commerce-website/
(4) How to Build a Successful Ecommerce Website: A 10-Step Process. https://enventyspartners.com/blog/how-to-build-successful-ecommerce-website-10-step-process/
(5) How to Build an Ecommerce Website: Step-By-Step Guide. https://www.ecommerceceo.com/how-to-build-an-ecommerce-website/