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7 Important Steps in an Ecommerce Website Development Project

The ecommerce industry is ushering in an era of unparalleled growth, especially post-pandemic. As per this market report from Oberlo, ecommerce growth is projected to reach 9.4% globally in 2024, propelling sales to $6.3 trillion. In the wake of this remarkable growth, businesses, regardless of size, are undertaking ambitious ecommerce website development projects.

In fact, as per the market data, ecommerce sales will soon outpace retail sales, recording 4.5% more sales than retail sales between from 2023 andto 2027.

Is this an indication of better preferences for online shopping among global consumers & brands? Yes!

Remarkably, this transformative shift towards e-shopping is not limited to large enterprises. Micro and Small scale retailers are also investing in innovative ecommerce website projects to achieve enhanced market reach, ease of scalability, and streamlined access to suppliers.

Essence of Ecommerce Website Development Projects

But running a successful ecommerce business isn’t just about having a great idea and being at the right place at the right time.

Yes, those things matter too, but without hard and focused work, and a thorough business plan, it’s hard to get the business off the ground.

Ecommerce is a highly competitive and dynamic field where market trends, user-buying preferences, and technology change – constantly and rapidly!
In such a scenario, being agile, especially with your ecommerce website project, is crucial. Being agile can help you adapt rapidly to these changes, ensuring your website stays competitive and is aligned with the latest industry standards.

Advantages of Being Agile in Ecommerce Website Development Process

So what other value-adds can you experience as an ecommerce business owner with agile web development? Let’s check out:

Faster Time to Market

Agile methodologies prioritize delivering functional increments in short cycles.

This means you can incorporate new features or updates faster, reducing the time to market of your ecommerce website project.

Do you need anything more to be happier as an e-business owner?!

User-Centric DevelopmentAgile encourages frequent collaboration with stakeholders, including end-users. This ensures that your ecommerce website is very user-friendly and customer-centric and developed based on actual user feedback.
Flexibility in Prioritization

Another valuable aspect of agile ecommerce website development projects is the added flexibility.

This means as an ecommerce business owner, you can adjust the priorities of the features to be incorporated during development to realign with changing business needs.

Enhanced Quality ScoreContinuous testing and quality assurance practices mandated by agile workflows enhance the reliability and quality of the ecommerce website being developed.
Increased Stakeholder Satisfaction

Regularly showcasing progress and involving stakeholders in decision-making during the ecommerce website development process ensures that the final product meets their expectations.

This leads to higher stakeholder satisfaction.

Check Our RapidRetail Solution for Quick Ecommerce Website Development

Steps in Ecommerce Web Development Project

Here, we’re breaking down the process of an ecommerce website development project into 7 major steps, each filled with details and tips to help you understand the process and get it right!

  1. Identify the product/service, and the customer

    The most critical step before embarking on an ecommerce web development project is to identify and analyse your niche, your product/services and the intended audience.

    Arun Kumar, Head of Digital Commerce at Embitel Technologies, says, “When ecommerce was an exciting new thing, entrepreneurs were excited to get online, even without knowing what they wanted to sell. But the products were all restricted to mainstream B2C, and items that provided ease of doing business.

    That’s changed now. Even niche businesses see the advantages of getting online, now that ecommerce business processes are better established.”

    Indeed, one can find ecommerce portals for a variety of businesses today, from school uniforms to medical equipment, and craft supplies to construction material.

    If you are still in the process of identifying products to sell, keep the following points in mind in order to choose well:

    • It’s a crowded market, so it helps to go niche, but not so niche that there isn’t sufficient demand.
    • Consider the price of the product—items that are priced very low will make it difficult for you to get returns, but it is also difficult for people to purchase high-value items without seeing them first.
    • Availability of the product and convenience can help a customer decide whether to shop online or offline. Items that are usually not available too easily in stores tend to rack up more sales online.
    • Do consider the incidental costs. Perishables, fragile goods, voluminous or large goods all pose shipping challenges and drive up costs.
    • Another important factor is your enthusiasm for the product you’re selling. As an entrepreneur, you will hit roadblocks and face business challenges, so it is important to be driven about your products and do your best to sell them.

    Know your ecommerce customer

    It’s vital for any business to understand who their customer is so they can reach out to him/her in the best way possible. One way to ascertain this is by evaluating the customers of your competitors. Some parameters to keep in mind are:

    • Establish the demographic i.e. gender, age group, income level, education etc.
    • Tap social media to identify the people showing interest in your brand/offering through ‘likes’ and ‘follows’
    • Interact with customers through feedback, suggestions and reviews to understand the customer profile better

    With the basic questions of what to sell, and whom to sell to answered, it’s time to move to the next stage: the ecommerce website.

  2. Choose the right ecommerce website development platform

    Choosing the right ecommerce platform is foundational for any ecommerce website project.

    To begin with, as the business owner you need to decide whether you’d prefer a self-hosted platform, or a hosted one. While the requirement for both is different, hosted platforms are usually preferred as they usually consist of full-features websites and maintenance plans. This minimizes the scope for error and makes website management much easier.

    You can choose from numerous state-of-the-art ecommerce platforms available in the market now including: SAP Hybris, Adobe Commerce, Shopify, based on your business and budget requirements.

    Here are some quick tips to help you choose the most suitable platform for your ecommerce website project:

    When choosing your ecommerce platform, you need to keep your business requirements as well as the features on offer in mind. To help you get going, here’s  list of things to consider:

    • ERP, CRM, Database compatibility and integration

      If you already have a business and are now expanding online, you have pre-existing systems and a database. It’s important to ascertain the compatibility of the platform with your existing systems and the ability to integrate them.

      Imagine having to shift all the data you have built up over the years, or are working with currently, to the new system. To ensure easy integration and prevent downtime during transition, choose a compatible platform. You will probably need professionals to assist you in this, but it is well worth the money and time spent to create a stable online store.

    • What customizations are possible in your ecommerce web development project?

      Even full-feature platforms like Magento come with set features which may not suit the needs of your business, or you may have a requirement for additional capabilities in your webstore. Moreover, each business has different requirements, and it’s important for the chosen platform to support these.

      One of our clients had a unique requirement—as a seller of books, they had to abide by their country’s laws which allowed them to sell certain books only to people over a specified age. This made it difficult to sell the books online, but the client needed the book to be listed in the online catalogue to make website visitors aware of its availability.

      To suit this unique case, the project developers were able to create an additional restricted catalog on the ecommerce website, where visitors could view the listing, but not purchase the books.

      Similarly, grocery ecommerce websites require the capability to list product or size variants, list perishables with unique weight or size measurements, and offer features such a shopping lists. Choosing a platform with good scope for customization makes it possible to enable the development of such features and deliver a good customer experience on the website.

    • Payment gateway integration

      One of the challenges faced by ecommerce businesses in India is the discomfort with online payments. So, it is vital to include traditional payment options, such as cash on delivery, along with regular payment options, such as credit/debit card payments and netbanking. It has now also become necessary to provide the option of linking to payment wallets.

      Your ecommerce platform of choice must support these capabilities.

      If you seek international expansion, or cater to customers from various countries, it’s important to incorporate multiple currency options to facilitate payment for overseas customers.

    • Robust backend

      A good online commerce webstore is supported by a robust backend for an organized and easy-to-use admin experience. A high-quality platform will provide several admin features such as multiple admin logins, easy changes in inventory, taking stock of orders, and so on.

      Ensure you check for this because a good customer UX doesn’t count for much if it isn’t powered by an organized backend.

    • Mobile-friendly, or responsive ecommerce

      Studies have shown that people are spending more and more time on their mobile phones. While some businesses do choose to build apps to cater to this growing demand, app development requires an investment of time and money.

      So responsive ecommerce websites, suitable for viewing on mobile phones, are a great alternative. The importance of a mobile-friendly ecommerce website cannot be ignored as customers do much more than make purchases through their phones. The easy accessibility leads to increasing amounts of time spent browsing on the phone, which often leads to more online as well as in-store purchases.

      The platform you choose must support a website that is optimized for a mobile-friendly and rich user experience.

    • Ecommerce marketing

      Do consider the marketing tools offered by the ecommerce platform—some platforms offer integration with analytics tools, social media websites, promotion tools, etc. Once you go live with the webstore, marketing will form a significant path of business growth; so anticipate the needs for these capabilities and choose your platform accordingly.

      A handy guide to evaluate ecommerce platforms is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for digital commerce. The Magic Quadrant assesses platforms and categorizes them as per their performance and growth annually.


  4. Choose the right ecommerce website hosting platform

    Your choice of server and hosting can have a lasting impact on your ecommerce website development process.

    It determines your website’s accessibility and performance efficiency. It’s imperative to choose quality over cost saving when it comes website hosting and support. The key parameters to consider when zeroing in on an ecommerce host are:

    • Speed

      Your server should have the capacity to deliver good website speed. This is also dependent on the internet connection speed for your server, so check that too. Providing good speed is vital as not only do customers have little patience for websites that load slowly, but search engines also rank slow-loading websites poorly.

    • Uptime

      A good way to assess the kind of service you will get from the host is to check recent uptime records of other websites being hosted by the provider. One of the greatest attributes of ecommerce is any time, any place availability and shopping convenience. This is enabled by maximizing uptime, so this is a vital check.

    • Support

      What kind of support services does your host provide?

      While an ecommerce website development process lays the initial framework of your online store, it is the managed services that sustains and enhances it over time.

      Some just provide the infrastructure, while others also give managed services that help minimize troubleshooting response time and improve uptime. Sometimes managed services also cover issue management and upgrades. .

    • Scalability

      Choose servers that can adapt to your business needs. This means your website doesn’t go down due to an overload in traffic as the servers scale up to accommodate increased traffic during peak season or offers.

    • Security

      One very common yet catastrophic mistake during the ecommerce website development process is overlooking PCI-DSS compliance.

      For every transaction online store that accepts payments , PCI-DSS compliance is a must!


  6. Choose the right ecommerce development partner

    Choosing a reliable vendor/partner for the ecommerce web development project makes all the difference to your business.

    The market is chockablock with service providers and with each one claiming to offer the very best, it’s hard to ascertain who is genuine. Here are few tips from our experts:

    • Location

      Contrary to the popular practice of outsourcing to cheaper locations, it’s recommended to commission your e commerce web development project to a local vendor.

      With an intensive task like this, that requires regular and deep involvement, it helps to be in located in the same time zone in order to speed up communication and coordination. Losing hours, or even a day, dsue to time difference can add significantly to development time and cost.

    • Custom development

      A great way to ascertain the ecommerce vendor’s level of commitment and quality of output is the interest shown in your business requirements.

      Each business has unique needs and circumstances, and your ecommerce website and development process must be adapted to suit these needs. A vendor who takes the time to understand your goals, requirements and hurdles and addresses them is more likely to deliver a website that will be in alignment with your expectations and fuel business growth.

    • Approach to processes

      Ecommerce web development projects are lengthy and task-intensive, with goals and hurdles that change along the way.

      Therefore it is very important to partner with a vendor who follows agile processes that are continuously adapted and improved on the journey to suit the changing needs. Due diligence for quality assurance in processes also helps deliver predictable outcomes and more bang for your buck.

    • Scalability

      Ecommerce development, especially if it is multichannel or omnichannel, is carried out phase by phase, and the resources needed at every phase differ, especially if timelines have to be met. Choosing an established ecommerce website development partner makes resources available as per need without much delay. This ability to scale up or down as per project needs facilitates smooth development and minimizes the time lost to logistic problems.


  8. Ecommerce website testing – You can never test enough

    A multi-dimensional testing approach is integral to the success of any ecommerce web development project.

    Testing checks usability, customer convenience, eliminates bugs, and is vital to ensuring a good shopping experience. Testing is usually carried out in various browsers, across platforms, and across devices. Website testing can be manual, or automated, or a combination of the two.

    The importance of testing cannot be stressed enough—slow-loading websites, poor navigation, broken links and bugs have been known to cause losses for ecommerce websites as customers leave dissatisfied.

    So, what is usually checked in the ecommerce website testing process?

    • The visitor/customer flow: Each step and page usually taken by the customer on his/her visit is tested, starting from home page to menu, search bar and results, product listing, etc. right up to payment and acknowledgement.
    • The functionalities: The pages, categories, filters, user registration, shopping cart, payment options, shipping options—all features and functions offered are checked for usability.
    • Security: Ecommerce website security is vital, not just on the payments page, where customers share sensitive information like card details and address, but also throughout the rest of the website. A secure website encourages trust in users.
    • Compatibility: Tests are done to evaluate the website on different browsers, various platforms, and across devices - as mobile phones and tablets are no longer devices to be ignored when it comes to online shopping.
    • Performance and discoverability: Performance tests are done to ensure the website load time isn’t too long, catch broken links and check for the website’s organic ranking in search engines.

    As to the amount of time that needs to be devoted to testing, various business experts and researchers suggest anything between 25% of development time to continuous testing all through the development stage. You can read these suggestions here and decide what suits your business the best.

  9. Effective marketing

    Congratulations! Your website is now live. But how are people going to know about it, and how will it attract visitors? One needs to have a marketing plan charted out even before launch, so that as soon you are ready to launch successfully, marketing and promotions can be rolled out.

    In a crowded market of business owners vying for customers’ attention, it’s easy to get lost or go unnoticed. A well-planned marketing strategy that reaches out to the right audience at the right time and across the right channels can help break through this clutter.

    Some of the popular marketing methods used by businesses include:

    1. Traditional methods: This includes flyers, newspaper story, magazine ads, etc.
    2. Email marketing: Work towards building a mailing list. Encourage visitors to your website to leave their email addresses by offering something (a gift/discount) in exchange. Send out emails at periodic intervals (but not so often that you’re blocked), to keep existing as well as potential customers informed of offers, new arrivals, seasonal promotions. When used effectively, email marketing has proved to deliver great results.
    3. Social media marketing: The attention-grabbing nature of social media can be tapped to create recall for your brand as well as to turn your followers/customers into advocates for your brand. This is often done by contests or activities requiring respondents to share posts, or tag other people in them, usually in exchange for a gift. Dove, the skin and hair care brand, has used Facebook effectively to build a brand identity that tells stories of women, rather than pushing promotional posts.
    4. Content marketing: This is all about creating shareable information-oriented content in order to attract visitors to your website. Listicles, infographics, memes, blog posts are all examples of content marketing. The content works two-fold: it helps attract visitors as well as improve SEO ranking.
    5. Pay per click: Also called PPC, this is different from the above methods of marketing as it requires a monetary investment. These are advertisements displayed to a targeted audience, and you’d pay for them based on views or clicks on the advertisement. Well-planned PPC campaigns do usually yield results, but proceed cautiously to understand and control your spends.

  11. Adapt and grow

    Ecommerce website development to going live is a long process, and if your website is up and running successfully by now, it’s a satisfying achievement. Yet, like all businesses, you cannot sit back and relax. It’s necessary to continuously adapt to changing conditions and stay ahead of competition.

    • Ecommerce has evolved from websites to multichannel, and then omnichannel. In the recent past, newer features like virtual reality, or augmented reality, or location-based alerts, have changed the level of personalization and convenience offered. Brands that have managed to upgrade quickly enjoy continued success.
    • Upgrade your platform regularly to keep your website running smoothly and offer up-to-date features. Periodically check for security updates and implement them.
    • Track customer browsing habits, purchase patterns, cart abandonment, and other user behavior to tweak your offerings and presentation accordingly.
    • Your ecommerce website and business require nurturing to enjoy healthy growth and deliver long-term returns on your investment.

We’ve outlined the process to help you get going, now it’s time to put in the sweat and blood. All the best!

Partner with Embitel’s ecommerce website developers for implementation on Magento 2 and Hybris. Send us an email at sales@embitel.com

Ecommerce Website Development Project


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