Article

Edward Huskin
Edward Huskin 3 April 2024

Best Practices for E-commerce Website Development

Following these best practices will help you build a customer-centric e-commerce website for your business, and open up opportunities that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Today’s businesses are waging a battle on all fronts to stay competitive, and an omnichannel approach is vital in taking hold of your target market.

Developing an e-commerce website is essential because it boosts your online presence in a digitally driven business landscape.

It helps you attract customers, boost sales, and stay relevant in a saturated market. The customer remains king, and customer service should be part of every company’s e-commerce strategy.

After the pandemic, there has been a boom in online shopping trends. In the US alone, retail e-commerce sales rose to over $5 trillion in 2021, and it’s predicted to grow to over $8 trillion in 2026—a 56% increase in just five years.

More consumers have also come to realize and enjoy the convenience of shopping online, making it not only a lucrative marketing channel but a vital one that all businesses should consider.

Importance of E-commerce Website Development

As more consumers do their shopping online, the importance of a user-friendly and optimized e-commerce website is further highlighted. Having one will significantly impact your company’s growth and drive it towards long-term success.

Increase in Online Shopping Trends

The increase in the population of online shoppers can be attributed to continuous innovations in technology that have made the online shopping experience easier and smoother than ever before.

Consumers can now shop from the comfort of their own homes or on the go, and it’s your responsibility as a business to tap into this channel and reach your target market via an e-commerce website and complementary mobile application.

Expanding Market Reach

Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are limited by geographical boundaries.

On the other hand, an e-commerce website doesn’t have this limitation. It allows you to reach a global audience because all they need to see and buy your products is an internet connection.

With an organized approach and the right marketing strategy, your e-commerce website can open up new growth opportunities.

Boosting Sales and Revenue

An e-commerce website will help you create a well-structured product catalog that your customers can access 24/7.

Crafting engaging product descriptions and building a user-friendly and seamless checkout process on your e-commerce website will help you enhance the overall customer experience and consequently get you more customers.

Most consumers can be found online most of the time, and ensuring that your website provides the best possible experience will make them come back for more.

Responsive Web Design for Better User Experience

Creating an e-commerce website today entails optimizing it for mobile devices. Since consumers do their research on their smartphones, mobile optimization ensures that your website looks and feels the same way across all devices. Providing seamless functionality regardless of the device used gives customers a positive user experience. In today’s mobile-first world, neglecting mobile optimization can result in missed opportunities and lost revenue.

Implementing responsive web design involves:

  • Prioritizing mobile-first design principles

  • Optimizing images and media for faster mobile loading times

  • Ensuring mobile-friendly navigation and an easy browsing experience

User-friendly Navigation and an Intuitive Interface

An intuitive website interface and user-friendly navigation are vital for an effective e-commerce website.

Customers should be able to find products easily and navigate through the website effortlessly.

By simplifying the browsing experience, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and encourage repeat purchases.

Consider the following strategies for better navigation:

  • Use clear and descriptive categories and subcategories

  • Implement search functionality with relevant filters and suggestions

  • Include a visible and easily accessible shopping cart

  • Provide breadcrumbs to help users understand their location within the website

Secure Payment Gateways and Data Security

One of the primary concerns for online shoppers is secure payment transactions and data protection. Businesses must prioritize security in their e-commerce websites to build trust among their customer base.

By ensuring secure online transactions, businesses can build credibility with their customers, leading to increased customer loyalty and repeated purchases.

Consider the following security measures:

  • Implement SSL certificates to encrypt sensitive data

  • Choose trusted and secure payment gateways

  • Utilize tokenization for secure payment processing

  • Regularly update and patch your website's security software

Effective Product Catalogs and Presentation

A well-structured and visually appealing product catalog engages customers and drives sales.

By showcasing products effectively, businesses can capture the attention of customers and increase the likelihood of conversions. Consider the following strategies:

  • Use high-quality product images from multiple angles

  • Display product descriptions and specifications clearly

  • Include customer reviews and ratings for social proof

  • Group similar products together for easy comparison

A Streamlined Checkout Process

A cumbersome and complicated checkout process can cause cart abandonment and lost sales.

Simplifying the customer journey will help minimize friction and increase the chances of successful transactions. To streamline the checkout process, consider the following:

  • Minimize the number of steps required to complete a purchase

  • Offer guest checkout options to avoid forcing account creation

  • Clearly display shipping and tax information upfront

  • Provide multiple secure payment options

Continuous Optimization and Testing

E-commerce websites are not static entities; they require regular optimization and testing to stay relevant and effective.

Continuous optimization ensures that you stay ahead of the competition and continue to provide the best possible online shopping experience to customers.

Consider the following practices:

  • Conduct A/B tests to identify changes that drive better conversion rates

  • Monitor website analytics and user feedback to identify areas of improvement

  • Keep abreast of industry trends and new technologies

Focus on Mobile

With the rise in mobile users, businesses must prioritize mobile commerce in their e-commerce website development. Consider the following strategies:

  • Develop a mobile app for easier access and an enhanced user experience

  • Ensure mobile-friendly design and optimized page loading speeds

  • Implement mobile-specific features such as push notifications and mobile wallets

E-commerce Website Development Options

Focusing on the product alone isn’t enough to survive in the e-commerce market; you also have to create experiences that will delight customers.

To do this, you need to be able to address their needs, solve their problems, and show them that you understand them more than they understand themselves.

Research shows that 93% of customers are more likely to become repeat customers of companies known to offer excellent customer service.

Investing in customer experience involves building an e-commerce website focused solely on the customer.

This ensures that you not only get new customers but also retain existing ones. Increasing customer retention rates even by 5% can help your business increase profits by up to 95%

E-commerce website development can be done through several options, and whichever you choose will depend on your budget, project schedule, and other business requirements.

In-house Development Team

The traditional method of building a website development team involves hiring full-time employees.

If you’re looking for a long-term team under the full control of your organization, hiring a full-time development team ensures that you work with people who share your vision.

It’s also easier to monitor progress and delegate tasks and instructions since the team works under the same roof.

Location-based Outsourcing

  • Onshore: This outsourcing model is where you hire an external team within the same country but not necessarily within the same city. This avoids language and cultural barriers but also limits your talent pool to what’s available domestically.

  • Offshore: This outsourcing model is where you hire an external team in another country anywhere across the globe. Typically, outsourcing entails working with a third-party provider from a country where business and labor costs are low. The main drawbacks of this model include cultural barriers, time differences, and the potential risks involved in working with service providers outside your own country.

  • Nearshore: This outsourcing model is where you hire an external team in a neighboring country, expanding the talent pool while also minimizing the time zone differences and language barrier. You’re still working with a provider from a different country, though, so the same offshore risks apply.

  • Multisource: As the name suggests, this outsourcing model involves taking bits and pieces from the other models and combining them to meet your business requirements.Outsourcing to several vendors gives your organization flexibility, allowing you to spend more on critical areas of the project and less on others. Multisourcing is an excellent option for complex development projects with many moving parts.

Relationship-based Outsourcing

  • Dedicated team: The dedicated team model provides a team that will work solely on your project, with team members working closely with your internal team and reporting directly to a project manager. The focus on a specific project leads to high-quality results and quick turnaround times.

  • Managed services: The managed services model provides an outsourced team that doesn’t report directly to you and has limited to no interaction with your in-house team. A managed services team is task-based, and their scope is limited to only the tasks assigned to them.

  • Project-based team: In this model, the software development project is handed off completely to the outsourcing company from beginning to end, with project parameters and deliverables discussed at the beginning of the project. Regular updates are provided to monitor progress and the team’s day-to-day activities are managed by the outsourcing company with little input from you.

Contract-based Outsourcing

  • Fixed-price: In a fixed-price model, you and the outsourcing company agree on a set fee before the project begins. This fee is based on the estimated time and resources needed to complete a specific project. This is advantageous because you know what you have to pay upfront early on, but it’s not that flexible when changes need to be made mid-project.

  • Time-and-materials model: In this model, the fees paid to the outsourcing company are based on the actual time and resources used to complete the project. This is a more straightforward approach, which ensures that there’s no over- or underpayment and it allows for modifications to project scope even while the project is ongoing.

Customer-centric E-commerce

Following the best practices mentioned above will help you build a customer-centric e-commerce website for your business.

Focusing on the customer not only shows you what they want and need; it also reveals what experiences you should be creating for them and how you should structure your e-commerce website’s UX and UI elements.

Ultimately, understanding your customers will open up opportunities for your business that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

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