The Ecommerce Development Process: Steps to Success

Brian Walsh
April 20th 2020
When it comes to ecommerce development, there are a lot of factors to consider and many steps to take to achieve a worthy final product. It’s important to both personalize components to reflect your brand while also ensuring that the consumer can easily navigate the site. In other words, not only does the ecommerce site need to be compatible with your business mission, but also technically sound for a user-friendly experience.
The good news is: many tools exist to help get you started with a professional-looking, functioning website. However, improper implementation or lack of development from the customer’s point-of-view can leave ecommerce sites unused or unvisited as sales drop due to user inconvenience.
We want to help! Let’s talk about the ecommerce development process and the specific steps you need to take to prove your company profitable without added stress on your end as a business owner.
Ecommerce and Your Website
Start by asking yourself how you want to integrate your ecommerce store into the full site. What's your goal? Are you focused on conversion rate or content engagement? Brands with a large focus on influencers might want to prioritize the content first and purchasing second, while CPG brands will be utilizing the opposite.
As a third option, you may want the site to have ecommerce as an “other” option, but not necessarily pushing it as a primary focus. Common examples of these include publishers whose main business is providing content, but have stores who sell ebooks or manuscripts as well.
Products and Services
After evaluating, the way to best move forward in ecommerce development is to do a full audit of the products and services you offer. This should be second nature to you, however, the act of surveying your inventory needs to be done before development begins. Trust us, understanding all the offerings available helps to map out a general site plan to be put in place. This is crucial to developing a perfect user experience from the start. Skipping this step can lead to a messy ecommerce site either on the back end with too many pages, and/or on the front end with random product placement and thousands of links.
User Needs
Now that you know what you have to sell, you also need to understand who your target audience is. Research what their behaviors, patterns, and psychographics are like while taking into account what frustrations they experience that your product or service solves. Now that you know what you have to sell, you also need to understand who your target audience is. Research what their behaviors, patterns, and psychographics are]( like while taking into account what frustrations they experience that your product or service solves.
Then specifically within your shop space: what does their purchasing journey look like and how can it be improved? Are there any unique qualities about your customers that warrant special functionality, design or user experiences? IE. some sites allow for guest check-out while others offer discounts for adding an email address to their mailing list.
Congrats on coming this far and getting to know how your system will work, what products it will show, and how your consumers hope to navigate your site. It’s time to dive into functionality.
Some businesses require different kinds of functionality, for example, users who can customize their order, like when ordering pizza and changing toppings. On other ecommerce sites, a preview is provided for users to get a glimpse of the product, like when buying books. Are these functions your business could add to set your website above the rest?
If you are a service-centered business, think of how you’d like users to be able to create appointments through the site in a way that doesn’t conflict with your team’s schedule.
Every business has vastly different systems and requirements, and therefore understanding the functionality goes a long way. There are a plethora of specialized functions out there that you can include to increase the overall positive user experience.
Technology Requirements
This is the step most people start with, but you’ll be glad you took the time to prep beforehand. By knowing how your business wants to operate in ecommerce, the foundation will help inform what technology should be used.
There are multiple reputable providers today that can help build your ecommerce sites with simple, intuitive interfaces for those of us who don’t know how to code from scratch. These tools and companies vary in their services and SKU’s so be sure to research them all and find your best fit.
A key factor to always keep in mind when utilizing a host development site is that these tools must be compatible and communicate with the CRM and softwares your business is already using.
At Vincit, we’ve seen and worked with a variety of different requirements and we can now easily recommend and create custom solutions to integrate necessary functions.
Start Ecommerce Development
Vincit believes heavily in agile development, so once you have a firm grasp on the requirements and understanding above, actual site building begins.
Here is where the excited hands get moving over the keyboard. The team should build working prototypes and features and check-ins weekly to reaffirm goals and make adjustments where needed.
As with any project, requirements will change, obstacles may come up, but solutions will blossom. This is where final website products are made, when the teams are able to work together and create something from concept to conception. Ultimately, you’ll evolve your ideas into a great ecommerce store for a variety of users and will without-a-doubt grow the business.
Ecommerce development can sometimes be much more complex than web development. It has many more functional factors, user considerations, and technological mechanics to keep track of. When embarking on your own ecommerce establishment, ensure that you do your homework, remembering the points above. There’s a very worthwhile experience to be had in building your very own ecommerce site, especially when you do it right.
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