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eCommerce development

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What is ecommerce web development?

In simplest terms, web development is the art of creating websites and web applications in all their variety and with different features. Something like the art of stylishly furnishing the Internet.

Ecommerce web development is the process of developing and designing an ecommerce website where consumers can buy products online.

As ecommerce websites are so popular among consumers, ecommerce website development can help generate more conversions and revenue for your business.

We can distinguish two main areas of web development:

Front end

Front End, that is, everything that the Internet user sees, hears, and can tap with the cursor. A front-end web developer struggles, among other things, to make a website look the same in every browser. The basic tools of the job are the so-called Holy Trinity, i.e., HTML (in charge of a site’s structure), CSS (its design) and JavaScript (its performance).

This area can include web design.

Back End

The Back End, or what a website user does not see. In the Back End, we are piecing together the various components of a website: Front End, servers, and databases. For example, Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and C+ are used to work in the Back End.

Important components that Back End developers can specialize in are:

– Databases, all the information that is used or generated on a website.

Databases can be divided into SQL and NOSQL, the difference being the data organization. The best known is probably MYSQL (SQL).

– API, or Application Programming Interface. The modern Internet is a system of dispersed systems that can exchange information swiftly using APIs. APIs enable individual applications to work together. Businesses integrate their systems with external systems and use their solutions instead of coding their own. 

– Webste security.

– Infrastructure and networking, such as servers.

Option for building ecommerce website

As for developing an ecommerce store, there are likely to be three options you will come across: 

  • Build your site from scratch (aka open source).
  • Customize a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution.
  • Harness the power of MACH architecture.

Build it from scratch.

As long as you already have a development or IT team in-house, following the open-source path might be the ultimate solution.

The Open-Source eCommerce platforms are the solutions in which you can modify all aspects of the code, that means you are able to construct your site from scratch with little or no restrictions on customization.

Remember, however, that working with Open-Source solutions often means that your organization is in charge of things such as PCI compliance, hosting, security, manual patches, and updates. 

Because of this, open source may be viewed by some brands as too inconvenient, expensive, and difficult to maintain, especially as your business grows and complexity increases.

Customize a SaaS solution.

No coding background or no budget to spend building a solution from scratch? 

Step into SaaS ecommerce.

SaaS is a subscription-based solution built and supported by a third-party provider and can be ‘cloud’ hosted. Rather than building and developing a custom solution independently, SaaS essentially lets you rent the platform while the platform provider handles tasks such as product updates, security, hosting, PCI compliance and anything that involves your own software management. Therefore, SaaS solutions provide a quick and affordable way for businesses to hit the market.

Certain eCommerce solutions, termed ‘open SaaS’, are even offering the benefits of Open-Source and SaaS platforms. 

BigCommerce, for instance, is among the top open SaaS ecommerce platforms for mid-market and enterprise brands. Our open API ensures that vendors get all the benefits of the SaaS platform – hosted on behalf of BigCommerce, lower overall cost of ownership and faster time to market – plus the freedom to create custom integrations and features faster, just as they would when using an Open-Source platform.

MACH (Microservices, API-First, Cloud-Native and Headless).

The traditional eCommerce model has for decades tied the shop frontend and server-side backend into a single monolith. 

However, the monolithic solution, while it might be a smart option for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with limited demands, can pose some challenges when your business scales and requires more complexity, such as launching multiple websites or expansion into new regions.

The solution?

MACH architecture.

MACH (microservices, API-first, cloud-native SaaS and headless) is a set of core rules that uses a best-practice approach to building enterprise software technology stacks. As opposed to a monolithic architecture, MACH provides a way to choose the technology that best meets your business requirements and future roadmap.

How do I choose the right ecommerce website developer?

Based on research conducted by PWC, 73% of US consumers say that customer experience is a major factor when shopping online, but only 49% believe that brands provide a good overall impression.

The best way to ensure that your eCommerce web development team provides a better user experience on your website is to hire one with expertise in design and/or development for eCommerce. 

By luck (or if, like BigCommerce, your platform has a strong affiliate programme), you may find eCommerce website development services that are well-versed in the latest ecommerce best practices and can produce a website that will impress your customers and boost conversion rates.

Steps For Developing a Custom Ecommerce Website

Building an ecommerce website from scratch is not necessary – nor even recommended. Many platforms exist that can help you develop an ecommerce store with minimum coding or technical skills required on your part. 

However, determining the platform is not the only thing you need to do before starting the development process. Here are some things to consider before diving in.

  1. Have a clear understanding of your business goals.

Choosing to sell online is a big deal. In fact, you cannot proceed unless you know the operational bells and whistles.

To do this, begin by understanding why. 

Why do you want to sell online? To draw in more business – that’s simple. But how exactly do you plan to do this?

– Are you going to use your eCommerce business as a route for direct-to-consumer sales? 

– Do you intend to fuel online traffic to add to your brick-and-mortar operations? 

– Are you looking to scale your B2C business into B2B or vice versa?

In addition to your primary targets, consider your eCommerce metrics.

– How much growth would you like to see once you launch your store and how will you measure it? For example, what is your target for weekly online sales volume? 

– Are you planning to sell locally or internationally as well? 

– What is your plan for increasing customer lifetime value? 

– How many products are you planning to sell?

  1. Understand the intended shopping experience.

What sort of online shopping experience do you want to provide your customers with? Some of the experimental features you might consider include (but are not limited to):

– Providing customers with the ability to filter search results by size, color, or price with a click.

– Enabling side-by-side product comparisons.

– Offering an optimized, one-page checkout.

– Sales, discounts, and other types of offers.

Consider whether your target audience is looking for a simple and quick shopping trip – like for necessities – or whether they will spend some time browsing the site and uncovering new products. So, depending on the answer to this question, you will probably want to structure your website so that it runs in a different way.

  1. Discuss your options for the platform.

Fortunately, nowadays you do not have to develop your online store from scratch. In fact, there are many eCommerce solutions to pick from, so you can choose the one that suits your business needs. 

There are pros and cons to the various eCommerce platforms out there, therefore you should know exactly which features you need to make your online business the best it can possibly be.

Some of the most common eCommerce website creators are BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify or Shopify Plus. Some merchants with big content sites may want to use WordPress – and several eCommerce platforms, including BigCommerce, offer integrations so you can merge your content and commerce.

  1. Add products.

Ensure that adding and editing product lists is straightforward and that inventories can be synchronized across all sales channels. Doing so can streamline back-office operations and help prevent you from overselling products.

When added products, it is worth focusing on these points:

– High-quality product images: Provide your customers with the confidence that when they order from you, they will receive exactly what they expect.

– Detailed product descriptions: Especially for products that are highly explored, make sure you include all relevant information, product specifications, sizing information, etc.

  1. Payment and shipping settings.

Your website developer can help with the shopping cart and checkout process, as well as how to integrate payment gateways into your website and get shipments configured. You will usually have multiple payment gateways to choose from.

You do not have to Integrate them all, however, customers are more and more interested in paying through different payment methods, such as buy now, pay later. Also, if you sell internationally, you will want to choose payment gateways that support your target regions.

  1. QA and website launch.

After transferring your website from stage to production, be sure to do a quick test drive to make sure everything is in line in terms of eCommerce site design, performance, and navigation.

A quick checklist is here:

  • Review all calls-to-action and form titles on the homepage and landing pages.
  • Test your checkout experience.
  • Check your payment processing integrations (credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, etc.).
  • Make sure all images are high resolution but optimized for loading speed.
  • Check for missing categories and product descriptions.
  • Check that all links and forms are functional.
  • Check that tax settings are correct.
  • Ensure all inventory is properly listed.
  • Test your coupons/promo codes.

Also ensure that your digital storefront displays equally well on desktop and mobile and that the user experience is consistent.

Solutions any ecommerce business model benefits from

Monitoring the process of developing and supporting an online store or other business in the fast-growing eCommerce market is quite a challenge that requires know-how and experience in both business and legal aspects and, above all, in technical issues. Wondering how to choose a sales platform? How to integrate with ERP systems? What tools to use to streamline your business and what to do to ensure high application availability or efficient hosting? The eCommerce technology category includes key information on this topic. Check out the publications that will teach you how to properly perform an e-commerce migration, how to create workflows in an online store and learn key information about the Baselinker system, among other things.

 eCommerce technologies – workflow

The eCommerce market is not only thriving, but also changing rapidly. This requires online store owners to be flexible and quickly adapt their operations to new trends and look for solutions to speed up or automate their work. This is where eCommerce technologies are invaluable. However, before you decide to implement new solutions, ensure Workflow, which aims to streamline your business processes and information flow, minimize errors, and boost your team’s capacity by, among other things, eliminating repetitive work. Wondering which eCommerce technologies will work best for you? Nowadays, virtually any engine provides a basic workflow to efficiently manage orders, logistics, customers, and marketing operations. The article on this topic details SaaS systems, with built-in modules that users gain access to as part of a subscription. Solutions for Open-Source systems have also been described. eCommerce technologies also cover the product information management process. The PIM systems involved are those that work well for large assortments, products available in multiple variants, product pages enriched with multimedia, scaling of sales to foreign markets that generate the need to provide product descriptions in different languages, or assortments that require supplementary technical specifications. You will also find information on this topic on the website.

 eCommerce technologies – how to streamline your online store migration?

 eCommerce technologies are invaluable and essential when migrating a store. The selection of a new engine and the migration process are often some of the crucial business decisions. Due to the relevance of the topic, you will find practical tips for this process in the eCommerce technology category. The dedicated article outlines the migration components – a process comprising more than a dozen consecutive components involving: 

  • selection of a new eCommerce platform
  • migration of an online store content including products, information pages, blogs, category descriptions and other content
  • migration of orders
  • migration of customers
  • mapping URLs or performing a redirect map if mapping is not available
  • SEO optimization of a new website
  • generation of product feeds to the Google and Facebook ad networks
  • addition of a new mail
  • adding a new or updated domain
  • e-store analytics
  • addition of a sitemap to Search Console
  • risk analysis and elimination that may occur during the migration process.

 All of these steps are developed and described in detail in the article dedicated to the online store migration process. The eCommerce technologies category also provides information on the main risks of an online store SEO migration, which consist of: attempting to migrate and launch a life store with an unrealistic deadline in advance, launching migration processes before a weekend or a period in which we do not have access to specialists and support, a misprepared redirect map, an incorrectly redirected domain, a misconfigured main store mail implying the inability to send transactional emails, no monitoring of 404 errors after the migration process, a site map not imported into Search Console, or non-functioning analytics.

 eCommerce technologies – advantages of the Baselinker system

 The growing consumer awareness translating into online shopping popularity is generating an increased number of channels through which we can reach potential customers. eCommerce technologies in this case are also invaluable as they allow streamlining and coordination of operations, as well as automation, providing a company with greater growth potential in the bigger picture. The eCommerce technologies section of the website outlines the specifics of one of the systems that allows for comprehensive order processing, bulk invoicing, automatic synchronization, and automation of business processes. We are referring to the Baselinker system. With its built-in order processing module, this eCommerce technology manages sales, performs bulk campaigns, changes the status of orders, automatic dispatch of invoices and automatic generation of waybills. I write in more detail about the benefits of Baselinker on the blog, but one of the biggest advantages is the multitude of integrations with store system providers, such as Shopify, Shoper, Magento, Prestashop or WooCommerce, couriers such as InPost, Poczta Polska, DHL or DPD and warehouse and accounting systems, such as Wfirma, Fakturowo, Firmao, iFirma or inFakt. The publication also offers advice on who should benefit from the BaseLinker solution and options, including pricing.

eCommerce technologies do more than just streamline a team or provide automation in an online store. eCommerce technologies also provide customers with the best possible shopping experience. The omnipresent digitalization, the growth of the industry, the increased interest in online shopping and ever newer eCommerce technologies are all creating dynamic developments in e-commerce. Therefore, if you want to succeed in eCommerce, meet the objectives incorporated in your corporate strategy and scale your business, keep up to date with the latest developments, and observe the changes taking place in the industry. The eCommerce technology category covers the key issues that will help you to understand your company’s processes better, tailor solutions more precisely to your requirements, learn about the systems that will help streamline your team’s work, translating not only into the implementation of a set plan, but also into customer satisfaction that translates into trust and enhanced brand awareness.

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