Are you running a business in 2023 and looking to take your products online? A great way to reach more customers is through an eCommerce website. Setting up this type of website can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with the right knowledge and guidance.
In this blog post, we will walk you through all the steps necessary on how to build an eCommerce website from scratch in 2023. Now let’s get started on building your dream eCommerce website!

Pick the best domain name and eCommerce website builder platform

A domain name should be chosen in a short, simple, and easy-to-remember expression. As a result, get started with a domain name that clients will recognize. It is also critical to prevent duplicates while selecting existing domain names.

Before choosing the easiest eCommerce website builder, it’s vital to understand the type of products you’re selling, the size of your business, and what services you need to deliver a successful online store. 

Different eCommerce platforms are better suited for different businesses. For example, Shopify, Magento, and WordPress/ WooCommerce are popular open-source content management systems capable of hosting websites and online stores.

Pick the best domain name and eCommerce website builder platform
Pick the best domain name and eCommerce website builder platform

Specifically, we will include an overview of each famous eCommerce platform.

Shopify

Shopify is a cloud-based, fully hosted platform for creating eCommerce stores.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use for beginners: It offers an easy-to-use interface, so you don’t need to know any coding to create a store.
  • Third-party integration: Shopify gives users access to hundreds of third-party apps and add-ons that can extend the functionality of their store.
  • No transaction fees: Unlike other eCommerce platforms, if you use Shopify Payments, you aren’t charged a fee to process payments, giving them more of the money they make in sales.
  • Mobile-friendly: Shopify stores are automatically optimized for mobile, giving customers a great shopping experience on any device.

Cons

  • Limitations on customizations: While Shopify has some customization flexibility, it can be difficult to make certain changes as the platform is designed for ease of use.
  • Expensive themes: The themes available through Shopify can be costly, often costing over $150.

Shopify is suitable for all types of businesses. The standard plan of Shopify is suitable for SMEs, while Shopify Plus is ideal for larger enterprises.

Magento

Magento is a highly customizable, open-source platform that can be used to build an eCommerce store.

Pros

  • Open-source platform: Magento is an open-source platform that allows you to customize it to your needs, as opposed to other eCommerce platforms where you may be limited in terms of customization.
  • Highly scalable: Magento can easily adjust to the size of your business and handle high levels of traffic and large catalogs of products.
  • Robust security: Magento is highly secure, which helps protect your customers’ data from potential hackers.

Cons

  • High learning curve: Magento has a steep beginner learning curve. Learning to use the platform’s features and customize its templates takes time and effort.
  • Resource requirements: Magento requires more resources than most eCommerce platforms. This can be attributed to its high-end features, but it also means that you should invest in a good hosting solution and a powerful server to handle the increased demand.
  • Expensive: Magento is an expensive platform, especially for smaller businesses. While free editions are available, most individuals and businesses will find it hard to get the most out of the platform without investing money into the enterprise edition.

Magento is great for large enterprises with complex requirements. However, unlike Shopify, Magento requires developers to build and maintain the store.

WordPress/ WooCommerce

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) allowing users to create and manage websites easily.

Pros

  •  Easy-to-install and set up: WordPress is relatively easy to install and set up. It can be done in a few simple steps with no coding knowledge required.
  • Search engine optimized: WordPress is optimized for search engines, meaning your website will get higher rankings.
  • Secure and reliable: WordPress is built with security in mind and is regularly updated to ensure your website is secure.

Cons

  • Limited design options: Most developers are limited to the available themes, plugins, and widgets. This can make creating a unique site design difficult with limited customization options.
  • Poor Performance: WordPress websites can load slowly, leading to a poor user experience and higher bounce rates. In addition, extra plugins and features could further slow down the website’s loading speed.
  • Extra costs: In many cases, upgrading to premium versions of themes or plugins can be necessary to achieve desired results. Furthermore, web hosting or a managed WordPress host may incur additional costs.

WordPress is great for small stores and website that doesn’t require comprehensive function and design.

Select a theme and start customizing

Along with the eCommerce website checklist, we also provide a checklist for selecting the right theme for your store. 

Before you start looking for a theme, it’s important to identify who the site is intended for. That way, you can narrow your search to themes that fit your target demographic. 

Moreover, consider your site’s content and choose a good fit for showcasing your products. Consider what kind of content you plan on having on your site, and look for themes that will accommodate it. Make sure the theme supports the content and images you’ll be using.

Accordingly, think mobile-first, and make sure your website looks great and functions well on all devices. Look for themes that are designed with mobile devices in mind. Also, look for customization options to make sure you can customize your site to match your brand and make it unique. 

Finally, good reviews and cost are the two aspects that you have to consider. Remember that while most platforms provide free templates, some also provide paid (or premium) templates. WordPress and Shopify, for example, offer premium themes ranging in price from roughly $30 to over $200. The advantage is that many offer more original designs, which can help businesses that desire a specific look save time personalizing their selected theme.

Offer accurate product recommendations

Create product listings

After discovering your online store’s ideal theme or template, you can start modifying it. This is where you will update your header and footer, set up your site’s navigation, and create pages ranging from your homepage to your refunds and return policy.

Product listings are essential for any online store. During this process, make sure to organize and categorize your listings, so they are easy to find and manage for your future site users.

  • Product name: Your product names should contain at least one easily identifiable word in the title. For example, if you offer a dress, include the words “dress” someplace so that customers may easily find them.
  • Product Image: A good product image will help customers understand what the product looks like and can encourage them to purchase. You can also include demos and videos to entice your customers further.
Create product listings
Create product listings
  • Descriptions and Details: Detailed product information should be included, such as technical specs, measurements, and features.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Display customer reviews and ratings to build trust and confidence in your products. Check out these top-rated Shopify product review apps.
  • Call to Action: Encourage customers to buy by including a prominent call to action. It’s frequently a buy now, add-to-cart button. 
  • Related Products: Show related products that customers may be interested in. Want to reduce tired tasks and add products promptly without customizing? See these best Shopify upsell apps for massive sales.

In general, because your customers cannot touch or feel the items you offer online, you should present your products and services in a true-to-life way as soon as they read the product description and images. 

Set up main pages

Aside from the Home Page, which is the first page visitors will see and should provide an overview of what the website is about, you should regularly update your website with supporting pages. The best framework to build an eCommerce website could include: 

  • About Us: gives an introduction to the company, 
  • Contact Us: includes a form for visitors to contact the website owners,
  • Terms and Conditions: outlines what services are offered by the business
  • Blog: shows recent blog entries
  • FAQs/ Guide: You could also include a FAQ page or guide. If your website deals with apparel and footwear brands, a size guide and even a blog can be incorporated. Answering your customers’ queries will increase their trust in your products, resulting in fewer customer service calls and emails.
Set up main pages for your website
Set up main pages for your website

Set up a payment gateway, shipping, and tax tools

Following the completion of how to build an eCommerce website from scratch, there are a few crucial components of building an eCommerce site to attend to, ranging from the setup of a payment gateway to the addition of shipping and tax tools.

Payment gateway

Customers nowadays anticipate a variety of payment alternatives. For example, some people prefer to use credit, while others like to pay with debit cards. Others prefer electronic wallets. Others might prefer a payment app. We recommend providing as many payment choices as possible to give clients exactly what they want.

For example, Stripe or PayPal is one of the most popular third-party gateways to make the payment gateway selection and setup process easier and more secure. If you forward the consumer to another website, ensure the data is securely encrypted before transferring it.

Your eCommerce platform should contain instructions for configuring your online payment gateway. Most will want you to input and confirm the nation of origin of your business before deciding which payment and currency alternatives are available in your location.

Set up a payment gateway
Set up a payment gateway.

Consider the following while selecting payment integrations:

  • Is it easy to integrate with your website?
  • Is the software PCI-compliant and secure?
  • What fees must you and the consumer pay?

Ideally, Shopify Payments is fully integrated with the Shopify platform, removing the need to set up a third-party payment gateway. Unlike third-party payment gateways, there are no additional setup costs with Shopify Payments. Significantly, Shopify offers the highest level of payment processing security while streamlining the checkout process to help convert browsers into buyers.

Integrate shipping

Shipping should be integrated with your eCommerce website for a smoother experience. It will also streamline operations, allowing you to concentrate on selling. However, before integrating shipping, decide on your shipping rules, such as free delivery, variable fees, flat rates, etc. Then, establish refund and return policies to bring transparency to your customer. 

You should also consider including a tax calculator to automatically calculate sales, shipping, and other taxes at checkout.

How-to-build-an-eCommerce-website-from-scratch-integrate-shipping

As said previously, you should choose the easiest eCommerce website built to define custom rules and integrate your most critical apps. It will allow you to provide excellent customer support while tracking the shipping cost with each sale.

Test and launch

Lastly, to build an eCommerce website from scratch, you must test it before launching. You must thoroughly test the eCommerce site before publishing it to your customers. Every button and link on the site must function properly. Even 404 error web pages should be developed with the theme in mind.

The following steps must be tested:

  • Test to see if you can add items to the cart and process payments. Most platforms allow you to test payment processing without billing your credit card. 
  • Check whether all emails are delivered to the correct inboxes after a purchase is made or denied. 
  • Lastly, examine how your site appears and performs on mobile devices. If feasible, test the site’s performance in several web browsers.

Congratulations! You are ready to launch once you have tested and double-checked everything, from product descriptions to category pages.

Announce the launch of your eCommerce site via social media, guest posts on popular retail blogs in your niche, and email marketing. You can also use sponsored advertising on Facebook, Google, and other platforms with enough budget.

Conclusion: How to build an eCommerce website from scratch?

After reading this blog, hopefully, you can answer the biggest question. The success of your e-commerce website is fully dependent on several aspects, and one of the most important is the navigation of your website. Can it be user-friendly and also convince enough to make the customer purchase?

Today’s digital era is intense competition. To stand out among thousands of eCommerce websites is all about producing value for customers, and the more value you can deliver, the more successful your business will be.

Before wrapping up, let’s outline the eCommerce website checklist below:

  • Choose a short, simple, unique, and easy-to-remember domain name
  • Pick the best and easiest eCommerce website builder based on your needs. Some of the most famous ones are Shopify, Magento, and WordPress
  • Select a suitable theme for your niche and customize it to match your brand identity
  • Set up main pages and create product listings
  • Provide a payment gateway, shipping, and tax tools
  • Test, launch, and marketing

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