How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch & Start Selling Products Worldwide

Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, or a custom-built online store?

There are multiple ways to develop an eCommerce website from scratch. The method and technologies that a store relies on have a direct influence on future success and sales growth.

We have created this article to define the best way to make an online store.

Options Comparison to Create eCommerce Site

Here are the most popular solutions that are used to build an eCommerce website from scratch.

1. Shopify

2. Magento

3. WooCommerce

4. BigCommerce

eCommerce website builders are more suitable for small and mid-sized sites without plans for extensive scalability, usage of new technologies, or an innovative online sales approach.

Note: Do not make preliminary judgments, as we will further explain why it is more reasonable to custom develop an eCommerce website rather than with the help of the following web builders.

  • Not all website builders are designed for eCommerce
  • Bottlenecks and the inability to scale an online business
  • Need for coding experience and technical knowledge when using some eCommerce website builders
  • Expenses like hosting, domain, themes, plugins, development, etc, are still required
  • Need to hire an experienced web development specialists
  • Limited set of provided functionality
  • Website design choices can be limited to what the tool has to offer
  • eCommerce websites are very similar and do not necessarily transfer the unique feel and touch of a brand

Custom eCommerce websites are created to meet the specific needs of a business and are developed from scratch with a modern tech stack to handle high traffic loads, as well as apply a unique and user-friendly interface.

Custom eCommerce website development has the following benefits:

  • Ability to cover specific eCommerce business needs
  • Easy scaling and feature customization
  • Easier website support and maintenance
  • Faster and easier bug fixing process
  • Unique design instead of templates or themes with no room for customization
  • Opportunity to be unique and apply interesting interface and design elements (illustrations, animations, branding)
  • Adaptability of eCommerce website to different device sizes (responsiveness)
  • No issues with load times, thus lower bounce rate [consider that 40% of users leave a site if it does not load within 3 seconds]
  • Unlimited functionality of your choice
  • Possibility to quickly adopt the latest technologies and stay one step ahead of competitors
  • Ability to make it unique by adding an attractive and innovative interface along with design elements
  • Complete ownership of website code and design
  • Ability to choose the best hosting provider that will sustain your load

Reasons to Start an eCommerce Website from Scratch

The following are aspects that support the idea of creating your own eCommerce website, namely:

  • More purchases
  • Lesser investment
  • Convenience
  • Reach a wider pool of clients
  • M-Commerce
  • Use of innovations

To sum things up: The idea to make an eCommerce website from scratch is justified by the enormous market and amount of money that is circulating within the industry.

We at MLSDev do know what it takes to create not just an eCommerce website, but a successful project with thousands of users. Take a closer look at the GoPuff project illustrated below.

Check out detailed information from the GoPuff Case Study where we show our experience in building eCommerce websites and complex projects.

GoPuff is an on-demand delivery service and online store with thousands of daily users in 500 U.S. cities. The main idea behind GoPuff is to make shopping stress-free and fast, be it day or night.

Step by Step Process to Make Your eCommerce Site

  1. Conduct market analysis and study competitive online stores
  2. Define goals and KPIs for your retail business

3. Identify USPs of your products and online service

4. Select partners for delivery and packaging

5. Get all the paperwork done

6. Choose and hire a reliable web development vendor

When looking for vendors, take the following aspects into account:

  • experience in software development
  • successful eCommerce websites they have developed
  • reviews of previous customers
  • consider whether they provide ongoing development and support

7. Decide on the eCommerce website features

8. Set up a scalable eCommerce project architecture

9. Create a customer-centric UX/UI design for online store

10. Plan and start a marketing strategy

The recommendations include:

  • Start with SEO techniques and keywords that should be woven into the content throughout your website
  • Create a strong digital marketing strategy, including advertisements, special offers, discount programs, etc.
  • Start PitchBox relationships with media
  • Conduct personalized outreach
  • Participate in, or organize, events, etc.

11. Test, deploy, and launch your eCommerce website

12. Connect with your shoppers

Custom eCommerce Website Development

Generally, the eCommerce website development process consists of the following services involved in custom software development:

  • Business analysis (project backlog and functional specification creation)
  • UX/UI design for web
  • Web back-end and web front-end development
  • Quality assurance and testing
  • Project management
  • Ongoing support and development

Core Functionality of Custom eCommerce Sites

The set of features is almost always the same for every online store. At the same time, some of them can vary to meet specific business needs and can include.

  • Registration
  • Search and review products
  • Profile
  • Products page
  • Checkout system
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • CMS (Content Management System)
  • Dashboard
  • Integration with services

Key Considerations for eCommerce Websites

This guide would not be complete without mentioning these important aspects that influence eCommerce site development, namely :

  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • Server set-up
  • Security
  • Website localization

Cost & Timeline to Create a Custom eCommerce Site

The final price of a custom eCommerce store development will range between $50,000 — $240,000+ and the timeline 4–6 month to build the basic version, 6–9 months to create a medium version, and 9+ months to build a large and complex eCommerce site

Generally, the cost and timeline to create an online store depend on the following factors:

  • Software development vendor (local or outsourced, hourly rates, etc.)
  • Design complexity and level of customization
  • Scope of functionality and its complexity
  • Integration with 3rd party services
  • eCommerce website hosting, domain, marketing, SEO and other expenditures

The table below summarizes the rough eCommerce website cost and its timeline.

Bottom Line: MLSDev Expertise to Build an eCommerce Website

Here is our final piece of advice to ensure the success of eCommerce website:

  1. Find trending products that customers will buy. You may use solutions like TrendHunter and Google Trends to identify them
  2. Align your business with your passion, as you are about to invest a large amount of your time on it
  3. Come up with an innovative concept or service idea
  4. Find the best web development company that can help you with the technical aspect
  5. Promote your online store and always strive to make it better

Note: This is a summary of a guide.

Check out more details and recommendations to build an eCommerce website inside the complete article on the MLSDev blog.

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