What is eCommerce Website Development?
Learn more about eCommerce website development, including the costs, functions, and advantages of outsourcing an expert developer.
If you are looking to start an online business, your first question may be “where do I start?” In this article, we discuss the importance of eCommerce business in the marketplace and how a development company can be an asset to getting your eCommerce business off the ground. The development process for an eCommerce site is different from an average website, so having a basic understanding of their tasks will make hiring an efficient eCommerce website development company much smoother.
What is eCommerce Website Development?
Website development in general is the creation of a website using software development strategies to create a functional site. eCommerce website development is the specialized development of an online store. For many business owners, brick-and-mortar stores are not survivable. In order to grow a business, they have either diversified their selling to online and offline or completely moved to online shopping – creating their own eCommerce site. Within the eCommerce sphere, there are different options for development, including plugins, SaaS, and customized sites.
Plugins like WooCommerce are great because you can essentially attach the eCommerce component of your business to an existing website. They function within a specific framework (e.g., WordPress) so anything you would need from the website would apply to the plugin as well. Plugins are also typically open sourced, so the software is constantly being updated and there is no license to use it.
If you are having a website that will solely function as an eCommerce site using a SaaS (software as a service) like Shopify or Magento may be best for you. SaaS are sites that have all the functionality that you would need for your website, with customizable options. They are used on a subscription basis and are centrally located so the code is updated constantly and makes your site easy to use.
However, if you are creating a larger, more complicated website, then creating an eCommerce site from scratch may be best for you. By creating a site from scratch, it is completely customized to your needs and is not hindered by software updates from a central hub. It is worth noting that customized sites cost more, as updates that are needed will need a developer to write specific codes.
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What are the Different Types of eCommerce Development Tasks?
While eCommerce development is similar in structure to software or general website development, there are specific development processes that need to be specialized. We list them here for you, as well as questions to ask yourself to find the right eCommerce development services.
Determining the right platform for you
When you and your developer start to create your eCommerce online store, it is imperative to understand which platform you should use. Here are things to consider:
Are you a B2C or B2B business?
Depending on if you work with other companies or straight to the customer, the type of development and platform you use will change.
How responsive do you want the design to be?
A responsive design is very important for any site, but particularly eCommerce stores. With end-users browsing social media sites and finding products there, they are increasingly making their purchases on their mobile devices via websites or mobile apps. Be sure that your platform handles your design and store sufficiently.
How important is CMS functionality?
Depending on how simple your site is or how important the eCommerce functionality is, you will need to choose a platform that has good CMS (content management system) software. This will allow for dynamic content like blogs, block designs, and news alerts.
What type of product management do you need?
No matter the size of your business or the product you are selling, you will need a platform that makes it easy to manage your products or services. This includes tracking inventory, editing products, and updating information.
Payment Gateway Integration
Whether you are creating a site from scratch, amending it, or updating it, you will have a payment gateway that will need to function, so your business accrues income. Your developer will ensure that your chosen system (QuickBooks, Square, or PayPal) and ERP work with your eCommerce platform smoothly.
Optimizing Traffic to your site
An eCommerce developer is responsible for codes on your site – both front and back end. In order to do this, they must optimize the site so that the UX (user experience) leads the potential customer to the product within 3 clicks, is SEO (search engine optimization) friendly, has a cart abandonment process, shopping cart workability and the checkout process is seamless.
Themes are important for the look of your site and ensure that product descriptions are easy to read and the eCommerce website design is on-brand. Depending on the platform that you choose, your developer may be able to use a boxed template or create a customized one. Either way, they will have the skill set to understand which one is best for you.
The eCommerce store is most likely the lifeblood of your business. Nothing could be worse than when your site has stopped working or malfunctioned. One of the most important parts of a developer’s job (if not THE most important) will be to ensure that the site is running well, including checking on code and security hazards.
How Much Does eCommerce Website Development Cost?
When hiring for eCommerce website development services, there are two structures of costs that you can choose from: hourly or project-based. For a small project, the developer will likely propose an hourly rate, whereas a larger or more complex project could be a flat rate.
Hourly rates for development range between $20-$125 an hour, whereas flat rates can range from $500 and beyond. It is also important to consider the location of your freelancer developer. If they are in Australia, the price will be different than a developer that is in India; even the prices within the U.S. and Canada can differ.
In addition to the costs of the developer, there are costs associated with the site. If you choose a plugin or SaaS, there will be typical costs like subscriptions or setup. If you have a customized site, the costs will be more complex, which the developer will share in their RFP. Regardless of the type of site, you will also need to pay hosting and domain fees.
What are the Advantages of Outsourcing eCommerce Development?
If you have chosen to create an online store, it is time to figure out how to create the website. There are several advantages to hiring a developer for your eCommerce solutions.
More Time to focus on Your Business
When you outsource your eCommerce needs to a freelancer or agency, you can put the development tasks in their hands, letting you focus on the needs of your business. As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats so why add website developer to the list when you can outsource it to an expert?
When you look for a freelance or agency developer, you can search based on specialization, years of experience, and cultural fit. Online marketplaces like UpCity make this search super easy to do so that you do not have to hire a developer in-house.
Overall Cheaper Process
Outsourcing your development needs means that you are not stuck with one person or one team to complete your eCommerce development needs. If you were to hire in-house, the costs would increase at least by 30% to pay for benefits, equipment, and the time spent on onboarding the staff member. You should contract with a developer that fits your needs, culture, and communication style, and when the work is done, you end the working relationship, saving you money in the long run.
It is clear that there is a lot of work that goes into creating an online store. For startups or small business owners, outsourcing your eCommerce web development needs is likely the way to go to ensure that you are maximizing your business model, your digital marketing needs, and growing revenue. And UpCity makes it easy by providing a comprehensive list of eCommerce development companies.
About the author
Haldis Toppen is the Director of Communications of the cultural exchange organization, Greenheart International. With 10 years of experience in leading marketing and communication teams, Haldis has a proven record of successfully leading national campaigns and international programming. She is passionate about bringing the right message to the masses and finding those audiences who need to hear it!