Ecommerce Development

How to Create an ecommerce Website from Scratch in 2024? : A Beginner’s Guide

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
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Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design and Development Services

One of the most profitable and high-ROI online investments that are not showing any signs of slowing down is ecommerce business. If you have decided to establish a name for yourself in this highly competitive sector, that’s a smart decision!

But the first step towards eCommerce success is making an ecommerce website from scratch. There are many things that come into play here, from user-friendly design to mobile responsiveness to secure payment gateway to product information and imagery, and many more.

Here’s a complete guide on how to make an ecommerce website from scratch that any beginner can follow. Check this out and see how it goes!

Why should you create an e-commerce site?

Why should you build an e-commerce site in the first place? Well, there are a lot of good reasons for that.

Global reach

An e-commerce website will allow you to reach a global audience, so you can have any target market in mind without considering geographical boundaries. You will be able to increase your visibility worldwide especially if you apply effective marketing strategies.

With proper segmentation, you can create new markets and audiences and boost your sales very high.

Cost-effectiveness

An e-commerce site will save you a lot of costs from not having to maintain a brick-and-mortar store. No physical place means you do not have to pay for rent, utilities, staff, and maintenance costs. It will also be easier to update inventory and add in new products as you see fit instead of thinking of how to adjust that to your physical place.

Streamlined customer experience

Physical stores have set operating hours whereas e-commerce sites are open 24/7 for visiting. It is also very convenient for customers to browse and purchase products from the comfort of their home or anywhere. With online payment systems, automated order processing, and customer service, eCommerce provides a streamlined shopping experience.

Data insights

With a lot of successful e-commerce sites to observe, you can collect valuable data and analytics about customer behavior, buying patterns, and preferences. You can use this information to strengthen your marketing strategies and improve customer experience. With an e-commerce website, you can understand market trends and adapt to them efficiently.

Personalization

You can facilitate personalized shopping experiences for your customers through your e-commerce website. With features like product recommendations, targeted promotions, and personalized content, you can cater to the exact needs of the audience. 

What to consider when developing an e-commerce website?

Before you go and take the necessary steps to make an e-commerce website, there are a few things you need to determine first. They are:

Products

First of all, your website will need products your target audience wants to buy. Keep high-demand products in your store so people will buy them right away once your website goes online. Provide pictures, descriptions, and reviews when they will be put up.

You will not have a lot of reviews right away but keep reviews open all the time. With gradual sales growth, reviews will start coming in. Customer reviews are a sign of trust for visitors and will help you get more sales.

You can also select a product to sell that has personal interest to you. You will naturally get sales on products that you know yourself and customers like buying from passionate people. You can also avoid competition if you sell a niche item.

Research trending products and keep an eye out for unfulfilled markets. You can earn a great deal of revenue by focusing on these two sectors.

User experience (UX)

User experience is arguably the most important aspect of any website, let alone your e-commerce site. You can have every product available to sell but if customers are annoyed by 

navigating your website, they will not be bothered to use it again.

With heavy competition from other e-commerce sites, it is essential to design a functional user experience for visitors.

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These are some clean websites that presents to you all the options in a clean manner while focusing on what type of products they are selling.

Payment methods

Most people are accustomed to whatever payment system they are used to. With a lot of payment methods available, try to incorporate as many methods as possible into your website. Most customers will leave a site if they do not find their preferred payment type.

Shipment

With customers all around the globe, you will need to figure out an efficient way to deliver these products to them. Set up connections with channels that will be able to deliver the products into their hands. 

You will also need to decide if you want to charge for shipping from consumers. People expect free shipping from new businesses so you will have to balance the costs accordingly.

Policies

Your policies will be very important in determining how you will conduct business and transactions, especially as you are starting. Return policies, damaged products, misplaced orders, etc are common and unpleasant problems to deal with but you will need to have a fixed guideline on how to deal with them.

Give enough leeway for customers to not feel overwhelmed with the rules but make sure that the policies do not hamper your operations in the long run. 

Budgeting

You will incur a lot of costs when setting up your website; so, create a budget to keep control of your spending. You will need to spend a healthy amount for your domain name, hosting, marketing activities, and many more. Do your research and spend your budget wisely.

Marketing

Before you start creating your e-commerce website, start building an online presence. Have a detailed marketing plan and map out a timeline of campaigns you will be running throughout a period. 

Research relevant SEO keywords, create a brand of your own, and have a social media presence. Use paid ads to reach target demographics. These actions will give you a head start when you launch your website and help you generate sales.

Creating an e-commerce website from scratch: Step-by-step

Building an e-commerce site can sound complicated and time-consuming, but it can be done with no hassle if you follow the given steps.

Decide on a domain name

Select a domain name that best conveys what your company is about. This is where your audience will find your website. Keep it short and easy to remember. Try to avoid names that are similar to existing popular domains, which will lose you traffic and revenue. Pick out a few names in case your desired domain is not available.

Once you have decided on a few domain name ideas, go to any domain registrar to see what is available. Some domain registrars are Godaddy, Bluehost, and Google Domains. You can purchase your domain directly from here but it might be easier for you if you register directly from the site builder you will be creating your website.

Select a site builder

Here are some top e-commerce site builders that we recommend.

Dedicated e-commerce platforms

These are the simplest ways you can launch a full-scale website very quickly. They allow a lot of e-commerce-specific features like secure payments, shipping labels, email marketing, multichannel sales assistance, and much more. They are very secure to use and offer a wide range of expansions. Some notable e-commerce dedicated website builders are:

  • Shopify: Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms and they are great for startups and drop-shippers. Their starting plans costs 29$ a month.
  • Magento: Magento offers a range of features and plugins that aim to make it easy to set up your online store. Some of these features include a shopping cart, order management, product management, payment processing, and a lot of other stuff. They also provide a lot of marketing tools to promote your products and services online. While you can use Magento for free, their paid options can be a tad bit expensive with a rate of 1988$ per month.
  • Shift4shop: Shift4shop (formerly known as 3dcart) is a great option for your e-commerce platform that offers the usual benefits you will need. One upside to using Shift4shop is that you do not have to pay for it if you are making over 500$ through sales, otherwise, you pay 29$ a month.

One thing to note is that it is unfortunately only available for US-based sellers.

General website builders (that also offer e-commerce services)

Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix are general website builders that also offer a lot of e-commerce-related features. These are very popular builders known for their ease of use and are quite prevalent in the DIY and side-gig communities. If you already happen to have a plan with them, you can switch over to an e-commerce plan.

Remember that these builders may not offer some features a dedicated e-commerce platform would. So if you are not already using one and need to pay for a new plan, you might as well put your money on a dedicated website.

Free e-commerce platforms

Free e-commerce platforms are great if you do not want to incur any setup fees or recurring expenses, especially if you are not planning on expanding too big. Be mindful that they do not have all the features available to a paid service or some of them may be behind a paywall. Some prominent free platforms are:

  • Square free online store: Opening a free account in Square’s online store gives you access to it, which lets you expand your business effortlessly online.
  • Freewebstore: Freewebstore will allow you to list 20 products with all the e-commerce features you will need. You will need to pay a premium fee to host more products.
  • Ecwid: This site works similarly to Freewebstore but offers 10 products to host instead. Similar to Freewebstore, they also let you host more products for a premium fee.

Select a theme and branding

A theme or a template will determine how you present your website and products to visitors. All the website builders mentioned here will provide you with a lot of options when it comes to these themes. When selecting, these are the factors you should take into consideration.

  • Great for product display
  • Quick loading times
  • Mobile friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Cost
  • Customizable

Make sure whatever theme you choose is customizable enough to incorporate your brand elements into it. Customers should be able to differentiate your website from others due to your branding.

Here are some templates for ideas. 

Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design and Development Services
Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design and Development Services

Don’t forget to make sure mobile users are also accounted for. Here is an example of a good mobile layout.

Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design and Development Services

Create product pages

In this part of creating an ecommerce website from scratch, you have to make sure that your product pages are displaying all the necessary information a buyer will need to make up their mind. Here are the things to consider when creating them.

Product photography and video

Photos and videos are the best way a customer can check out a product from your website as they can’t hold it. Include high-quality photos of all your products on their pages from multiple angles. If the product can be a little complicated to show by photos alone, include video demonstrations. Provide a sense of scale in these photos to provide more understanding to the visitor.

The more you show off how your product looks, the more trust a customer will feel toward your website.

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Product Description

You should include a thorough product description with all the relevant information. Include size, weight, material, and if required, a list of FAQs about the product. Include keywords in titles and descriptions because it will help customers find the specific items they are looking for along with helping you rank higher with SEO.

Pricing

Most site builders will let you put individual prices of products along with group offerings. Utilize them and make it clear to the customers about the prices. They also let you show discounted prices so use them as well. Many also have a record-keeping feature so that you can keep track of sales made.

Product options

A lot of products come with variations such as color or size. Let customers know of it when they come to the product page.

Product SKUs

Stock-keeping units (SKUs) should be available along with product codes. Some visitors may want to search using these product codes for something very specific. It also lets you keep track of inventory.

Setup other pages

Although your business is the main attraction, you also need to design other important pages. Among them are:

  • Terms and conditions
  • About us
  • Get in touch with us
  • Delivery & returns

Make sure that all the policies are clear and leave no confusion among consumers. Especially things like return policies, which can get a little muddy when customers try to return anything.

A blog, media mentions, a sizing chart for clothes and shoes, and a FAQ website would also be helpful to include. Make sure your URL and meta description are on every page you create.

You can establish a stronger connection with your target audience and increase conversions with well-written copy that embodies your brand voice. Also, responding to queries and concerns from customers boosts their confidence in your offerings and reduces the number of emails and calls for customer support.

Set up payment systems

Most site builders, like Shopify, and Magento have built-in features to implement payment systems which you can easily set up. They also let you allow tax calculations, printing of shipping labels, and other marketing capabilities. 

If by any chance, your site builder does not have integrated payment systems, you can use top payment platforms like Paypal, Square, and Stripe which are plug-and-play compatible with all site builders. All you have to do is click a few buttons and set up your account, and you will be able to process payments easily.

You can configure the sales tax rates that clients will be charged after setting up your payment processor. You can apply taxes to some or all of the orders and products on an eCommerce website, and all of the platforms make it easier to collect sales taxes. The sales tax rates you charge are determined by the state in which you reside and, for the most part, by the total amount of sales.

Set up shipping and delivery systems

Integrate shipping software to your website to speed up the order fulfillment process. Products can be easily connected to this shipping software, which allows you to choose carriers and shipping options, print labels, and alert consumers when their orders ship. 

Just like with payment systems, a lot of the mentioned site builders have integrated shipping systems that can easily be set up with the click of a few buttons. If the platform you chose to build on does not provide such options, you will need to link up a third-party shipping software. These third-party software can be beneficial to a lot of businesses but they are known to drive up expenditure. 

Once you set up your shipping software, you can determine how you want to charge for shipping. A lot of systems let you charge real-time shipping rates, which is the actual shipping charge of each order. You can also decide to charge flat rates based on the order, or even provide free shipping.

Test and launch

Once everything mentioned has been set up, do a few test orders and see if everything is running as intended. If there are no issues, then launch your website for use.

Conclusion

Hope this guide helps you in setting out with your new business venture. And if you are still not sure about starting yourself, then you can try contacting us. Our team of experts will guide you through the process and take you and your business to success. We wish you all the best.

FAQs

Q. How profitable is e-commerce?

It mostly depends on the market you are targeting and how in demand your product offerings are. Just like most businesses, e-commerce can bring you great profit if you can identify opportunities and capitalize on them.

Q. How much will it cost to make my e-commerce site?

The price of making an e-commerce website varies as it depends on a lot of factors like which platform to build or what features to implement. You will need to create an ideal budget and explore the options available to you.


Andy Gibson
VIP Contributor
Andy Gibson
WordPress Developer

Andy began using WordPress since its inception. He has worked on numerous projects designing, coding, and operating WP sites for over a period of more than 14 years.

Andy has a knack for developing a complete platform from just an idea and enjoys optimizing complex integrations so they run for years on their own requiring little or no maintenance. He also crafts features based on what the job at hand calls for; rather than using pre-existing plugins and themes for an easy way out.


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