The eCommerce industry grew significantly as millions of businesses worldwide moved to the digital space. Locally, 72% of organizations started operating remotely at the beginning of the pandemic. At the same time, 52% of Filipinos learned to shop online for their everyday needs to the community-wide restrictions across the country.
Even as the world slowly sees some sense of normality restored, eCommerce trends and numbers are expected to rise. Last 2021 alone gained 900 million additional online shoppers globally. That’s 2.14 billion digital consumers, or roughly 28% of the world’s population.
As interest in online shopping activities grows, businesses need to continue meeting consumers’ ever-increasing needs and expectations. This means investing in tools and technologies to improve their service continuously.
If you’re looking to build a website or optimize your existing one, follow this step-by-step guide on how to customize an eCommerce website.
Advantages of a Custom eCommerce Website
Customizing your website allows you to cherry-pick features and functionalities that’ll improve your customers’ online shopping experience. Customization is especially important to set yourself apart from the competition, which is one of the biggest challenges in eCommerce.
Let us explore in-depth the many benefits a custom eCommerce website can give your business.
Custom website development grants you total control over the features you want to have in your online store. Most eCommerce platforms offer low-cost features that make your online store more user-friendly and accessible. You can also look for third-party programs if you want more options.
Selecting the features grants you the flexibility to choose only the ones that you’re willing to spend money on. Some examples are user-generated reviews, high-resolution photos and videos, and multiple payment options. This way, you can avoid unnecessary functionalities and pre-installed bloatware that only add up to your expenses.
Custom eCommerce website development enables you to scale up your browsing experience to meet the ever-increasing demands of your consumers. This means your website grows as your business grows. Although developers initially set your website up using basic architecture and roadmap, you can add features according to business changes.
For instance, a custom website gives you the capacity to accommodate a larger volume of visitors and even traffic spikes as your brand grows more popular.
3. Build Time
Website builders often have key features ready to use and available themes primed to be populated with your content. The custom eCommerce website development timeline can range from days to a few weeks, depending on the complexity.
Most eCommerce platforms offer a wide array of customizable templates, which are beneficial if you want to launch immediately. These templates are often optimized for user experience, ensuring that each page is ready for launch.
Additionally, these customizable templates allow for seamless functionality across all sections and pages of your website, which positively impacts the overall browsing experience. Whether you’re using these sections for informational or promotional purposes, you have the flexibility to design them as you please while maintaining your brand communication style.
You have the option to resolve maintenance issues in-house or enlist the help of the eCommerce platform’s readily available technical team. The technical team’s top priority is updating security fixes, incorporating feature additions, and general maintenance.
As you start integrating more third-party programs into your website, it’s better to hire an in-house web development team so that you can quickly resolve any bugs or issues. This way, you can also avoid unfortunate website crashes that lead to decreased traffic and sales.
Custom-built websites can cost less in the long run than websites with ready-made templates. You choose what you only need for your business and avoid unnecessary functionalities and bloatware that only add up to the cost.
How to Customize eCommerce Website
Follow these steps in achieving a well-optimized and highly-functional eCommerce website:
- Conduct competitive analysis
- Define goals and KPIs
- Select partners and vendors
- Decide on the website features and integrations
- Plan a user-focused UI/UX for the online store
- Test and launch the website
1. Conduct competitive analysis
Competitive analysis is a strategic research process that aims to identify and evaluate your competitor’s growth, products, and marketing strategy. The goal is to determine the commonalities in how your competitors build their websites, present their products, and create their online shopping experience.
These shared features tell you what consumers look for in a business like yours, giving you an idea of how you should and shouldn’t build your website. A competitive analysis also allows you to look for gaps your business can fill. For instance, if most of your competitors don’t offer a mobile website option, you can be the first to do so.
2. Define goals and KPIs
Your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) act as your compass for website development. These will determine the features and functionalities, vendors, user experience, and other aspects of the build.
Let’s say, for example, that the goal of your eCommerce website is to increase digital sales. To achieve this, your website should have landing pages that offer a clear path to conversion and make online transactions easier.
You also need CTAs and features that encourage users to visit your nearest branch, such as discounts for in-store purchases.
3. Select partners and vendors
Choosing the right eCommerce partners and vendors is equally important as selecting the technology to utilize. Make sure that your web developers, designers, couriers, payment partners, and other service providers can deliver the function you need from them.
For instance, if you want your online store to accommodate multiple payment methods, then you need to choose a payment gateway partner that allows you to do so.
4. Decide on the website features and integrations
List the features you want for the first version of your website and add-ons for future iterations and upgrades. Most new eCommerce websites start with basic features, such as easy-to-use checkout functionality, custom reporting tools, multiple payment options, and the ability to add new eCommerce features.
Additional features worth considering are advanced SEO capabilities, email marketing integration, blogs, article sections, and content management capabilities, to name a few.
It’s best to utilize an eCommerce platform like Vessell that offers easy integration with different third-party applications and programs. This way, you can continuously upgrade your website to meet your consumer base’s ever-evolving needs, priorities, and expectations.
5. Plan a user-focused UI/UX for the online store
User-friendliness is key to customer satisfaction and sales. Hard-to-use eCommerce sites risk losing potential customers to businesses with better-designed online stores. Consider features that make online shopping as easy as possible for your customers. These include improved search functions, accessible registration forms, placement of the homepage button, and effective navigation.
6. Test and launch the website
Once you’ve covered the abovementioned aspects, it’s time to test your eCommerce website before the official launch. Website testing allows you and your team to spot and eliminate bugs, errors, and obstacles that prevent users from proceeding to the checkout page.
The process includes functional, usability, security, performance, A/B, and mobile application testing. Every eCommerce website must be subjected to these quality assurance measures to avoid downtime, delayed response, and poor usability, which could be incredibly detrimental to site performance and the overall business.
Custom Ecommerce Website FAQs
Is it worth customizing an eCommerce website?
Yes, as it will cost substantially less in the long run. It also gives you complete control over aspects, such as the features you want to include on your eCommerce website.
What technologies are needed to build an eCommerce website?
The basics you’ll need include domain names, ports, browser compatibility, networking, database system, web tools, server software, and web software.
How much does a custom eCommerce website cost?
The cost of a custom eCommerce website will depend on the scale, design, and features you require.
How long does it take to build an eCommerce website from scratch?
The time it takes to build an eCommerce website from scratch may take days or upwards of a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the custom eCommerce website design.
Customize Your eCommerce Website
The competition in the eCommerce industry remains fierce, especially nowadays, with more entrepreneurs realizing the full potential of the online space. Businesses must keep up with the demands of their industry and target market, which entails investing in tools and technology that will allow them to provide better customer service and experience.
With more racing to create their eCommerce websites as soon as possible, business owners see the real advantages of creating a custom-built eCommerce website. By keeping these tips in mind, you can speed up the creation of your eCommerce website and ensure functionality upon launch.
If you seek a reliable eCommerce platform to partner up with and aid in your custom website development, check out Vessell Philippines. Vessell aims to boost your digital presence and take your business to greater heights. For inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact the Vessell team; we would be more than happy to assist you.