Key stages of eCommerce website development

Posted by Stephanie Croucher | December 7, 2020

Key learnings

  • The five stages of an eCommerce website build
  • The experts you need on your eCommerce website development team
  • What is going to drive the best results for your website

If you think that you can simply tack a cart onto an existing website and call selling online done then you are sadly mistaken. A quality eCommerce website is driven by strategy, leadership and planning.

You can’t afford to leave anything to chance, so following a proven process is the only way to go. There are five key stages to a smooth eCommerce website build – and each has a role to play in setting up your business to thrive and prosper.

1. Plan for success

If you fail to plan you plan to fail… and that couldn’t be truer when you are developing an eCommerce website.

The worst thing you can do is to dive into talking about design on day one. Before you can even think about the design of your eCommerce website, you need to define your brand, target market, message and customer journey.

eCommerce website design is exciting… but without the strategic thinking to back it up, it will never hit the mark.

The roadmap you need for your website build is more than a project timeline with deliverables.

It should be based on a proven process that combines deliverables with the strategic leadership needed to bring it to life.

This planning should not fall on you. You should be able to get on with running your business while your website team is doing the heavy lifting.

2. Build a solid foundation: Brand strategy

Trust is pivotal to the success of your eCommerce website. Building trust is hard work. Losing it is easy. You need to ensure that your brand strategy builds a solid foundation of trust right from the early stages of your eCommerce website development project.

Defining your brand strategy is about understanding your market, their concerns and how your products answer those concerns.

Your brand needs to be consistent through every page of your website. If it isn’t, your market will be confused… and they will quickly click away from your website onto one of your competitors.

Once your supplier has clearly defined your brand and message for your market, they should be focusing on mapping out your customer journey. A carefully planned customer journey will take into account related products, highlighting relevant videos or pieces of content for the user to encourage them to learn more about you and to buy.

Every page, post and product on your website needs to have a clear strategy behind it. And it should be optimised for SEO.

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3. Design & development

When it comes to eCommerce platforms, there are plenty of options to choose from. But not all of these platforms are created equally.

Platforms like Wix or Shopify offer ‘quick and easy’ DIY solutions to get your products online… but they may feel inflexible as your range expands and your business grows.

A WordPress eCommerce website with a WooCommerce integration is a seamless solution that is actually quite powerful for your business. WooCommerce has the flexibility to scale as you grow your product range and the interface can be customised more than the basic platforms.

With a solid brand strategy and a clear picture of your eCommerce platform, your website designer will be able to create a design that will leave a lasting first impression. And then it’s over to your developers to bring it to life.

A task that is seriously underestimated at this stage is the time it takes to prepare and organise your product information. You will need a title, price, description and image for each product at a minimum. If you don’t have it ready to go, it can seriously delay your project.

There are multiple moving parts in any eCommerce website development. It’s vital you have an experienced team who are on the ball to guide you through the process.

4. Drive click-ready buyers to your website from day one

For most businesses, the single best way to drive quality traffic to your website is through search engine optimisation (SEO).

When someone is searching on Google, they are actively in the market to buy a product or service to help with their problem.

By positioning your business and products as the solution to their problem, you can take advantage of the high volumes of free organic search traffic.

By optimising from day one, you are setting up your website for success.

Every piece of content that you add to your website will build on that foundation and send all the right signals to Google.

When it comes to eCommerce SEO, you really need someone with a depth of experience in SEO for eCommerce website development.

They will be able to structure your website and the content and products that sit within it in the right way. And you will reap the benefits for years to come.

5. Measure, refine and grow

The digital world is fast paced and constantly evolving. Regardless of your industry, there is no space for complacency.

And that’s why the website development stage is only just the beginning. Measuring your traffic and conversions regularly is the surest way to find new opportunities and keep optimising your site into the future.

You should have a strategy to drive your eCommerce marketing, so you can be clear on goals, deliverables and results. Include a mix of activities such as content and email marketing, SEO, advertising and social media.

Your trusted partner in eCommerce website development

At Brilliant Digital, we follow a proven process for every website development project we work on.

We have developed this process over twenty years working with many hundreds of businesses in countless industries. We know exactly what it takes to deliver the sustained brand growth needed for a successful eCommerce website.

Read more website design articles.

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