The main marketing lesson of 2020 everyone in Canada learned was the important role of eCommerce (electronic commerce) in running a business. The importance of having an eCommerce website stood in front of all businesses, even those that were willing to stay offline. While people love their Brick and Mortars (physical offline stores), the websites are just too convenient, and for every Black Friday, there are plenty of Cyber Mondays. So, it's time for businesses to start caring about their eCommerce web development. But what are the stages of creating an online eCommerce website? What are the costs of it? Where to start?
The stages of creating an E-commerce website
Briefly, the stages of creating an eCommerce website can be defined as:
- Identifying company's goals
- Working on branding strategy
- Choosing a platform
- Hiring a developer
- Creating an online content
Finding the identity
To build an eCommerce website means fully grasping the company's abilities and needs. Is its model all about B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer)? It's important to understand what is going to attract customers to the shop, which makes branding vital for creating an appealing eCommerce site. It shouldn't only be kept in mind during conversion (converting a user to a customer), but become the prime task for every company before going online.
Choosing an online platform
A successful eCommerce website begins with choosing a platform for it. The choice depends on what a company is about and where its future customers are from. Some eCommerce platforms can be well-adjustable while others require a developer. For some stores, built-in themes are going to be enough. For example, BigCommerce offers features available for entrepreneurs right after setup. But there are still plenty of shops with unique needs that can't be satisfied with pre-made eCommerce site templates and such. If one size doesn't fit all, why not delve more into custom eCommerce? Creating a custom site, themes, unique custom eCommerce software increases eCommerce functionality and helps achieve customers' recognition of a brand.
When choosing a hosting provider, it's necessary to make sure that integration with popular payment systems will be available for the created eCommerce site. Entrepreneurs should stay in touch with transaction systems popular in the world or, if targeting the domestic market only, in Canada.
Investing in SEO and Off-page optimization
Although bringing a lot of advantages for an online company, eCommerce websites have their own finer points. An eCommerce platform can help a company to reach people from all corners of the world. But will they reach back? Will they have a chance to even find the shop on the Web and increase its pageviews? This is when the time of search engine optimization and off-page optimization comes. When done properly, SEO and off-page optimization ensure that potential customers won't miss the shop while surfing the Net.
eCommerce content writing
When delving into the world of online marketing, it's important not to be distracted from creating content: taking photos, writing descriptions of products, and providing customers with sufficient information they search for. For entrepreneurs, this stage of creating a custom site may be the most interesting and creative part of the whole process.
Cost of an eCommerce website
Defining the ongoing costs of work is always complicated. It's when one can say: "It depends". It depends on the eCommerce business itself, on its policy, its client's needs. Even when opting for pre-built design features, creating an eCommerce website isn't going to be completely free. There are setup costs and monthly web hosting costs (e.g., $29.95 monthly at BigCommerce). The custom development costs aren't the same for different companies as all of them need different strategies in their online development. The prices for creating a custom design for an eCommerce site may start from $1000 and go higher. The costs also depend on the complexity of the tasks. Large eCommerce requires more effort and hours to work on its website's UI (user interface), so the price goes up for bigger companies. BigCommerce offers a variety of premium themes. They can be more affordable than going full-custom.
Additional eCommerce spendings to consider
Some hostings take transfer commission for transactions. For example, PayPal, Stripe, and Authorized.net charge their users $2.9 per transaction. Additional payments are also possible. Also, a company that plans to enter eCommerce must purchase a domain name (appr. $2-20/year) and SSL certificate (which stands for "Secure Sockets Layer", at least $20-30/year). This certificate ensures the safety of transactions and connection to the website and is a must-have. For stable development, it's important to spend some time, money, and effort on mastering an inventory management system to effectively track down the expenses, sales, and profit margins.
What eCommerce can cost in total?
To sum up, the development of an eCommerce website can be described with three stages:
- Establishing an online shop on one of the eCommerce platforms
- Promoting it by with SEO and customization development
- Maintaining its growth by expanding online
The costs of the site may vary, and decent budget planning is essential for the owners. They should consider the cost of a domain name, an SSL certificate, an eCommerce software, fees for transactions, and investment in a custom website. Depending on the size of the store, the owners can pay from $5000 to $50000 for their shops' online development.
Is eCommerce worth it?
The price of creating an eCommerce website may be lower at the start, as not so many companies need full customization development right away. But with time, investing more is going to be essential for maintaining a company's growth. And granting the Internet's all-presence nature, this money is going to be well-spent.