A Practical Manual To Custom Ecommerce Website Development in 2023

6428 Updated 01.11.2023
Yuriy Matviyuk

Development Tech Lead


Table of contents

What do we know about Custom eCommerce website development?

Even though the demand for Custom eCommerce website development has nearly doubled in recent years, the majority of companies do not have an online store. By doing so, these organizations not only lose their competitive edge, but they also lose customers. Furthermore, eCommerce companies have not fully explored the tremendous potential of having an eCommerce website that could help them gain a competitive advantage. 

Excellent Custom eCommerce website development doesn’t just happen by chance. They are meticulously developed from start to end to convert casual visitors into paying clients. So that you can figure out how to create the perfect custom eCommerce website, the Northell team has prepared a detailed guide for you.

What Is Custom Ecommerce Website Development in 2022?

Custom eCommerce website development is a complex process of creating and designing an online store unique for each business from scratch. It is one of the most effective methods of building online stores. 

According to Statista, retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach (US $) 4.92 trillion in 2021. Furthermore, as a result of the recent pandemic, the demand for online stores has increased because there is no longer a possibility to visit brick-and-mortar stores. Prior to the lockdown, eCommerce was quite steady, with online stores operating without serious issues.

The situation has substantially changed since then. It is difficult to measure the number of issues that eCommerce stores face. Unstable traffic spikes, long loading times, low scalability, and an altered supply chain are among them.

Trends and new technologies in custom eCommerce website development

Creating the ideal eCommerce website design is not as simple as it appears. To build a strong website, proper planning and consideration of the newest eCommerce trends are required. When it comes to custom eCommerce website development, trends are vital to consider because they show us the ideal way to create web products.

This section will explore various eCommerce web development trends and new technologies 2022 for creating a modern and efficient eCommerce website.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is critical for online businesses to meet their revenue growth and goals. It enables them to manage their marketing processes and automate campaigns that run across many channels. For example, it could be email automation, CRM systems, social media automation, etc.

When eCommerce and marketing automation are combined, you have a winning mix for online business. You can deliver the best shopping experience while also creating successful marketing efforts to reach your target audience. 

Northell has wide experience in marketing automation products.

We not only make the UI/UX design for different projects, but we also improve existing products.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is one of the innovative technologies that has arisen in recent years. Artificial intelligence has emerged as a popular technology for eCommerce websites as well as a hot trend in custom website development.

AI assists organizations in a variety of ways, including product recommendations and predictive analysis. AI and machine learning are increasingly being utilized to improve customer service and personalization.

Here are some examples of AI applications for eCommerce businesses:

  • It assists businesses in learning more about their clients.
  • Businesses may use AI to provide a customized customer experience based on their needs.
  • Connecting customer data with real-time insights can improve the purchasing experience.
  • Customer service duties can be automated with the help of AI-powered chatbots.
  • Pricing and discounting practices can be optimized.

On-site Personalization

Personalization has become a prominent eCommerce trend as more and more website owners personalize their sites to match the demands and desires of their clients. Businesses can collect data about their clients and then provide a personalized experience to different users based on that data.

Personalization is quite important for organizations because it allows them to provide unique user experiences depending on their interests and preferences.

Main Benefits of custom eCommerce website development

Custom eCommerce development is an approach that helps create an online platform that allows members to buy branded things straight from the company that sells them. More and more business owners are considering setting up an online store. They have a brilliant business idea and want to actualize it rapidly by taking advantage of the benefits of electronic commerce over traditional methods.

The main benefits of custom eCommerce site development are:

  • controllability;
  • uniqueness;
  • great perfomance;
  • scalability;
  • many possibilities for customization;
  • adaptability;
  • flexibility.

Why do you need a Custom Ecommerce Website Development?

Custom eCommerce website design gives you complete control over the look and layout, as well as the features and operations of the shopping cart. Unlike rental solutions, which are fixed and rigid and do not allow you to tailor the experience, a custom eCommerce website gives you a lot of flexibility.

Do you want to simplify your checkout process by making it a one-step procedure? You can accomplish this with a custom solution.

Do you want to provide a rewards program for frequent shoppers? Done.

Do you want shoppers to be able to share their purchases on social media? It is possible.

You get greater influence over the success of your online sales efforts when you can fully control and dictate the user’s buying experience. You can easily obtain better outcomes if you can selectively guide and prompt the user based on best practices and proven approaches.

Custom-made websites have the following technological advantages:

  • Scalability and extensibility are important considerations. 
  • Customization is more easily implemented.
  • Maintenance is better.
  • Capacity for integration is wider.
  • High level of security.

Let’s also consider marketing and sales reasons:

  • Custom eCommerce websites are very adaptive.
  • Custom-made websites load fast.
  • AdWords performance is great.
  • The bounce rate is low.

Custom Ecommerce Website Development: Feature-Sets

custom eCommerce Website Development

When we are talking about custom eCommerce websites, it is all about design, functionality and features. Which eCommerce features are essential to your success? In general, customization allows you to build such features as you want.

To know exactly what features to add to the eCommerce website, it is essential to analyze your target audience, product and competitors. We have compiled a list of the most trending features that will make your web product valuable and attractive to users.

User-related features

  • User profile. You may achieve three goals by implementing the user profile functionality: build user loyalty, improve customer retention, and gain useful data and analytics on customer activity.
  • Registration. The user can register using a variety of methods, including social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and so on), email, or phone number. For added security, consider using two-factor authentication.
  • Shopping history. Customers who have access to their shopping history have a pleasant sense of control over their data, which allows them to offer customers an updated version of a product or direct their interest to related things.
  • Wishlist. This function will assist you in cutting your drop-off rate. Wish list data can be used for analytics or as part of an email marketing campaign. This is also an excellent approach to obtain email addresses from unregistered people.
  • Coupons and discounts. According to Statista, coupons and discounts are the most powerful elements influencing customers’ purchase decisions in the United States.  
  • Checkout system. This feature should be at the top of your list when considering how to design an eCommerce website from the ground up. According to some research, easy checkout is the most preferred website feature among online customers in the United States.

Product Functionality

  • Product categories. Advanced categorization systems with unique categories and subcategories are found on the top industry-leading websites. Check companies’ websites like Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Mango, etc., and you will be convinced of this.
  • Product page. Product pages should include all relevant information about a product, such as pictures, short and long descriptions, and any other information that customers could find valuable, such as size, special characteristics, etc.
  • Product reviews and ratings. Customer reviews help build trust in your business, which can lead to more sales and revenue.

Search Functionality 

  • Filtering feature. The greater the number of filtering choices available on the website, the better. Filtering options may include price, size, color, and customer reviews.
  • Prompts and suggestions. Plan and code your search engine so that it can suggest search results and detect incorrect inputs.
  • Voice search. The powerful feature of voice search will increase the popularity of your website among millennials and GenZers.

Admin panel

  • Reporting and analytics. An interactive dashboard with reports, charts and statistics lets you monitor how products sell, the store’s general success, and compare data from different time periods to discover any client behavior patterns.
  • User management. This feature refers to the ability to create, update, and delete user profiles from the admin panel. It’s also used to offer customized discounts and to enroll customers and user groups in various promotional campaigns.
  • Order management. Your eCommerce website should allow you to create, modify, and cancel orders, as well as view order statistics.
  • Integration with other services. If you want your eCommerce website to be robust and fully-fledged, enhance it with a number of integrations. This can be delivery, email marketing tools for promotions and others.

Payment methods

When evaluating how to build an eCommerce website from the ground up to meet all possible user needs, you should also consider the FinTech market’s rising trends. Alternative payment methods aren’t required in custom eCommerce website design, but they can provide a number of advantages.

For example, alternative payment options provide flexibility, which is beneficial to user retention. Second, alternative payment methods are increasingly popular in areas where mobile internet use is the norm, and they are gaining traction in more conservative parts of Europe and the United States.

When considering how to build an eCommerce website from the ground up to meet all future customer needs, you should also analyze the growing trends in the FinTech market.

In addition to the increasing popularity of traditional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether and others, many countries around the world are establishing digital central bank currencies or DCBCs.

What Team do you need for a Custom Ecommerce Website Development?

While starting a website development eCommerce oriented team is extremely important. Here is a short list of team members you should consider to have:

  • Design & Development team. At Northell, we have skilled and experienced web designers and developers, so whether you are looking for a reliable service, we can provide you with it.
  • Managers. They will manage the main areas such as sales, procurement, accounting and audit.
  • Marketing team. They will be responsible for your business promotion across different channels.    

What do you need to check Before Starting Work on your Ecommerce Website?

Custom eCommerce web development is a complex process. You should think carefully about all the details and plan everything clearly. Here are some of the things to check before starting a custom eCommerce web design: 

  1. Research your business industry. Before you start the eCommerce web development process, one of the most crucial things you should do is conduct a complete study and investigation of your business industry  You must be aware of the numerous loopholes and take into account your industry’s target clients. Investigate their tastes, age, and other criteria to help you build effective product categories, descriptions, payment gateways, product photos, and other features. 
  2. Define your eCommerce website development budget. It’s easy to go crazy with your account, especially while your eCommerce store is still in the early stages of development. However, you must exercise extreme caution in sticking to the budget and using tactics that will assist you in doing so. It is generally a good idea to adjust your budget whenever you make a financial decision. 
  3. Focus on the competition. A business is all about standing out from the crowd. Consider the numerous advertising methods and features that other business owners use to attract clients. It is therefore critical that you assess their working parts by entering the relevant catchphrases into a browser.
  4. Think about the needs of your target audience. Make potential customers a top priority. You must be familiar with their culture, geography, demography, and shopping habits. The best option is to create a questionnaire. This will enable you to develop a set of relevant responses, which will help in the creation of your eCommerce business.
  5. Build an MVP (Minimum viable product). An e-commerce MVP’s purpose is to examine a specific business’s ability to encourage customers to buy the goods and services they offer. Suppose you want to build a creative and innovative shopping platform with a high conversion rate, backed by a particular algorithm designed to deliver a great user experience and the best products. In that case, you should enlist the assistance of an MVP.
  6. Organize team training. Before investing in a project, ensure that you have the necessary talent in place. You may encounter certain productivity and efficiency issues in your team from time to time, so share important knowledge and skills with your team.  

Custom Ecommerce Website Development: Step-by-Step Guide for Owners

We have already discussed custom eCommerce websites trends, features and steps you need to take before custom eCommerce web design. Let’s now move to the custom eCommerce website development process. The Northell team has prepared a step-by-step guide that you can use to create your online store.

Step #1 Business analysis

Before starting developing a custom eCommerce website, the first thing you should do is conduct market analysis and study competitive online stores. Define the products or services you will provide and research which stores provide similar ones. You should also define goals and KPIs.

Depending on whether you plan to resell products or offer your own, you may need to think about your pricing strategy, the amount of income you need to generate, manage expenses, and other financial aspects of starting an eCommerce business and make it financially profitable. 

Don’t forget to identify the USPs of your products and online services. To build a successful custom eCommerce solution from the ground up, choose a unique and easy-to-remember name and find a suitable eCommerce domain. Investigate how you may differentiate yourself from your competitors, as well as what your unique selling proposition will be.

Step #2 Functional Specification Creation

Then it is time to think about the functional specification of your custom eCommerce solution. A functional specification is typically a formal document used by software engineers that explain in detail a product’s expected capabilities, appearance, and interactions with users. A functional specification may comprise the following aspects, depending on the project and team:

  • Project scope refers to the project’s objectives, features, tasks, deliverables, costs, and timeframes.
  • Risks and assumptions are concerns that may have an impact on the product’s functional design.
  • Product overview – a description of how the solution will solve a specific problem for the intended audience.
  • The functional requirements are placed in the context of a user action in use cases. This depicts what happens from the user’s point of view.
  • Requirements are the basic elements of a product that describe what it accomplishes.
  • Configuration entails the processes required to set up a product, such as creating a user account.
  • Non-functional requirements are non-essential features that aren’t central to the product’s design.
  • Error reporting entails describing how the product will handle errors or exceptions.

Step #3 Select the Best Design & Web Development Partner

To make your eCommerce website development process smooth and organized, of course, you need a professional and skilled partner. Consider the following factors when looking for design and web development partners: 

  • experience in providing outstanding software development services;
  • great examples of eCommerce websites they created;
  • feedback of previous clients;
  • whether they provide continuous development and support.
Have an idea of the next great project?

Northell specializes in eCommerce websites for small to large enterprises, and we can talk about creating an online store that meets your needs and business goals.

It is always preferable to hire a single agency or company to design and develop your custom eCommerce website so that you have consistency, no delays, minimal communication issues, and package pricing that saves you a significant amount of money as opposed to hiring multiple vendors and agencies for design and development.

Step #4 UX/UI Design For Ecommerce Website

When it comes to eCommerce website design, your options may vary depending on your company’s capabilities (budget), aims, and ambitions. In general, remember that in order to be successful in the market, you will need a resource that attracts, satisfies, and encourages clients to make additional purchases.

Create an eCommerce website that is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly and feature-rich. Experienced web designers will know how to build a custom eCommerce website from the ground up and design the ideal purchasing procedure to enhance the likelihood of converting users into paying customers.

Step #5 Web Development (Front-end & Back-end)

The part of a custom eCommerce website that customers see in their browsers is referred to as the frontend. It’s also how quickly it loads for them – keep in mind that the fastest loading speed is no more than 2.5 seconds. If it takes longer than that for your online store to load, most users will be turned off and will visit other sites instead. Because loading speed influences search engine rankings, it is critical to maintaining it fast.

The frontend should also follow responsive design principles, i.e., it should be mobile-friendly. Nowadays, a large percentage of clients globally prefer to access the web and make purchases online using their smartphones.

On the other hand, a backend is where more complicated, “internal” activities happen, such as order processing, site infrastructure being filled with content, updated, and secured, and other modules being added, etc. This is where the website’s software magic happens, allowing it to be scalable, multipurpose, and adjustable.

Step #6 Quality assurance and testing

Before releasing a custom eCommerce solution to the public, it is critical to test it. Otherwise, you risk losing both your money and your initial market reputation. Even if it’s just a minor issue, modern users don’t like seeing something that isn’t working properly.

By hiring a tester or QA specialist, you will receive professional assistance in fixing all software and design faults so that you may release a fully “finished” product. Dedicated specialists use A/B tests, manual and automated testing, and other methods.

At Northell, we use our own UX Laboratory for design testing and UX Eye Tracker that allows studying user behavior during interaction with the web product.

Only 1% of companies use this method.

It helps optimize the interface and product design. If you want to create a really great custom eCommerce design, contact us, and we will help you find a suitable testing method.

Step #7 Ongoing support and development

Our congratulations! You’ve done it! You worked your way through it step by step, and now your custom eCommerce site is up and running, generating revenue and pleased consumers. From now on, you should be responsible for the support and maintenance to keep your website afloat and resilient in the face of all online adversity.

Step #8 Work with Feedback

Don’t stop after you’ve finished eCommerce site development and gotten your online store up and running!

Connect with your customers, allow them to contribute their thoughts, observe their actions, and use the information gathered to plan future online business expansion and improvement.

Custom Ecommerce Website Development: Cost and Timeline

How much does it cost to build an eCommerce website? Of course, you are interested in this question. Depending on the eCommerce website needs, the final e-commerce site cost will range from $60,000 to $300,000+. The process might take 3-6 months for a basic version, 6-9 months for a medium-sized website, and 9+ months for a big, complex custom eCommerce site.

In general, the cost and timeline of an eCommerce website design are determined by the following factors:

  • software development company (local or outsourced, hourly rates, etc.);
  • the level of customization and the complexity of the design;
  • the functionality’s scope and depth, as well as its complexity;
  • third-party service integration;
  • hosting, domain, marketing, SEO, and other expenses.

Custom Ecommerce Development vs CMS. Comparison of technologies

A content management system (CMS) is pre-configured software that provides all the features needed to build and maintain a website. These platforms are pre-loaded with a variety of themes and plugins to make customizing easier and reduce the amount of time it takes to tailor the platform to your individual requirements. Overall, a CMS enables people with little technical knowledge to easily design and publish attractive and functioning websites.

Ecommerce site development from scratch is a time-consuming and complicated process. Still, in the vast majority of cases, it enables you to have a more distinctive, secure, and trustworthy system. Furthermore, depending on your needs, custom eCommerce development may be the only way to account for the complexity of your system.

Custom eCommerce solutions will outperform CMS-based alternatives. On small projects with little user traffic and functionality, CMS platforms provide similar results. However, as your company grows, you may find that improved performance, design, and efficiency are required to improve user experience.

Custom development gives great attention to security in each scenario, ensuring that your website is always protected to the highest standard. CMS relies on a variety of third-party plugins, each of which has its own set of security concerns.

Typical Mistakes in Custom Ecommerce Website Development. (How To Save Your Money?)

Mistakes are opportunities to learn. That is, without a doubt, the case. However, we believe we can all agree that it would be preferable to avoid making mistakes in the first place.

Here are some mistakes that new eCommerce sites should avoid:

  • No professional development team. Much of the success of your custom eCommerce website depends on the team that builds it. Take your development and design teams very seriously. In the future this will help you save money and time.
  • No target audience. Customers need a reason to shop with you rather than Amazon, and one of the most important factors is culture. If you want to win the eСommerce giant, you must target a specific audience and earn their trust.
  • No responsive design. Your custom eCommerce website should work properly on whatever device is used to access it. According to Pew Research, at least 51% of people currently use their smartphones to make purchases, and the percentage is growing.
  • No or empty ‘About’ Page. Take the time to flesh out your About page so that you can convey your unique selling offers.

How to Hire a Design & Development Partner for Custom Ecommerce Website Development? (The Best Tips in 2022)

With so many eCommerce web development service providers to choose from, it can be tough to choose one that matches your needs. As a result, in order to assist you in choosing the best eCommerce web development agency, we have compiled a list of important aspects to consider:

  • Company’s portfolio and experience.
  • Market trustworthiness.
  • Customer feedback and testimonials, as well as service quality.
  • Project delivery timeliness and convenience.
  • Expertise and a one-of-a-kind skill set in accordance with your company’s needs.
  • Ability to meet deadlines and time to market.
  • Professionalism and expertise of the development and delivery teams.
  • Additional assistance and services.

In case you are interested in how to hire true specialists in web design and development, check our recent articles: 

Custom Ecommerce Website Development: Summary

We hope that we could provide you with a better understanding of how to develop an eCommerce website step by step. This guide may be difficult to follow at times, but that is because the world of eCommerce is so full of nuances and details. If you miss anything minor, it could have long-term effects.

Do you need professional guidance and implementation of something special?

We have extensive experience in custom eCommerce website development and can help you build an exceptional online store from scratch.

We Design & Develop World-Class Digital Products

Our team builds strong digital solutions that have a positive impact on organizations.

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