How To Build An Ecommerce Website From Scratch?

July 8, 2024

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The booming ecommerce landscape requires a detailed plan to build an ecommerce website successfully. In Singapore, the revenue in this market is expected to reach US$5.04 billion in 2024. The impressive growth rate of 10.75% means that the market can exceed US$8 billion by 2029. You may have a lot of ecommerce business ideas to stand out in this dynamic landscape. Yet, you really need a place to show them off. Instead of listing your products on an ecommerce marketplace, owning your online store is a strategic move

With our experience in ecommerce website design and development in mind, we’ve created the infographic to point out key steps in how to build an ecommerce website from scratch.

Planning and Foundation

First, you need a detailed plan that guides the whole ecommerce strategy. This stage involves five small steps:

Define Your Niche and Target Audience

Identify your ideal customers and the products you will sell. Once you know your target audience clearly, you can tailor your marketing efforts and product offerings. 

Define your niche, too, to develop an ecommerce website successfully. The niche allows you to set your brand apart from competitors and create a loyal customer base. 

Research the Competition

To build an ecommerce website or an online store, you need to analyze the competition so you can get valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. The research helps you find the best practices to adopt. Moreover, learning from competitors can shorten your learning curve and speed up the website development process. 

Choose a Business Model

There are several types of ecommerce business models to choose from, such as:

  • B2B (Business to Business) Ecommerce: Businesses sell products or services to other businesses, like industrial equipment or office supplies. 
  • B2C (Business to Consumer) Ecommerce: Businesses sell products directly to consumers. These products are often the retail ones, like home goods and clothing. 
  • C2B (Consumer to Business) Ecommerce: Individuals sell products to businesses, mostly freelance or marketing services. 
  • C2C (Consumer to Consumer) Ecommerce: Consumers can interact with each other on ecommerce platforms like eBay. 

Develop Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity includes your brand name, ecommerce logo, and colors. A strong brand can boost customer recognition. So, invest in professional ecommerce website design services to develop an appealing brand image that resonates with your target audience.

Domain Name & Web Hosting

Your domain name acts as your online store’s address. Hence, it should be short, easy to remember or contain your brand. Choosing a domain name too similar to an existing one can hurt your SEO and lead to lost traffic. This is especially true if the existing brand is well-known.

Web hosting is where you store your site’s data. You can choose from cloud hosting and on-premise hosting. If you prefer a hands-off approach to security and updates, choose the first option. Meanwhile, on-premise hosting requires ecommerce businesses to own the servers. Since they need space, maintenance, and installation, they are more suitable for large corporations.

E-commerce Platform Selection

choosing the right ecommerce platform to build website

You can easily build an ecommerce website tailored to your business needs by choosing the right ecommerce platform

Importance of Choosing the Right Platform

The choice of an ecommerce platform impacts your website’s functionality. It determines how you can manage your online store and scale your operations. The right platform provides a powerful feature set to support your business as it grows.

Popular E-commerce Platforms

The top ecommerce platforms in Singapore are:

  • Shopify: POS functionality, omnichannel selling, dropshipping integrations, and built-in selling features. 
  • WooCommerce: Best for WordPress users, selling pre-orders, online bookings, and tons of extensions. 
  • Magento: Adobe integration, shopper analysis, and advanced personalization features.
  • Wix eCommerce: Free templates, recurring payments, beginner-friendly editor. 
  • Squarespace: Free SSL certificate and domain, award-winning templates, and no transaction fees. 
  • BigCommerce: Built-in marketing and sales tools, feature-rich plans, and no transaction fees. 

Consideration Factors

When selecting ecommerce platforms, focus on these factors: 

  • Features: Ensure your chosen ecommerce platform has the necessary tools for your business’s operation. Built-in marketing and SEO tools help enhance your store’s visibility. 
  • Ease of use: If you are not tech-savvy, find a platform with a user-friendly website builder.
  • Scalability: Some ecommerce platforms offer limitless scalability. They help you ensure your website can grow at the same speed as your business. A powerful example is Magento, known for its scalability and robust security features. This makes it a compelling choice for B2B businesses and enterprises with complex needs.
  • Pricing: Most platforms come with different pricing plans. Almost all top ecommerce platforms in Singapore typically provide transparent pricing with options like free trials, monthly plans, discounted annual subscriptions. Others require contacting them directly to get a customized quote based on your specific needs and transaction volume. Whale basic plans have simple functionalities, while others provide advanced features at a higher cost. You can also build an ecommerce website for free with some open-source platforms. A popular option is WordPress.  
  • Customization: You need to tailor your site to your brand’s needs. So, choose a platform with extensive customization options. 
  • Mobile friendliness: Mobile Commerce is one of the top emerging ecommerce trends in Singapore. Ensure the platform gives you responsive themes and templates that adapt to various screen sizes. Then, your customers can have a seamless shopping experience on any device. 
  • Security: The platform should have robust security measures to protect your customer data and prevent fraud. 

Find the Perfect Fit! Explore the pros & cons of top Singaporean ecommerce platforms in our blog post: Top 10 E-Commerce Platforms in Singapore

Ecommerce Website Design and Development

This stage focuses on UI design and product description. You also need to set up the payment gateway and checkout process. 

Creating a User-Friendly Interface (UI) and Design

When developing an ecommerce website, create an intuitive layout that guides users through the buying process. Ensure your site functions well on all devices. Features like navigation menus and search tools are important, too. 

The look of your website also plays a vital role. You need a visually appealing store to keep your customers engaged. Plus, the ecommerce website design process should match your brand’s identity. 

Product Listings and Descriptions

Customers buy things online without trying them out. Thus, they desire detailed descriptions to ensure the product meets their needs perfectly. 

So, as an ecommerce business, set up high-quality product images, clear pricing, and descriptions to showcase your offerings effectively. Some companies use AR/VR to create virtual images so their customers can see the product from different angles. Once they get all the information, they will make the right purchase decision. 

After creating the product catalog, organize and categorize it. Then, you can manage it more easily, and your visitors can find what they want quickly. A well-structured catalog enhances the shopping experience and even boosts conversions. 

Payment Gateway Integration

Payment gateway integration is an important stage in ecommerce website development. Here is the step-by-step guide:

  • Choose a payment gateway: Third-party tools like PayPal or Stripe offer ease of integration, PCI compliance, and robust security. Remember to consider transaction fees while working on this step. 
  • Integrate shipping: You need to automate shipping calculations and give clear policies. This step involves working with variable fees, flat rates, or sometimes free shopping. Also, establish transparent return and refund regulations to avoid confusion. Most popular ecommerce platforms seamlessly integrate with Singaporean logistics providers like DHL or Singapore Post. If you choose to build a custom ecommerce website from scratch, integrating with these providers’ APIs can be complex without ecommerce development expertise. Partnering with a Singapore-based ecommerce website design and development company like TechTIQ Solutions can streamline this process. You can leverage their expertise to ensure smooth integration and a user-friendly experience for your customers. Explore our Ecommerce Design and Development Services!
  • Add a sales tax calculator: This step is optional. If you choose it, implement a tax calculator for accurate sales tax. You need it for fee computation at checkout, too. Ensure it follows local tax regulations and integrates smoothly with your payment gateway. 

Streamlining the Checkout Process

Your customers have completed almost all the steps and are now at the checkout page. Even so, they may quit if the final step is too complicated.

A simple and efficient checkout helps minimize cart abandonment and maximize sales. You can simplify the checkout process by reducing the number of steps needed to complete a purchase. Give clear instructions and ensure the checkout is easy to navigate, too. 

Content and Functionality

build an ecommerce website content and functionality

A successful ecommerce strategy requires a lot of effort in creating content, SEO, and analytics. Once you nail it, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful ecommerce business in Singapore. 

The Power of Engaging Content

You need engaging content to enhance user experience and attract customers. The most common types of content used for creating an ecommerce website are:

  • Blog posts: Informative blog posts can draw organic traffic to your site. They establish your identity in your niche and improve SEO. 
  • Product reviews: Customer reviews build trust and provide proof to boost confidence in your products. Then, they will increase ecommerce conversion rates
  • Videos: You can use videos to demonstrate your product features and usage. The lively videos work more effectively than texts.

SEO Optimization for Discoverability

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means you optimize your website content so it can rank higher in search engine results. It can attract more traffic, leading to higher conversion rates without advertising costs. You can optimize SEO in these ways:

  • Keyword research: Find relevant keywords that potential customers use to search for products. 
  • On-page SEO: Add keywords to titles, meta descriptions, and body content. Your site can then be mobile-friendly.
  • Off-page SEO: Build backlinks from famous sites to increase your site’s authority. 

Website Analytics and Tracking

After building your ecommerce website, think about how to track its traffic and user behavior for data-driven improvements. There are five metrics to focus on:

  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):  You measure the total profit from a customer over their relationship with your online store. 
  • Returning visitors: You can measure customer satisfaction by checking the percentage of users who return to your site. 
  • Pages per visit: Count the number of pages users visit.
  • Bounce rate: Check the percentage of users who leave after checking only one page to identify potential issues with your site design and content. 
  • Time on site: Longer times on your site per visit imply better user engagement. 

Establishing Customer Support

Customer support is one of the most critical factors when choosing an online store. So, to satisfy your customers, provide robust customer support that responds to customers immediately to maintain their trust. You can also add a FAQ section to address common questions. This way, you can reduce the need for direct support. Another way is developing an ecommerce chatbot. This chatbot will enhance your customer support services with advanced features like 24/7 availability, faster response times, and automated order tracking capabilities.

Testing, Launch and Ongoing Management

Once you’ve done with the development steps, test your website before launching it. There are many things to do here. 

Testing and Debugging

Thorough testing ensures a positive user experience. You can conduct functional testing and usability testing across multiple devices. Also, check if all links, buttons, and menus work properly. 

It would be best to simulate the entire user journey to see how your customers experience the website. You can even test adding new products to the cart and process payments. Many platforms allow you to test transactions without actual charges. 

Marketing and Promotion Strategies

You need a robust marketing strategy to attract potential customers. Use various channels such as email marketing, search engine advertising, and social commerce to reach more audiences. 

Social marketing is on the rise now. The number of users was expected to increase by 0.2 million (about 3.4%) between 2024 and 2029. So, if your budget allows, invest in paid advertising on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. It will be much easier for you to increase visibility and drive traffic. 

Security Maintenance and Data Backup

You must protect your business and customer data. Hence, implement strong security measures such as SSL certificates and software updates. Also, monitor your website’s performance regularly to identify potential issues and fix them soon. 

Additional Considerations for Successfully Creating An Ecommerce Website

Additional Considerations for Successfully Creating An Ecommerce Website

Creating an ecommerce website is a complicated process. Aside from the key steps above, you need to pay attention to other aspects, such as:

Mobile Responsiveness

When you develop an ecommerce website, ensure it adapts seamlessly across devices. A mobile-responsive design automatically adjusts to different screen sizes, making navigation efficient. 

Encouraging Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are invaluable social proof. Positive reviews refer to high-quality products and services from your business. They can provide potential sellers with important information and influence their purchase decisions. 

So, encourage your customers to leave reviews by offering incentives like discounts for the next purchase. This approach will surely improve your ecommerce conversion rate. 

Shipping and Returns Policy

Outline clear shipping costs, delivery times, and multiple options to avoid any surprises for your costumes. Transparency is essential for ecommerce logistics. Your well-defined policies reassure customers that they can return or exchange products easily if needed. Ultimately, you can increase customer trust and loyalty. 

Legal Compliance

You must comply with ecommerce regulations in Singapore to avoid pitfalls and ensure smooth operation. They aim to protect your business and customers. 

For example, the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA) protects consumers’ personal data. It outlines the rights and obligations of businesses collecting such data. 

Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) Act determines what you can show on your ecommerce platform. Once your website’s content adheres to Singapore’s broadcasting standards, you can operate legally. This rule is particularly important if your site contains multimedia content like live streaming and videos.

Enhancing Your Ecommerce Website With Complex Systems

Imagine a customer placing an order on your website. The order is automatically captured in your CRM system, updating the customer’s purchase history. The ERP system then receives the order, checks inventory levels, and triggers the fulfillment process. Meanwhile, accounting software records the sale and generates an invoice. This integrated approach creates a smooth and efficient ecommerce operation.

The specific systems you choose and the level of integration will depend on the size and complexity of your business.  For smaller businesses, a single platform might offer functionalities that combine CRM, inventory management, and basic accounting features. As your business grows, you might need to consider integrating separate, more robust systems for each function.

Want To Build Your Own Ecommerce Website? Partner with TechTIQ Solutions

TechTIQ Solutions is an experienced ecommerce website development company in Singapore since 2017. Partnering with us, you will gain these outstanding benefits:

  • We have more than 250 ecommerce developers and designers. Our developers excel in creating secure, functional, and user-friendly websites. They have years of experience in the industry. Thus, they know what works best for your business. 
  • We provide bespoke solutions tailored to your specific needs. Our team starts each project by learning your requirements, which act as guidelines for the ecommerce development process ahead.
  • TechTIQ Solutions has expertise in top ecommerce platforms in Singapore like: Shopify, WooCommerce or Magento and others.
  • We offer cost-effective ecommerce management services: including content management, video production, image design and ecommerce SEO. 
  • We ensure seamless integration with other systems, including payment gateways, logistics providers, inventory management systems, customer resource management systems (CRMs), 3PL, PIM, and enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs).
  • Beyond development, we offer ongoing support and maintenance services
  • With our dedication to success, you can focus on your core business activities
  • We offer an affordable ecommerce development package just from SGD $5000 for small businesses and startups in Singapore

Ready to launch your dream ecommerce store?  Let’s explore how our ecommerce website development services can bring your vision to life.  Contact us today for a free consultation!

Successful E-Commerce Websites Built From Scratch with TechTIQ Solutions

Fruta

beautiful online grocery store for fruta

Faced with industry resistance to new technology, TechTIQ Solutions built a next-generation ecommerce website from scratch for Fruta. Our custom platform empowers suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers with real-time inventory tracking, improved transparency, and faster delivery times – ensuring fresher produce reaches satisfied end-users.  This innovative solution streamlines the entire fresh produce supply chain, fostering seamless collaboration and data sharing between all stakeholders.

Action Wholesale Product

scalable b2b ecommerce website for action wholesale products

TechTIQ empowered Action Wholesale Products with a custom B2B ecommerce website, streamlining the ordering process for both vendors and buyers. This comprehensive ecommerce solution features: enhanced product pages, seamless account management, real-time order visibility, flexible checkout options, abandoned cart recovery and dynamic shipping costs. By implementing these features, TechTIQ has transformed Action Wholesale Products’ B2B ecommerce experience, fostering a smoother and more efficient buying journey for all stakeholders.

Need a custom ecommerce site? Let our experts handle it! Get in touch to learn about our top-notch ecommerce website design and development services! Get a free quote!

Conclusion

To build an ecommerce website, you need to identify your niche, choose the right platform, design, and develop the site. This process also involves integrating payment gateways and implementing effective strategies. 

Now is the time to start your ecommerce journey! The potential of ecommerce websites will help you stand out in the competitive digital marketplace. Let’s start!

Picture of Dr. Wei Kiong Tan

Dr. Wei Kiong Tan

CEO of TechTIQ Solutions Pte

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