4 Minute Read

eCommerce websites are costly, complicated, and worth it. In 2020, the share of eCommerce in total retail revenues rose to 21.3%, up from 15.8% in 2019. This number is expected to reach a staggering 95% by 2040. So, yes, eCommerce is also here to stay.

Just like any relatively large project, eCommerce website development projects are more likely to succeed when you follow web design and development best practices. Similar to following the steps to assemble your IKEA furniture, these best practices are here to make your life easier and enhance your eCommerce store and overall online presence. 

Aside from the obvious, which is working with a good eCommerce development agency, following best practices is how you can ensure the success of your eCommerce website project. When shortcuts are taken and best practices pushed aside, you’re putting your entire project at risk. Simply “winging it” means that success and failure become a matter of luck, and that’s a gamble you shouldn’t be willing to take.

Know What You're Going to Sell

Proper research is the foundation of any successful eCommerce website development project. The first thing you need to research is the products you’re selling, and the potential customer you're selling those products to. When you fully understand your products and target customers, this will translate into better decisions. Every decision you make, from selecting the right payment processor and payment gateway to the website design and overall marketing strategy for your eCommerce website, should be based on market and product analysis. 

For example, if you’re selling products online in the tactical industry, there are many restrictions and regulations. These can affect important decisions in your project. There are specific payment processors that you can use for tactical products, some platforms that don’t support the selling of products in specific industries, and the list goes on.   

When you- or the agency you’re working with-don’t fully understand what it takes to sell your product online, you’ll find yourself making all kinds of wrong decisions that’ll steer your project towards digital marketing failure. For retailers in the tactical industry, in particular, seek out an eCommerce development partner with tactical eCommerce industry experience.

Understand Your Business Model

Everyone is selling everything online nowadays, even on social media. Whether you’re selling t-shirts, tactical products, tractors, or even cookies, your business model is either B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer), D2C (Direct to Consumer), or a hybrid. Of course, there are other business models like B2G (Business to Government), B2I (Business to Investor), B2B2C (Business to Business to Consumer), etc. These subsets are less related to strategy. The 30,000-foot view, that impacts strategy, is whether you are operating B2B, B2C, or D2C.

B2C (Business to Consumer)-the business to consumer model is represented by all the companies you know and interact with as leads or potential customers. Everything from Amazon to Zappos and Walmart falls in the B2B category. 

B2B (Business to Business)-a good example of companies that fall under the B2B categories are Xerox, FedEx, ExxonMobile, the enterprise version of any software you know, or the furniture manufacturer that supplies furniture for your company. 

D2C (Direct to Consumer)-the direct to consumer model is when a manufacturer sells its products directly to consumers. A more traditional retailer business model goes from the manufacturer to a wholesaler to a distributor to retailers and then finally to a consumer. The D2C eCommerce model literally “cuts out” the middleman.

Why Does It Matter If My Business is B2B, B2C, or D2C? 

Knowing whether your business is working directly with customers or with other companies is critical. For example, historically, B2B transactions did not happen on a traditional eCommerce website. These websites in the past offered a completely different experience from that of B2C websites. 

In recent years, adopting the traditional B2C eCommerce model for B2B websites has been implemented with success. Due to the increased number of millennials in roles that make buying decisions, the need for a robust B2B eCommerce platform is crucial to stay competitive in the marketplace. The Demand Gen B2B Millennial Buyer Survey Report states that 73% of the respondents are involved in B2B buying decisions, and 34% of the respondents identified as the sole decision-maker for their department.

As more millennials transition from their lives as consumers into professional roles that involve making online buying decisions, suppliers need to focus on a smooth B2B purchasing process. The B2C experience is slightly different from building a B2B eCommerce website; many crucial components are the same. Ease of use, excellent customer service, product selection, price, and user experience

Choose the Right eCommerce Platform

Choosing the wrong eCommerce platform is like participating in an off-road race with a Ferrari. While Ferrari makes great cars at exorbitant prices, their cars will get you stuck in the mud at that off-road race. It’ll be an embarrassment, one that can be avoided by choosing an appropriate car. 

While there are many good eCommerce platforms in the marketplace, being good, in general, doesn’t necessarily mean good for your business. Choosing an eCommerce platform that won’t support your specific short and long-term business goals and objectives will make the entire process of developing your eCommerce website much more complicated. It’ll be an uphill battle where your tools are working against you, and as a result, your entire eCommerce business could fail.

In some cases, choosing the wrong eCommerce platform is more than just an inconvenience. Some eCommerce vendors are notorious for letting businesses invest in building their stores on their platform then changing their Acceptable Use Policy. If they suddenly decide to prohibit sales of your product, the policy enforcement team can give you a deadline for migrating your eCommerce website off their platform before they take it down.  

Adobe Commerce Powered by Magento (formerly Magento Commerce) is a powerful option for most eCommerce stores and provides the flexibility to create and implement superior web experiences. Especially when you work with a Magento Certified Solution Partner. Right now Adobe Commerce does not restrict online sales for retailers selling legal products.

TL;DR

Developing an eCommerce website is a thoughtful process. Many professionals from different disciplines need to work together to create an online store that’ll not only get the job done but set the groundwork for your online business to grow and prosper. And, for that to happen (a successful eCommerce solution), you should always follow eCommerce website development best practices.

These eCommerce site build considerations are tried and tested. They also guarantee that the technical effort put into your eCommerce web design project will get it moving in the right direction. Without these best practices, even the brightest technical talent can’t ensure that your project will be a success.