How to make an e-commerce site and what is the cost in 2020?

In the era of digitization, companies need to provide customers with the ability to purchase various products online. It is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic when people from all over the world are having to stay at home and buy goods via their tech devices.

Although today many sectors are suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak, the retail and e-commerce industry is seeing rapid growth. Even if you haven’t created an e-commerce website yet, seize the moment and do it now. An e-shop will allow you to connect with users via the Internet and provide services much easier—without physical stores and expensive rent.

In this article, we’ve considered how to build an e-commerce platform. We have also calculated the cost of developing an e-commerce website and are ready to show it to you. But first, take a brief look at how the coronavirus quarantine is affecting the industry.

How is the COVID-19 outbreak impacting e-commerce?

As online shopping is one of the most popular Internet activities globally, the e-commerce sector is rapidly developing even without the impact of coronavirus. In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide reached $3.5 trillion , while online retail revenues are forecasted to increase to $6.54 trillion in 2022, which is almost 2 times higher.

How COVID-19 is affecting the retail and e-commerce industry:

  • Under the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, growth trends in online retailing have seen significant ups and downs the third week of March 2020, in comparison with the same period in 2019 (Statista).
  • In Italy, online retail transactions increased by 101% during the third week of March 2020. In the United Kingdom, the weekly growth rate reached a peak after the national lockdown imposed at the end of the month (Statista).
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is going to hire 100,000 workers in the United State and increase hourly wages by $2.
  • Currently, grocery delivery services are witnessing exponential business growth. In accordance with the report by Apptopia , mobile app downloads raised by 124%, 160%, and 216% for Shipt, Walmart Grocery, and Instacart respectively.

Now retailers need to quickly digitize workflows in order to maintain efficiency. According to the survey by Digital Commerce 360, 22% of marketplace players are modifying their business strategies with the view of adapting to new conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most effective ways to achieve this goal is to build an e-commerce site.

Why should you build a custom e-commerce website?

Before moving your business online, you will need to choose between two options—a market-ready template or a custom e-commerce website. While the price of out-of-the-box solutions is lower and you can save thousands of dollars, tailor-made platforms provide many other important advantages.

The main benefits of creating a custom e-commerce website:

  • Improved page load speed
  • Better user experience
  • Enhanced security of user and payment data
  • More SEO-friendly as sites that load faster rank higher
  • You will have a unique user interface design. There is no risk that someone will use the same template

The cost of a custom e-commerce platform with the key features varies between $12,000-$78,000 depending on the location of an IT service vendor. A bit later, we will compare prices in different countries and regions.

At Arateg, we believe that quality is always a top priority. Our own site—not an e-commerce one but the essence is the same—was designed and written by our team. As a result, now you can enjoy high speed and performance:) However, if your budget is limited and you need to display a few goods on the page (5-10), you can purchase an off-the-shelf template and customize it.

How to make an e-commerce site in 2020?

To build an e-commerce site, you will have to buy a hosting and domain name. You will also need an SSL certificate to encrypt data. The cost is the following:

  • Domain name — $10-$20 per year
  • Hosting — $100-$200
  • SSL certificate — $6 to $150

E-commerce platform development consists of the following stages:

  1. Discovery stage, when an IT service vendor analyzes the project goals and requirements
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Testing
  5. Debugging
  6. Deployment
  7. Maintenance

Each software project that a company builds from scratch, passes the same steps. However, e-commerce website development has some peculiarities. For instance, you will have to integrate a shopping cart and payment gateway.

Technologies that you can use to launch an online shop are:

  • Frontend (what users actually see on the screens and interact with): JavaScript, TypeScript, HTML5, CSS3, React, Angular, Vue.js, Redux, MobX, etc.
  • Backend (what powers the frontend and implements a business logic): PHP, Python, Ruby, Flask, Django, Node.js, Express, Laravel, OctoberCMS, etc.

The choice of the tech stack for e-commerce platform development depends on your project requirements. For example, Python allows programmers to faster write applications and increase system scalability, JavaScript and TypeScript let them release modern high-scalable solutions, React is a great library for creating modern intuitive user interfaces.

To see how to make an e-commerce site and calculate the cost, let’s consider in detail the process of building an e-shop starting from design.

E-commerce website design

If you want to build a successful e-commerce site, create a customer-centric design that provides the seamless user experience and intuitive navigation. This includes a variety of important elements.

First, your design should be responsive, which means that your product is correctly displayed on all devices, involving desktops, smartphones, and tablets. As today many users prefer mobile shopping, make sure that your website looks great on mobile screens.

Second, the user interface should be appealing, so that you can easier attract and engage customers. So, develop a modern user-friendly design with engaging elements like animations. The fewer time people spend searching for the required goods, the better.

How to create an intuitive e-commerce website design:

  • Integrate numerous search filters
  • Add as many product categories as needed
  • Place the search bar on every website page
  • Don’t overwhelm the website with complex and unnecessary design elements.

The creation of an intuitive user-centric design will help you attract clients and increase sales. This stage generally takes about 80 hours, and includes wireframing, prototyping, and UI testing. Explore the 7 key principles of a successful UI/UX design.

Let’s move to the development process. What technologies can be used for making a custom e-commerce website? What functionality should it have? Have a look.

Top 8 features that you should add to your e-commerce site

So, you are going to make an e-commerce site. But where should you start? What functionality has the highest priority? We’ve collected a list of the key components that you should build and indicated the time for their development based on our practical experience.

1. A catalog page and product search

This is the page or pages where all products and their prices are displayed. A search engine provides customers with the ability to browse goods and quickly find what they need. This feature can include product categories, search filters, search on the map, and defining user location. The first two are those that you should integrate first of all.

A few tips to build a great e-commerce site:

  • Allow customers to specify as many parameters as possible: the vendor’s name, product size, color, price, availability, etc.
  • Offer users the possibility to compare similar products in a table.

Time: 120 hours (including frontend and backend development).

2. Shopping cart

A shopping cart is a feature that every e-commerce site must have to let people buy products. Make sure that the total price of products is automatically calculated when the user adds or removes goods from the cart.

Time: 40 hours.

3. User registration and authorization

Your customers should have a personal account where they will be able to trace delivery status. This will relieve users from filling out personal data such as name and address every time they want to buy something.

However, don’t oblige customers to register immediately when they visit your website. They should have the ability to research the platform, find the desired products, and only then register for making purchases.

Time: 25 hours.

4. Product description page

When all goods have a separate page with the description, it’s much easier for the customer to view all the characteristics and make informed shopping decisions. You can upload various photos, videos, and reviews for each product to engage users. As a consequence, more people will turn to your online store.

Time: 40 hours.

5. Checkout page

To make a full-fledged e-commerce site, remember about developing a checkout page. Users must have the ability to verify that they have correctly filled out the information such as a list of products, payment method, delivery time and day, as well as change order details.

Time: 56 hours.

6. About the company page

Create this page to increase customer credibility. Describe what kind of products you offer, what achievements your company has, the process of checking the quality of goods or standards they are compliant with, and other important information.

Time: 10 hours.

7. Payment and delivery page

This page describes delivery locations, shipping and payment methods, terms of delivery, and other information depending on your needs. Here you indicate cities to which you deliver goods, the ways customers can use to make purchases (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, cash, Stripe, etc.), and cost of delivery.

Time: 10 hours.

8. Terms of Use page

A Terms of Use page is an online agreement that describes the rules, guidelines, and behavior, to which online customers agree to use to access your e-commerce platform. Since it serves as a legal contract between your company and users, it is an important element of your website.

Time: 6 hours.

9. Administrator panel

From an admin panel, you will easily manage the content of your custom e-commerce website, adding new products, tracking order delivery status, editing and creating descriptions. Furthermore, you will be able to provide role-based access to the system.

Time: 80-100 hours.

10. Third-party integrations

When creating a custom e-commerce website, you will need some third-party services. At least, you should make the integration with a payment gateway, for example, Stripe, PayPal, or Braintree that will process electronic transactions and protect payment data.

There are many 3rd party integrations that you can leverage on the web platform. For example, you can connect Twilio, a cloud communications platform that enables businesses to interact with customers via emails, text messages, phone calls, AI-based chatbots, and other ways.

We also recommend you to use Google Analytics that allows tracking and analyzing user behavior in real-time. Google Analytics gives information on the number of site visitors for different periods, cities, and countries, bounce rate, the length of sessions, user age, etc.

Time: 16 hours per one third-party service (on average); we will count 2 third-party services for the cost of an e-commerce website, which is 32 hours.

How much does it cost to build an e-commerce website?

To calculate the cost of creating an e-commerce website, you need to know the development time and hourly rates of an IT service vendor.

In total, the time for building an e-commerce website with the key features together with design is approximately 499-519 hours . Certainly, the final price depends on project complexity (for example, you can make an e-shop without an “About the company” page or instead, you can add a blog and integrate multiple third-party services) but it gives a rough idea of what budget you need.

Salaries of designers and engineers significantly vary across different countries and regions while the quality can be the same.

The cost of creating an e-commerce website design

The hourly rates of UI/UX experts:

  • In the USA, designers work at $50-$150 per hour
  • In Western Europe, design experts receive $40-$95 per hour
  • In Belarus (Eastern Europe), designers earn $20-$50 per hour

The cost of an e-commerce website design (80 hours) is:

  • USA — $4,000-$12,000
  • Western Europe — $3,200-$7,600
  • Belarus — $1,600-$4,000

The cost of building an e-commerce site

The hourly rates of software developers:

  • In the USA, engineers earn $70-150$
  • In Western Europe, the salary per hour is $40-$100
  • In Belarus (Eastern Europe), developers’ hourly rates are $25-$50, including our custom web development company

The budget that you need to make an e-commerce site (419-439 hours) is:

  • USA — $29,330-$65,850
  • Western Europe — $16,760-$43,900
  • Belarus — $10,475-$21,950

Therefore, summing up design and development, we can estimate the final cost of an e-commerce site:

  • USA — $33,330-$77,850
  • Western Europe — $19,960-$51,500
  • Belarus — $12,075-$25,950

Therefore, the end price significantly depends on the location of a custom website development company that you choose. Delegating a software project to Belarus or another country in Eastern Europe, you can reduce costs by more than 60%.

It is noteworthy that the website quality will be the same or better as this country offers a pool of IT talents and field-specific expertise. See the main benefits of hiring an IT service provider here in this article “Why Is Belarus a Great IТ Outsourcing Destination?” .

Our experience in e-commerce website development

At Arateg, we have been creating e-commerce platforms since 2014. Recently, our team has developed an online pharmacy marketplace for Russia's leading healthcare company . The system connects nearly 1,500 suppliers of medical goods with users who want to book products at the best prices.

This solution has rich functionality that includes a catalog, search engine with numerous filters, real-time user and sales data analytics, personalized recommendations, real-time data display, user authorization, and many others. Learn more about this cool platform.

Another featured project is a custom e-commerce website for a famous clothing brand. This online store has multiple features involving a catalog with more than 550 items, numerous filters, shopping cart, login and signup, various payment methods, “About us” page, and integration with PayPal.

Closing thoughts

When creating an online shop, think about your customers first. What product categories and filters should you provide for simplifying the search process? How the user interface should look and how the content should be organized? What features should you build for meeting the audience needs and expectations?

Answering these questions will help you understand how to make an e-commerce site that will increase user engagement and you boost sales. If you want to receive a free project consultation or to launch your own platform, contact our custom web development company.

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