How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch (Step-by-Step Guide)Home Guide How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch By Rakesh Patel Last Updated: January 29, 2024 Key Takeaways:Build an eCommerce website by following a 6 steps process, like identifying an audience to test and launch a website.Understand that website development costs can vary based on factors such as platform, functionalities, features, and hourly rate of developers.Focus on developing an eCommerce website that is easy to use, with straightforward navigation and a user-friendly layout.Read this blog if you have no coding experience and you are:A retailer or manufacturer looking to develop an online storeOwner of a brick-and-mortar store and want to expand the business onlineSomeone who wants to develop a 3P (third-party platform) that connects buyers and sellersAccording to Statista, in 2021, retail eCommerce sales of physical goods increased to almost 32,442 million USD and are projected to increase by 40,352 million USD in 2025.So, if you’re planning to start an eCommerce business for the first time and want to know how to build an eCommerce website from scratch without coding experience, So, here are the steps to build e-commerce websiteTable of ContentsHow to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch (Step-by-step Process)Step 1: Identify Target Audience for Your Online StoreStep 2: Buy the Right Domain Name for Your eCommerce WebsiteStep 3: Choose Development Platform for Your eCommerce WebsiteStep 4: Designing Your Online StoreStep 5: Adding Payment Integration to Your eCommerce WebsiteStep 6: Test and Launch Your eCommerce WebsiteHow Much Does It Cost to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch?Fundamental eCommerce Usability GuidelinesMarket Your Online StoreFAQs About eCommerce Website DevelopmentReady to Build Your eCommerce Store from Scratch?How to Build an eCommerce Website from ScratchIn this section, we will understand how to build an e-commerce website with step-by-step approach.Let’s start with step 1.Identify Target Audience for Your Online StoreSelling the right product to the right customer is a key to a successful online business. But, if you don’t know who your customers are, how will you identify their needs?To identify your target audience for your online store, look for your local competitors who are selling the same products. Then, understand your competitor’s marketing strategies, identify their customers and perform local marketing to grow your customer base.Which Factors Help to Identify the Target Audience?The following parameters are used to define the target audience for your eCommerce site.AgeGenderLocationIncomeFor Instance: A 40-year-old woman living in Toronto holding the degree of fashion stylist with an income of $8000-$10000 loves luxury brands and designer clothes.Another Example: If you’re selling exclusive products for kids, your target audience can be children, mothers, or teachers.How to Define Your Target Audience for Your eCommerce Site?Create user personas by researching the audience, identifying the pain points, needs, passion, and goals.Understand who is NOT your target audience. For example, if you own a brand like Sephora, then definitely MEN is not a target audience.Figure out who needs your product and who is likely to buy your product.For instance: Vans is an American manufacturer of skateboarding shoes based in California. Their shoes come in appealing colors and designs, which attract a wide range of consumers. To reach the right target audience, Vans have different Instagram accounts for males and females. This shows the company’s clear understanding of marketing to multiple target audiences.Buy the Right Domain Name for Your eCommerce WebsiteOnce you have researched the target audience and competitors and identified the products, you’re going to sell, purchase the domain name for your online store. A domain name is the address of your online store, from where your audience can search your store. So, for example, in the web address: www.amazon.ca, “amazon.ca” is the domain name.Selecting the right domain name adds credibility to your business. It is recommended to make your domain name the same as a physical store. However, if you do not get the required name, pick a name similar to your brand. Let’s understand how to choose a domain name and popular domain name registrars in Canada.Quick Tips: How to Choose a Domain Name?Keep a name unique, short, and memorizableMake it easy to pronounce and spellAvoid numbersUse the right domain name extensionsEasy to pronounceWhich are the Popular Domain Name Registrars in Canada?GoDaddyBluehostWeb Hosting CanadaCanSpaceHostPapaLooking to Develop an eCommerce Solution from Scratch?With thorough research and market analysis, we help you define your project scope and check the feasibility of your idea.Book Your Free Consultation Choose Development Platform for Your eCommerce WebsiteOnce you have identified the right domain, choose the right platform for your eCommerce site that fits your requirements.You can develop an eCommerce website in two ways:a) Custom eCommerce Website Development: Developed with the help of dedicated eCommerce web developersb) SaaS Platforms: Ready-made eCommerce website builders like BigCommerce, 3dcart, and ShopifyBoth the methods have their pros and cons; choose the one per your target audience, complexity, and price structure.But, first, let’s understand both platforms.A) Custom eCommerce Website DevelopmentCustomized eCommerce website development means designing solutions as per the specific business needs. An eCommerce developer or eCommerce website development company helps you develop a website using the latest technology stack, advanced tools, and plugins.Since web development companies have experience working in the competitive market, rest assured of getting the best results. So, if you want to build an eCommerce website from scratch, leading development companies can create a custom eCommerce website structure to give you an enhanced online shopping experience.Moreover, devote your time to core business operations rather than managing the entire website. When you develop a customized eCommerce website, you have complete control over the source code and you get scalable eCommerce project architecture.Advantages and Disadvantages of a Customized eCommerce Website DevelopmentEasily connect with the support team to solve the issuesAdvantagesDisadvantagesFlexibility through customizationIncreased programming work and complexityFlexible e-Commerce hostingDifficult to find a trustworthy hosting providerCommunity supportFaster updates and faster time-to-marketThird-party plugins are availableB) SaaS PlatformsSaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a software licensing model where software is accessed via the internet and hosted on the cloud. The SaaS eCommerce software helps build the online store without much technical knowledge or coding skills; all you need is a stable internet connection.However, data security, compliance, and transparency are issues that most companies face with the website builders or SaaS model.So you need to select the right eCommerce website builder that is flexible and easy to manage.However, there are 104 different website builder tools available in the market currently, making it challenging to choose the platform that fulfills the needs and is within the budget.We have listed the most recommended platforms, making it easy for you to choose an eCommerce solution.e-Commerce Website BuildersFree Plan or Free TrialBasic PriceFeatures14 days free trial$12Template customizationBloggingScheduling softwarePhoto galleriesPodcast hostingFree plan$14Customizable DesignsFree and Reliable HostingOptimized Mobile ViewOne-PagersDrag n’ Drop Website EditorImage Editor14 days free trial$29Shopify paymentsShopify analyticsFulfillmentFraud analysisManual order correctionDiscount connectionAdvantages and Disadvantages of Website BuildersNo special software is requiredAdvantagesDisadvantagesLess learning curveLimited design controlNo coding knowledge is requiredYou don’t technically own your websiteShorter time to buildFewer ways to optimizeFree templates are providedLatency, security and scalability issuesEasy to buySwitching between SaaS vendors is difficultWe have listed the advantages and limitations of both custom eCommerce web development and SaaS platforms. So now which is one to select? Let’s find out.Customized eCommerce Platform or SaaS eCommerce: Which Platform to Select?Deciding between customized eCommerce or SaaS eCommerce depends on business needs, budget, and resources.Choose a customized eCommerce platform ifYou want to integrate a complex features like QR code, voice search, image search, and AR/VR features.You want your store to be secured and updated with the latest security standards.You want to have total control over your data and you do not want to compromise with your data and its security.You want to build a scalable solution that grow with the audience and yet fast and secure.Choose a SaaS platform ifYou do not have extensive features and you don’t need much customization in your website.You have a very limited budget and looking for a no-coding solution.After choosing the right eCommerce platform for web development, let’s consider the key features to implement in your eCommerce store.Core Features to Implement in eCommerce WebsiteHere is a list of core features that you must have in your eCommerce website.FeaturesReason to ImplementShopping CartTo maintain the clean and organized record of your potential ordersUser-friendly InterfaceThe UX/UI should be optimized to work on all mobile devices and desktopSocial IntegrationAllow your users to share the deals with their friendsSecurity SystemsFor saving your website from lucrative attacks and securing user’s dataOffers and DiscountsHelp your users to find some great deals availableWishlistAllow your usres to add products for future purchaseRelated ItemsTo provide personalized and AI-based recommendation in addition to an item your customer is viewingFAQsAnswers the most common customer problems for buying a product, refunds, orders, and paymentsCustomer ReviewsBuilds trust and authenticity to the seller’s productApart from this, you can even get MVP (minimum viable product) developed by a software development company to create your own eCommerce website. With MVP, you launch your website with minimum features and test the feasibility of your custom eCommerce site development.Want to know more about MVP? Here’s a complete guide on what is MVP? Designing Your Online Store Well-placed visual elements, graphics, and readable texts make your website visually appealing, conversion-focused, and establish your brand presence.If you choose to customize your eCommerce store, you need web designers or web designing companies to design your eCommerce store. An experienced web designing professional knows how to align the logo, colors, fonts, images, and other visual elements that show your brand identity.You can even hire our UI/UX designer team, as we have experience designing UI across different industry verticals like entertainment, sports, healthcare, fitness, and education. To know how we design UI, check our video-sharing eCommerce app and on-demand ride sharing app.If you have selected eCommerce website builders or SaaS platforms, you have to choose the theme and categorize your product. If you are building an eCommerce website from scratch, customize the template by designing it in a way that is attractive and easy to read. Your displayed product should be clear and concise.You can modify eCommerce website as per the preferences:Text size, color, and fontColour of the themeUse of imagesProduct’s positionLogo and brandingAbout us and contact us pageYou have understood how to design your eCommerce store, let’s even know the reasons to design a compelling eCommerce store, and tips to design an aesthetic eCommerce store.Quick Tips: How to Design an eCommerce WebsiteKeep your website neat and clutter-freeInclude review and testimonial sectionMake it easy to navigateUse high-quality photosKeep the product pages organizedMake your website mobile-friendlyMake your content scalableSpend time on brandingUse a color paletteMaintains a visual flowWant to get more design tips? We have curated a PDF to know what things to keep in mind while designing a product page, listing page, and home page.Until here, you have got the idea to build an eCommerce website from scratch; let’s understand the important eCommerce functionality, i.e., payment gateway. Adding Payment Integration to Your eCommerce Website Once you have designed and developed an eCommerce website from scratch, integrate a payment gateway to accept the online payment from the customers.What is a payment gateway? A payment gateway refers to software that interfaces between eCommerce websites and customers’ preferred mode of payment like a bank account, debit card, credit card, or other online wallets.If you choose a customized eCommerce online store development, web developers integrate the payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree with the help of APIs and SDKs. The software development vendor will cover specific eCommerce business requirements as per your target audience and needs.Moreover, setting up payment integration as per your choice will help add features like auto recurring payment and loyalty programs as per the data analytics of your target audience. It is secured, safe, and reliable but takes more time to develop.SaaS platforms like Magento, Shopify, and Wix offer in-built payment gateways which enable you to integrate your stores with payment service providers. It is easy, safe, reliable, and takes less time to integrate; however, in some cases, SaaS eCommerce platforms lack the ability of extreme customization and don’t give you access to the software codes.Now you know how to integrate the payment gateway when you build an eCommerce website from scratch. Let’s discuss the most used payment gateways and how it works.Which are the Most Used Payment Gateways in Canada?AdyenBlue SnapGoogle PayStripeBraintreeAuthorize.netNMIWhat are the Types of Pricing Structure in the Payment Gateway?Payment gateways have different pricing type as follow:Setup feesMonthly feesIntegration feesMaintenance feesLet’s move to step number 6 now, the final step. Test and Launch Your eCommerce Website Once you develop the website, test it on the multiple platforms, and launch your eCommerce website.If you have hired an eCommerce testing team or custom software development company, they will complete the entire website by performing various testing such as unit testing, device testing, and functional testing depending on the needs of the business.However, if you’re developing an eCommerce website from scratch with the help of a website builder, it is recommended to preview the complete website before launching and ensure that all the web controls work as they should be.Consider These 5 Points During the Testing ProcessProducts, descriptions, and images should be aligned as per your customer’s convenienceCheck the website on different browsers and devices and check if all the features are availableTest all the payment gateways and check discounts and promotions are applied as intendedEnsure web controls and links are directed at the right placeRun sample purchases to make sure that the shopping cart is working properlyYour eCommerce site is officially ready to launch in the market. Upgrade your eCommerce website at regular intervals by adding features, customizing design, description, and images.This not only enhances the shopping experience of your eCommerce store but also increases customer loyalty. You can even connect with a reliable web development vendor like us who has experience developing enterprise-level websites.Create Your Custom Web-based eCommerce SolutionLet’s discuss. Be it a complex to simple eCommerce solution, we help you develop a custom web solution.Get Your Free Quote You know how to launch your eCommerce website from scratch now.But, we are still missing one of the most important points – website design and development cost.When you read the next step, you won’t have further questions regarding website development cost.How Much Does It Cost to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch?The cost of building an eCommerce website ranges from $5000 to $30,000.The cost depends on various factors like features, site functionality, and the size of the website.If you have advanced features in mind, want to get a personalized quote for your idea, get in touch with us. Our web developers have experience of creating custom eCommerce website from scratch. We know the required features. We know the cost. Get a complete bifurcation of cost to develop your online store. Know the budget you might require for eCommerce website development or ecommerce app development.You are now clear with the development cost and steps to create an eCommerce website solution, let’s quickly go through the guidelines you should keep in mind while developing an eCommerce store.Fundamental eCommerce Usability GuidelinesMake sure your navigation structure is simplifiedShow multiple product deals instead of either having one or two items on the homepage of your best eCommerce websiteEnsure that you use the right color combination, font size, and font colorBe sure that the ‘Add to Cart’ button is clear, vibrant, and conspicuous relative to other product pages and site functionalityPick the correct typography and recruit experienced developers to create the best eCommerce website for robust results and brand imageStudy customer psychology, eCommerce website examples, and online store business strategies to make great eCommerce design elementsMake sure that your eCommerce website loads quickly and is mobile friendlyAfter developing your eCommerce store, you need to market your store to expand your user base. You need to have a strategic and innovative online sales approach to increase your online presence.Market Your Online StoreOnly building a webshop is not enough; you need to market your online store to get a return on investment. With your online store, you will be able to reach more online customers and will have complete control over their shopping experience. If you are a start-up and want to grow your online stores like Walmart, Metro, or Home Depot; you need to market your eCommerce store locally to build an online presence.To market your eCommerce store, you need promotional marketing strategies to increase online traffic, convert leads into paying customers and retain customers post-purchase.Let’s understand in what ways you can market your online eCommerce store.How to Market Your Online Business?Offer loyalty programs to regular customersOffer referral bonus to the existing user, this keeps sales cycle on the auto modeSet up social media accounts for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TwitterProvide exceptional customer services like web-integrated call management, multi-channel tracking, and management of customer communicationConsider omnichannel marketing; add products to the cart on the website and provide in-store pick-up and returnsProvide deals and discounts to first-time customersGrow site traffic with SEO content. By generating SEO content, you can continue to refine your website and boost its search result rankingsWant to know more about eCommerce website development? Check out the frequently asked questions.FAQs About e-Commerce Website DevelopmentAre there any laws in Canada to sell online?Yes, except Quebec, every Canadian province has a United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce written by a legislative body. Quebec’s law is similar to the model but developed independently. In addition, the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs offers an Internet Sales Contract Harmonization Template which includes contract formation and cancellation rights.Is a business licence necessary to sell online in Canada?Yes, it is necessary. Register in multiple provinces if you are planning to do business across Canada. Connect with the Canada Business network specific to your province to learn how to apply for a business license.Does the tax structure apply to online stores?If you earn income from multiple websites, you need to report your business and the income you make. For more information, check Canada Revenue Agency.Which are the most successful eCommerce sites?Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, and Macy’s are some of the most successful eCommerce sites globally.How long does it take to build a ecommerce website?It takes from 2 to 12 months to build an eCommerce website from scratch.How many products or categories can be uploaded to custom eCommerce sites? Is there any limit?Uploading products depends on your server and the hosting plan of your eCommerce sites.For instance: WooCommerce can handle more than 100k products, but you need a good optimization and hosting plan. In Squarespace, each page can take 200 products, and each product can have up to 100 variants.How to use Augmented Reality in your eCommerce store?Using 3D Trials: The buyers can easily judge whether the product will look good in their home or not. This also provides a good hint to the buyers about the actual size and dimensions of the product.A Virtual Tour: If you are into a business like real estate or are selling bigger than usual products, Augmented Reality can help your potential customers get a virtual tour of the product through your app. So, regardless of the type of eCommerce website you are planning to have, you can easily make good use of Augmented Reality. And how perfectly you get this totally depends on the developer you are planning to hire for your website. So, choose the developer carefully and know-how technology helps you get more business.Ready to Build Your eCommerce Store from Scratch?If you’re the retailer or manufacturer or brick-and-mortar store that wants to increase the profitability of the brand and build an online presence in the provinces of Canada, this is the right time to leverage the online marketplace.If you have an eCommerce idea, then our team of experienced eCommerce web development specialists will help build an online business. Connect with us to know how we help you to make an eCommerce website.Subscribe2 Written byRakesh PatelRakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311 ×WAIT!Do you know we offer FREE 30-min consultation?If you have a project in mind, let’s talk.We are here in Canada. If required, we can meet in person. Click Here To Get Started Trusted by Leading Brands in Canada ×Join our subscribers' list now! Get top insights and news on latest technologies and trends right to your inbox.