TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to create an online store from scratch? Why MVP Development in e-commerce?
Creating an online store from scratch is a demanding task that requires not only knowledge of technology but also business and marketing expertise. In this article, I will present several steps to take to create an online store from scratch and why MVP Development can be a good solution.
Step 1 – Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform.
When creating an online store, choosing the right e-commerce platform is a crucial step. There are many different e-commerce platforms with various advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to consider several factors when making a choice:
Store size: Large online stores require more advanced e-commerce platforms with more features and easy integration with other systems, while small online stores can use more economical and simpler e-commerce platforms.
Number of products: It's important to choose an e-commerce platform that can handle the number of products you intend to sell in your store. Some e-commerce platforms have limitations on the number of products you can add to the store.
Functionality: When choosing an e-commerce platform, make sure it offers the functionalities you will need in your store, such as a shopping cart, online payments, support for various shipping methods, and integration with inventory management systems.
Integrations: The e-commerce platform should easily integrate with other systems, such as payment systems, inventory management, or CRM.
Costs: It's important to choose e-commerce platforms that are within your budget. Some e-commerce platforms are more expensive than others, so it's worth carefully reviewing the costs and selecting a platform that is cost-effective.
Additionally, it's advisable to choose popular and well-rated e-commerce platforms by users, such as Shoper, Shopify, Allegro Smart. This ensures that the chosen platform is stable and secure for our customers.
Step 2 – Choosing a Name and Domain.
The next step is to choose a name and domain for your online store. It's important for the name to be memorable and associated with the industry in which you operate. This helps customers remember the store and find it easily. The domain should be short, memorable, and include relevant keywords that can assist in search engine optimization (SEO).
Step 3 – Appropriate Design.
When creating an online store, ensuring proper user experience (UX) is one of the most important steps in the process. The appearance and functionality of the store have a significant impact on customers' purchasing decisions.
There are two basic options for designing the visual template for an online store: using ready-made templates or creating a custom template from scratch.
Ready-made templates are a good solution for people who have no experience in designing websites. Many e-commerce platforms offer ready-made templates that can be easily customized to meet specific needs.
Ready-made templates are often cheaper or even free, which is an additional benefit. Creating a custom graphic template from scratch requires time and knowledge of web design. If you choose this option, it's worth considering the services of a software house.
During the design of the graphic template, it's important to ensure that the store is clear, easy to navigate, and responsive across different devices. A fast-loading online store is essential, and technologies such as Next.js, for example, can provide quick page loading and more.
If you want to learn more about creating an online store using Next.js, our latest article on this topic will be released on April 21!
The color scheme, fonts, and layout of elements on the page should be consistent with the store's visual identity. Good graphic design should also encourage customers to make purchases through convenient product layouts and easily accessible add-to-cart buttons.
If you want to learn more about design, for example in SaaS (Software as a Service) services, read this article.
Step 4 – Implementation and Testing.
Implementing an e-commerce platform is a demanding and complex process. Implementing an e-commerce platform requires integration with external systems, which is a crucial element of this process.
This integration allows for full automation of order processing, enabling effective sales management and better customer service. During integration with external systems, the online store needs to be connected to various systems, such as online payments, inventory management, and shipping.
Integration with payment systems enables customers to make online payments for ordered products, providing a convenient and secure payment method. Integration with inventory management systems allows for inventory tracking and automatic updates of stock levels after sales. This provides full control over inventory levels, making the update process more efficient and less time-consuming.
Integration with shipping providers enables automatic generation and sending of shipping labels to courier companies. Shipping systems also allow for tracking shipments and updating delivery statuses.
Integration with external systems is crucial for the smooth operation of an online store and ensuring customer satisfaction.
By fully automating processes, you can provide comprehensive customer service from order placement to delivery of purchased products.
Additionally, it's worth considering the selection and implementation of appropriate analytics tools. This allows for data collection and analysis of customer behavior on the website, leading to better optimization and customization of the offering to meet customer needs.
Step 5 – SEO Optimization.
Optimizing for search engines (SEO) is a crucial element to consider when designing an effective online store.
By optimizing your website, you can increase its visibility in search engine results and attract a larger number of potential customers. SEO optimization for a website involves many different factors, such as:
Keywords: Selecting a well-curated list of keywords is crucial for positioning the website on selected search phrases. It's important to choose keywords that best describe the store's offerings and are frequently searched by potential customers.
Content and Metadata Optimization: Adapting the content and metadata of the website to keywords helps increase its visibility in search engine results. It's important to ensure appropriate lengths for titles, descriptions, and headings, as well as incorporating keywords into the content.
Internal Linking: Creating internal links between different pages of the online store helps improve its structure and facilitate navigation for users.
Responsiveness: Modern websites need to be responsive, meaning they adapt to different screen sizes, including mobile devices. This allows users on mobile devices to easily access the online store, which influences its visibility in search engine results.
How MVP Development Can Help Create Your Online Store?
We have mentioned many advantages of MVP Development on our blog multiple times, so this time let me tell you a story about MVP e-commerce.
Let's meet Marcin, who dreamed of opening a bicycle store. He had worked in the bicycle industry for many years, knew the equipment well, and had many interesting ideas for the store's offerings. Marcin knew that to start a store, he needed help in creating a website and a mobile application to reach as many customers as possible.
He decided to seek help from a software house (SH), which proposed creating a simple MVP with minimum functionalities.
They began by analyzing the market, searching for gaps in the competition's offerings, and identifying customer needs.
Within a few weeks, the SH team created a simple MVP – a website with basic offerings and functionalities such as product search, a shopping cart, and online payments. By creating a simple MVP, Marcin could develop the store gradually by adding products and functionalities that his customers actually needed.
Marcin was very satisfied with the results and saw that his store was gaining popularity, and customers were happy with the convenience of online shopping. He decided to invest more in the development of his business and take advantage of the full range of services offered by the SH.
The team of developers created a mobile application that allowed customers to use the service not only on their computers but also on smartphones and tablets. The application offered functionalities such as notifications about new products or promotions, enabling customers to shop anywhere, anytime.
With the help of the SH, Marcin quickly became one of the most popular bicycle stores in his region. His offerings gained great recognition among customers, and the store received many positive reviews and ratings online. Marcin continued to grow his business by expanding his offerings and improving customer service, while the SH helped him continuously develop and enhance his online platform.
By utilizing MVP Development – creating a basic website with minimum required functionalities – Marcin managed to open and grow his online store at a significantly lower cost than creating a full-fledged online store.
Of course, this is a simplified story that doesn't fully capture all the difficulties you may encounter when starting an online store.
It's not a venture that costs 5000 Polish zloty, and the likelihood of scaling an online store from scratch to huge success in a short period is unlikely but not impossible.
Creating an online store from scratch requires technical, business, and marketing knowledge. The first step is to choose the right e-commerce platform that meets the store's needs. Then, choose a name, domain, and appropriate design. A well-designed and functional store is crucial for customers' purchasing decisions. Ready-made templates are easy and affordable, while designing a custom template requires time, knowledge, or assistance from a software house.
Creating a simple MVP for an online store can be a good solution if you're unsure if your idea makes sense and want to test it at a low cost.
If you want to learn more about MVP Development from iMakeable, check out our dedicated MVP Development page.