In 2017, around 1.66 billion people the world over made online purchases. Global online sales in the same year accounted for around U.S. $2.3 trillion. Estimates suggest that this number will get to around U.S. $4.5 trillion by 2021. However, not every eCommerce website performs well. After all, over 35% people leave websites if they have poor design or navigation.
If you want your eCommerce website to attract your target audience and convert it into paying customers, it is important that you work with a proficient and reliable eCommerce website development company. Selecting the best eCommerce development company, though, is easier said than done. Given the rapid transformation that the field continues to experience, business owners who wish to start from scratch or upgrade need to pay attention to various factors.
Why Work With a Good Ecommerce Website Development Company?
Ecommerce website development companies that offer reliable services know what creating and maintaining a website entails. Working with any such company brings with it several benefits, which include:
- Getting a responsive user-friendly custom eCommerce website
- Increased traffic
- Simplifying how people look for your offerings
- Higher conversion
- Ability to offer relevant and useful information to your target audience
- Incorporating multiple elements such as shopping cart, online chat, and calculators
If you end up working with a company that provides less-than-desirable eCommerce development services, your customers might not have a good user experience. This, in turn, reduces the possibility of an individual making a purchase significantly. Consider this – an individual who does not have a good user experience on a mobile device might not make a purchase at all.
How to Find the Best Ecommerce Web Development Service Provider?
Given the number of alternatives you get to choose from, narrowing down on the best eCommerce development company requires that you take different aspects into account.
Do the Groundwork
Before you start looking for the best eCommerce website development company, you need to carry out some research on your own. Take time to study your competitors’ websites as this gives you easy means to identify and analyze market requirements. Then, determine what your business needs to move in the right direction and prepare a requirements list. This list should give you a clear indication of what you require from a company that provides eCommerce website development services.
Go Through the Portfolio
When comparing different eCommerce website development companies, it is crucial that you check their web design portfolios. A large portfolio is typically indicative of a company that has been in business for some time. The portfolio should also give you an indication of whether a company has what it takes to work on eCommerce websites of different scales.
You may want to work with an eCommerce website development company that has experience in your niche. For instance, if you plan to launch a website that sells t-shirts, look for portfolios that include fashion-related websites.
Communication plays an important role in evaluating different companies that provide eCommerce website development services. Determine if the companies you shortlist are transparent and timely in their communication. In the absence of personal meetings, establish what other mediums are available for you to contact a company’s representative. If you sense poor communication skills at the onset, it is best that you move to the next option.
Check Profiles of Developers
No matter which company you select, you should try to get the best eCommerce website developers to work on your project. This requires that you ask the companies you shortlist to provide you with a list of their developers and their respective profiles. If you have some technical knowledge, you might want to ask relevant questions to corroborate the information provided to you.
While the role of a project manager is crucial in understanding your requirements, the developers who work on your website should also know what you’re after. The best eCommerce website developers are not ones who blindly follow every instruction, but those who offer valuable insight toward making a website better.
It is important to determine how proficient web developers are when working with different eCommerce-specific technologies. Given that eCommerce platforms continue evolving, the best eCommerce website developers keep up with the latest technologies and trends surrounding eCommerce platforms such Magento, Zencart, Shopify, Woocommerce, Xcaret, and Prestashop.
A good web developer can offer guidance when it comes to choosing a content management system (CMS) or platform that will work best for your website. For instance, after taking your specific needs into account, your developer may suggest the use of WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace, or HubSpot. Knowledge about different shopping carts, order management, product placement, and promotions also plays an important role in creating a great eCommerce website.
Not all eCommerce website development companies work at the same speed, so it is important to get an indication of how long any company might take to get your website up and running. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with a company that takes months to complete your project. The best eCommerce web development service providers are ones who can create and launch your website in a timely manner without compromising on quality.
Try to work with a company that has a strong team with backups in place. Ask for a timeline-based statement of work as it gives you the ability to check if the project is on track at any point in time. If the implementation of a project runs past its originally intended delivery time, you may expect escalated costs as well. One way to check how a company rate on this front is to read testimonials of previous customers.
Testimonials can provide valuable insight into how an eCommerce website development company operates. While this gives you easy means to check what previous customers have to say about the company’s services, you may also refer to testimonials to get an indication of the types of eCommerce projects that the company undertakes.
If you hope to find the best eCommerce development company, make sure you ask for no less than three references. While testimonials offer valuable insight about how a company fares, emailing previous clients gives you an easy way to determine the authenticity of testimonials. Turning to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter also gives you access to the opinions of previous customers.
You cannot hope to get the best eCommerce web development service by paying a pittance. However, this does not mean that getting a good website requires burning a hole in your pocket. When getting quotes, make sure they address different aspects such as design, development, database configuration, server management, and any other associated cost. If you have a predetermined budget in mind, discuss it with the company you’re dealing with, as they might offer solutions accordingly.
Compare the cost of eCommerce website development services provided by different companies. Do not use this aspect alone to make your decision, though, because experience, skills, and credibility play equally important roles.
A Holistic Approach
What makes an eCommerce website great is the successful integration of different elements such as easy browsing, good aesthetics, quick loading times, a safe environment, a speedy shopping cart, and secure payment gateways. The best eCommerce development company, as a result, is one that approaches the process holistically, and uses these elements to give your customers a highly optimized shopping experience.
Who Will Own the Content?
Determine who will own your website and its content before accepting any contract. Ensuring that you are the owner is easy. All you need to do is get the eCommerce website development company you select to sign over intellectual property rights for all the content that goes on your website. Failing to do this may create problems, especially if you wish to sell your website down the line. If a company hesitates in passing intellectual property rights to you, consider looking for other alternatives.
Given that eCommerce websites make use of open-source platforms, securing them using multiple layers of security is crucial. Good eCommerce website development companies know what it takes to create a reliable security network. For instance, when it comes to making e-transactions secure, they address aspects such as confidentially, integrity, authenticity, encryption, and non-repudiability.
Post Launch Support
Determine the level of support that different eCommerce website development companies are willing to provide after your website goes live. If you think you might need help with digital marketing, you might want to consider getting your website created by a company that can offer assistance in that realm too. This way, you don’t have to deal with multiple agencies and you may maintain a single point of contact. The pricing of post-launch support also needs your attention at the onset, as this helps avoid nasty surprises later.
Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting an Ecommerce Website Development Company
While some eCommerce website development companies create amazing websites, there are others that leave considerable room for improvement. Here are some mistakes you need to steer clear of during the selection process.
Using Outdated Technology
Some eCommerce website development companies rely on outdated or near-obsolete technology, and they are best avoided. Bear in mind that platforms such as Magento, Zencart, and Shopify receive regular upgrades, and working with older versions will not produce optimum results. Check if continual learning is a part of how a company operates, as this ensures that its employees stay on top of the learning curve. Besides, when a company relies on old technology, it might not be able to provide the most suitable solutions for you.
Not Using the Right Ecommerce Platform
The growth of your eCommerce business depends significantly on how well the selected eCommerce platform integrates with your requirements. Companies that provide eCommerce website development services need to address various aspects before recommending any eCommerce platform to their clients. These include, but do not limit to, projected customer numbers, inventory size, as well as modes of payment. If you don’t select the most suitable platform, your customers might not have a great user experience, which, in effect, will have a negative effect on conversion.
Coding in a Hurry
A common thread that connects the best eCommerce web development service providers is that they do not move to coding straight away. If a company suggests diving into coding immediately, you have enough reason to be wary. This is because creating a great eCommerce website starts with researching and analyzing your competitors and target audience. When hiring a company, make sure it addresses your requirements and follows a systemic approach.
Lack of Niche-Specific Expertise
Since good eCommerce website development companies are not hard to find, it is important that you look for one that has expertise in working with your niche. If you select a company that is not familiar with your niche, you stand the risk of ending up with a less than desirable website. Companies that have worked with your niche in the past already have insight into your target audience, having carried out the required research in the past.
Deciding Based on Price
While you might not need to spend a fortune in working with the best eCommerce website development company, it is important that you do not cut corners when it comes to costs. If you look for companies based on how little they charge, you may well expect to get substandard services. If you get a website that does not live up to your expectations, there is little chance that it will have the desired effect on your target audience.
Not all eCommerce websites have the same requirements, and the best eCommerce web development service providers know this well. They begin the process of creating a website by taking their clients’ specific needs into account and move on to carrying out all types of necessary research. They stick to predetermined timelines, do not go overboard with pricing, and keep upgrading their skills according to the latest trends and technologies. In addition, good eCommerce website development companies don’t just create great websites; they provide ongoing support as well.