If you want your online store to attract your target audience and convert it into paying customers, it is important to look at what the top eCommerce web development companies have to offer. This is because cutting corners on this front will only hamper your growth. However, given the transformation this field continues to experience, you need to pay attention to various factors before you hire an eCommerce web development company.
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eCommerce in Numbers
According to data released by Statista, the annual revenue of the American eCommerce market has increased from $420.20 billion in 2018 to $910.39 billion in 2023. Amazon.com holds the largest market share, followed by Walmart, Apple, and eBay. When it comes to online shopping, consider these numbers collated by Tidio:
- 70% of consumers in the U.S. shop online.
- Around 20% of all retail sales take place online.
- The number of people who shop online has increased by 40% in the last five years.
- The per capita online spend in the U.S. is over $3,400 per year.
Going by these numbers, businesses need to showcase their offerings in the right manner when they move to the digital landscape, which is why they should ideally partner with the best eCommerce development companies they can find.
Why Hire a Top eCommerce Website Development Company?
eCommerce web development companies that offer result-driven services know what creating and maintaining an online store entails. Hiring any such company brings with it several benefits, which include:
- Getting a responsive user-friendly custom eCommerce website
- Increased web 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 a shopping cart, online chat, and calculators
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If you hire a company that provides less-than-desirable eCommerce development services, it is likely that your customers might not have a good user experience. This, in turn, reduces the possibility of an individual making a purchase significantly. Consider this – a consumer who does not have a good user experience on a mobile device might not make a purchase at all.
Finding the Best eCommerce Web Development Company
Given the number of alternatives from which you get to choose, narrowing down on the best eCommerce website development company requires taking different aspects into account.
Do the Groundwork
Before you start looking for the best eCommerce web developers, carry out some research. For example, look at the top eCommerce websites to understand where technology stands and find possible inspiration. Study your competitors’ websites too, as this gives you an easy means to identify and analyze market requirements.
Next, 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 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 is capable of working on eCommerce websites of different scales.
It is ideal that you partner 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 companies that provide eCommerce development services. Determine if the ones 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 asking 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 you get.
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. After all, the best eCommerce developers are not ones who blindly follow every instruction, but those who offer valuable insight into making a website better.
Determining how proficient web developers are when working with different eCommerce-specific technologies is crucial. Since eCommerce platforms evolve continually, the best eCommerce developers keep up with the latest technologies and trends surrounding platforms such as Magento, Zencart, Shopify, WooCommerce, Xcaret, and Prestashop.
A good web developer can offer guidance surrounding selecting 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 web development companies work at the same speed, so it is important to get an indication of how long a company might take to get your website up and running. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with a company that works on your project at a snail’s pace. The top eCommerce web development companies can create and launch your website in a timely manner without compromising on quality.
Try to hire an eCommerce development 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 rates on this front is to read testimonials of previous customers.
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Testimonials can provide valuable insight into how different eCommerce web development companies operate. While this gives you an easy way to check what previous customers have to say about a company’s services, you may also refer to testimonials to get an indication of the types of eCommerce projects it undertakes.
If you wish to hire eCommerce web developers who deliver great results, make sure you ask for at least three references. While testimonials offer insight into how a company fares, emailing previous clients gives you an easy way to check 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 expect to hire the best eCommerce web developers 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 other associated costs. If you have a predetermined budget in mind, discuss it with the companies you shortlist, as they might offer solutions accordingly.
Compare the cost of eCommerce website development services provided by different companies. However, do rely solely on this aspect to make your decision 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 seamless browsing, good aesthetics, quick loading times, a safe environment, a speedy shopping cart, and secure payment gateways. As a result, the best eCommerce web development company 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 web development company you hire to sign over the 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 web development companies know what it takes to create a reliable security network. For instance, when it comes to making online transactions secure, they address aspects such as confidentially, integrity, authenticity, encryption, and non-repudiability.
Check the level of support that different eCommerce web development companies are willing to provide after your website goes live. If you think you may need help with digital marketing, you might want to consider getting your website created by a company that specializes in this realm too. Then, you don’t have to deal with multiple agencies and you may maintain a single point of contact. The pricing of post-launch support needs your attention at the onset, as this helps avoid nasty surprises later.
Mistakes to Avoid When You Hire eCommerce Web Developers
While the top eCommerce web development companies tend to create amazing websites, others leave considerable room for improvement. Here are some mistakes you need to steer clear of during the selection process.
Using Outdated Technology
Some eCommerce web development companies use outdated or near-obsolete technologies and it is in your best interest to avoid them. Bear in mind that platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce, 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 evolving tools and technologies. Besides, when a company relies on old technology, it might not be able to provide the most suitable solutions.
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 platforms 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 turn, will have a negative effect on conversion.
Coding in a Hurry
A common thread that connects the best eCommerce development companies is 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 you hire an eCommerce web development company, make sure it addresses your requirements and follows a systematic approach.
Lack of Niche-Specific Expertise
Since good eCommerce web development companies are not hard to find, it is important to look for one that has expertise in your niche. If you select a company that is not familiar with your line of work, 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.
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Deciding Based on Price
While you don’t need to spend a fortune to hire the best eCommerce web developers, you mustn’t cut corners when it comes to costs. If you look for companies based on how little they charge, you may expect to get substandard services. After, like with other fields, you typically get what you pay for in web design as well. If your new website does not live up to your expectations, there is little chance that it will have the desired effect on your target audience.
Not all online stores have the same requirements, and the best eCommerce development companies know this well. They begin the process of creating a website by taking their clients’ specific needs into account and moving on to carrying out 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, when you hire an eCommerce web development company with a good track record, you may expect more than a great website that delivers results; you may look forward to receiving ongoing support as well.