The first thing you should do when developing a retail and eCommerce website is plan what you’re looking for. If you’re planning to use an agency for eCommerce web design and development, this is a great time to write a specification to explain what you’re looking for and hash out what your goals are with your new website.
Check out our guide on how to write a website specification for more information.
Purchase a domain
This might sound intimidating, but it’s actually very easy to purchase a domain, and not very expensive. As a web hosting agency, we can host your website and offer domain and hosting packages too. If you’re planning to host elsewhere, you can purchase a domain from as little as £10-£20 a year.
Choose a hosting platform
When it comes to hosting platforms, there are a lot of different options. Some common platforms include Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce; some will require you to design and build your site separately, while others will come with prefab options you can choose to keep or use as a base and edit. You can learn about the differences between a theme installation and custom design on our blog.
As we mentioned above, we are also set up to host your website if you would like to keep your eCommerce website design, development and hosting all in one place!
Develop your website
Probably best to leave this one to the experts. Remember that website specification you came up with earlier? Send that to a crack web development team, and you’ll be able to talk about what you need and hammer down the details of developing your retail and eCommerce website.
They’ll be able to code your website, create it to your preferences and hand you the (proverbial) keys.
Design your website
Once you have the skeleton, you – or we – can design your website. It’s useful to have some brand guidelines for this – colour schemes, fonts, image styles etc. You’ll want to make sure your site is consistent and professional, as well as optimised for User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
You might also want to consider designing your website for accessibility to ensure your website is available to as wide an audience as possible.
Populate your site
At this stage, you want to fill your retail and eCommerce website with your products (or services) and any other content.
Once your eCommerce website has been developed, take one last look over it and ensure everything works as it should and that you like the design. If you’ve hired an agency, they’ll usually test your website for you from a functionality and quality assurance perspective, so all you have to do is make sure you’re happy with it.
Yes, you made it! Set your website live and simply watch the orders pour in.
Okay, it might not be quite that easy. But your shiny new website is all ready to go!
Maintaining your eCommerce site
As nice as it would be to be able just to leave it there, your website will need maintenance. If you need to change any elements or if there are any problems, you’ll need a developer on hand who can fix them.
If you don’t have anyone in-house, your best option is to hire a digital agency. They’ll have people who specialise in different elements of maintaining your website to ensure all you have to do is fill those orders.