An ultimate guide to the Online Retail & E-commerce Industry
The impact of COVID-19 on the e-commerce industry
E-commerce websites have become very helpful, keeping in mind the current post-pandemic state of the world. The total retail sales reached 4%, while online spending represented almost 18.6% of growth. That has made e-commerce website development very important. In the second quarter of 2020, $1 of every $5 that US consumers have spent was from online transactions. Hence, there was a spike in the number of US retailers by 44.4%, accounting for an expenditure of $200.72B post-pandemic. However, e-commerce sales are now slowing down again due to the opening of physical stores across the country.
Based on data published by Digital Commerce 360, online expenditure has grown by 30.1% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. In the first two quarters of 2020, online spending accounted for 18.6% of all retail sales taken together.
Overall, COVID had a massive impact on both online businesses and how consumers shop online.
The current state of the e-commerce market
With the rise in e-commerce websites and online stores all over the globe, some exciting trends have been noted. The use of video for promotion and sales has been duly noted for a better user experience. Online stores have also employed AR technologies for better deals and more advanced e-commerce website designs.
The most popular e-commerce platforms in 2020
There is an overwhelming increase in the number of e-commerce platforms available in the market. A simple Google search will enable you to find some of the best online shopping tools, website templates and e-commerce website builders to help you in website development. The following are the best e-commerce platforms in 2020:
- Shopify: This is one of the most prominent e-commerce solutions out there. Shopify is spread in over 175 countries, with over 1 million business clients. It is best suited for small to medium businesses, and it has various features already integrated into the platform, making it very easy to use. It has diverse custom domains, AI personalization, more than 70 user-friendly templates, many other features, and excellent support.
- Magento: This is one of the most well-known e-commerce platforms that are also open source. It was initially released in 2009 and has since been providing services in many countries. It is well suited for small to medium businesses with the required human resources and time to set up their website. The various features that make it so reliable include global selling, optimized for mobile shopping, instant purchase, video options available for customization, and also Magento support and maintenance service..
- WooCommerce: When you think of e-commerce platforms, WooCommerce is what comes to mind. Not only is it open-source, but also a free shopping cart plugin. Over 30% of all online stores use WooCommerce hosting. It is crucial for small businesses that already possess a site on WordPress but have a minimal budget. The third-party plugins and user-friendly WooCommerce themes make this platform extremely flexible. It has different features, including shipping options, calculator, geolocation support, mobile optimization, coupons, and discounts. You can always extend the functionality by using external tools such as shipping tracking software or dropshipping software, or other helpful software solutions for logistics.
- Drupal: This is an open-source and free e-platform that will help you perform various website functions. It has flexible features that can help to customize an e-commerce store according to its customers’ wishes. It is best suited for small companies with a relatively tight budget. It is an accessible and secure platform. As additional benefit, there are many Drupal hosting platforms to scale operations.
- BigCommerce: This platform was founded in 2009 and is spread across 120 countries nowadays. BigCommerce is best suited for SMBs that require their online platform to perform various functions. Although it is slightly costlier than the other platforms, it is loaded with multiple features, including gift cards, limitless bandwidth and product listings, custom domains, lots of themes, and e-Commerce templates.
- OpenCart: This platform offers you everything that you need to run an online store. It is open-source software that can be added to your existing website. It has various modules, extensions, and themes that will help you customize your website’s look and feel. It also has excellent assistance from the different registered members as well as paid technical support.
- 3dcart: This is an all-in-one software that will help you to develop as an entrepreneur. It comes with several exciting features that make it highly user-friendly. Not only it is secured with two-factor authentication and various anti-fraud tools, but it is also a scalable platform that you can use to build your website.
Things to consider before developing an e-commerce website
- Research well about your business industry: Before you begin with the e-commerce web development process, one of the most important things that you have to conduct is a thorough analysis and research of your business industry. You must understand the various loopholes and take into consideration the target customers for your industry. Delve deep into their preferences, age, and other factors that will help you develop product categories, descriptions, payment gateway, product images, and other aspects effectively.
- Attend to the target audience’s needs: Once you understand what you have to sell, it is now vital to prioritize the potential customers. How do you do this? You have to understand their culture, geography, demography, and purchasing inclinations. The best thing is to develop an engaging feedback form, and collect customer feedback from them directly. That will allow you to create a set of appropriate responses that will, in turn, help you to design your e-commerce business.
- Determine your branding and plan a content strategy: Without proper branding and content strategy, you will never be able to reach out to a plethora of people. Think about all the successful companies such as Amazon and their brilliant logos, product details, product reviews, product videos, visual images, emotional connotations, wish lists, and more than making them successful. Similarly, it would be best if you now considered these aspects, such as building a remarkable logo, choosing the voice for your company, and establishing a strategy for growth and development.
- Mind your e-commerce website development budget: It is always easy to go overboard with your account, especially in the developmental stages of your e-commerce store. However, it would help if you were very cautious about staying within the stipulated budget and employing strategies to help you do so. It is always advisable to revise your budget every time you make a fiscal decision.
- Bear in mind the competition: A business is all about standing out amidst your competitors. Hence, you need to analyze their working segments by applying the relevant catchphrases into a browser. Take into consideration the various promotional tools and features employed by other business owners to attract customers. Are they using social media, e-commerce email marketing, or something else? How do they design their product pages? More importantly, you must also pay attention to the technical aspect, such as the hosting tool, domain name, content management system, or other add-ons that they are using.
- Create an MVP (Minimum viable product): You need to understand that the essential function of an e-commerce store is to sell goods. On the other hand, the goal of an e-commerce MVP is to assess the potential of a particular business to encourage people to buy the goods and services being provided by them. Suppose you aim to create a creative and innovative shopping platform with a high conversion rate, backed by a special algorithm that is set to provide a fantastic user experience and the best products. In that case, you need to take the help of an MVP.
- Train your team. If you want to increase sales and volume with time passing, you should have dedicated SDRs. Before investing in a project, make sure you have the right talent before the launch. Sometimes you might face some challenges with productivity and efficiency in your team. In that case, you should invest in (a) sales process (b) team training. Here are some best sales blogs that can educate your team and give you perspective on what to adjust in day-to-day operations to perform the best results in e-commerce.
The benefits of custom e-commerce development services
What is custom development?
Custom software development is the process of designing, creating, deploying, and maintaining software for a specific set of users, functions, or organizations. In contrast to commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), custom software development aims at a narrowly defined set of requirements.
Benefits of custom e-commerce development services
An off-the-shelf e-commerce product may sometimes seem highly lucrative as it is easy to handle and very affordable. However, people do not seem to understand that a generic product can cost more money in the future. The advantages of custom e-commerce software development are as follows:
- Improvement in the Bounce Rate and Conversions: With a customized e-commerce service, you will be able to satisfy your customers better, leading to more conversions as well as an increase in customer loyalty.
- Better Search Engine Optimization: An off-the-shelf e-commerce product is produced for the masses and hence only has generic SEO features that are not geared towards a particular company or business. With a customized product, you can expertly handle your search engine optimization needs and other digital marketing parameters specifically for your industry.
- Handling Unique Processes: When a customer uses an e-commerce platform, they might come across various front-end and back-end requirements in the form of checkout, payment options, customer support, and more. One may need vetting before buying a product, and the other may need the credits being checked before a large transaction, which is possible with a custom e-commerce website.
- Integration with your Business: The e-commerce platform may need to integrate your business model and e-commerce marketing strategy for optimal operation. It is possible only with a custom e-commerce platform and not with an off-the-shelf product.
- Build an attractive appearance: You will be able to customize the look and feel of your e-commerce site with high-quality images, an exemplary user interface, a seamless checkout process, etc., on desktop, laptop, smartphone, and other mobile devices with the help of a customized platform.
- Get Easy Updates: Old technology on your e-commerce site can bring it down. With a customized e-commerce site, you will be able to update to the latest technology providing your customers with better performance and functionality.
Why should you outsource custom e-commerce website development?
The main reasons are as follows:
- Cost efficiency: The primary reason why most startups seem to fail is because of budget issues. However, with the help of an outsourcing development company, you will not need to exhaust your funds in making overhead payments such as payroll, office rent, etc. Hence you will be able to save money by hiring offshore developers.
- Access to global professionals and the latest technology: For an e-commerce website development, you will be in dire need of challenges and technology. You will acquire some of the best developers from worldwide who will add much to your startup.
- Greater focus on core business processes: When you do not have to pay the various overhead costs, you automatically have more money in your hands to spend on things that truly matter. Offshore developers also charge less money which will help you to save even more.
- Increased productivity and saved time: While it is possible to save money with offshore developers, you’ll also be able to enjoy increased productivity. You will not have to spend time training for developing skills as these developers are already experts in their area.
- Flexibility: As a budding company, it is imperative to scale the team with the new surge of technology within a short period. That, however, is not possible with the help of an in-house team. Outsourcing developers will help you to create greater flexibility in your company.
What can influence your e-commerce website development budget?
Based on the budget, you may decide on the features and design of your website. Do you want to build the custom e-commerce website from scratch, or do you need to improve the security, integrate custom CRM, or add other features? When you have a clear scope of work in your mind, you can predict the time you need for development and the size of the team to work on this task. To estimate website pricing keep in mind these essential points:
- Type of e-commerce website (marketplace, online retailers, single brand.)
- Employment type (in-house, offshore, or nearshore outsourcing, staff augmentation, or freelancing.)
- E-commerce developer rates. Salary rates depend on technology, location, seniority level, English knowledge, years of experience, employment type.
- UI/UX development.
- Front-end and back-end development, testing.
- Size of the development team.
- The complexity of web architecture.
- Website hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, and PCI compliance costs.
- The number of the 3rd party integrations (Stripe, PayPal payment integrations, CRM, social media API, notification and pop-ups integration.)
- SEO optimization. You need to do continuous website audit which includes website loading speed, mobile friendliness, etc. during and after the whole web development process. Also, for that you can use SE Ranking as it has all the features required for an in-depth website audit. (Overall cost will vary depending on the size of your website).
- Maintainance. It’s an ongoing e-commerce web development service that you should add to monthly costs.
- Development time.
How much does it cost to hire an e-commerce programmer in different countries?
It is not easy to find skilled programmers with a massive range of experience and training at an affordable rate. For example, e-commerce programmers in the US earn about $59,475 per year. At the same time, the average salary of their counterparts in Great Britain, Germany, and France are £23,945 ($31,058.34), €50,220 ($59,392.43), and €39,073 ($46,212.61) respectively.
The only way you can hire a cost-effective e-commerce developer or a dedicated team of employees is by outsourcing them from other parts of the world. According to an article published in Business Insider, the best destinations for outsourcing software developers are the Philippines, China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. For example, the charge of a software developer in Ukraine is about $37 per hour.
The hourly rate of an e-commerce software developer in other regions of the world are as follows:
- Czech Republic: $34
- Romania: $26
- Bulgaria: $34
- Ukraine: $37
- Belarus: $28
- Chile: $50
- Uruguay: $55
- Bolivia: $30
- Mexico: $55
- Nepal: $25
- Bangladesh: $25
- Sri Lanka: $25
- Philippines: $25
- Nigeria: $40
- Egypt: $20
- Morocco: $20
- Kenya: $20
Cost of hiring of senior developers for custom website development by technology
As we have mentioned before, the cost of hiring developers depends on quite a few aspects: employment type, location, experience, knowledge of programming languages, libraries, and frameworks.
In the table below, we compare average rates of senior US developers vs. contractors of YouTeam based on technology. Keep in mind that hiring in-house developers will get you additional costs such as taxes, office payments, electronic devices, bonuses, benefits, and other extra expenses.
|The US||Eastern Europe||Latin America|
|Ruby On Rails||$73.9||$53.9||$59.8|
Tips for sourcing and hiring offshore e-commerce developers
For the best e-commerce web design, this is how you can select the best teams:
- Look for their credibility: You need to determine whether the offshore company you are about to hire is trustworthy. You can contact previous clients to get an insight into their experience to make the best choice.
- Clear the air about their workflow: You must ask them questions about how the communication is maintained with the client and how developers are allocated to various projects. It is also important to enquire about their flexibility.
- Get access to the latest codes: You must always make sure that you always have access to the regulations that are being generated. It might so happen that the company will not provide you with the codes later because of some personal conflict. Hence it is always essential to keep them handy.
- Be interactive: You must show your skills as a founder and work with your offshore team. You mustn’t alienate them in any way, shape, or form.
- Don’t accept a company that is too cheap: Remember you aim to be cost-efficient. If you work with a seemingly ‘cost perfect company and they provide you with a low standard of work, you will, later on, have to get revisions done, which in turn will cost more.
Advantages of hiring a dedicated e-commerce developer with YouTeam
For the best e-commerce solutions, you must rely on YouTeam. The following are the reasons why:
- Get a broad selection of software developers: With YouTeam, you will be able to get access to a considerable pool of offshore developers with great skills and talent.
- Every engineer is vetted: Vetting is a necessary procedure that we follow to ensure that only the best engineers are chosen. There is a multi-stage screening process that helps in handpicking agencies.
- Ability to scale the team: With these offshore teams, you will enjoy the flexibility of scaling them according to your startup project.
For previous work samples of e-commerce software developers listed on YouTeam, click here.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase in online shoppers. That, in turn, has increased e-commerce sales, which has triggered the need for effective e-commerce solutions. Custom e-commerce website development has numerous benefits, especially when you hire the right offshore team. To get the best website developers to work for you, connect with YouTeam.