Lessons from a first time e-commerce web developer

When I was assigned with the task of developing an e-commerce website for the very first time, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy task. Previously I had been part of several similar e-commerce projects but I was never asked to take the responsibility of an entire project alone. I was equally excited and anxious, excited about the new things I would learn and explore, worried thinking about the challenges that lie ahead.

Our client wanted a fashion eCommerce site that would increase their overall sales and brand reach. Once the design was completed, I was asked to start the development right away as compromising on the delivery dates was never a choice for us. Within the given time frame I had to complete each module, test and then ultimately hand over the site. With everything set, the initial plan, milestones and the design, I was ready to code the design.

The development process of this eCommerce website became a whole new learning process for me. Every testing was a nightmare for me, with codes breaking apart, features not functioning properly, glitches in security and navigation errors. As I approached towards the completion of the project, the contentment I felt was incomparable. I would suggest everyone trying their hands on developing an e-commerce site for the first time to follow these few basic things.

User-friendly navigation
As a developer, one should stick to the architecture and navigational structure designed by the designer and information architect. A customer visiting the site should be able to view the products, access the product description, compare and buy them quickly.

Add all the store attributes
Make sure that the design has all the attributes like product details, shipping information, confirmation process mail, contact details, payment procedures in place. This will help you actually develop a site taking into account the needs of both the customer and business.

Quick buying process
Once the customer has decided to buy a product, the next thing to do for him is make the payment and checkout. If the checkout process is too lengthy and difficult to make then you will lose customers who have already gone half way through making a purchase. In addition to losing a potential customer, you will have an unsatisfied customer who would go talking negative comments about the site to his friends and family.

Use a secured payment gateway that customers trust. The overall security of the e-commerce site is important as the customer will be providing personal details as well as payment information.

Avoid broken links
During each testing, one should test if all the links are functional. There is nothing as frustrating than getting redirected to a wrong page. All the pages should serve the specific features, if not you would

Don’t miss the relevant details
Customers are looking for every possible detail that will influence their buying decisions. An e-commerce site should have a well defined product categories and price structure.

Plenty of payment options
By understanding the buying trends of the customer, you can add different payment options. This allows everyone to make payments without any hassle.

Test it again and again
On completion of each module you should test so that you are assured that everything is working properly.