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e-Commerce Mobile App Development Web Development

Guide to Building E-commerce Website

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Why Your Business Need an e-commerce Site

During the Movement Control Order(MCO), a lot of businesses that were relying on walk-in customers faces massive losses in sales due to not being able to open their shops. This lead to the closing of a huge number of businesses but there are lots of creative and risk-taking business owners who knew that they have to have a new sales channel.

Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia, about 65.65% of issues faced by businesses in Malaysia are “No Customers”.

https://www.dosm.gov.my/v1/index.phpr=column/cone&menu_id=RkJtOThJSlBJNStOV1liM1JsKzdZUT09

This is what happens when businesses rely on a single sales channel. Businesses that do not invest or explore building a digital selling experience got hit badly.

One common misconception businesses have is, they have to build e-commerce and find new buyers to buy with them. This is very wrong, this is where digitalization goes wrong. It takes years before people can find your store organically on Google. You need to invest in your SEO to reach there. You should build an e-commerce site not only for your existing customers but also for the new ones. Imagine you have about 100 customers who regularly buy from you, why not just give them the URL of your e-commerce and just ask them to buy from there? They might not hesitate since they already know your products and quality.

You might be wondering, why does your business needs an e-commerce site when the MCO will be lifted soon. E-commerce sites do more than just being a sales channel. An e-commerce site increases buying repetition and average purchase value.

Increases Buying Repetition + Increases Average Purchase Value = Increases Customer Lifetime Value

Imagine your customer is adding some items to the cart and is going to checkout. The e-commerce site can show them more items that are usually bought with the items the customer already added into this hard, if he adds those suggested items into his cart, he can get some discounts. If the e-commerce site does this to 10 people, at least 4 of them will add the suggested item to the cart. Thus increasing the average purchase amount per customer. Do this in big volume, the total revenue will increase.

When your customers are accustomed to your e-commerce site, they will just pull up their phones and make purchases whenever they feel they need your product(s). Here they do not have to plan the journey to your physical shop, they do not have to worry about the traffic jams, they do not have to worry if your shop will have the stock or not. This cuts down all barriers and directly puts your products at the fingertips of your customers.

How some businesses in certain industries have saved themselves by creating a digital selling channel.

Below we will be sharing our own experience on working with our clients in development and consultancy services.  

IT & Gadget

Computer hardware shops and mobile phones shop are everywhere in Malaysia. Or at least it used to be everywhere. A lot of them made RM0 in sales since their shops are closed. Some started selling their products on Facebook and other eCommerce sites like Shopee and Lazada. This helped them to stay afloat. There are some companies with a large number of branches/outlets around Malaysia with a huge monthly expense that are not able to even break even by selling on Facebook and other e-commerce sites.

We worked with a large public listed company selling IT hardware and gadgets in developing a large-scale e-commerce site for them. They have more than a thousand different products in their inventory. 6 months since launching the e-commerce site we made for them, they made a total sales of RM1.5m. This is a new sales channel from them apart from their other sales channel.

They successfully build a community around their brand and encouraged their customers to use their e-commerce site to make purchases. This has successfully increased customer repetition buying and also has pushed up the average customer purchase value by 35%.

Vape & eCiggarette

Vape & e-cigarette industry in Malaysia has been going digital since 2017 since there are questions of health hazards over it. Therefore, companies in this industry must have a proper e-commerce site for customers to shop since buyers in this industry are repeat buyers on a monthly or even basis. We worked with one of the largest Vape companies in South East Asia in building a web application with e-commerce as the main module which is a house of more than 50k buyers to shop for their products. Since the MCO, buyers have been fully depending online for their juice supply. And successfully developing and launching e-commerce, has helped them with brand positioning and realize their plans on their company vision. Now, they can fully rely on their digital channels to reach their monthly sales target and their physical outlets have become an additional revenue channel.

Used Car -> Car Rental

When you hear used cars, maybe Carlist.com, MotorTrader or Mudah comes to your mind. During the MCO, the number of used cars getting listed in the market is just very high. This makes the market more competitive than it used to be. We worked with a company that took a big turn from being a company selling used cars to providing car rental service.

When you have a lot of cars unsold just sitting in your shop waiting for someone to buy, why not make money out of it. This is what a company did when they realized changing direction to a car rental company makes sense. They have the cars, they have the staff. A lot of car rental companies charge either hourly basis on daily basis for renting a car.

Developing a “used car” e-commerce which also has a car renting module, helps them to fasten the time taken for them to introduce their new service to the market. Customers can easily select the car they want to rent, check the availability from the calendar, and make bookings.

This is how an e-commerce site for a used car company evolved into adding more modules which have created a new business model for them.

Fashion & Clothing

People do not stop shopping for clothes even when they spend most of their time at home. There are some clothing shops which are opened during the MCO but trying on clothes was restricted and therefore people now started to learn to buy clothes without having to try them on. This has encouraged buyers to now shop for clothes, shoes, accessories online.

There are even businesses that are shutting down their brick n mortar shops to fully sell online. A sneaker business owner whom we are working with has successfully implemented their digital selling strategy where online sales make up 100% of their sales.

What they have done successfully was build a community for their small brand. Community building is a very crucial element every brand must have in this new era of doing business. Since they have built a growing community, first they tested out by opening stores in e-commerce sites like Shopee, Lazada, and others. As their community grows internationally, we work on understanding their customer needs and built a mobile app around their business and customers. On the mobile app, other sneaker sellers can also sell their products and a percentage will be deducted as a commission just like how all other multi-vendor e-commerce sites do.

Not only our client have successfully moved their sales channel online, but a whole new business model is made which has further helped boost their company’s vision.

The old times where you walk into a shop and buy a pair of clothes and walk out are done and dusted. Now if you are running a clothing line, an apparel business, a sneaker store and etc, you have to build an online community with a digital selling experience.

e-Commerce Statistics & Trends:

  • 60% of millennials do their shopping online (Digitalcommerce360, 2020).
  • 72% of women shop online compared to 68% of men (Optinmonster, 2021)
  • E-commerce sales accounted for 14.1% of global retail sales. This is projected to reach 22% in 2023 (Statista, 2020).
  • 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile devices in the last six months (OuterboxDesign, 2020).
  • 50.81% of global website traffic generated in the third quarter of 2020 came from mobile devices (Statista, 2020). 
  • 79% of consumers prefer to use shopping apps while at home instead of on the go or in the store (Visual Objects, 2019).
  • Small retailers are more likely to see a 30% higher mobile conversion rate compared to big retailers (Optinmonster, 2021). 

e-Commerce Optimization Statistics:

  • In 2017, around 42% of online shoppers stated that they prefer to pay with a credit card.
  • Around 55% of all online shoppers said that online reviews have an impact on their buying decisions.
  • 84% of online shoppers will not purchase from an e-commerce site that is not secure (WHSR, 2021).
  • 93% of customers view visual appearance as a key deciding factor in their shopping decisions (Magebit, 2019).
  • 51.7% of online customers in the US online consumers say that on-model photography is important (Agility, 2017).
  • 50.5 percent% of US online shoppers want to see a minimum of three product photos showing the different angles of the item before making a purchase (Agility, 2017).
  • 38% of consumers said they would leave a website if they find its layout unattractive (Adobe, 2019).
  • 72% of consumers prefer video when receiving branded marketing information instead of text (Retail Dive, 2018). Moreover, 48% want videos to reflect what they are interested in, and 43% want interactivity and the freedom to decide what information they view and when they want to view it (Smart Insights, 2020).
  • 80% of people discontinue doing business with companies due to poor customer experience (Hubspot, 2020).
  • Improving checkout processes can increase conversion rates by 35.26% (Baymard Institute, 2020).
  • The top contributors to a positive customer experience in e-commerce are fast shipping speed (62%), easy delivery process (54%), and ample information about products (53%) (eMarketer, 2020).
  • 75% of shoppers expect free shipping even on orders under $50 (NRF, 2019).
  • 54% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase abandoned items if they were offered at a discounted price later (Jilt, 2020).

Key Takeaway

The 6 must have element in an e-commerce site
What do customers look for in an e-commerce store
The top contributors in a positive customer experience in an ecommerce
Top reasons for shopping cart abondonment

What are the different ways of building an e-Commerce?

No-Code Platforms

No code development platforms are easy to use, drag n drop website builders where you can easily set up an e-commerce site without the knowledge of coding.

If you want to enter the e-commerce scene without breaking your bank, then no-code platforms are here to allow you to do so.

This is an easy way to test your market and see your customer adoption rate.

CMS

If you have been studying e-commerce development, the chances of you knowing WordPress WooCommerce and Magento are quite high. Although you can set up a WordPress e-commerce site without any coding knowledge, you can do so much more on your site with a WordPress developer. You will have full control over your site and you can develop any features you want on the site as you will have the source codes of the site hosted on your own server.

WordPress WooCommerce is called a Content Management System or CMS in short. You can easily buy a premium theme off ThemeForest and install it on a WordPress site. With a few tweaks and adjustments, you can launch an e-commerce site for your business.

Some other widely used CMS for e-commerce sites are:

Custom Development from Scratch

When you have a sizable budget to develop an e-commerce site as per your business requirement and needs, building e-commerce from scratch is the best way and usually yields the highest return. Don’t get it wrong, this does not mean setting up e-commerce with no-code platforms and CMS won’t yield an ROI. Every business that sees large sales being made on their e-commerce will finally opt-out to build their own e-commerce from scratch as they have more freedom to what they want on the site.

When building an e-commerce site from scratch, the number of expected traffic, number of expected transactions, nature of business, strategy to increase average purchase value, and strategy to increase repeating purchase should be considered.

The success of an e-commerce development should be measured by its ROI. ROI should be an indicator of development since the first day of development.

E-commerce Development Pricing Guide

How much does building an e-commerce cost? This is a very very common question among businesses who want to newly dive into the e-commerce scene. Below is the answer.

Cost of building an e-commerce

No-Code

Cost: Nothing if you do it yourself.

CMS

Cost: Nothing if you do it yourself. You can also hire a developer to put together a WordPress WooCommerce site for you which can cost you in the range of RM 900-RM 7,000.

Using a more complex CMS like Magento can cost you from RM 20,000 to RM80,000. This huge price range is dependant on the complexity of the features you might want and the quality of the website design.

Custom Development from Scratch

Cost: Starting from RM35,000

There is no maximum cap for this development. Big companies like IKEA, Microsoft, Apple spent millions of dollars in developing their e-commerce.

Well, in Malaysia, the first version of e-commerce built from scratch is usually within RM150k. Or at least, we at SegWitz advice our clients not go more than that for the initial development.

There are many different tech stacks that can be used, but what we usually use is VueJS or ReactJS for web front-end, React Native for mobile app, NodeJS for backend and PostgreSQL and/or MongoDB for the database. So far, this tech stacks combined with SegWitz’s Internal Code Writing Guideline to maintain high code standards has helped our clients e-commerce to scale as high as having 50,000 users, in the first 3 months of launching while another client we worked with racked up a sales of RM1.5m in the first 6 months of launching their site.

This is how we know if a digitalization of our client is a successful one or not. When you invest RM120,000 and you made RM1,500,000 in 6 months, damnn that’s quite an ROI.

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