More than 2.14 billion people will purchase services and goods online by 2021. Now’s the right time to smoothly transition into e-commerce. So, if you are considering the steps to launch an e-commerce website, you need to decide what Content Management System (CMS) will be the best solution for your online business. In this article, we will reveal the process of how to build an e-commerce website using Magento, one of the best CMSs in the world. Before we get into the steps on how to create a Magento e-commerce website though, we can’t help but first mention the CMS features you will definitely win with.
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Top Advantages of Using a Magento E-commerce Platform
More than 200k websites use Magento for e-commerce business. Magento gives you, the business owner, all the opportunities to launch the project of your dreams. Let’s dive into the particulars of the Magento benefits that will lead your e-commerce site to success.
Although launching a new business can be costly, Magento’s CMS is free! Magento Open Source (previously Magento Community) provides all the solutions you need to build a perfectly working e-commerce website.
Suitable for all business sizes
No matter what size your business is, Magento is great for both small & medium-sized companies (with Magento Open Source & Magento Go) as well as large companies (using Magento Enterprise).
The platform allows you to add several stores under one administrative panel and manage them all effortlessly.
Keeping mobile UX standards in mind, Magento helps developers create a friendly e-commerce store. Here users will have no difficulty in perusing product images & videos, adding products to shopping carts, and more.
Flexible Magento allows developers to conveniently manipulate, delete, or rewrite code, and manage extensions. In addition, developers will be able to customize your store in line with your business needs by managing Magento’s accessible code.
CMS has got all that is required for business success, including SEO tools, in its structure. What is more, Magento always keeps up with the trends in SEO ranking. This means that your e-commerce website will stand out above others on search engine result pages.
Huge number of extensions
Magento provides a wide range of different extensions that can make your store unique and adaptable for all situations.
Reasons to Create an E-commerce Website Using Magento
Not for nothing, small businesses, as well as large ones, tend to build their websites on Magento. We are here to reveal the potential success of making such a decision.
1. Magento is tailored precisely to e-commerce
Built exactly with e-commerce needs in mind, the platform serves unique business requirements. The CMS has important tools and extensions that help your website develop at the highest level. Whether you sell goods (for example: cars, furniture, or flowers) or services (e.g. medical treatment or cleaning services), Magento is a smart solution for all types of businesses.
All Magento’s ingredients work great for businesses, such as its easily managed code, SEO support, CMS scalability, mobile friendly nature, and third party integration for the creation of a truly custom website.
2. It can make your site work fast
By downplaying website performance, you risk getting low conversion rates, failed search ranking, losing customer loyalty, and more. Even if you have amazing design and a good navigation system, users won’t be able to appreciate it in lieu of waiting for the website to load. Magento’s website performance can be the kingpin in the success of your store. This CMS makes the site fast and robust, which is what users want.
Plus, by being a self-hosted platform, Magento gives you a choice in server selection that enables you to adjust all the required tools for your website speed boost. Make it work in your favor and get more love from your customers!
3. Magento provides advanced SEO
It’s an open secret that without powerful SEO tools and strategy, even an attractive, responsive website with positive UX won’t rank high on Google or other search engine result pages.
In addition to its basic, out-of-the-box SEO options, Magento can also be integrated with more complex, custom SEO strategy to make a bigger impact. By creating unique meta content and friendly URLs, and making good use of canonical tags and redirects, Magento leads your e-сommerce website to great results.
4. It allows easy product import management
If you sell a small range of products, you can easily add them to your site manually. However, when selling a wide range of products, you can face challenges with the management of all the inventory and adding products manually is not only not cost-effective but it also takes a long time.
Fortunately, Magento offers a great solution: automatic importation of your products with the snap of your fingers. It’s noteworthy that the import process takes little time and is completed in 4-5 steps. The result? Management of your import/export won’t drive you up the wall.
5. Magento takes care of your website security
Some businesses spend a lot of time making a website look great, and ensuring that the customer’s journey is smooth and pleasant. However, despite all that preparation, they fail at the checkout stage when the user’s data is put at risk. In such scenarios, customers leave and it’s nearly impossible for you to win their loyalty back. What’s the moral of the story? High website security is necessary.
Magento allows business owners to keep customer payment and ID data secure, as well as your financial information, product catalog, and price lists. Additionally, thanks to its security protocols, constant updates, encrypted connections, and robust hosting provider, Magento successfully fends off security attacks and detects the smallest vulnerabilities.
Features of a Magento Website
We all know that users can experience some difficulties with UX in e-commerce websites. Such difficulties lead to high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and a decrease of sales. And that’s not the only challenge for online stores. Magento has the necessary components to solve almost all of your e-commerce woes. Below, we have highlighted the main winning features of a Magento website.
Tablet & mobile friendly
Mobile versions of Magento websites are fully optimized and regularly updated. You don’t have to worry about mobile UX responsive e-mails, design, or images & videos.
Third party integration
To have a customized website, Magento allows you to integrate third party software & programs, and extensions.
Selling electronics or beauty products requires accurate catalog management. Magento has functional solutions to manage your inventory. And above all, you can install PIM or ERP softwares to empower your store.
Ads & marketing tools
Magento has the necessary tools to simplify your marketing & promotion strategy. They facilitate the management of a landing page, promotional pricing, cross-sell products, coupons, etc.
We all know that Google Chrome is the most popular platform in the world. But you’ll have different customers who utilize a different browser for various reasons. Powered by cross-border support, Magento helps your website be capable of working on any browser, in any version.
With Magento, you are able to serve multiple countries at the same time. The CMS supports local tax rates, various languages & currencies.
Payment & shipping, checkout
With a Magento-based site, customers can choose their desired payment and shipping options, and make a purchase without concern over security. Magento, bu the way, supports guest and authorized checkout.
Tracking, analyzing & reporting
The platform consists of universal tools to manage your progress. CMS tracks and analyzes your sales, percentage of abandoned shopping carts, best-selling products, and more. What is notable about this platform is that it reports the required data to help you easily manage your website.
Steps for Magento E-commerce Website Development
Above, we’ve highlighted the benefits of a Magento CMS and reasons for building an e-commerce website with Magento. However, creating a store still seems to be a painstaking process. In this detailed guide, we teach you how to make an e-commerce website in Magento. Thus you will experience no difficulties in launching a perfect online store.
Step 1. Get the latest Magento release
- The first step is to visit the Magento website and create an account (you can also do this at the download stage). Next, go to Resources> Tech-resources> Download. Then, choose the version you wish to use (we recommend the latest one), select the archive format and click to download. The only thing you have to do now is to install the platform via composer using bash or through the FTP client. So, manage local settings and, voila, you are fully equipped.
- Your next task is to create databases. You can use MySQL database and synchronize with Magento. Enter the localhost if the database server is located on the same host. In cases where the server is located on a different host, use its IP hostname or address. You also need to enter a user name, password, and tables prefix.
- The next steps in this section are to customize your store (set up the time zone, currency and language), create an admin account, and, finally, install it.
- By the way, don’t forget to pick up the brand domain name. Important note – your domain name should be unique, simple, and catchy. Keep in mind that your contact e-mail should be associated with your domain so customers can easily memorize it.
Step 2. Install extensions
It may be that there are some development, design, or business features you want to include in your store, but they are not out-of-the-box in Magento. This is where the appropriate extensions and software come to the rescue. Thanks to them, you can enhance the capacities of your future store. By integrating them with the main structure of the site, you make it more customized and flexible.
So, compile a list of features you need to widen the ability of your store, do a search for thoroughly tested extensions at Magento Marketplace. Extensions exist for everything from shipping to inventory, and marketing management, for design customization, payments and security extensions, and more to make your store successful.
* Custom extension development. If the extension you’ve got is not fully customized for your needs, you can ask qualified developers for help. A development team can make partial changes to the logic and code of the extension. In such cases where there is no appropriate extension, a good developer will have no problem developing a unique, customized extension for your requirements. With over 5 years expertise in e-commerce and Magento development, Whidegroup can easily move your e-commerce project into reality.
Step 3. Designing the store
- Choose a theme. A Magento store provides a lot of great templates already prepared, to make your life easier. You can find any template you need for both narrow niches and massive industries, starting from cute themes for an online pet store to sleek, modern minimalistic templates perfect for tech stores. You can access some of the great Magento themes through these sources: Marketplace Magento, TemplateMonster, and ThemeForest. After downloading your chosen theme, you can manage it in the “content” section.
* Customize your theme by updating the layout, template, and style. Want to impress your customers? Create an amazing, unique design that will distinguish your online store. In other words, cut no corners when it comes to capitavating your customers with your site.
* Build a custom layout. It may happen that the downloaded layout is not fully suitable for your future online store. If the template you have chosen leaves you feeling like something is missing, you can simply change it to fill the gaps. Customized layouts help boost e-commerce sales and reduce bounce rates. Before you choose a layout structure, do a little research about smart positioning of shop sections, CTAs, images, text, etc.
- Activate. After that step, you need to activate and apply them. Go to content> themes: if your theme is there – that’s great! Content> Configuration> Choose “edit”> Applied theme (select yours)> Save Configuration.
- Add logo. You can add a logo in the Content Section: Content> Configuration> Header. Then enter the Logo Attribute Width, Welcome Text, and other data.
Step 4. Create product categories
Categories and subcategories are important components of an e-commerce website. They define the customer journey, and entice customers to the desired products. You can look forward to experiencing no difficulties in managing product categories and subcategories in Magento. What is more, there are no limits to how many you can add.
The first step you need to take is to add products. In the admin panel select Catalog> Products section. Here you will be able to select the product type (for example, simple products, configurable, bundle, and more), fill in product details, like images and prices, and create the metadata. Don’t forget to click Save Configuration!
Step 5. Choose shipping & payment methods
- Determine shipping methods. Out-of-the-box, Magento allows you to set up different shipping options (go to Stores> Configuration> Sales). You can choose between simple and multishipping, fix the conditions of free shipping (countries, minimum order amount), table rates (that, above all, depend on country/state, condition), or flat rates. If you have clients with business accounts at companies like USPS, FedEx, and DHL, you can connect them with Magento, maximizing their business benefits.
- Integrate payment methods. An e-commerce store is like a sandwich or cake consisting of several layers. They should be perfectly combined, comfortable, and secure in order for customers to really like your online store. A robust payment gateway is certainly one of the crucial layers. Magento provides popular payment methods such as PayPal, Braintree, Klarna, Amazon Pay, all out-of-the-box. You are also able to add several more payment solutions through extensions.
You can configure all of these features in Stores> Configuration> Sales. Besides, this section allows you to configure the checkout process and manage all shopping cart aspects. While you’re busy with all this configuring, don’t forget to manage your transactional e-mails system: go to Stores> Configuration> Dotmailer.
Step 6. Launch the store
- Test. After managing all the important development aspects, it’s time to test every inch of your future online store. This is where you need to perform system & integration testing, including clicking all the buttons, clicking links, zooming images, checking its responsiveness on different devices and browsers, and anything else on the site.
- And furthermore, don’t skip user acceptance testing. This will help to ensure that your online store will work smoothly and painlessly.
- Deploy. Depending on the size of the project, implementation of the website continues from 1 to several days. This step-by-step procedure requires time and necessary experience. Deployment also requires precise interaction with server parts. If you lack technical expertise, it can be a complicated process. It’s often best to leave this part to the pros.
Magento E-commerce Website Cost
Of course, a CMS allows you to build a basic, fully functioning e-commerce website on your own. However, our modern digital times demand that you can’t let yourself look like others, and fade into the background. E-commerce business requires customization, uniqueness, high speed, and a customer-oriented approach.
To make your website really stand out, it would be better to hire a development team. Knowing how to create an e-commerce website in Magento, a good developer will, without a doubt, build a store from scratch to suit your personal and business needs. Magento e-commerce website price lists vary depending on the amount of time the team spends on every stage.
Below, we’ve made a table of stages, time, and cost to develop a custom Magento e-commerce website.
Analysis of competitors in your industry; compile a list of requirements, including goals, 3rd party resources, and software
Creating the project scope
Making a Product Requirements Document (including objectives, key audience, budget, terms, technical specifications, and more)
Installation and Customization
CMS installation and basic configuration
Installation of extensions & softwares
Acquire required extensions (e.g. carousel & slider, SEO extensions, CRM, Facebook widget, Live Chat etc.)
6 – 27
* Custom extension development
Building customized extensions to meet business needs
Searching, downloading, and configuring an off-the-rack theme
* Custom theme development
Creation of a custom theme (creating a theme prototype, theme structure, developing the theme)
Magento e‑commerce website design
UI/UX prototyping, graphic design
Magento back‑end development
Setting up product details and attribute sets, cross-sell/up-sell products
Setting up payment and shipping method
Management of your project’s back-end and quality assurance
9 – 30
Live server setup & launching
Server architecture preparation
Defining optional architecture approach for the project, considering next factors: an estimated number of visitors, number of different available products in store, integrations, geography of visitors.
Testing & fixing
Final testing done manually, with bug capturing tools;
3-11 (+ 2-8h. For any necessary bug fixes)
Implementation of the website on a live server
As you can see, professional development of an e-commerce website using Magento can take between 135 to 679 hours, considering all additional development steps. When you want to count the costs of website building, you will need to bear in mind lots of tech factors. We mean the number of products at your future store, the complexity of your site, what extensions you need in order to provide full functionality, and much more.
Now Go Make Some Money!
Its popularity amongst small businesses and huge enterprises is no surprise, and Magento still continues to win people’s hearts. Thanks to open code, the platform’s users can get a great custom online store.
We’ve described 2 methods of creating an e-commerce store using Magento: doing so on your own or hiring a specialized development team. Of course, developing the store by yourself seems reasonable at first glance. However, it requires a lot of effort and you need special technical expertise (especially back-end development knowledge).
All in all, Whidegroup’s development team can not only create a top-notch online store, but we can also advise you on the best solutions to manage your site to get more sales and boost conversions. With that said – good luck and go forth!