Ecommerce stores are more popular than ever, with $2.3 trillion in online retail sales made in 2017 alone according to Statista. The trend looks set to continue, with annual worldwide sales predicted to reach almost $5 trillion per year by 2021. Whatever you sell, you cannot afford to ignore the rise of online retail. It’s time to consider taking your store online.
It’s possible to design and create your own digital store or website, but it’s time-consuming if you have no technical knowledge. What’s more, the cost of making mistakes can be high, setting your business objectives back by months or even derailing them altogether.
At AxiomQ, we combine our expertise to produce efficient, beautiful, and secure ecommerce stores that bring any business idea to life. We handle every stage, from defining our clients’ needs with in-depth product specifications to fixing bugs.
Here are five technologies we use when building ecommerce stores:
The AxiomQ team are skilled in a number of coding languages and approaches, but Ruby On Rails (RoR) is our first choice when developing apps. First released in 2004, it’s a tried and trusted framework used by big names including Zendesk, Square, and Shopify.
RoR runs on Ruby, a popular open-source, object-oriented programming language. RoR enables developers to draw on a vast library of pre-existing code, meaning that they can piece together the perfect application instead of coding it from the ground up.
The RoR community have developed out-of-the-box solutions that make for a faster development cycle. For example, the Spree framework makes managing shipments and online inventory simple without the need to code these types of functionalities from scratch. Other RoR platforms suitable for ecommerce include Piggyback and Shoppe.
PHP is an HTML embedded scripting language used to create pages that respond to user requests. This makes it an invaluable resource when building ecommerce stores. It’s found on the majority of websites (83.5%) that use a server-side programming language.
Key advantages of PHP include its open-source status and relatively quick speed. The community has built ready-to-use solutions for ecommerce application, such as Zen Cart and Magento. Analytical tools, such as Google Analytics, can also be connected to an ecommerce store using PHP. Analytics are essential for effective product selection and management, and can also provide valuable insights in customer shopping patterns.
Scalability is another important concern when developing an ecommerce store, and it’s here that PHP offers another advantage – it is relatively easy to scale as long as the developer has built a sound architecture. Using a PHP framework such as Symphony or PHPixie saves time by letting developers re-use existing code.
Successful ecommerce stores must not only offer an efficient, secure shopping experience – they must also be visually compelling if they are to entice customers to make a purchase.
Adobe Photoshop allows designers to create attractive, well-ordered ecommerce interfaces. However, merely understanding the technical capabilities of Photoshop isn’t enough to create a strong design. A developer must appreciate the aesthetic principles that distinguish appealing from mediocre ecommerce stores.
Photoshop is an essential tool for touching up product photos and illustrations, highlighting special features and creating the appearance of a high-quality product. For example, the Spot Healing brush can be used to remove irregularities in an image such as specks of dust or the reflection from a camera lens.
Photoshop also allows you to show the same product in multiple colors. This can save you a lot of time. For example, if you are selling the same jacket in five different colors, it is far simpler to take a single photo and then use the Hue/Saturation tool to generate four other versions of the same product.
The Unsharp Mask tool quickly improves image clarity, and can also be used to make some product features stand out. However, a designer must know how to apply effects so that a product is shown to its best advantage in such a way that does not mislead the customer.
Alternatively, there are lots of readymade plugins that work perfectly for ecommerce environments. They include Product Colorizer jQuery Plugin, which is a simple way to display a product in different colors, and PayPal Shopping Cart, a straightforward plugin that allows customers to place items in a shopping cart and then pay for them simultaneously.
WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS, can be used to create a solid base for an ecommerce store. Thirty-two per cent of online shops use its plugin, WooCommerce, for displaying and selling both physical and digital products.
WooCommerce is free, and in the right hands can be completely customized to meet the needs of almost any business. You do not need any coding experience to put together an ecommerce store – anyone can combine themes, tools, and plugins to produce a respectable website.
However, novices often find the sheer number of features overwhelming, and security is another key consideration. A business owner looking to create a secure store and fully customized experience should hire a web developer experienced in creating an ecommerce environment.
To make an ecommerce site accessible to customers who do not speak English, WordPress provides plugins that automatically translate pages into pre-specified languages. This can significantly expand a business’ market reach.
However, plugins do not offer the nuance of a human translation. To find the right translator for your website, head to PickWriters.com, a professional translation services reviews resource.
The technologies used in any given project depends on a client’s needs, but the above list provides a quick overview of some tools we use to set up ecommerce stores for clients who want elegant, high-quality apps and web products.
About the Author:
Kristin Savage has graduated from Columbia University where she was majoring in Germanic Languages. Besides English as her mother tongue she also speaks German and Dutch fluently. Currently Kristin is studying Spanish and planning to obtain her PhD in Applied Linguistics since she is interested in how to use her to some extent practical knowledge of language processes in everyday life.