One of the most frequent tasks in web development relates to developing for ecommerce. That's not surprising considering the statistics on ecommerce and its penetration in the UK. While non-ecommerce sales still contribute the largest proportion of retails sales, online ecommerce sales are growing at a faster rate, accounting for around 20% of total retail and an amount of £96 billion.
Mobile has a major role to play in retail in the UK with most ecommerce transactions happening via smartphones. Importantly, while some high street stores have felt the pinch of a growing ecommerce environment, most are finding customers regard ecommerce as part of a seamless customer experience, often checking out products online before buying in store, or vice-versa.
With these insights, it's no wonder that web developers are inundated with ecommerce-related development projects. However, there are some crucial considerations that clients and developers alike should consider when building for the ecommerce environment. First of these is the need for comprehensive digital marketing strategy that gives web development a clear direction.
A digital marketing strategy might seem to have little to do with that special functionality you're asking a web developer to build, but web developers don't live or work in isolation. Web development is at its best when it is part of a harmonious whole that is research-backed and results-driven. When web development takes place in context, it is more efficient and cost-effective.
Web development also takes place in the context of societal shifts, particularly in how technology is adopted and used by target markets. If smartphone transactions are fuelling ecommerce growth, it makes sense that web development should focus on responsive design that displays and functions at its best on any smartphone. To get conversions, the transaction process needs to be mobile-friendly.
Understanding how people make purchasing decisions in a specific niche market will also inform the web developer's work. For example, ecommerce transactions are more likely to be impulse buys than planned purchases. Optimising the site's functionality to capitalise on impulsivity and create a seamless process from first sight to checkout is essential to cashing in on the impulse factor.
A buzzword in web development today is gamification. Developing and implementing game or contest elements into your website could have a positive impact on sales, for example, spin the wheel to reveal a discount. Functionalities that pop up a time-limited discount when the customer is about to leave the page are another way to turn lost customers into loyal ones.
Web development is particularly important when it comes to your site's search function. Not only does a well-supported search function get customers to exactly what they want in the shortest possible time, it also gives the business owner valuable insights into what people want. An advanced search functionality may also give customers suggestions of related products they may be interested in.
Possibly the most important role web development plays today is in ensuring site security. On any website, particularly those that gather sensitive personal data, it is of utmost important that privacy is maintained, and data security ensured. Site security is not an optional extra. It is essential to comply with legislation and prevent the possibility of costly data breaches and lost information.
Web development is about more than a little tinkering behind the scenes. Good web development happens in context and is research-backed, results-driven and security sensitive. The more you can share with your web development team about your business and how it works, the better they can do their job and get you the results you need.
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