E-commerce Development vs. Web Development: Choosing What’s Right for Your Business

Today people are spoilt for opportunities with regard to gaining online visibility. Two important avenues that are essential for businesses to choose between are e-commerce development and web development. These ideas cater to different needs although both are particularly important in their respective areas.

Table of contents

In this article, we’ll be looking at:

What Exactly is E-commerce Development?

E-commerce development is all about creating online stores and platforms where you can buy and sell your products over the Internet. This can be anything from digital downloads to physical products you ship to your customers. It’s like building a digital marketplace where products or services are showcased, payments are made securely, and orders are managed smoothly.

The goal is to give customers a super easy and enjoyable shopping experience, from finding the ideal product to hitting that buy button.

The 5 key elements in e-commerce development

E-commerce development consists of many elements, but the five points below differentiate it from web development.

Showing Off Your Businesses Products:

E-commerce websites let you display your products or services in an attractive and organised way. Using advanced product categories and tagging enhances the usability of an e-commerce websites ability to quickly an intuitively serve products that match a customer’s need, or upsell and cross-sell them products that match a more relaxed browsing shopping journey.

Shopping Made Easy:

Think of the shopping cart as your virtual shopping basket. It helps you pick up items from the shelf and then guides you through the payment process when you’re ready to buy. Optimising the basket journey is a key aspect to increasing online shopping conversions, and Ecommerce businesses invest a lot of time and resources to continually optimise this key part of their website. This includes adding up-sells, cross-sells, guest check-outs, free shipping incentives and dropped baskets (to name a few ways) to increase the conversion rate and value of a customer’s transaction.

Pay Your Way:

Secure payment systems (also known as third party payment gateways) like Stripe, Paypal & WorldPay let customers pay for their goodies online, using cards, digital wallets, or even new modes of payment like cryptocurrencies.

Keeping Track:

E-commerce platforms help keep tabs on what you’ve got in stock, so you don’t accidentally run out of your popular items. Stock management uses middleware software called ERP for inventory management and order fulfilment. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Management and will become a very commonly used triple-letter acronym in any growing e-commerce business. They also help manage orders, and invoices, and even keep an eye on where your packages are as they make their way to customers.

So, What’s Web Development Then?

Web development is a bigger playground. It’s about creating and maintaining websites, online applications, and digital platforms. Whether you’re putting together a personal blog, a company website, or an online community site, web development’s got your back.

The 4 key elements in web development

The key elements in web development differ significantly from e-commerce web development because of what you’re trying to achieve. The four elements below indicate that.

Know that Conversions Matter:

All conversions matter, for an ecommerce site it’s ultimately about sales conversions, but for non-B2C or D2C websites, it’s about converting in a different way. If you run a B2B organisation that sells a service, it’s about generating new business enquiries, whereas if you’re a community or subscription service, it’s about attracting new people into your community and converting them into an engaged user on a monthly or annual subscription. The first key to web development is understanding what your target conversions are, and then providing a system that delivers what your target audience needs at the same time.

The Secret Code:

The back end is where all the behind-the-scenes action is. It’s like the engine room that makes sure everything runs smoothly, from processing data to making sure only the right people access certain parts of the site. Sometimes it’s tempting to grab an off the shelf website solution like a template you can add your logo and content to, but if you want something really special to set you apart then having a bespoke website coded for your business will really set you apart.

Content is King:

This is the core of your website. It includes all the text, images, videos, and audio that provide information and engage your audience. Good content is not only informative but also relevant, engaging, and regularly updated to keep visitors coming back. A lot of businesses invest heavily in content to ensure they are optimised for online visibility and maintaining their presence at the top of their industry – it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and as soon as you stop producing great content a competitor will, more than likely, take your place.

Functionality and Fancy Tricks:

This pillar is not really exclusive to ‘Web Development’ as great e-commerce website also need great functionality to help convert their customers, however, this covers the interactive elements of your website – things like contact forms, search features, and any other tools that users interact with. Functionality should focus on making the user’s experience smooth and efficient. The website should load quickly, be free of bugs, and be easy to navigate.

Which is best? E-commerce or web development?

Choosing between e-commerce development and web development depends on what your business needs. If you’re all about selling items online and making it a cinch for folks to shop, e-commerce development is your jam. It’s like opening a virtual shop with all the bells and whistles. You can build your own bespoke system of look to a range of Open Source solutions from Magento to WooCommerce or subscription Ecomm services like Shopify to launch your store.

But if you’re more into telling your brand’s story whilst sharing information, connecting with visitors, or driving new business enquiries then web development is the way to go. It’s your ticket to creating a digital home that reflects your style and makes people want to stick around.

Frequently asked questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Perhaps your questions weren’t answered in the main part of this article. Have a look at the questions and answers below.

Can I mix e-commerce with a regular website?

Totally possible! You can add e-commerce features to a regular website, but remember, it might not be as smooth as a dedicated e-commerce platform.

Do I Need to Be a Techie?

Nope, not necessarily! Many e-commerce platforms are designed to be user-friendly, so you don’t need to be a tech wizard to manage them.

Which E-commerce Platform is Best?

There are loads of options, like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. The right one depends on your Business size, budget, and what you’re selling.

Finally, deciding between e-commerce development and web development boils down to your business goals. E-commerce is the superstar for selling online, while web development shines in creating an engaging online presence.

By understanding what each option brings to the table, you can make a choice that sets you on the path to online success.