The ecommerce website development process


What is the first step in custom ecommerce website design and development?

The first step in custom ecommerce website design and development is to evaluate if there’s a match between your business model and an existing platform.

When vetting different systems, look for a platform that can support key integrations and functionality you require to do business. For example, make sure that your payment processor, shipping system, or accounting software integrates easily.

Or be sure to ask questions about a platform's ability to support things like omnichannel marketing, multiple websites for sub-brands, or content marketing and SEO.

It's also important to consider a platform's security record, if updates are issued regularly, and what kind of support you can receive should you run into a problem.

Then, depending on what platform you've chosen, you'll need to hire designers and developers who work with that system. This will ensure your website looks and functions the way you want.

Especially if your business requirements are unique, finding a trustworthy development partner is key to supporting the long-term success of your website.

What's the general process of ecommerce website development?

Every development team has its own approach to ecommerce development. At Foster Commerce, we have strict development standards that ensure we make quality websites. Generally speaking, our process follows the path outlined below:


Before beginning, we establish a clear understanding of what to build for a client’s project. We define things like the product catalog size, categorization of products, checkout flows, reports, and third-party services. We also define any special features that are required for users. For example, we determine if the client needs a site that allows users to subscribe to receive products or services.

Data modeling

Once the functionalities are nailed down, we plan out the data that will be used by the site. For example, we’ll define relationships between products and categories. Then, we’ll make a plan for which product data and required fields need to be included.

User interface and user experience (UI/UX) Design

Once the customer journey is defined, our team incorporates user interface design (UI) and user experience design (UX) into a website.

UX and UI deliverables typically include things like a design system of elements. These elements can be reused when new features and pages are added to the site.

After discovery, data modeling, and UI/UX design processes are complete, we set up the site infrastructure.

Coding, testing, and launch

Once the infrastructure is set up, we start coding the front and back ends. Often, we’re able to work on the back and front ends at the same time.

As we code each new feature, we test everything. If we find any errors or bugs, we fix them and test again until there are no issues.

After every feature and functionality is coded, we do another test of the entire website.

Once we confirm that everything works as expected, we launch your site!

How long does it take to build a custom ecommerce website?

Unfortunately, this falls under the "it depends" category. The more complex and customized the project is, the longer it will take to build.

That being said, here are general guidelines for the time involved in building a custom ecommerce website with Foster Commerce.

  • A "simpler" ecommerce site with basic products and features takes about one month.

  • A "medium" ecommerce site including custom functions and features takes about 2-3 months.

  • A “large" ecommerce site with advanced custom functionalities and size can take up to 6 or more months.