How to Build an Ecommerce Website from Scratch: All Steps Covered

As reported by Digital Commerce 360, consumers spent over $861.12 billion online with the US e-commerce retailers in 2020. No wonder why so many businesses are willing to invest in building an e-commerce website from scratch.

While it’s hard to scale a business without technology in 2021, a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know about the definitive way of building and running an e-commerce website. That’s why we decided to help out!

In this blog, Techosquare - the leading PHP development company in India - will tell you how to build an e-commerce website from scratch. Even if you are completely new to the tech world, our guide will help build your online store with ease.

First, let’s learn about the popular ways of building an e-commerce website from scratch!

How to build an e-commerce website from scratch?

Tony Gilroy once said, “different people work in different ways.” The same applies to the e-commerce world as well. There are several methods of developing an online store from scratch. Each technique has its own pros and cons. We will tell you about the most popular ones.

The following are the best ways to build an e-commerce store from scratch: 

Turnkey e-commerce store builders

Custom e-commerce website solution

Turnkey e-commerce website builders

You must be wondering what a turnkey e-commerce website builder is? Well, it’s a pay-and-play platform that makes it easy for business owners to create an online store from scratch with limited to zero knowledge of coding and design.

Imagine buying pre-built desktop and later adding extra components like GPU and audio driver to match your needs. You don’t have to assemble a PC from ground zero. Ecommerce website builders work just like that.

All you need to do is choose a nice theme from a large number of available templates and make customizations on your own using a drag and drop interface. A lot of traditional business owners also employ professionals to set up the store for them to save time.

Turnkey e-commerce website builders

No coding skills required: As we said earlier, no coding skills and design expertise is required to use a turnkey website builder. If you are acquainted with modern web apps, you don’t need the help of web developers. You don’t need to learn the basics of programming. Online store builders are purposely designed for people who have zero knowledge of coding.

Cheap and fast: Looking for a solution that lets you build an online store from scratch in a few hours and that too at a cheap monthly/yearly price? Ecommerce website builders are here to save your day! They are way cheaper than hiring a developer to build a website from scratch. You can save hundreds of dollars that would otherwise go in the pocket of a designer and developer.

Easy to export: Not happy with your current e-commerce store provider? Make the switch without thinking about it a hundred times. Exporting an online store to other platforms is no biggie for some e-shop builders. You can export the products and critical site pages without any hassle.

Cons of ready-made website builders

Not suitable for big businesses: Some businesses require custom design, coding, and unique modules to make a lasting impression on their customers. Sadly, e-commerce store builders have limitations on these 3 factors which is the reason why we don’t consider them to be suitable for big businesses with a grand vision.

Limited SEO: In 2021, SEO is very important but a lot of turnkey store builders are still lagging behind in it. Unstructured and messy codes are common among online store builders. Since you may have limited control over the technical site aspects, your on-page SEO may not reach its maximum potential and hence impact results.

Slow loading time: Do you know that 1 in 4 visitors abandon an online store if it takes too much time to load? Yes, they do! A lot of websites built using marketplace builders experience slow load time and the same impacts their performance.

Now that you know everything critical about e-commerce website builders, let’s talk about a custom website development solution.

Inquire how much our in-house online store builder costs in 2021.

Custom e-commerce solution

Remember we gave the example of getting a pre-built computer and adding a few additional components to match your needs? Now, think of assembling a brand new PC from scratch. A custom e-commerce solution is just like that! It’s all about designing an online shop from scratch while keeping your unique needs in mind.

Just like you can add components of your choice while building a custom PC, you can literally integrate any module or capability to your customized e-commerce website. It can be coded to suit whatever your requirements are. There’s no template to constraint your goals. What’s more, they are way flexible to update and much easier to modify.

Custom e-commerce solution

The following are the benefits of developing a website from scratch using a custom online store solution:

  1. Capability to cover all business requirements
  2. Easy to scale
  3. Better website support and maintenance
  4. Distinctive store design
  5. Lightning-fast bug fixes
  6. Highly responsive
  7. Unlimited functionality
  8. Fast loading speed
  9. Flexible in adopting the latest technologies. Best for keeping your business a step ahead in the game.
  10. Potential to make everything unique by implementing eye-pleasing UI/UX along with online store design elements.
  11. Complete access to code and design

Cons of custom store development

Costly in nature

Requires technical support for management

Longer turnaround time

Turnkey solution or custom: Experts’ Suggestion

Most business owners consider the decision between a turnkey and custom solution a tough one but actually, it isn’t. 

A turnkey solution is perfect for small business owners who want to get started at a small monthly spend to test the e-commerce waters. A custom solution is perfect for mid and large-sized businesses that need a scalable solution.

If generating bigger sales is your long-term goal and you don’t mind investing a decent amount of money for the same, then, a custom e-commerce website solution will be perfect for your business.

Now that you have the insights to decide between the two, let’s discuss the steps involved in building an e-commerce website from scratch!

Steps to develop an online store from scratch

Follow these steps to build an e-commerce website from the ground up:

#1 Decide products you want to sell

The first and foremost step of starting an online retail business! Decide on the products you want to sell through your e-commerce website. We know choosing products to sell online is one of the most difficult decisions you need to make because the options are almost infinite.

Consider the following factors while deciding what products to sell:

  1. Recurring sales value
  2. Popularity
  3. Competition
  4. Quality
  5. Uniqueness 

Once you figure out the right products, look at the market demand and product pricing.

15 trending e-commerce products to sell online in 2021.

#2 Determine your business model

Imagine running a car without gasoline. It isn’t even going to start in the first place, forget running it on the streets. You simply can’t build and run an e-commerce website without choosing the right business model.

Make sure to select the right e-commerce business model as per your requirement. Several types of business models exist but the main ones are:

B2B (business to business model)

B2C (business to customer model)

You can either sell products straight from businesses to the general public using the B2C model like Amazon or sell your products straight to other businesses using the B2B model like Alibaba. The final choice is yours to make!

#3 Choose business and domain name

Done selecting the right business model for your online store? Great. Your next step is to choose a business name and buy a domain. Your business name should be unique, relevant to your products, and easy to remember.

A domain name is part of the URL and usually carries the name of your business. A carefully chosen domain name helps build trust. So, pick yours carefully.

#4 Hire e-commerce developers

After choosing what to sell, how to sell, and whom to sell, it’s time to hire a team of e-commerce website developers and designers for your online store.

Hiring a talented team for building your website from scratch will save you time as they will have vast experience, expertise, and industry insights. 

If hired, our team of experienced web developers, designers, and project managers will ensure that your website is built with the highest level of professionalism.

Contact us to discuss your e-commerce website goals!

#5 Time to add products

Once the website development ends, it’s time to add products to the e-commerce marketplace. Ask your technology partner to support you through the process. Pay special attention to the following aspects in order to secure bonus eCommerce points:

High-quality product images

Product videos



Product sizes, models, and colors

Product description

Additional information (weight, dimension, material type, etc.)

#6 Set up payment gateways

Without payment gateways, it will be hard to generate sales. Integrate at least two payment gateways to convert your site visitors into repeat customers. Choose a payment gateway that promises a smooth, fast, and secure payment experience.

Top payment gateways like PayPal, Skrill,, and Payza can help increase brand trust among the customers and make them come back to purchase more frequently. Consider providing COD if active in a developing country!

#7 Take care of security

Let’s be realistic. Would you open a retail shop in the most infamous neighborhood of the city without a security system? Of course not! The internet is full of security loopholes and the thieves need only one vulnerability to break in.

Make e-commerce store security a priority. Use HTTPS protocol to secure information shared by shoppers. Make frequent software updates to ensure that the security mechanisms are in the best shape.  Define the access permissions for different users who can access your online store. Deploy a firewall to boost security levels.

#8 Select shipping partner

So, you have finally built your e-commerce website from scratch, listed products in the catalog, deployed payment gateways and taken care of security. Good work but isn’t there something that you still need to take care of? Yes, a shipping partner is obligatory to ship products locally as well as globally.

Select the best shipping services provider that can help you dispatch products to your customers. Choose shipping zones you want to cover. Courier partners like DHL, UPS Supply Chain solutions, and Expeditors are some best-in-class e-commerce freight forwarding solutions.

Final words on e-commerce store development

We have told you all the steps involved in building an e-commerce website from scratch. The development process of a custom online store may seem slightly overwhelming but keep in mind that good things take time. Seeds planted do not sprout the next day but that doesn’t mean they never will. Be patient!

Once you finish building your online store from ground zero, it’s time to think in terms of branding, marketing, advertising, and growth to position your venture strongly in the future.

Got any queries to ask? Send them to and have them answered by our e-commerce experts!