According to Statista, the global eCommerce market had $3,5 billion of sales by the end of 2019, and it is 14% of the total share of global retail sales. So these figures speak for themselves. Today many eCommerce websites strive to beat the competition and be at the same level as a giant marketplace like Amazon.
What should you do if you are a newbie in the eCommerce world, but you plan to build a website like Amazon and take part in the race? Well, your limits are only in your mind, so you should always attempt to be the best. The first thing you should start with is to learn how to make a website like Amazon. Our detailed guide will help you keep up with the right build strategy, follow appropriate development steps, and start your race.
What eCommerce Is About
eCommerce is a collective conception that includes trade and financial operations that are performed via the Internet. So it is the online business, sale and purchase, and it is considered to be the whole industry of the international economy.
eCommerce became an integral part of a modern economy in the contemporary world. The number of online eCommerce stores grows exponentially, providing users with different types of products and services. But eCommerce means not online stores only. Booking hotels online, tickets purchase, Internet banking are also eCommerce services.
Types Of eCommerce
eCommerce can be divided into three types:
B2B (business-to-business). When one company sells something to another company. For example, the IT company buys laptops from the company that is engaged in hardware sales;
B2C (business-to-consumer). When a company sells products or services to a specific consumer. It can be both physical products and online courses. Amazon is a good example of a B2C type. That is, B2B is used by companies to buy something that will help them improve their business, whereas B2C is a purchase of something for personal use.
C2C (consumer-to-consumer). When an individual sells a product to another individual. This type is widespread on various marketplaces like eBay, AliExpress, OLX, etc.
How Amazon Works
To create an eCommerce website like Amazon, you should know how it works. As of 2019, Amazon includes 750,000 employees. The company has eight branches around the world — in China, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain. It requires employees to manage a vast Amazon eco-system that includes the marketplace for the purchase of various categories of products along with a cloud platform offering data processing services.
According to Similarweb, the number of Amazon monthly visits reaches up to 2,3 billion. And 3,5 billion packages globally were delivered in 2019. When Jeff Bezos founded the company in 1995, its scope of activity was the sale of books, while today, Amazon offers 34 product categories including e-books, consumer electronics, toys, food, sporting goods, auto parts, etc.
As we noted above about the cloud platform, it is necessary to cover it in detail. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform offers infrastructure like virtual servers and cloud databases, middleware, serverless computing solutions. AWS provides users with IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions. So AWS is one of the sources of profit for Amazon.
Amazon sells products using two following models:
Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA). All items are stored in the Amazon fulfillment centers, and Amazon employees handle all operations related to the sale of these items;
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). Third-party sellers use Amazon as a marketplace to sell their products and manage them on their own (delivery, storage, etc.).
As of 4th quarter 2019, 53% of units sold via Amazon belong to third-party vendors, according to Statista. By the way, not all these vendors represent small companies. Such active players like Nike, GoPro, Cassio sell their products on Amazon as well.
Business Strategy To Focus On
Amazon adheres to a strong business strategy that cannot be ignored if you plan to create a website like Amazon. Amazon always follows new trends and uses them in business promotion. But today, Amazon even may originate these trends on their own. Let’s break down the main strategies you need to focus on to succeed. And also, check out an article containing key tips to start a digital business.
Business plan development. Competing with Amazon seems something complicated, to say the least. And you need to start with the building of a business plan for your shopping website like Amazon. When you draw up a business plan, you can write down the steps of your business development, consider pitfalls you may face, and estimate the budget for the project.
Niche and target audience research. You cannot just start with selling smartphones or clothes. You need to conduct comprehensive research to find the appropriate niche if you create a marketplace website. At least, you should start with a few types of products, and then grow gradually.
Besides, you must determine what your target audience is, who you are selling products to. Because properly selected target users may become the distinguishing feature of your online shopping site like Amazon.
Segments expansion. We mean an expansion of your business, entering into new niches. Amazon started its way as an online book store, but now it is the largest marketplace. Of course, your website won’t offer diversified segments of products immediately, and the expansion will take time. However, don’t be afraid to try something new like Amazon does.
Implementation of the right marketing approach. Creating a website like Amazon may be a bad idea if you are going to bypass marketing strategy. Social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, content marketing, etc. — you need to use each of the listed ways to promote your new website and notify as many users as possible about your new eCommerce store.
Focus on customer service. You should duplicate the experience of Amazon and become a customer-centric company. Otherwise, you will fail. You must consider customers’ demands and needs, provide them with excellent customer experience, delivering high-quality products. Your primary goal is to increase customer trust and loyalty towards your company.
Ways To Monetize Your eCommerce Platform
Once you’ve come up with a business strategy for your project, you need to single out monetization methods and choose which of them will help you generate a profit. We will list the revenue models of Amazon to provide you with a full picture of their activities.
Fees. It is the main part of the Amazon profits, fees for the products sold, shipped, etc. It includes such varieties of fees like referral fees (vendors pay for each sold product, the price depends on product type), per-item fees (fixed fee $0,99 is paid per each item sold), shipping fees (Amazon charges shipping fees, its amount varies depending on the product category), closing fees (paid for each media item sold like music albums, software video games, etc.).
High-volume listing fees. This type of fee differs from the fees described above. Third-party vendors pay $0,005 for each ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). ASIN is a unique identifier of each product sold on Amazon. But high-volume listing fees are paid only when the number of published items of one vendor exceeds 100,000.
Advertising. Well, this is the most popular monetization method. Thematic advertising on the eCommerce website may generate a good profit. However, Amazon gains more revenue from fees rather than from ads.
Subscription fees. Amazon has the Amazon Prime subscription model that provides users with certain advantages like 2-day delivery, access to Amazon Instant Video, Prime Music, and other benefits. Users pay $119 per year for a subscription. Thus, you can create some premium models that include bonuses for users.
Steps To Amazon-like Website Development
We reached the main point of the article, where we will shed light on the eCommerce website development process. You need to read it attentively to know how to build a website like Amazon.
Choose An eCommerce Platform
That is what you need to consider when business strategy along with revenue models are elaborated. There are open-source eCommerce platforms that can be used for the development of your marketplace. Software developers may recommend some specific platforms, but we list the most popular of them: Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce. Each platform has its particularities, and you need to choose the one that fits your ideas perfectly.
Buy A Reliable Hosting And Give Your Website A Name
For an eCommerce website like Amazon, you need to purchase a stable hosting server. Good hosting is expensive, but it will have enough capacity to handle the load on the website. It is recommended to use cloud hosting — it will be more costly, but you get a multipurpose server for your needs.
Besides, don’t forget about the website’s name and domain. The name should be short and catchy. So you can create a name that builds some associations (like Amazon does).
If you are not a software developer, you won’t be able to build the right architecture for your eCommerce website. But a dependable specialist will implement everything correctly, so choose a trustworthy company like Cadabra Studio.
Ok, what should the architecture of the eCommerce website include? Your website should have a high security level, high performance, and scalability.
As for security, an eCommerce website stores users’ payments and other personal confidential data, so everything must be encrypted to avoid attacks of web malefactors. The website must be protected from DDoS and XSS attacks, secured from SQL-injections.
The performance level also plays a vital role since users don’t like to wait. If everything works slowly, it will have a negative impact on your revenue. Keep it in mind when you create a professional eCommerce website like Amazon.
And scalability. Your website must be scalable since marketplaces always improve, new features may be added, trendy technologies may be applied.
Create An Interactive Design
User-interactive design is especially essential for eCommerce websites. Users should navigate through your site quickly and intuitively, so UI and UX must be created with well-thought-out behavior models. As a software development and design company Cadabra Studio may create an attractive interface and perfect user experience for your website, so contact us at any time.
Also, we always monitor up-to-date trends and apply them to our design to make your project competitive. Well-created design lets your business stand out among competitors, read more about in our article concerning the value of design.
What does intuitive design mean? When buyers enter the product page, it should contain habitual features like See the price in a local currency, View images, Read reviews, Add the item to a shopping cart, Choose the delivery method/payment method, Make an order. The right design impacts directly your business success and website popularity.
The most complicated stage is initiated. Software developers start creating your website using various tools. This process may take from 3-4 months to one year and more. Everything depends on the complexity of content and the initial scale of a website.
The eCommerce website should be created by skilled specialists of middle and senior levels. Technology stack required for Amazon-like website development may vary since each development team may apply one or the other programming tool to achieve a specific goal.
But we would like to pay attention to the following tech stack that may be used for the eCommerce website creation:
Frameworks and libraries: React, Vue, Angular
Back-end: Java, Ruby, Perl, Python
Databases: MongoDB, MySQL, Redis, AWS
Payment gateway: Braintree, PayPal, Stripe
Utilities: Elasticsearch, Amazon EC2, Amazon A/B Testing, Nginx, Google Analytics
What’s interesting, to build a website like Amazon, developers will probably use some tools of Amazon because they are reliable and make the site more robust. As for the Amazon website, its tech stack almost entirely consists of Amazon tools, except for front-end and back-end languages.
When the website is created, a proper testing process should be implemented. Apart from the must-have testing stages performed by QA engineers, we mean beta testing and A/B testing as well. That is, we recommend you build a few versions of a website, then gather a focus group and let them test these versions.
You perform marketing operations, collect feedback, and it helps you come up with the best solution that meets their expectations. Moreover, beta users may give some tips on your website improvement.
This article may be interesting for you: How to Make a Site Like Craigslist
MVP Features To Build An eCommerce Website Like Amazon
No, we didn’t forget about the functionality of a website. There are basic features your site like Amazon should include. Remember that the must-have features make the skeleton of your website, but they don’t make your website awesome by default. So think about additional features to enhance your online marketplace. And figure out more reasons why an MVP is essential for your business.
Registration/sign-in. Users may navigate through your website without registration, but to buy something, they must create accounts. Today this process should take as little time possible, so let users sign in using social media accounts on Google or Facebook.
User profile. Your Amazon-like website should have two types of accounts — for buyers and vendors. Buyer profiles contain personal info, payment details, whereas vendor accounts include shipping details and product details, payment methods used by a buyer.
Search. It is much more convenient to use a website that has a search feature. Especially if it is an eCommerce website that cannot exist without the search. You need to add advanced search with filters to find a particular product by type, category, price, color, etc.
Product page. A profile for a product — a page that contains the information about a product, images, reviews, price. As an additional feature, you may add a comparison of the prices for a specific product.
|List of Features
Reviews/ratings. All users should have the capability to leave reviews about products and rate the service level. Users have more trust towards a website that contains ratings and reviews about each product.
Shopping cart. A user may look through all the products he chose to buy. In a shopping cart, a buyer can change the number of items, remove or add something, select shipping/payment methods, etc.
Shipping method. Users may choose how the shipment will be done, see the delivery period, and how to pay for it.
Payment gateway. To let buyers pay for products and sellers receive funds, you need to add one or a few payment methods. The more payment methods your website offers, the higher the impact it has on customers’ loyalty. Use trustworthy payment systems like Braintree, Stripe, PayPal.
Push notifications. Buyers and sellers must be notified about all changes in their profiles. For example, an order status is changed to Accepted, or a delivery status is changed to Shipped. Or new products are added to the website, and users are waiting for it to buy. Notifications allow users to stay up-to-date.
CMS. The content management system (CMS) is an admin panel that allows the website owner to customize specific settings on a website without the development team’s assistance.
Let’s Draw The Line
Having read an article, you have a more clear conception of steps on how to make an eCommerce website like Amazon. It is an uneasy task to compete with Amazon, so you will have to invest many resources in your website development to make it stand out. However, a wise approach is always better than reckless actions that lead to failures and ineffective costs.
To build the Amazon-like website, hire a dependable software development company that has qualified staff. As we noted above, Cadabra Studio has all the necessary tools to make your eCommerce website real and launch it. Your troubles — our solutions!