It’s been 25 years since the first eCommerce platforms launched and a lot has happened in this timeframe. The internet changed the way we shop, be it for groceries, clothes, gifts or electronics, and we can’t imagine life otherwise. It is just so convenient to sit at home, with a cup of tea in one hand and your tablet in the other, and go through your entire shopping list without having to wander around in crowded stores and wait for countless minutes in line.
Consumer habits have changed significantly in the past few years, and businesses have to adapt if they want to have a competitive edge over their adversaries. This is why more and more brands have started launching eCommerce platforms to sell their products online and reach as many customers as possible.
Doing business online is, at its core, very similar to doing business in a brick-and-mortar store. You trade goods from your webstore to consumers in exchange for money. This means you need to create an environment that is suited for this type of transaction.
This idea raises plenty of questions that need to be answered before, even starting to develop a plan. How can I build my eCommerce store? Where do I build it? How will the transactions be handled? Many of these questions come down to two things: hardware and software requirements. If any of these requirements are missing, then your business is going to be affected. To help you out, we gathered our research and put together a comprehensive guide on all the software and hardware that is required for building a successful eCommerce website.
The bare minimum that is required for an eCommerce store to function properly is a website that supports eCommerce operations. To establish the use of server hardware, the size, purpose and traffic of the website need to be taken into consideration.
Everything from storage capacity to server power requirements will be depending on the volume of the eCommerce website and the software that runs on that particular computer. A small eCommerce store that sells custom-painted t-shirts, for example, will require much less server power than an eCommerce enterprise platform that is built to accommodate sellers from all over the world.
To decide the type of hardware you need for the eCommerce website you are hosting, you will need to take into consideration factors such as:
- Website traffic volume
- Maximum number of simultaneous visitors
- Maximum number of simultaneous orders
- Product catalogue complexity (number of products, categories, and product attributes)
- Number of articles in the shop
- Search queries
- Database size
The bare minimum requirements for running an eCommerce website that is not too complex or does not have to handle heavy website traffic are:
- CPU: 1,6 GHz for web, 4 x 1,6 GHz CPUs for web and database hosting.
- RAM: minimum 4GB.
- Minimum database space: 10GB.
Besides hardware, if you want to build an eCommerce website, you also need to consider software requirements. These include a domain, a hosting provider, a database system and others. There are many available tools to choose from, each suited for particular needs, so ultimately it is up to you to decide which type of software to include in your eCommerce business plan. Here’s what to consider:
- Web tools
To create the front end of your website, you need to use some specific web tools. They can range from basic HTML editors and graphic authoring tools to complex content management systems that come with debugging tools and built-in frameworks.
- Database system
This is a crucial part of any eCommerce store, as it stores all the information available on the website. This includes everything from product information to pricing, images, details and all completed sales. Customer details and important data such as their purchasing history, payment details, shipping and contact information will also be stored in this database, so it is necessary to establish a secure connection between the database system and your website.
When using the internet, computers communicate with each other and share important information. They do so with the help of TCPs (transfer control protocols) and Ips (internet protocols). Even if you don’t know that yet, you have been using these protocols from the moment you started using the internet. HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP are some of the most common protocols. To provide a secure connection, you also need security and trust protocols, such as SSL (secure sockets layer) and TLS (transport layer security), which are most commonly associated with eCommerce websites.
Is there a simpler option?
For someone who does not handle the basics of software and hardware development, all of the aspects mentioned above may sound just a tad bit confusing. Fortunately, we have technology to thank for a simpler and more effective solution to run an eCommerce website – web technologies that allow you to build an eCommerce store without having to learn what all those weird acronyms come from.
These platforms are able to integrate with third-party products and services, making it very easy to handle all the aspects of running an online store. They provide impressive design templates, which can be used as they are or edited to suit your brand image, you can choose from a variety of add-ons to wow customers, and some even include alternative payment methods such as Bitcoin.
Using these web technologies can also add to your marketing efforts, as they have been built with SEO in mind and provide the perfect environment to market your store the right way.
Whether you prefer to build an eCommerce website from scratch or take advantage of these impressive technologies, that is ultimately up to you to decide.