This article was originally published on Codica blog.
Today, we know Amazon as one of the Big Four tech companies along with Google, Apple, and Facebook.
How did it hit the big time? This question intrigues both entrepreneurs who are going to launch a multi-vendor online marketplace and owners of existing platforms.
In this post, we want to discuss the core technical aspects that deserve your attention when you are going to launch a similar website including the right tech stack, required functionality, and the key MVP features.
The company upholds certain principles to make the platform more trustworthy. These are as follows:
- Customer obsession rather than competitor focus
- Passion for invention
- Commitment to operational excellence
- Long-term thinking.
Today, Amazon serves customers both via online and physical stores offering a great variety of goods. Thus, more and more shoppers can buy the desired products at a reasonable price there.
The brand thoroughly analyzes the behavior of its customers and collects statistics for every user. This approach makes their purchasing experience as smooth as possible.
Amazon’s website design stands for convenience in use. The company focuses on providing maximum value to its visitors without distracting them from searching and buying goods.
Here are some approaches that the brand used when developing a user-friendly and visually appealing multi-vendor e-commerce website.
High-quality photos and videos create an atmosphere of presence and real purchase. This way, customers view the desired product from different angles in a native environment.
Detailed descriptions give users precise information about the desired product. Specifications, item overviews, and key features play a very important role.
- The mobile-friendly approach increases the number of purchases made via smartphones. People find goods on social networks and want to buy them as soon as possible.
By offering multiple payment gateways, Amazon makes the shopping experience even more seamless. The platform works with credit and debit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, and JCB.
Besides, there are gift cards in different denominations that allow purchasing certain goods.
Amazon.com Store Card and Amazon Prime Store Card are used for most items that can be found on the platform, some physical stores, and for buying from sellers who have included these cards as a payment gateway.
Amazon pays special attention to its customers by encrypting all their personal, debit/credit card and banking information, thus making all transactions protected and secure.
Amazon is a giant platform with a lot of functionality, but there is no need to implement all of it right from the very beginning.
First of all, you should choose features that are necessary for an easy purchasing process and seamless customers’ experience.
What features should your Amazon-like marketplace include?
All the required information both about suppliers and buyers is published there. On the vendor panel, we can see such data as shipping and payment methods, product listings, etc.
Buyers’ accounts mostly have personal information, history of previous orders, and wishlist.
- The administrator panel
This functionality is crucial for platform owners. It allows customizing individual settings for different groups of suppliers including shipping and payment methods, fees. Also, it should provide administrators with analytical information regarding their business activity: the most-visited products, session duration, the number of views by date, total sales’ amount, etc.
- Advanced search
This is an important feature that makes navigation easier and less time-consuming.
- The product page
It offers customers detailed information about available items. You can improve the reliability of your marketplace by uploading high-quality photos and videos and writing full product descriptions.
- The shopping cart
This is a place on a website where buyers save products they are going to buy. They can change the number of goods, delete them, view payment methods, and shipping prices there as well.
- Payment methods
By offering multiple payment gateways you make the purchasing process easier and more pleasant. Customers are more satisfied when they can choose the payment method that suits them most.
- Ratings and reviews
They help customers make the right purchase decisions. Besides, this feature makes your online marketplace more trustworthy since buyers can see ratings of each product or vendor.
It serves as an efficient marketing strategy that allows customers to save the desired products. When they share their wishlist with their friends and family, you get traffic to your online marketplace. Thus, vendors gain extra possibilities to drive engagement to the platform.
They enable both buyers and sellers to reach certain web pages the fastest way possible. It works the following way: you get a notification, click on it, and immediately shift to a certain page. This way, it can greatly boost user experience.
With this function, consumers can opt for the most suitable delivery option set by sellers.
There are several reasons why technical tools are crucial for your project. First, the chosen technology stack will influence the platform’s performance, web page response time, and website stability. At the end of the day, it will define whether visitors will stay on your website or leave it.
Secondly, the final price of a ready product will depend on the technologies applied. Every tool has its own degree of complexity, thus the rates will significantly differ.
We can divide technologies into two groups: server-side and client-side tools.
Let’s take a closer look at each category.
The client-side or front-end technologies:
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) tell a browser how to display content on a web page.
The server-side or back-end technologies:
A programming language and framework. The basic logic of your marketplace is built with their help. At Codica, we work with Ruby and Ruby on Rails, respectively. They allow us to build scalable, fast-loading, and secure solutions. Also, we apply automation frameworks such as RSpec and Capybara for testing.
A database is used to store the required information about your marketplace website. We choose PostgreSQL (SQL data storage), Redis, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as they help us develop reliable platforms.
A server works with requests that come from customers’ devices. When developing an online marketplace, we use Nginx and Puma because of their perfect combination with Ruby on Rails.
At Codica, we believe that with the above tech stack, you will build a fast-loading, user-friendly, reliable, and secure website like Amazon.
Amazon is a perfect example of a successful e-commerce website transformed from a narrow book-selling platform into the diverse and most visited marketplace in the US.
The principles and guidelines discussed above will help you launch a thriving and outstanding e-commerce platform.
In case you are interested in other aspects of the Amazon-like website development, read the full version of our article How to Build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace Website Like Amazon.