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How to launch your retail business on ecommerce platforms


15 min read

In 2024, one-fifth of all retail purchases will be made online, and a third of shoppers will make online purchases on a daily basis. 

It’s obvious that online shopping has turned from luxury into a necessity for modern consumers.

If you own a retail business but still don’t sell online, now it’s time to jump into an e-commerce train.

With an online presence, you will be able to reach more customers, provide a superior shopping experience, and, ultimately, grow your income.

How to start an e-commerce store? 

There are two ways to do it: 

  1. develop an e-commerce store from scratch 
  2. create ecommerce store based on an available ecommerce platform

The first way is more difficult, long, and expensive. With custom software development, you need to create business logic, application backend, and set up IT infrastructure on your own. You will also need to set up integration with various third-party services, such as payment gateway, shipping carriers, analytics, etc. Additionally, you will need to create custom UI/UX design and adapt it to different screens.

By choosing the second path - developing an online store on a ready-made e commerce platform - you save time and money. The thing is that ecommerce platforms offer a lot of predefined or completely ready-made functionality. Your task is to customize this functionality so that it suits your project needs.

Please note, the development expertise is still required to launch an online shop on an commerce platform. However, compared to custom software development, you will need a smaller development team and shorter development period (usually, 6 to 12 months) to launch a store. Additionally, an experienced e commerce development provider can advise you on the best e commerce platform considering your project scope, complexity, and budget.

In the next section, I’ll share the process of developing an online store on a ready e commerce platform.

Developing E-Commerce Store On An Online Shopping Platform: Step-by-Step Guide

So, here are the steps of e commerce shop development:

Step 1. Meetings with stakeholders 

We run interviews with you and other stakeholders to understand the business objectives, target audience, and key functionalities needed. 

After gathering requirements, we share with you our vision of the future product and confirm the product concept.

Step 2. Project roadmap development

A project roadmap is a visual representation outlining key milestones of a project. In the project roadmap, we provide a high-level overview of the project’s deliverables and timelines. We typically include the important phases and activities required to achieve project success.

The roadmap will help you and other stakeholders understand the project’s trajectory, anticipate upcoming tasks, and track progress over time. 

Step 3. Technology selection

After gathering requirements and creating a business roadmap, we choose the tech stack, define development approaches, and allocate resources. 

We explain to the client why specific technologies are selected and why they bring the best value to the project. We also ensure that the selected tech stack fits the project budget.

Step 4. Defining project scope

Here, we define specific functionalities and deliverables of the e-commerce project. We also create UI/UX design of the future store. 

At this step, we provide you with a detailed project development plan which includes functional and non-functional requirements, IT infrastructure description, list of third-party integrations, and a UI/UX design of the future e commerce app.

Step 5. Setting up the basic application

We start with configuring the chosen e-commerce platform, for example, Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, etc. Then we set up the necessary database and configure the basic environment, using Docker if needed. The main purpose of this step is to set up the foundational infrastructure of the online store and lay the groundwork for further development. 

During the course of development we stay in touch with the client and inform them about the work progress on regular meetings.

Step 6. Setting up the environment

We set up production, stage, and development environments. This allows us to thoroughly test an e-commerce store before it goes live and quickly roll back to the previous version in case something goes wrong. 

At the client’s request, we provide access to the stage environment, so they can see how their e commerce store looks and feels before it goes live.

Step 7. Coding

We use e commerce platform specification to code an online store. This may involve customizing or extending the basic core of the platform or creating the website core from scratch. At the coding stage, we also develop the front-end interfaces using modern front-end frameworks, such as React, Vue.js, or Angular. We may also buy and implement markup and build the server-side logic. 

We value transparent communication, so we keep the client updated about all our actions and challenges we face.

Step 8. Ensuring security

Along with development, we set up e commerce platform security, including:

  • Secure connections(SSL/TLS)
  • Data protection(Encryption)
  • Session management
  • Access controls
  • Regular updates and patch management
  • File uploads and security
  • Information disclosure measures
  • Secure logging system
  • Security tools and audits
  • Backup and disaster recovery strategy

We take into account client inputs and industry standards to develop secure e commerce store. Our security experts will provide you with detailed documentation regarding what security measures were implemented and what you should do to keep the app secure further.

Step 9. Third-party integrations

Essential third-party integrations of the e-commerce platform are payment gateway, shipping carriers, reporting tools, and analytics tools. However, we might integrate more external services, for example, card issuing or cross-border payment processing, if the project requires it.

As a result, you will get a full-fledged e commerce solution with all the integrations you wish.

Step 10. Testing

We test applications throughout the development lifecycle. We mainly use automation testing to run unit tests, functional tests, and integration tests. And we also apply manual testing before the product release.

We share the text results with you so you know how the process goes.

Step 11. Release and deployment

We deploy applications continuously using CI/CD practices. This allows us to transition smoothly from development to production. We are also able to make updates and enhancements quickly, so they become available to users almost instantly.

Thanks to our established CI/CD process, you will get faster releases and shorten time-to-market.

Top 8 e-commerce platforms

The biggest challenge you are going to face when developing e commerce store with ready-made ecommerce solutions is the variety of these ecommerce solutions.

For example, the product review platform G2 lists 372 such solutions. When you look at available e commerce platforms, you may not clearly understand their difference and may not be able to make an informed decision about which platform will suit you best.

I used my e-commerce and fintech development experience to systematize the criteria for choosing the best ecommerce platform for startups.

So, further I will review top electronic commerce solutions and suggest how to choose one for your business.

At DashDevs, we can help you choose the right ecommerce solution and develop an online store based on it.

The most popular ecommerce platforms, which are also the top picks of our clients, are the following:


A multinational ecommerce solution enabling retailers to quickly launch their stores and provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. Shopify is a strong player in the e-commerce market with 18 years of presence in the industry and over 2 million merchants selling on the platform.

Shopify e-commerce

Shopify platforms are loved by novice merchants because they have a user-friendly interface and a lot of features for effortless online selling. They require minimal setup and technical knowledge. Additionally, Shopify offers different pricing options, so any e-commerce business can manage their costs depending on the growth stage.

Initial release: 2006

Headquarters: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Employees: 8,300


Written in: Liquid and Ruby


  • Online store editor
  • Domain and hosting
  • Logo and slogan maker
  • Business name generator
  • Multi channel sales
  • International sales 
  • Point of sale (POS)
  • Social media integrations
  • Customer insights
  • Analytics and reporting

Best for: 

  • SMBs looking to quickly establish an online presence without the complexity of building a custom website from scratch.ʼ
  • Startups that need user-friendly interface and quick setup process
  • Retailers with brick-and-mortar stores who want to integrate Shopify POS system with online stores
  • Single product stores or businesses with a limited product catalog looking for streamlined interface and optimized checkout


A convenient, affordable, and flexible online shopping platform. WooCommerce has been around since 2011. It targets small and medium sized businesses and currently has nearly 3.9 million active websites

WooCommerce platfrom

WooCommerce is actually a WordPress plugin. That is why WordPress users often choose this ecommerce platform because they are familiar with its interface and features. WooCommerce integrates into the WordPress website and turns into a fully functional e-commerce store. It is free to install. The users mainly pay for hosting and extra plugins.

Initial release: 2011

Headquarters: San Francisco, United States

Employees: 330+


Written in: PHP


  • Multi-channel e-commerce
  • Customized checkout
  • Online payments
  • Shipping
  • No-code customization
  • Design themes
  • Extensions

Best for: 

  • Current WordPress users
  • SMBs looking for essential e-commerce functionality with options for scalability to accommodate growing sales
  • Blogs or news sites looking to integrate e-commerce functionality
  • Artists, designers, photographers, and other creatives looking to sell their creations online
  • Digital products and subscription services that need a comprehensive payment and checkout functionality
  • Brick-and-mortar retailers who want to integrate their POS systems with the WooCommerce’s functionality
  • International sellers who sell in multiple currencies and fall under different tax calculations


An open-source e-commerce solution designed for seamless selling and shopping experience. Initially launched as a student project, PrestaShop quickly turned into one of the best ecommerce platforms. Currently, over 300,000 merchants sell on PrestaShop.

PrestaShop platfrom

PrestaShop has a variety of features for merchants and is highly-customizable. It is an ideal option for startups who need a functional and affordable online store. Compared to, for example, Shopify, PrestaShop requires more technical efforts to set up the store. However, it benefits merchants with comprehensive functionality and zero recurring costs.

Initial release: 2007

Headquarters: Paris, France

Employees: 400+


Written in: PHP


  • Secure checkout built with PayPal
  • Product promotion across Google channels
  • Synchronization with Facebook and Instagram
  • Marketing automation
  • Data collection and analytics
  • eShip

Best for: 

  • SMBs looking for a user-friendly interface and intuitive backend management tools
  • Multi-brands that need a single dashboard to manage their stores
  • Niche stores that need customizable themes, modules, and extensions
  • International stores selling in multiple languages, currencies, and under different tax rules 
  • Growing businesses looking for effortless scalability
  • Retailers with physical stores looking to integrate their POS systems with the PrestaShop functionality


Open-source ecommerce platform that provides broad capabilities for configuring online shopping stores. Released in 2010, it quickly secured a strong position in the online commerce market. Currently, OpenCart is used by merchants worldwide and has nearly 226,000 live stores.

OpenCart e-commerce

OpenCart is an excellent option for mid-level e commerce sites. It’s open-source, which means users can download and use it without paying for the license. It also provides advanced features for experienced merchants. At the same time, it has a relatively easy interface and not so complicated installation.

Initial release: 2005

Headquarters: Mun, Hong Kong

Employees: 40+


Written in: PHP


  • Admin dashboard
  • User management
  • Multi-store
  • Product attributes
  • Multi-currency
  • Multi-lingual
  • Payment gateway
  • Different shipping methods
  • Reports

Best for: mid-level businesses

  • SMBs looking for intuitive administration interface and straightforward setup process
  • Startups looking to launch an online store quickly and affordably
  • International retailers who run stores in multiple languages and sell in different currencies and under different tax rules 
  • Ambitious businesses looking to expand their online operations 
  • Businesses looking for extensive customization and ability to experiment with different configurations and features


A comprehensive commerce platform for B2C and B2B needs. Shopware is suitable for already established merchants and online business on their way to growth. It’s been on the market since 2000. Currently, more than 34,000 stores operate on this digital commerce platform.

Shopware e-commerce

Shopware has gained the biggest popularity in Germany. It has a well-developed German-speaking community. That is why businesses from that region often prefer Shopware over other enterprise ecommerce platforms. The capabilities of Shopware are powerful, so both big and small merchants can benefit from using this shop-building software and its ecommerce features.

Initial release: 2000

Headquarters: Schöppingen, Germany

Employees: 366 


Written in: PHP


  • Digital sales room
  • Flow builder
  • Omnichannel sales
  • E-commerce automation
  • Composable frontends
  • AI commerce
  • Spatial commerce
  • B2B sales

Best for: 

  • Mid to large-sized stores looking for advanced capabilities to handle high volumes of traffic, products, and transactions
  • Enterprises and established brands that require a sophisticated e-commerce platform with customizable features and integrations
  • Multichannel retailers including those who sell via online stores, marketplaces, and social media platforms
  • B2B e-commerce that requires complex pricing structures, quote requests, bulk ordering, and customer hierarchies
  • International e-commerce businesses needing multilingual and multicurrency capabilities

Magento (Adobe Commerce)

One of the best platforms for ecommerce website development. Magento entered the e-commerce software market in 2008. In 2018, it was acquired by Adobe. At the moment, there are more than 145,000 live stores running on Magento. This ecommerce platform is popular among merchants worldwide.

Magento e-commerce

Magento has established itself to be a reliable tool for creating online business stores. It offers powerful features and extreme customizability. However, the thing to consider is significant resource investment in terms of development and maintenance. Magento perfectly fits businesses that need a complex, highly tailored e commerce solution.

Initial release: 2000

Headquarters: San Jose, United States

Employees: 10,000+


Written in: PHP


  • Multi-channel commerce
  • Personalized commerce
  • Multi-brand solution
  • B2B functionality
  • Amazon sales channel
  • Page builder
  • PWA studio

Best for: 

  • Large enterprises with complex e-commerce requirements and high transaction volumes
  • Businesses requiring custom e-commerce solutions and looking for a platform with flexible development framework
  • Businesses looking for a scalable platform that can handle large product catalogs and high traffic volumes
  • B2B e-commerce, requiring custom pricing, negotiated quotes, and account management capabilities
  • Multichannel retailers who sell via online stores, marketplaces, and social media platforms
  • International e-commerce operations in multiple languages and currencies


A modular, customizable cloud e-Commerce platform, implemented on the principles of headless architecture. Spryker positions itself as a software solution beyond retail, ecommerce, and desktop. It was founded in 2014. As of now, there are more than 150 live stores running on its platform.

Spryker e-commerce

Spryker is suitable for complex business models. It is great for businesses that require a robust and future-proof platform. However, it’s worth noting that Spryker has a rather small community. So, if you are looking for extensive community support, Spryker might not be the best option for you.

Initial release: 2014

Headquarters: Berlin, Germany and New York, USA

Employees: 544


Written in: PHP


  • Composable commerce
  • B2C commerce
  • IoT commerce
  • Unified commerce
  • Visual commerce
  • App composition platform
  • Code upgrader

Best for: 

  • Large enterprises, requiring a platform to support complex business models, diverse product catalogs, and high transaction volumes
  • Businesses requiring bespoke e-commerce solutions and a flexible framework to build tailored solutions that meet specific business needs
  • Marketplaces with multiple sellers, buyers, and stakeholders
  • B2B e-commerce, requiring custom pricing, contract management, and procurement workflows.
  • Headless commerce that needs to decouple the front-end presentation layer from the back-end ecommerce functionality
  • International e-commerce requiring multilingual, multicurrency, and multiregional support


An e-commerce framework with broad capabilities for developers to create a full-fledged online store. Sylius meets the needs of both B2C and B2B businesses. It’s been on the e-commerce market since 2017. Today, more than 7,000 merchants do e-commerce business with Sylius.

Sylius e-commerce

The Sylius software is written on Symfony. It provides a developer-friendly environment to create customizable ecommerce stores for any kind of retail business. With Sylius, you can develop progressive web applications, easily host and scale your product, and meet the quality standards of the best ecommerce website.

Initial release: 2017

Headquarters: Lodz, Poland

Employees: 24


Written in: PHP


  • Accounting and finance
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Loyalty
  • Payment and security
  • Site optimization
  • Utilities
  • Design templates
  • Reporting and analytics

Best for: 

  • Custom e-commerce solutions tailored to their specific needs and workflows.
  • B2B E-commerce, requiring custom pricing, negotiated quotes, bulk ordering and account management
  • Headless commerce to enable omnichannel experiences across web, mobile, and IoT devices
  • Marketplaces that manage multi-vendor environments
  • Scalable e-commerce operations with large product catalogs, high traffic volumes, and complex business processes
    Our team is here to help you build the best e-commerce website using the top e-commerce platforms.

E-commerce solutions development: DashDevs experience

At DashDevs, we have developed numerous e-commerce applications and websites. We’ve worked with all the best ecommerce platforms mentioned in this article and know how to use the strengths of each platform to the benefit of the client.

Below, I want to share the recent e-commerce projects we worked on.

Omoda Shoe Store in the Netherlands and Belgium utilizing the Shopify SDK

The project involved creating applications for IOS, Android, web, and Backend with Shopify integration. 

Initially, we started by developing a RestAPI application integrated with Shopify. At the same time, we were building a WebApp with Angular. After 2.5 months, we extended the API and created a separate web dashboard app. During this period, we also began developing iOS and Android apps. Subsequently, we integrated social networks for web app and backend to enable registration and login via social networks and to facilitate sharing and displaying data. Finally, we implemented Viral Features for the web app and built API v2.  

As a result, our platform became popular in certain countries of Western Europe and has gained over 100k downloads for Android alone.

Omoda app in Google Play:

Tech stack: Shopify, PHP, Swift, Java(AndroidSDK), Angular

Team composition: 2 backend developers, 2 mobile developers, 1 frontend, 1QA, 1PM

Project duration: 7 months

A high-load e-commerce store on Sylius

The client approached us to develop an e-commerce platform for a high-load clothing store. It was required that the store could handle surges of user traffic, provide great performance, and be easily scalable.

We decided to use the Sylius framework, which is a Symfony based e-commerce framework, to implement e-commerce functionality and convert it into a RestAPI to communicate with the Angular frontend application and the mobile application. To ensure high performance, we utilized caching, load-balancing, queues, and orchestrated the backend with Kubernetes. We also integrated the payment system, messaging functionality, and other essential third-party services into the store.

We ran and maintained the application for 1.5 years until it was considered complete. 

Tech stack: Sylius, Kubernetes, Docker, Redis, RabbitMQ, Angular, Elasticsearch.

Team composition: 3 backend developers, 1 frontend developer, 2 mobile app developers, QA, PM

Project duration: 1,5 year

An integration platform to connect multiple Magento stores with ERP systems

The client had several Magento stores with over 100,000 items in each store. They needed to integrate all the items with their ERP systems

We addressed this by creating an integration platform based on Symfony and using Magento import/export libraries. To handle the large volume of data and prevent data loss, we implemented a complex structure of queues using RabbitMQ and Symfony. We set up a chain of consumers/producers (handlers) for our integrations, and organized the data flow into proper queues with the right data structure. 

To prevent data loss, we used separate queues and local data storage. The end result was a system with a user-friendly monitoring interface that allows for secure data integration with e-commerce platforms.

Tech stack: Symfony, RabbitMQ, Magento

Team composition: 2 backend developers, 1 business analyst, 1 Magento developer

Project duration: 8 months

Summing up

Ecommerce platforms open ample opportunities for retailers who want to launch an online selling business. They provide a lot of predefined tools to create e-commerce stores faster and easier compared to custom software development. E-commerce platforms are great solutions for startups and established businesses who want to quickly enter online commerce and expand their customer base.

Despite that, e-commerce solutions require specific technical background and developer skills to launch an efficient and feature-rich store.

At DashDevs, we have 13+ years of experience of developing e-commerce and fintech solutions. We help SMBs and startups spread their online presence through functionable, scalable, and visually-appealing apps and websites.

When the client contacts us, we study their business and suggest the best ecommerce platform that matches their needs. Afterward, we draw up a development plan, agree on prices, sign the transparent software development contract, and start development.

We believe that that client’s success equals our success. That is why we treat each project as unique and put every effort into developing a stunning solution.

If you need help with creating or enhancing an e-commerce store, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will do our best to take your retail business to the next level.

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Table of contents
How to build an ecommerce platform?
To build an ecommerce platform, first, you need to create a robust backend infrastructure for managing products, orders, and customer data. You should also develop user-friendly frontend interfaces for browsing and purchasing products. Additionally, you should integrate payment gateways, shipping solutions, and marketing tools to allow merchants manage their products and sales effortlessly.
What is better than Shopify?
If you need an e-commerce platform with broad opportunities for development and customization, then Magento, Spryker, and Sylius might be a better fit. Some merchants may also find WooCommerce, PrestaShop, OpenCart , and Shopware more suitable in their specific regions and for particular business needs.
Is Shopify the best ecommerce platform?
Shopify is one of the best e-commerce platforms, however it is not the only one. Actually, there is no best ecommerce platform because different ecommerce platforms suit different needs. Some merchants may need basic functionality and code-free configuration, while others might need sophisticated features and broad customization opportunities. Considering the business specifics and the features needed, companies should choose the best platform for ecommerce website development.
What are the best platforms for e-commerce?
The best platforms for e-commerce are Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, OpenCart, Shopware, Magento, Spryker, and Sylius. Each platform suits specific business needs. You should evaluate the features of each platform and choose one which is best for your project.
How to choose an ecommerce platform?
To choose an ecommerce platform, you should evaluate its features and assess functionality you will be able to create in your ecommerce store. You should also understand what degree of technical skills is required. If you don’t have in-house developers but want to launch a store on an e-commerce platform where developer skills are required, then you should partner with software development to help you with configuration and development.
What is a commerce platform?
A commerce platform is a software that provides all the necessary tools to build a robust e-commerce website. Different commerce platforms require different levels of technical knowledge and developer skills. On some platforms, it is enough to make simple configurations, on others - an in-depth development work is required.