Apr 24

Building an eCommerce MVP: Online Store for a Sporting Goods Retailer

A Magento solution architect working on the interface an MVP for an e-shop.

Building a successful online store requires careful planning and execution. Market research (both product and target audience-wise), defining clear objectives, outlining the scope of work, and establishing a realistic timeline and budget, are all essential if you want to do it right the first time around.

This is why many eCommerce owners opt for the development of an eCommerce MVP. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a version of a product with only the basic features necessary to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future development. This approach ensures bringing a product to market with minimal resources.

With a streamlined version of the final product, quick market testing, and improvements based on user feedback, success is guaranteed. This way, businesses can test their ideas, gather valuable insights, and iterate before investing significant time and resources into building out any additional features.

In the following text, we’ll go through the creation of an eCommerce MVP for a sporting goods retailer. With a clear goal of prioritizing user experience and essential functionalities, the project aimed to provide customers with a seamless shopping journey – from browsing to checkout. 

Let’s explore how this approach led to the successful launch of a fully optimized online store tailored for sports enthusiasts around the globe.

From MVP Concept to Completion: Brief Project Overview

The eCommerce MVP for this sporting goods retailer entailed a fast launch of a highly responsive and user friendly interface. The deadline given was 3 months after all the requirements were gathered. The detailed scope of work was then determined, and the MVP development was set in motion. 

The intensive timeline was divided into distinct phases, and executed accordingly. 

After diving deep into the project requirements, and a brief niche and competitive research, the scope of work was ready and the development was split into 4 key phases: 

  1. Planning 

The initial phase of the process focused on formulating strategies that will ensure clear task prioritization, budget and time alignments, as well as proper resource allocation.   

  1. Development 

The entire scope of work (SOW) and business logic that lies behind it was transformed into design concepts and technical functionalities by the solutions architect. The lead developer then took over and split those requirements into frontend and back end tasks. The lead frontend developer was focused on crafting an intuitive user interface, while the dedicated backend developer worked on building robust backend systems that will support seamless retail operations. 

  1. Testing 

Rigorous testing was conducted across all aspects of the eCommerce platform to identify and resolve any issues or inconsistencies before deployment. This phase involved both internal testing by the development team and client-side testing. 

  1. Deployment 

The rollout process included a smooth transition from development to production, with ongoing support and monitoring, in case of any post-launch issues. Most of the deployment process is automatized, which ensures fast and error-free implementation. 

The 3-month timeline encompassed one week for planning, twelve weeks for the development, one week for testing, and 2 days for the deployment and post-deployment support and monitoring. The team who participated in the project and carried out the tasks consisted of a Frontend Developer (user interface tasks), a UX/UI Designer (aligning the interface with the company’s branding and client’s preferences), a Backend Developer (back-end logic), and a Project Manager (client communication and reporting). 

The result: perfectly optimized webshop that converts. The implementation of core functionalities such as catalog management, customer interaction tools, and seamless checkout processes has not only streamlined the user experience but also hugely impacted sales performance. With a focus on enhancing user engagement and satisfaction, this eCommerce MVP has ensured great customer retention and conversion rates.

Furthermore, the significant return on investment (ROI) that resulted from the well-organized development of the eCommerce MVP has underlined the strategic value of this minimum features approach. 

Time allocation and budget: developing core functionalities – 33% of the total time spent, working on frontend and UX/UI tasks 42%, setup of basic marketing and SEO extensions 10%, and project management and testing 15% of the time estimated for the project completion. 

The total hours spent working on this eCommerce MVP was around 250 hours.

In the next section, we will briefly go through what MVP usually includes and what the process looks like, based on the before mentioned eCommerce retail.

Project Manager presenting an MVP business plan.

The MVP eCommerce Development Segments

Rather complex eCommerce development was divided into four segments, for easy tracking and prioritization. Core functionalities development included creating basic features such as catalog, customer, and site management, frontend and UX/UI segment prioritized customizing the pre-bought theme and enhancing the user experience, extension setup streamlined SEO and marketing efforts, while project management and testing segment ensure clear communication and meeting the project goals.  

1. Core Functionalities Development:

These functionalities form the backbone of an eCommerce MVP and guarantee its success, so careful and detailed implementation of the following was crucial: 

  • Catalog management (product grouping, product tagging and reviews, product variety, unlimited product attributes, enhanced search, advanced pricing, customized out-of-stock message, image management, data management, backorder support, inventory monitoring and alerts, batch product updates via CSV, rewrites and redirects)
  • Customer management (customer registration and login, customer account dashboard, order status and history, recently ordered items, submitted product reviews/tags, address management, newsletter subscription, wishlist creation, order reordering)
  • Site management (integrated content management system, customizable site templates, multi-store management, user role management, batch export and import of product catalogs, support for multiple currencies, languages, tax rates, etc., fake login prevention, data backup, SEO enhancement, and general performance optimization)
  • Order management (admin panel, order tracking, invoice and packing, return and refunds, customer communication, and data analytics)
  • Checkout, payment, and shipping features (one-page checkout, guest or registered user checkout, multiple shipping addresses for one order, on-site order tracking for customers, address auto-complete, stored payment information, and real-time shipping rate calculations)
  • Basic marketing and conversion tools (promotional offers, landing pages for categories, recently viewed and compared products, discount options, coupon code generation, customer segmentation, cart abandonment recovery, cross-selling, up-selling, and related product offers, and targeted email campaigns)
  • Analysis and reporting tools (sales insights, product performance reports, tax reports, coupon usage reports, tags reports, low stock reports, cart abandonment analysis, search term evaluation, geographic insights, custom dashboard, and third-party integrations)

2. Frontend and UX/UI Segment: 

The selection and customization of the Magento Porto theme resulted in a modern and responsive design. With the joint effort of a dedicated front end developer and experienced UX/UI designer, the theme was customized to match the company’s branding, and some additional changes were introduced, as per the client’s wishes. 

Basic theme setup included:  

  • header customization 
  • footer customization 
  • layer navigation customization 
  • search page customization 
  • customer dashboard customization 
  • email template customization 
  • color scheme/typography customization 
  • homepage customization
  • category/listing page customization
  • product detail page customization
  • cart page customization 
  • checkout page customization  
  • cms pages customization 

3. Extension Setup Segment 

Enhancing the eCommerce core functionalities with basic marketing and SEO extensions always results in  elevating the overall user experience and driving business growth so the following were added:   

  • Out of Stock Notification Extension – ensures customers can sign up for alerts when products are back in stock. This extension offers insights into high-demand items and increases sales by additionally engaging interested customers.
  • Abandoned Cart Email Extension – for retrieving lost sales by sending automated email reminders to customers who abandon their carts, and increasing the shop’s conversion rates and revenue. 
  • Advanced Reports Extension – provides detailed analytics on sales, orders, customers, and products, aiding in understanding performance metrics and trends.
  • Google Analytics 4 with GTM Support Extension – allows advanced website tracking and provides valuable insight into user behavior and conversions (product impressions & clicks, check out events, shopping carts, etc.), as well as different traffic sources.  
  • Product Feed Extension – simplifies product feed creation and completely optimizes it for Magento 2. It generates SEO-friendly product feeds with customizable attributes & automated updates and tracks sales efficiency with Google Analytics.
  • SEO – Toolkit Pro Extension – enhances website optimization capabilities by offering advanced meta tags management, canonical URL support, rich snippets integration, and SEO-friendly URL optimization. 

4. Project Management and Testing Segment 

Delivering a reliable, highly optimized, responsive, and user friendly online store was underpinned by meticulous feature-testing throughout the entire development, and one detailed regression testing prior to the launch. 

A dedicated Project Manager handled all aspects of the project and ensured smooth coordination between team members, stakeholders, and clients.

A girl checking her Magento code on two big screens and makin sure the MVP launch will be a success.

The Power of an eCommerce MVP

The transformative impact of a well-planned and executed MVP lies in its ability to serve as a strategic launchpad for anyone wanting to start with small, but strong steps toward eCommerce greatness. In its essence, an MVP is not just a starting point; it’s the opportunity to ensure great ROI with minimum investment.

The iterative approach MVP is based on, fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability within the organization itself. And empowers eCommerce owners to respond effectively to changing market demands, all while staying one step ahead of the competition. 

So, whether launching a new online store or revitalizing an existing one (Magento or non-Magento-based), an MVP approach offers a strategic framework for testing ideas, gathering feedback, and repeating the previous success based on real-world insights. By starting small, focusing on core functionalities, and iterating based on user feedback, eCommerce owners can mitigate risks, optimize resources, and ultimately pave the way for long-term success.

About The Author

Milos is the CEO of Lobbster and a proficient Magento Solution Architect.