How to build a simple E-commerce MVP

7 min readNov 5, 2020


Ecommerce is everywhere in 2020, and Covid19 has accentuated the need for online shopping for everyone.

Due to government advisories that everyone should observe safe distancing, reduce outdoor shoppings as much as possible, this has cause a massive increase in E-commerce.

For me, I am no exception, staying within the safe confines of my home to peruse products on various E-commerce platforms.

And out of the many E-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Lazada, Shopee, Wish, etc, I am for one an avid Shopee user.

Using the platform for all my buying needs.

There are several reasons why and in this article, I will share the strong points about Shopee from the consumer’s perspective.

And in doing so, we will converge to the main point of this article which is how to get started on building your own E-commerce product.

When you are building a product or creating a service for your user, one tip is to always look at comparative websites in your industry or niche. This helps you to get a sense of their strong and attractive points, which you can then re-formulate and localise into your own product.

(Shopee as a platform as two main user interfaces, the consumer or the buyer’s user interface and the seller or the partner merchant’s user interface)

When discussing about the best features, I will be using a comparative website, which is Lazada, to show the relative importance of each particular point.

  1. The search bar is placed at the eye level.

A look at Shopee’s user interface on their landing page shows the Search bar prominently placed at a nice eye level.

Also, there are not too much distracting features at the header.

But when you look at Lazada, you have obtrusive banners like that popping at the top

2. Key features at the Search Results Page

After typing in your keywords in the search bar at the main page and clicking “search”, you then come to the search results page which should contain these two important feature:

  • Sort
  • Filter

I like that Shopee has the sort by “Top Sales”. This allows me to quickly get a sense of how many people have bought that product.

The more people buying, the better the product is. This is because one can assume amongst others that there could be repeat customers for that product so the more quantity sold for that product, the more likely the product is well-received and meet the user’s needs.

On the other hand, when we look at Lazada, we don’t have that sort feature by sales. We aren’t sure what does “Best match” entails too.

Does it mean the results are best match to my search keywords, or are the results the best match for my viewing activities (based on their smart algo.)?

We aren’t too sure.

3) Product Detail page

Both Shopee and Lazada have almost the same interface here. The slight edge that Shopee has over Lazada would be the clever font size allocation amongst the different information.

For example, we take a look at one important metric of the user’s buying journey, which is the review information.

Reviews are crucial and can be the key point to decide whether one would buy or not for a particular product.

We can see that Shopee has font size 16px for their review feature, whereas for Lazada, the font size is 12px.

A mere 33% could make a lot of difference in the conversion to the cart or checkout page.

How are these features important?

Now that we mentioned about the key features that Shopee has over Lazada.

Generally speaking, I think the aforementioned features are important to the buyers and can help in boosting some of the conversion rates in the buyer’s journey.

By knowing these features, we can think about some other crucial features that can help improve the user experience on a general E-commerce platform.

  1. Place the most important elements below the header

In the landing page, the search bar would be the most important as users come to the e-commerce platform with an intent to find a product that is suitable for them.

2. Search results

In the search results page, the sort and filter features are important due to the huge amount of items present in an E-commerce platform. When we have only 2–3 items, then the sort and filter features wouldn’t be that crucial. However, when you are talking about millions of products like those seen in Aliexpress, Shopee, Amazon, etc. then the sort and filter features can help save buyer’s time to find the perfect item for their needs.

With this in mind, let’s try to establish some key feature modules in our product roadmap

The Roadmap

A product roadmap is crucial to detail out the product features to your development and product team.

It also serves to organise the many different features that your team will be working on. For this product roadmap, I will be using Trello, possibly the workhorse tool for product task allocation

I did a simple roadmap of the features with detailed notes here in Trello.

Metrics for the e-commerce

  1. Registration Propensity

How to calculate this:

Number of user who register an account / Traffic received for the landing page (or for each landing page that you have)

This metric will define the success that users are willing to have skin in their buying journey game by registering an account on your e-commerce platform. Casual shoppers who come and go without registering probably won’t be intending to shop often at your platform

2. Number of clicks to each product

While this can depend on many factors whether the user will click to your product from the landing page or from the search result page, the better your search result page is built, with attractive features and fast, easy to use sort and filter, the more likely you will have high count of clicks to the product

3. Number of users who paid

This is the ultimate metric. The conversion that both your partner merchants and you as a platform owner want.

Having high number of users who paid in relation to the number of user traffic to your app showed that the entire buyer journey has been either smooth or bad

Manpower needed for the project

Building an e-commerce platform takes tremendous time and resources. As such, I would recommend to focus on a MVP at the start.

To build a simple e-commerce MVP, the manpower needed would be

  • 1 Project Manager/Product Owner
  • 1 UXUI Designer
  • 1 Frontend Developer
  • 1 Backend Developer
  • 1 QA Tester

The UXUI Designer will focus on designing the pages and screens in both desktop and mobile-responsive user interfaces.

The frontend developer will focus to translate the designs of the UXUI designer to the frontend coding

The backend developer will focus to get the logic of the program, such as the user model, the product model and the interactions among all the models

The QA tester will ensure that the product features work as to what they were meant to be.

Lastly, the product owner who will double as a project manager will ensure that the deadline of the different features are met. He/she will also conduct the scrum meeting weekly or daily with the team and to ensure communication and workflow policies are being adhered to.

When the product scale and become bigger, then its best to break into different isolated components so as now to cause bugs in the entire system. Also, the manpower will be scale up to add more UXUI, QA testers, Frontend and Backend developers into the team. It’s also advisable to add DevOps to ensure that CI/CD pipeline of the codes and build phase can be faster and quicker. Usually the backend developers can double up as a DevOps but it’s it best to have a specialised DevOps to take care of that.




By day, I run two businesses. By night, I code. Follow me at @gilbertravels,,