The best and fastest way is to hire a web developer, tell them what you need, how fast you need it and what limitations you can live with based on the shortness of time. If you have very little time, lets say a week, then don’t ask for a custom design. Ask the developer to suggest a template or two, buy one that is the best fit and then let the developer set it up for. He will integrate your payment processor, integrate shipping, setup site security, transactional emails and also help you upload your information, text, graphics, product data and prices.
Try to hire a developer that is available in your time zone. If you are in the USA and your developer is on the other side of the world, that would make things a bit difficult. Doable but you will have to adjust to the 12 hour time delay in everything. Not the best approach when you are desperately short on time.
Now if you have more time, you may go for a custom design. The web development company will assign you a project manager, a designer and a developer.
On custom projects, we first assign you one of our creative designers who will work with you to put together a design that reflects your vision for your website, looks elegant and professional and most importantly meets the expectations of the type of customers you are trying to attract. During this process we may go back and forth several times to get the design just right. Good design should establish brand identity, credibility, be in line with current trends and technologies, drive your call to action and give you a competitive advantage.
Once design is finalized, we hand it over to our developer to integrate the design into the backend and incorporate all the necessary functionalities. We do it this way because you get better results by putting specialists on the job rather than letting one person do everything.
Both the design and the development phase is supervised by a project manager.
To summarize, if short on time, go with a template. Your site may not look outstanding but it will be functional and you can come back and customize it later. If you have time, then go with a custom design that best represents your company, is in line with your vision and meets the expectations of the type of customers you are trying to attract.