Complete eCommerce checklist for your awesome online store

Editorial Staff April 6 2023

Ecommerce checklist

You have a product that is a huge hit locally or within family and now you want to scale up selling? Thankfully setting up a brick and mortar store isn’t the only option. Imagine the cost of leasing or owning a store, furniture and the operating cost. Another option would have been buying shelf space in a super store, let’s not get in numbers and competition for that. Your product would just sit in some corner and you may have to end up buying back.

So what do you need to get started? A positive mindset, supply chain logistics, manufacturing facility and an ecommerce website.

What does my eCommerce website need?

  • Mobile responsive
  • Easy Navigation
  • Cyber Security
  • Product Information and Specifications
  • Product Graphics
  • User aggregated reviews
  • Customer login and order History
  • Payment Gateway Integration
  • Policies around Privacy and Refund
  • Contact/Support Information
  • Backend that support Inventory Management

Now, let’s get into details. In this article, focus would be the front end. A ecommerce checklist for your web front store.

What exactly is eCommerce?

Before we get into the ecommerce checklist, let’s get the basics straight. Ecommerce or electronic commerce is trading of goods and services electronically. It is the store where your customers will visit and browse through your products or services. Based on what they see, they will make a buying decision. Understand the importance of most critical e-commerce functionality, user experience. If they do not feel welcome, struggle to find information, cannot see a preferred payment method or get a feeling that this is spam then guess what? You aren’t going to make money.

What categories are most successful in eCommerce?

Well the answer starts with you, look around in your family and friends circle. What do you or your close ones often buy online?

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Books, Movies, Music, and Games
  • Personal Care and Beauty
  • Food and Beverage

Consumer behavior is changing and more people prefer to shop online from the comfort of your home. Goods get delivered to your front door, you can shop anytime and not have to travel to the store or queue up at the billing counter. Also not mentioned, options in store are at times limited.

Why is my ecommerce site not selling?

Declining e-commerce sales

In short, lack of strategy. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. You need a business plan. Let’s make it simple for you, if you can honestly answer the questions below then you are on path to success.

  • What is the problem your product or service resolves?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses (Internal) ?
  • What do you see as opportunities and threats (external)?

Start writing down the answers, if you need to research more then do so. All these answers will help you build a wishlist of ecommerce functionality and your product or service. You can then prioritize the list as minimum viable product and add others to the roadmap. These answers will come in handy when we help you build your ecommerce checklist. Check out starting a business in Ontario.

What are the 4 most important things to know before starting eCommerce business?

  1. Data privacy and security

    It takes years to build a reputation and minutes to lose it. Cyber attack or weak data privacy policy is one such factor that has the potential to damage your brand reputation. Customers trust you with their personal information when buying a product. You need a clear policy that instills confidence in the user that the data will not be sold to a 3rd party.

    Keep your servers and software upgraded to protect from cyber attacks. Take regular backups of your ecommerce site and go with a reputed hosting provider. You can generate your privacy policy and terms of use here.

  2. Marketing

    It is not that now you have an ecommerce site, people will start visiting and shopping. You need a budget for marketing and most importantly have a plan. It goes back to who is your target audience, what is their behavior (likes and dislikes) and where do you find them. Like our target audience is small business owners and here we have you browsing our page.

    Once you understand your target audience behavior, you can now strategize. Can a social media  influencer help? Post engaging content including graphics. Can suggestive selling help? For example if you sell accessories, possibly partner up with a clothes or shoes seller?

  3. Convert shoppers into buyers

    Now that you have visitors to your ecommerce site, you need them to take action. So, make it easy whether it is adding to cart, making a payment or filling out a form.

    You will need to convince the customer that the product they are buying is value for their money. Make sure you have all the product information, frequently asked questions and product reviews. Do not hesitate to ask for reviews from your repeat customers. Even if they come negative, you know what you need to fix.

  4. Product return and refund

    Let’s face reality, no product is perfect. There will be customers who would be dissatisfied or order wrong. You will need a return and refund policy. Clearly call out on how many days can a product be returned. How will the customer print the shipping label? If it was a promotional price, is it still refundable? All of this information should be on your ecommerce site. You can generate a refund policy here. Yay, that’s a start to striking off items on your ecommerce checklist!

What top 10 features are a must for your eCommerce checklist?

  1. Your eCommerce site has to be Mobile responsive

    e-commerce mobile app

    Surveys have found that customers prefer using their phone rather than a laptop for shopping. I mean, it is not surprising at all. Why would I turn on my laptop when I have 4G and Wi-Fi on my phone? Websites that are not user friendly rank lower on Google. Customers find it hard to shop, you would be leaving money on the table if your ecommerce site is not responsive.

  2. If your eCommerce site is not easy to navigate then prepare for a failure

    Shopping at online store

    This is fundamental, if your product cannot be found then it cannot be bought. You will need search, filters and sort. Categorize your products such that your customer knows exactly where to click. Have a checkout option at multiple places, that is your call to action and make it easy for your customer to shop. Average user attention time span is in seconds. If your ecommerce checklist is missing user experience then your customers will be moving on to your competitors.

  3. Most important item on eCommerce checklist – you need a secure site

    Privacy Policy

    Pretty basic, keep your site upgraded and take backup weekly if not daily. Make sure your hosting provider provides a SSL certificate. You definitely do not want to show up as a ‘Not secured’ site. Customer logins, force them to set long passwords and 2 -step authentication methods.You can still make it easy for your customer to login by remembering the device. Security should be high up in your ecommerce checklist.

  4. Your eCommerce site need to call out product Information and specifications clearly

    Again, something that cannot be missed. You not just need to list your products but add as much information as possible. Think Customer, if you were to buy then what would you be looking for? Is it the dimensions or weight of the product? Compatibility,if it is an electronic device? What’s all included in the box?

  5. Product graphics is a must for your eCommerce checklist

    Imagine just having one picture of the product on your ecommerce site, would you buy it? Add pictures at all angles, include a video if you can. If the product needs assembly or installation then a video is a must. Have a professional do the graphics because if your product does not look good, it is not getting sold.

  6. Cannot imagine a eCommerce site without user contributed content

    Good reviews

    Customers buy after reading through the reviews.It is quite natural,we care what others say. You shop at Amazon, do you go through reviews? Or the Q & A about the product? It is that important for your ecommerce checklist. Let your customers post reviews, in fact appreciate and respond to each review.

  7. Every eCommerce site should have customer Order history

    This one is super important for your ecommerce checklist. If you have or want repeat customers, at times they just want to order the same thing again. Make it easy for them, in fact show as ‘Buy again’option on your ecommerce site.

  8. Policies may be required by law for all eCommerce sites

    It is not just important but also the law for an ecommerce site, privacy policy should outline how you are using the data. People do not like reading lengthy text,making it easy to show an assuring summary or highlights. Terms or use and refund policies should be accessible usually on your ecommerce website footer.

  9. Not all answers are on the website, how to contact you is a must for your eCommerce checklist.

    When you have nowhere to go,it is still a preferred method to reach out to a person rather than a bot. Add a support page to your ecommerce checklist now. If you cannot provide telephone support,let them email you and make sure you respond within 24 hours or so.

  10. There cannot be an eCommerce site without inventory management and an easy to use backend

    Website or e-commerce analytics

    Imagine having a backend where you struggle adding new products to your ecommerce site. You often get it wrong and lose out on customers. This is a must have for your ecommerce checklist. Ask your developer to make it easy for you, adding new content and keeping your ecommerce site regularly updated helps in google rankings as well. Easily add promo deals and discounts and keep tabs on items out of stock.

How do I get repeat buyers on my eCommerce site?

Answer is user experience. Once you have a strong hold on your product and have gained a good customer base. It is most likely time to elevate your user experience and add some functions to your ecommerce site that will grab more eyeballs and help you get ahead in the race. Consider adding,

  • Extended Reality (Virtual and Augmented)
  • Micro Moments
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Retarget customers using social media and email marketing
  • Track user metrics using analytics

Extended reality is getting trendy with all eCommerce sites

This will take your leaps ahead in the race, give your users an experience that at times can be better than being in person.

Virtual Try On for your eCommerce site selling accessories

If you are selling glasses or accessories, makeup, hats, imagine the user’s reaction if they can try them on? Don’t freak out, this is not as expensive as you think. There are off the shelf virtual try on solutions that you can rent with a monthly cost. Any developer can easily integrate and add this function to your ecommerce website.

Augmented reality for your eCommerce site selling furniture or home goods

If you are selling furniture, home goods, sporting goods, fitness equipment, your users would love to see if it fits and how it looks in their home. Something they cannot even imagine when shopping in person. Easily integrate AR features into your ecommerce site.

Micro moments will help you sell more combo deals. Add it high on your eCommerce checklist

Been on amazon? Saw it suggesting what you should buy? How cool is that? This will help boost your sales by recommending products to the customers.You’ve been to Mcdonalds to buy a burger and end up getting fries and a drink as well? You desperately need this functionality on your ecommerce site.

Analytics with predictive analysis for your eCommerce site

You can be more proactive about the future by integrating analytics and keeping ahead of trends. Analyzing data will help you understand consumer behavior, personalize their shopping experience, address a consumer’s needs based on where they are in the customer journey, improve efficiencies and reduce costs of supply chains.

In the end, before you launch your eCommerce business

I would reemphasize on having clarity on your business objective and the problem your product resolves. Your ecommerce checklist will flow out naturally from the business plan.

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