An eCommerce Website Checklist You Can Really Use

photo of the ecommerce website checklist used as featured imageWhat do you need to build an eCommerce website?

A lot of work, organization, and tons of information in the form of content, product data, product images, and others.

First, what the eCommerce website checklist isn’t

This is not a “How do I build and eCommerce business” guide. In this guide I assume you already have a business, or are in the process of creating one. You’ve already decided on the business name, business model (how you sell and make a profit), and have things like business permits, licenses, banking information, and sales tax certificates in order.

This is not a “15 Must-have Features for eCommerce Sites”. Your new website design and features are usually very specific to your site, and part of the scope of work of an eCommerce design and development engagement.

I hope you have identified your business and marketing goals for your new website. Business and marketing goals are going to guide many decisions for your site. From the amount of discounts you offer and how much to charge for shipping, to whether you’ll need a blog, and which additional and social media channel to integrate.

I also really hope you have established Branding and Identity for your business. Branding (the “voice” and “promise” your business offers to customers) will help you write the marketing content for the site, and your business Identity provide you with logo, color specs, and the guidelines for visual merchandising.

The eCommerce website checklist

Think of the eCommerce Website Checklist as a “bill of materials” that will help you gather all the information you’ll need to properly set up a new website. I’ve divided this in three larger groups: the Business Checklist, The Design Checklist, and the Content Checklist

The Business Checklist

The Business Checklist will help primarily with all matters related to your store settings and ancillary services that you will use.

Domain

Confirm domain exists or buy one (aff.*)
Confirm login access to domain registrar, and DNS management (ability to edit dns zones)
SSL Certificate – Most major eCommerce SaaS companies include an SSl certificate for free. If you’re using WordPress + WooCommerce, some hosts like WP Engine (aff.*) include a free one as well. Otherwise, or is you have more advanced needs, you’ll need to pay for this certificate separately (check with your host)

Payment

Confirm payment method preference (i.e. Paypal, Stripe, Merchant account)
Supply 3rd-party payment gateway info (i.e. login to Authorize.net)

Sales Tax

Confirm Sales Tax nexus and preferences
Provide additional Nexus info, if any

Policies

Terms of Service
Shipping and Returns Policy
Privacy Policy – Try the getterm’s Comprehensive eCommerce Privacy Policy generator (no aff.)
Cookie Policy – May go together within the Privacy Policy or stand-alone. Try Cookie bot for and easy implementation.

Shipping Preferences

Desired shipping methods – Real-time, calculated rates; flat fee; international, flat fee domestic, freight, etc.
Desired shipping carrier(s) – Open account as needed
Free ShIpping? – Determine if offering free shipping and under which conditions (i.e. ”Free with $50 purchase”)
Drop-shipping for others?
Multiple shipping destinations per order?
Multiple shipping locations or warehouses?
Info about any other 3rd party shipping provider

Discounts Preferences

Bulk/Tiered discounts schema, if any (i.e. “$2off on two of more”)
Wholesale discounts schema, if any (i.e. wholesale or preferred customers)
Coupon Discount Codes schemas, if any (i.e. % discount, One time use per customer, expiration dates)
Cart Discounts schemas, if any (i.e. “Buy one get one free”, Scheduled sales)

Gift Card Preferences

Gift Cards settings or preferences, if any

Social eCommerce

Make sure your Facebook Business Page is verified
Make sure your Facebook Business Page has no store (may interfere with automatic sync from your online store)
Make sure your Instagram is Business Profile and linked to Facebook Page

Email Marketing

You’ll need a 3rd party tools to email your clients (ie. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, many others). Create an account and provide login

The Design Checklist

“Design has a job to do. It may be to attract an eye, to improve environments, better health, or simply to tell a story. Design is art with a purpose.” – unknown

Get started on the right path to great design by bringing together your design assets and design references that will inform the work of designing your eCommerce website

Business Identity

Logo files in editable formats: eps, Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop
Branding guidelines, or examples of current use (online or offline)
Branding graphics and photos used for collateral

Competitors’ Websites

Good examples of competitor websites
Bad examples of competitor websites

Design Reference Websites

Websites that reflect what you’d like to project about your business
Websites that have features you’d like, like a team page, product page, etc.
Any other website you like for any other reason (and state the reason):
style, typography, colors, photography, functionality, etc.

The Content Checklist

Content is not just text. Unless you are creating the dullest, most technical site imaginable, your content should consist of more than just plain text. Here is a non-exhaustive list of common types of content to help you figure out what you need.

Marketing Copy (Home Page, product and services descriptions)
Technical Copy, Product Lines, Categories and Descriptions
Legal Copy, Terms of Use, Policies (Privacy,Cookies)
Your official business NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
Business Credentials, Licenses, Affiliations
Blog, Articles
Staff bios and photos
Downloadable Documents (typically PDF)
Graphics, Illustrations (Logos, charts, branding)
Photos (Staff, Gallery, Products)
Inventory (Products, Membership) and all related information
Events for Calendar
Embeddable Content (Calendar, ticketing, video, podcast, scheduling, etc.)
Social Media Profile Links
Feeds from other sites, for example, photos from Instagram, Flickr, Smugsmug
Forms (and the fields required for contact, quote request, employment, etc.)

What Now?

This checklist should help you get ready to design and build your new site. Of course the eCommerce Website Checklist works for other types of websites. Simply cross out anything related to eCommerce.

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Cheers,

Nando

 


*Affiliate links allow AllyOne to collect a commission on, or be recognized for, any sale generated by the referral. This does not affect your price or benefits, it just modestly compensates AllyOne for providing you with this information.

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Nando Journeyman

Hi, I’m Nando Cabán-Méndez, the “Commerce Whisperer”, an entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in business and design, and more than 10 years in digital marketing and eCommerce. At AllyOne, I use my skills and experience to help online business owners grow their business with best-of-breed eCommerce solutions. In this blog, I share experiences from my career and one or two opinions. Subscribe to stay in touch.