The Ultimate Checklist for Every New Ecommerce Site

Ecommerce tips and strategies

When you start an ecommerce site you realize that there are loads of items that need to be checked, cross-checked and tested to ensure that your customers have a nice experience. That’s why I put together an expansive checklist for new ecommerce sites.

Walk through the list and mark off when you complete each item to ensure that your ecommerce site is ready for selling.

Step 1: Manage What Your Customers See First

Bellroy Home Page Design

When someone comes to your site they have a choice to leave or keep looking around. If the homepage interface and navigation isn’t appealing for the ecommerce shopper they immediately hit the road, but with some additions and tweaks to your first few pages you can guide those customers through your site.

Here’s what you should include and double check:

  • Include a nicely designed logo
  • Make sure the site works on all browsers and devices
  • Promotional graphics and links on the homepage
  • Links to the most popular products
  • Calls to action to push people to important sales pages
  • Have a clear search field at the top of your site
  • Display any specials, promotions or free shipping options
  • A latest news area
  • Links to recent purchases and popular products
  • An area to search for popular brands
  • A store finder if necessary
  • Language options is necessary for your ecommerce site

Step 2: Your Overall Ecommerce Site Management and Look

Stacy Adams Store Design

Every ecommerce website requires constant moderation and management, meaning that a list works nicely to double check that the whole site is running properly and every page looks nice.

Let’s take a look at items that should be included on every page and things to remember when managing your site.

  • Include security certificates and reminders that the transactions are safe throughout the website
  • Keep a minimalist design for easy navigation
  • Test the speed of your site so pages load quickly – Pingdom is a nice tool for this
  • Remove broken links and fill in empty product pages
  • Make sure you have categories on each page and filtering options
  • Have the email signup form show up on every page
  • A link to your Career page
  • A link to Legal information
  • A link to your Privacy policy
  • A link to your Contact Page
  • A link to the FAQ page
  • Links to your social pages
  • Links to return and exchange policies
  • Links to supplier information pages
  • Sharing buttons
  • A login box
  • Tabs at the top of your ecommerce website to categories and products
  • A shopping cart at the top in case people saved items
  • Show what payment systems you use and any security measures you take
  • Tabs leading to your support pages
  • Make your ecommerce responsive and test it on all devices and browsers
  • Show the checkout button clearly on each page
  • Apply breadcrumbs on each page to help people find the products or pages they need

Step 3: Your Ecommerce Product Pages

Ecommerce Product Page

There is a chance that when people find your ecommerce site through search engines they land on a particular product page. This means that you need clear information on each page, along with relevant tools, guides and media to push people to buy the products.

  • Include calls to action
  • Customer reviews and ratings for each ecommerce product
  • Related product links to upsell
  • Selling points, like free shipping or a clock with a discount if they buy now
  • Provide product images with zoom-in functionality
  • Multiple product images and angles (360 degree views)
  • Item information and specs
  • A field to change purchase quantities
  • A creative description that relates to the product uses
  • Include an optimized product title
  • An add-to-cart button on each product page
  • Pricing information with potential sales or discounts
  • The availability of each product to show scarcity and push people to buy
  • Shipping and tax calculations on the product pages
  • Materials used, dimensions, colors, weight, washing instructions
  • Available sizes and a sizing guide if needed
  • A comments section so people can discuss the ecommerce product
  • A sorting and filter option for customer reviews
  • An Add to Wish List button on each product page
  • Videos to display how the product works
  • A currency converter if needed
  • A live chat option that shows the support team what the customer is looking at
  • The product codes for people who might use this for reference later
  • Stats on each product such as shares, views, sales and people who placed it on their Wish List
  • Social share buttons for each ecommerce product
  • Deals for people who purchase multiple related items together
  • Use professional-grade pictures and videos
  • A banner that states if a product is sold out
  • An area to sign up for notifications when a product becomes available
  • Make sure the product pages load up just as fast as your homepage
  • Explain unique features and what makes your product stand out from competitors
  • Include keywords on each Ecommerce product page to improve search engine rankings
  • Minimize clutter so the purchase process doesn’t look intimidating

Step 4: Blogs and Media Pages to Add Value to the Site

Hunter's Website Design

Try-Shopify

Additional content helps you stand out from competitors and show search engines that you are more than just an ecommerce site selling items. Here are some additional items to include on completely separate pages to strengthen your brand.

  • Educational pages
  • Tutorials
  • Product reviews and showcases
  • Company events
  • A blog with recent events and news
  • Comments in your blog
  • Social sharing options for your blog posts
  • Insider company information to connect with your customers
  • Lists that relate to your products
  • An external resources page
  • Articles about the state of your industry
  • Areas for people to submit their own content for competitions and drawings
  • A radio, webcast or podcast page
  • A page with video testimonials
  • Case studies and interviews with people who have used your products

Step 5: Your Customer Checkout, Shopping Cart and Wish List

Ecommerce Checkout Page

This is the bread and butter of your ecommerce site, so use the shopping cart and customer checkout area to really shine by pushing products and walking customers through the process quickly.

  • Don’t make the person create an account until after placing order
  • Accept all payment methods
  • Offer low shipping costs
  • Make the checkout visual with fun images
  • Add checkout buttons on the top and bottom of your pages
  • Make sure the security and payment seals are most prominent during checkout
  • Ask people to continue shopping after making a purchase
  • Allow people to save their cart to a Wish List for later
  • Suggest Wish List items to upsell during checkout
  • Refrain from asking for a survey response after checkout (save this for email)
  • Try free shipping when they spend a certain amount
  • Offer multiple shipping methods
  • Include an area to punch in promo codes
  • Show people how much they saved during checkout
  • Show the approximate shipping date and time
  • If selling digital downloads, explain how they receive the product
  • Be open about what you use their personal information for
  • Offer a sample if they are hesitant about buying
  • If you sell high priced items, offer financing options like payment installments
  • Test the checkout process to see if it works

Step 6: Following Up With Customers

Ecommerce Customer Support

Once someone buys from you there is a chance to offer support and additional deals with emails after their purchase. Here’s what to include in your emails.

  • A receipt with the price
  • A picture of the item
  • Include links to the product, site, support and related product suggestions.
  • Send a one to two week follow up to see how the product is
  • Ask for a review
  • Offer a discount code if they haven’t ordered again after a few months
  • Ask them to join a loyalty program
  • Ask for reviews in exchange for specials and discounts
  • Ask if they want future notification alerts for specials and products
  • Sell gift cards in your emails
  • Send a promotion for abandoned carts
  • Thank them for their purchase
  • Show where the product was sent to
  • Have an option to cancel the order
  • Links to share on social media
  • A link to track shipping
  • The order number and a link to return instructions
  • Include a survey link

Step 7: Support Pages for Your Ecommerce Site

The support links were covered earlier, but it’s nice to see what support pages need to be included on your ecommerce site. There are also a few support tips below.

  • Social media pages
  • Listed emails and contact forms
  • Listed phone numbers
  • A Live Chat area
  • Forums
  • FAQs
  • Shipping details
  • Sharing buttons
  • Offer 24/7 customer support
  • Provide an extensive return period

That’s all there is to my ecommerce site checklist. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

Feature image curtsey of Mike Rogers

 

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

14 Responses

  1. Hey CATALIN that’s a very useful article, it gave me a good understanding of the things I should look into for future projects! Cheers.

  2. Great information and description.One should must consider the above points mentioned before starting project.Good work you done.

  3. Thank you SO much for this well-thought out, accelerated eCommerce class. I have found a ton of valuable information on your site. I didn’t know just how much I didn’t know. A little challenging, but I’m up for it. I am just starting out and your site is serving as a one-stop “what to do/what NOT to do” shop. Thanks again.

  4. Really great, comprehensive list. Every merchant should use this a measure of their eCommerce store. It does seem like an endless process to make your eCommerce store “good enough” but if you manage it in increments it can be quite attainable.

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