In a continuing annual series on E-Commerce we will explore some concepts that will help you with your decision and education on how to build a successful E-Commerce business online. In our last installment of this series we explored Service Based vs Software based E-Commerce Solutions and the pitfalls/advantages to each. No matter what solution you choose the questions and the checklist below will be pretty darn useful…
E-Commerce is complicated. In any typical E-Commerce project, there are ton of questions to answer and tasks to accomplish. Development of any typical website is a complex process, but E-Commerce sites present their own particular challenges. Since users will be coming to the site to learn about and purchase products, your site needs to do everything it can to make the process easy and intuitive. In addition to making things easy an intuitive there are alot of things people take for granted that are questions you will want to answer before engaging with a web development company to create your E-Commerce website.
The E-Commerce Checklist list below is one we have created over the years from our experience of working with customers and helping them develop successful online shops for their business.
and now on to
THE LAST E-COMMERCE CHECKLIST YOU WILL EVER NEED
How many products do you anticipate? List them
How many categories do you have? list them …
Are your items one of a kind?
Can people buy more than one at a time?
Are there any anticipated discounts?
Are there any anticipated promotions?
Will you keep an online inventory count?
What format can you get your products to us within?
Take your list of all your products and create them as a google spreadsheet with the following information. This asset in it self will help your web developer determine alot about your product line, how it needs to be sold, organized and handled:
Name, SKU, Description, Short Description, shipping Weight, shipping Height, shipping Length, Price, Quantity Available/Online Inventory, name of image(s) associated with product
Are you aware of the product fields that are currently required? For example:
a. Product title
b. Short description
c. Long description
d. How to use
Do all or multiple products in your shop have all options/attributes, (size, color, etc..)
Does your product line require the customer to give you any information about their purchase, such as an engraving name, or a photo upload?
Do the Products already have proof ready titles & descriptions written for them ?
Quality photographs of all your products (we can assist if necessary). Good product photos are one of the most important factors in making sales online. Do you already have product photos or will these need to be produced?
Do all products have multiple images or always just one image?
Have you taken all product Photography yet?
Do you have “lifestyle” or creative “b-roll” shots of your product either in use or otherwise?
Do you have model photos of your products for things other than products themselves for page presentations like the homepage or Lookbooks?
Have you considered marketing your product line for purchase on external sites such as Amazon, EBay and Facebook as well?
Will you maintain separate inventory for your ECommerce shop from your real store or does the site need to be integrated with your in store inventory management?
Do you want to sell gift certificates ? For the online store only or for in store use as well?
Will the online display need to give an organization of products by brand or will brand be hidden?
Do the products have different variations? For example, size, colors, style, etc.
Is your product catalog consistently categorized? What exceptions are there for these categories?
Do the products that you sell fit into categories? If so please indicate the amount of categories that will be required to cater for the whole product range.
Can products fit in more than one category?
How many sub-levels are there for each category? For example, in the case of a shoe catalog there might be three levels before actual products would be listed (men’s/dress/loafers/product).
Are their individual SKU numbers for each unique product including variations of color, size, etc.?
Do you want people to back order out of stock products or would you rather have the product buy button automatically removed for purchase on out of stock notification but still show the product or would you rather auto remove the product from the site overall until in stock.
Who will manage new order communication and ship orders once they arrive?
Who will handle ordering issues such as refunds, damaged products etc?
What is your policy on damaged or wrongly ordered goods?
Who will add new products to your store?
Have you developed content about your:
a: shipping policies
b: Your returns
d: customer service policies.
Do any people other than yourself and the consumer need to be notified once a sale is completed?
Do you offer free shipping at all?
Do you offer local pickup?
Which shipment and delivery company will you use? USPS, Fed-Ex or UPS ? Do you have accounts already setup with them?
How will you charge for shipping? By value, by weight, a fixed rate based or a formula? Is this the same for all products on your store?
What offers would you like to see on the website? Indicate if any of the following are relevant:
– Special Offer: % Discount for selected products
– Buy one get one free for selected products
– Discount codes to allow promotional codes for % discount offer
– Other, if so what?
– Will you have affiliate sales?
– Do you want customers to be able to save wishlists?
Does your existing merchant account allow for processing credit card orders online? Have you considered FirstData ?
Are there any irregular pricing rules for the site? Does choosing certain attributes add cost? Do some products offer accessories or packaging options that would add cost to items?
Are there any special tax issues with selling the product online?
Does the ecommerce system on the site require integration with an existing accounting application for billing or stock management?
a. Do you currently have the software?
b. What platform does the other software run on?
c. Does it offer XML data in or out ?
Do you want the website to include managed customer reviews on a per product basis or just for the store over all or not at all?
Have you considered how you want the orders to be managed? Are there any specific details you can or need provide about order management?
Are you utilizing a 3rd party to fulfill your orders or is this being carried out in-house?
Do you require an email alert to let customers know that an order has been delivered? Will an order have status levels?
What information does your bookkeeper or finance department require from your ecommerce store?
Does the website require a gift-wrapping service?
Ok so while this is as complete and exhaustive of a list that i can come up with please feel free to add in the comments below questions you feel we forgot! If we get enough questions added we will make an addendum to this post and add your submitted questions!
Happy Selling online!