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Each business is different and each vertical has its own unique process of building an eCommerce website. A software company may have different technical requirements than a bicycle business that sells direct to customers. We have created an eCommerce development checklist that will help you build an eCommerce website.
What is an eCommerce Development Checklist?
This will be your “source for truth” to ensure that your website is performing its functions properly and achieving your business goals. This checklist covers tasks related to the website’s goals, customers interaction with it, and technical backend logistics.
Step 1: Take a 10,000-foot view
The 10,000-foot perspective refers to looking at eCommerce websites holistically from the perspective of the customer. Start by asking some questions like:
- How can customers find my site?
- What can I do to encourage customers to interact with my website?
- What is the best way for customers to contact me about a question or issue?
These questions will allow you to determine the pages of your website that need to be created and how they should be laid out to provide a good user experience.
What are your website goals?
Your website’s purpose determines which pages you create and the navigation system that will help users find them. Imagine that you own a clothing company that sells athletic apparel for both men and women. Users will be able to navigate from your homepage to the men’s and women’s sections with subcategories. Each piece of clothing will be contained in these categories.
The same category structure won’t work for a company that provides plug-ins specifically for musicians recording in studios. If you are a software company, the categories must be arranged by operating system or functionality.
The Customer’s Journey
The customer’s journey is the process of a customer from discovering your brand to making a purchase. Your website pages should reflect the journey you want your customers to take.
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You will need to direct your users to a landing page that carries on the message you sent in your paid search campaign. Users will need to be directed to this landing page by a clear call to action.
You may display modules, such as similar products or users who purchased …” these are upsells for the customer. To avoid confusing customers during checkout, we recommend that these modules be displayed on the product detail pages and not the checkout page.
Step 2: Website design
eCommerce merchants all want a beautiful, intuitive website. It is almost impossible to design a website if you don’t have a plan for the content. Let’s look at four things you need to do when starting eCommerce development.
Make a Sitemap
Now is the time to start laying out the pages of your website. It is helpful to think of your website as a flowchart, with visitors entering through your homepage or landing page and then exiting via the checkout process. To eliminate any friction from your purchase process, layout your website so that it takes the least number of clicks from potential customers.
For new visitors to the website, the homepage is their first impression. The number of modules that can be used on the homepage will depend on the services and products offered. A small navigation menu and search bar at the top of the page is recommended. We recommend that a large hero photo with a call to action be included. You will also need to decide whether you want to tell a story about your company, showcase your top products, or display an organic photo or video.
One of the most important parts of an eCommerce website is its category pages. The user should be able navigate easily to the product they want without having to go through many subcategories. Your products and services should be broken down into as few categories as possible. Only break down additional categories when necessary.
Description pages for product
The pages that describe a product, also called product detail pages, are the pages that focus on a specific product. To make it easy for customers to get familiar with your product, these pages should contain photos, videos and a 360-degree view. You may also want to add a short description and a title, depending on the price and position of your product.
An eCommerce website’s checkout process is often overlooked. The checkout process is the final hurdle to completing a transaction after a customer has added the product to their cart. To keep our customers on track, we recommend that they use a one-page checkout process.
It is up to you to decide what information (if any) you want to collect about your customers. The checkout process should be as simple as possible to get the best conversion rates. Businesses that ship perishable or frozen goods may find this difficult.
Checklist for Technical Development
After completing these steps, you will have a better idea of how your website will look and function. The last step in launching an eCommerce store is ensuring that the backend works properly.
Platform and Hosting
Your eCommerce platform is the foundation of your online sales. A less-supported eCommerce platform can cause major problems for your business as it grows. To ensure you have all the capabilities you require, we recommend that you take your time researching before you commit to an eCommerce platform.
eCommerce platforms and eCommerce retailers have made native integrations a major focus. Payment processors and shipping are the two most popular integrations retailers use in their websites. A payment processor (also known as payment gateways) determines the transaction cost and protects your business against fraud online.
Your customer might order your product online and then find out that they still have a question. Customers who are unable to resolve their problem through your dedicated support page may decide to cancel their order. Poor customer service is a common reason customers might abandon your brand.
You should take the time to research customer support solutions that will work well for your business. We recommend that you use a live chat option to quickly resolve problems without having to dedicate full-time resources for support via phone calls.
Make it yours
Your business should be represented on your website. Websites should not look the same. Spend some time thinking about what you can do that will make your website stand out from others. You can use the information to create your own eCommerce development checklist. Keep it handy throughout the website design and development process. Websites can’t be static. Regular assessments are necessary to spot potential improvement opportunities.