Have you ever had to write out instructions for someone and realized just how complicated it can be to spell out every step? Creating an ecommerce checklist for yourself can feel every bit as taxing if you’re trying to do it from scratch.
If you’re working on figuring out how to make an ecommerce store so that you can make sales online, don’t beat your head against a wall or pull your hair out! We’re going to show you how to create your checklist for ecommerce website creation so you will have a roadmap to follow.
What Is an Ecommerce Checklist?
In any complex task, you need to have checkpoints to show you that you’re making progress. When you’re working on your online ecommerce store, you’ll have to have an ecommerce checklist to ensure that you’re hitting the appropriate milestones.
There may be slight variances in exactly what you need to do to create your store, but your checklist will have every step listed that will result in your very own ecommerce store.
17 Steps to Launch Your Online Store
Again, you may have some different checkpoints somewhere in your ecommerce checklist. You might be part of a team that’s handling different aspects of the job, you may have secured a domain name years ago that you finally want to use, or maybe you are offering services that are incompatible with the concept of a Return Policy.
Whatever the case, think of the following as guidance that will fit the vast majority of ecommerce checklists.
Step 1: Choose an Ecommerce Platform
If you’re creating your site from scratch, you may skip this step. Otherwise, if your goal is to start selling through your ecommerce online store as soon as possible, you can take advantage of an existing ecommerce platform, such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
This strategy drastically reduces your workload because these platforms have created digital storefront templates that you can customize to match your branding.
Step 2: Create a Domain Name
Picking your domain name can be tough if you’re trying to use something vague or broad, like Pizza.com. The more individualized your domain name is, the more likely it is that the domain is not being used already. The most obvious way to create your domain name is to use the name of your business, such as PizzaForPandas.com.
Ideally, your business name is already memorable, descriptive, and not taken by any other business so that you can use it without any issues. You’ll quickly find out when you go to register! Sites like Domain.com and Bluehost will let you see if your chosen domain is taken and register your domain when you’re ready.
Step 3: Choose a Web Hosting Provider
Because you probably don’t own your own server, you’ll employ the services of a web hosting provider where you can store your site. Sometimes this will be the same place you register your domain, such as if you use HostGator or GoDaddy.
These services will host the data that makes up your website, and depending on how much stuff you need to store, like videos or pictures. You may need to look at packages that offer more storage space.
Step 4: Secure Your Site
Yes, you will have to secure your site yourself. Don’t worry! It’s not that complex! Here are some things you’ll need:
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
- Address Verification System (AVS)
- Credit Card Verification (CCV) service
These will ensure that customers are protected when they purchase through your site, which in turn protects you from the legal ramifications of them having their information stolen.
Step 5: Add a Content Management System
To give you maximum control over the appearance and functionality of your ecommerce store, you’ll want to use a content management system (CMS). This software will let you modify the code that makes up your website.
Don’t worry. You won’t need to be fluent in HTML. Most of these services, such as WordPress or Squarespace, let you edit your website visually.
Step 6: Set Up Payment Processing
You have to get paid for your sales! Payment processing services such as Paypal, Stripe, and Square are the ones that handle the transactions, and they integrate with ecommerce stores to create a seamless experience for the customer. You’ll want to demo them to see which one works best for your storefront.
Step 7: Create Legal Documents
Step 8: Add a Return Policy
If you only offer services, you will set up a Refund Policy. Assuming you have returnable items for sale, you’ll need to have rules for handling returns. Time limits, proof of purchase, product usage restrictions, or any other stipulations you need to prevent customers from taking advantage of you need to be spelled out.
Step 9: Ensure Your Site Is PCI Compliant
As long as we’re on the subject of protecting customers and yourself, you’ll need to be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant. PCI DSS is the standard for credit card information protection, and noncompliance can mean experiencing heavy fines if a breach leaks customer credit card data.
Step 10: Obtain a Business License
Are you selling just in your state or to the whole country? Each state has its own laws regarding business licenses, and you may even need to check with your county, township, parish, or other locality. If you plan on selling nationally, you might need a federal license.
Step 11: Optimize Online Checkout
The more clicks it takes to accomplish a task on your website, the more frustrated your users will become. Having a shopping cart that keeps prospective purchases in place while people continue to shop, letting them store shipping and payment details, and having suggested items makes the process easier for them and more profitable for you.
Step 12: Set Up Inventory Management System
Few things are more infuriating to a customer than purchasing an item only to get a notice the item was out of stock the whole time. Having an inventory management system not only helps with this problem but keeps you from over or under-ordering certain items.
It lets you offer sales on items you have too many of and assists in developing new products based on sales figures. Software such as Cin7, NetSuite, or Shopify’s Stocky can keep you on track.
Step 13: Add Essential Pages
Your page must have a home page, an About Us page, and a contact page. These three cornerstone pages offer people the greeting people expect. After these basics, you’ll need pages that show your inventory for them to purchase.
Step 14: Optimize Your Site For Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is how your site will rise in Google searches. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable handling, you can hire a firm to take care of it for you. SEO takes advantage of how search engines operate by using keywords and content quality to get better placement in search rankings.
Creating a blog, using HTML tags, optimizing your URL, getting your content shared on other sites, and other tactics all increase your chance of showing up high in a web search.
Step 15: Use Analytics Tools
Knowing how many visitors your website has, how long they stay, whether they make purchases, and other useful data lets you tailor your experience to keep customers coming back to your ecommerce store. Your ecommerce platform may have such analytics tools built-in, but you can always use the popular Google Analytics, too.
Step 16: Configure Email Notifications
Yes, people still use and respond to email! Email contact is a great way to engage with your customers and site visitors. You can offer customer support, exclusive deals, and recommend products. Using an email marketing service such as Constant Contact or HubSpot simplifies and streamlines this process.
Step 17: Develop a Marketing Plan
As you arrive at the end of your checklist for ecommerce website creation, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to reach out to those potential customers who don’t even know who you are.
Your marketing plan may be something you reach out to a professional to create, but regardless of where you go to develop it, you’ll most likely be using SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media advertising, email marketing, blogs/videos, and other tactics to draw attention.
Bonus Step 18: Print Bind Ship Makes Selling Even Easier
Now that you know how to create your ecommerce checklist, there’s one more step we’re going to add in. Let’s say you don’t have time to do a bunch of printing, have no storage space, and can’t afford to keep running to shipping offices. Print Bind Ship does all of that, so you don’t have to!
We print and bind books, keep them in our warehouse, and ship them to customers for businesses like yours every day. Our services can integrate with your ecommerce store so that when you sell products online, you have peace of mind that the orders will get to customers quickly.
Check out Print Bind Ship’s services to make your online selling as easy as pie.
An online storefront that allows customers to make purchases over the internet.
A secure, easy-to-use website with a simple domain name that customers can remember, integrated payment options, and legal documents to protect sellers and customers alike.
Market your website to potential customers, employ SEO tactics, and engage users through email and social media.