Launching an ecommerce website is no small task and for first-timers, it can be daunting. I get this – there is so much to think about, so to make the job easier, why not create an ecommerce checklist?
This is a simple online store checklist that details the steps you need to take to successfully create, launch, and market your ecommerce store. It flows in a logical order starting from choosing the right platform through to post-launch analytics.
With a step-by-step ecommerce checklist, you can work effectively, schedule your time, and ensure your site starts with a bang.
The first thing you must do is choose an ecommerce platform. There are many options available and I recommend Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce. These are two reputable platforms that give excellent flexibility, store features, and control.
Shopify is a brilliant option for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, while WooCommerce can provide more features for larger companies with more products.
Spend time researching what each platform has to offer, the associated cost, and the usability of the design tools – if possible, take a free trial too so you can have hands-on experience.
With a platform chosen, you need a unique domain name. This is your ecommerce store website address and it is really important for branding, SEO, and accessibility.
Ideally, the name should be short and snappy and not too difficult to type. If possible, it should also contain a primary keyword or at least point to what your business does/sells.
Make sure you are aware of the domain name cost too and when you have to renew it as with some domain name providers you essentially lease the URL as opposed to owning it outright.
Before creating product pages and other website pages, you need an underlying website layout. On platforms like Shopify, these are known as themes or templates.
It’s the barebones frame of your site including things like a header, footer, primary navigation, and logo. As part of your ecommerce launch checklist you need to select a theme and customize it to reflect your business schema and colors.
Every website has a selection of core pages which should be implemented after you have created the basic layout and theme.
These are generally simply info pages like a landing page or homepage, contact page, company history/about page, and maybe a testimonial or review page.
These are great to build a picture of your company, give customers a means to contact you, and for SEO purposes.
The individual product pages are one of the main aspects of your online store and you must give great attention to them. Elements to consider for your product pages include:
In short, your product pages must be easy to reach, look fantastic, and leave customers in no doubt about the functionality and quality of what you are selling.
While your online store is the primary sales channel, you can set up other channels that complement your store and utilize your product pages, etc.
There is a wide range of sales channels that can connect with other ecommerce platforms like Shopify including eBay, Amazon, Facebook Shopping, Pinterest, TikTok, Google Shopping, and Instagram Shopping.
The more channels you have, the greater your potential audience, visibility, and sales. This also reflects the way that we stop today as most people don’t stick to one platform for their online purchases. I, for example, regularly use Amazon, online supermarkets, eBay, and Google.
At this stage, you hopefully have an excellent online store that is ready to launch. You can launch at this stage, but you need to consider your SEO strategy.
An ecommerce SEO expert can help with this but it’s vital you make sure your store content is optimized for search engines. This is an entirely separate subject but it involves keyword research, content optimization, and potentially things like Google Ads.
If your ecommerce store has excellent SEO then it should have greater visibility on search engines and thus generate more traffic and sales.
SEO should be a main component of your ecommerce marketing but there are other channels too. Consider other options like email marketing, social media marketing, and PPC advertisement which are all viable options for online stores.
The more marketing channels you have, the wider reach you can get. If you do take on multiple channels though, you must be thorough with each one and be willing to dedicate enough time and resources to make them worthwhile.
By now, your ecommerce checklist is almost done! You now have an ongoing process of analyzing, reviewing, and improving.
You must think of an online store as a continually evolving thing. You can’t simply look at how to launch your Shopify store, get it running, and then forget about it.
To be effective you need to regularly review the store and look at the metrics. This is important so you can improve your customer’s experience, boost the SEO, and ultimately get more sales.
I find that creating a simple checklist like this helps me keep focused and make sure that all aspects of the project are taken care of. An ecommerce launch checklist can do the same and allow you to get off to a fantastic start and hopefully improve your visibility, gain customers, and make a positive ROI.