You will soon realize how many items you need to check, cross-check, and test to make sure your customers have an high-quality user experience. To make your online store as efficient and user-friendly as possible, you need to set up everything from the website design to the checkout module. Customers could be faced with broken links, incomplete product pages, and a difficult checkout. We have created an extensive checklist for launching an ecommerce store to help you get started.
This ecommerce checklist is your guide to success before you make a sale. This checklist will help you create a stunning website and the perfect interface before you launch your ecommerce store.
You can take a look below at the ecommerce launch checklist and bookmark this page in your browser to make future reference.
To ensure your site is ready to sell, take a look at the list and mark each item as completed.
Step 1 – Design What Your Customers See First. – The Homepage
Visitors to your website have the option to either leave or continue looking. The homepage interface and navigation may not be appealing to ecommerce shoppers. However, with some tweaks to the first pages of your site, you can help them navigate through your site.
These are the things you need to include, and make sure you double-check.
- A well-designed logo is a must.
- Check that the site is compatible with all browsers.
- Links and graphics for promotion on the homepage
- These are links to the most-loved products.
- To push people to sales pages, call to action
- A clear search box should be located at the top of your website.
- Display any specials, promotions or free shipping options.
- This area contains the most recent news from industry and companies.
- These links will take you to the most recent products and purchases.
- This is an area where you can search for top brands.
- A store finder if necessary.
- If necessary, language options for your ecommerce website.
Step 2: Create all standard website pages according to the Ecommerce Launch Checklist
Although the homepage is the most popular page on your website it doesn’t mean that you have finished designing the website. Customers may also want information on your company, contact information, and details about shipping policies.
Before you can link to these pages from your footer and main menus, create the pages and add content!
Below is a list of web pages you might want to add to your online store. There are also descriptions that will help you to add specific content.
- Homepage This was covered in the previous step but it is still worth mentioning. The homepage should immediately tell new visitors about your company. What makes your brand different? Are you able to create menu buttons, banners and links for your product pages, collections, and categories?
- The About Page: This page tells the story of your brand and highlights the people behind it. It also explains the history that brought you to where you are today. It is essential for branding purposes but customers also want to know why they are buying from specific companies. You can expand on your unique value proposition by including information about how your products are sustainably sourced and how you are a woman-owned business.
- Contact Us page While you can have a more comprehensive Customer Support page, it is also important to have an easy-to-find Contact Page with basic contact information such as phone number, email address and contact form. Depending on the type of business you run, you may not need to include all these options. However, it is important to provide at least one option for customers to contact someone at your company.
- FAQ page: Customers want as much information as possible about your products before they click the buy button. This is especially true if you offer alternative shipping and payment options or product options such as a subscription box, customized items, or other shipping methods. You can compile all the questions customers will have about the whole process and provide simple, clear answers. Avoid trying to answer too many questions or giving an unanswered answer.
- Terms and Conditions: This page covers all legal aspects of your business, including which services are offered to customers who shop in your store. It also explains what visitors can expect from you while they’re on your website. When creating your Terms of Service, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer.
- Shipping details page: Customers who need to know when their products will arrive can use the Shipping page. Customers often check the Shipping Details page when they are shopping for gifts, for birthdays, for weddings, or just because they want to use the item immediately. This page should include information about shipping times, shipping regions, shipping costs, and multiple shipping options.
- Refund Policy and Returns page: These pages can be broken up or combined into one. However, the purpose is to give details and procedures for returns, exchanges and returns. What time does it take to return an item? Is it possible to print a shipping label from your website or do they have to pay? Can they exchange the product instead of getting a full refund? What happens to the products once they are returned? You should also discuss your return partners. For example, if customers are required to send all returns to UPS or if they have the option of returning them to the post office.
There are other pages that you might need, such as a blog page for content marketing, educational pages and a photo gallery page. However, we will not cover them in this checklist because they may not be necessary or appropriate depending on your marketing strategy and the type of business that you have.
Step 3 – Create Your Ecommerce Site Infrastructure.
Ecommerce websites require constant moderation and management. A ecommerce launch checklist helps to ensure that everything is working properly and that every page looks great.
Let’s look at our ecommerce launch list of items to include on every page. Also, things you should remember when managing your website.
- You can include security certificates and reminders to ensure that transactions are secure on the site.
- For easy navigation, keep it simple.
- Pingdom can be used to test the site’s speed so that pages load quickly.
- Do not remove broken links.
- You should have categories and filters on every page.
- Make sure the email signup form is visible on every page.
- Link to your Career page.
- Link to Legal information.
- Link to your Contact Page.
- Add a link on the FAQ page.
- Add links to your social media pages.
- Add links to exchange and return policies.
- If necessary, consider linking to information pages for suppliers.
- Add social sharing buttons
- Include a login box.
- To add tabs to your ecommerce website, you can select categories or products.
- To save items, add a shopping cart button/icon to the top.
- Describe the payment systems that you use and the security measures that you have taken.
- Provide tabs that lead to your support pages.
- Test your ecommerce website on all devices and browsers to make sure it is responsive
- Clearly display the checkout button on every page.
- To help users find the pages or products they are looking for, place breadcrumbs on every page.
Step 4: Create Category Pages or Collection Pages to Organize All Products
These pages are sometimes called Listing pages. However, depending on the ecommerce platform they may also be called Category or Collection pages. These pages are used to group similar items on specific pages. These pages allow you to organize your website better and provide customers with an overview of a selection of products that should be logically paired together.
These are some common examples of Collection/Category pages.
- The Best Sellers
- Winter Essentials.
- Available for Sale
- Three for $90
As you can see collections are dependent on the products that you sell and the type or navigation you wish to offer to your customers. You would traditionally categorize items based upon their basic functionality. This could include t-shirts or bedframes, pillowcases or phone cases. You can then get creative and create collections that highlight specific products, promote promotions, or help people combine multiple products for certain purposes. Clothing stores might offer a Summer Essentials line. If a sporting goods store wants to organize their products by sport, they could have a page called “Collection Page for Popular Items”, “Sales Items”, or “Rock Climbing”.
Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce require you to create collections. This allows you to add multiple products to a group. The ecommerce platforms will generate a collection page for you. We recommend that you go into each Collection page and customize its elements if this is the case. Sometimes, custom coding is required.
No matter how you do it you should customize your Collection/Category pages so that they better reflect your brand and help customers. These are some suggestions for what you should include on these pages:
- The collection is briefly introduced, including information about specific elements such as brands and materials.
- A featured image that showcases your product line in a lifestyle setting.
- A product gallery that includes details and links to product pages. These can be added to your ecommerce platform like Shopify when you add items or categories.
- Bestsellers and other recommendations from the collection.
- Reviews and ratings for each item in the collection.
- Links to parent or sub categories that are required for the category.
- Quick View allows users to quickly view product information without leaving the Category Page.
- You can filter and sort the collection pages to refine your search.
Step 5 of the Ecommerce Launch Checklist: Create Your Ecommerce Product pages
It is possible that people will land on your product pages when they search for your site via search engines. Clear information is required on every page. This will allow you to drive people to purchase the products.
To ensure you have the most important product pages, use the following ecommerce launch checklist:
- Include calls for action.
- Include a section to allow customers to leave reviews and rate the company.
- To increase your upsell potential, list related products.
- Highlight selling points such as free shipping and a clock with a discounted price if they purchase now.
- Zoom-in functionality is available for product images.
- Multiple product images and angles (360° views)
- All information and specifications must be entered.
- To change the purchase quantities, please indicate a field.
- Include a description of the product that is creative and relevant.
- Include a product title optimized.
- Each product page should have an add-to cart button
- Highlight pricing information to get discounts or sales.
- To make people buy, you should show the availability of each product.
- Shipping and tax calculations are available on product pages.
- All materials, dimensions, colors and weights should be highlighted.
- If necessary, include information about sizes available and a sizing guide.
- You can add comments to allow people to discuss the ecommerce product.
- Customer reviews can be sorted and filtered.
- Add a button to add to your wish list on every product page.
- To demonstrate how the product works, include videos.
- If necessary, add a currency converter.
- You can add a live chat option to show the support team what the customer wants.
- For anyone who may need it, include the product codes.
- Highlight statistics on each product, such as sales, social shares, views and sales, and people who have placed it on their Wish List.
- Add social sharing buttons to each ecommerce product.
- Get discounts for multiple items purchased together
- Make professional-grade videos and photos.
- A banner might be used to indicate if a product has been sold.
- You can add an area where people can sign up to receive notifications when a product is available.
- You want your product pages to load as quickly as your homepage.
- Describe your product’s unique features and why it is different from other products.
- To improve search engine rankings, include keywords on every ecommerce product page.
- Reduce clutter to make the buying process less intimidating.
Step 6 – Create blogs and media pages to add value to your site
You can stand out from your competitors and show search engines that your site is more than an ecommerce site selling products.
These are additional items you can include on separate pages to enhance your brand.
- Educational pages
- Showcases and reviews of products.
- Events for companies
- Blog with the most recent news and events.
- Comment on your blog
- You have several social sharing options to share your blog posts.
- Get insider information about your company to connect with customers
- You can find lists that are related to your products.
- An external resources page.
- This article will discuss the current state of your industry.
- These areas allow people to submit content for drawings and competitions.
- A podcast page, radio or webcast.
- A page that includes video testimonials.
- Interviews with customers who have used your products and case studies.
7th Step: Create the Customer Checkout
This area is the heart of your ecommerce website. Make sure you use it to push products and guide customers through the checkout process.
These are some tips to help you with the shopping cart and checkout modules
- After placing an order, don’t force the person to create an account.
- Accept all reasonable payment options, but don’t overdo it. Five buttons for each type of payment will clutter your checkout page.
- Shipping costs are low
- Use fun images to make the checkout area more visual.
- You can add checkout buttons to the top and bottom pages.
- Ensure that the security and payment seals of your order are prominently displayed during checkout.
- Ask them to keep shopping even after they have made a purchase.
- People can save their cart to a Wish List so they are available for when they need it.
- You can suggest items for your wish list to be up-sold during checkout
- After checkout, don’t ask for a survey answer (save it for email).
- Spend a certain amount to get free shipping
- Offer multiple shipping methods.
- You can also include an area where you can insert promo codes.
- Show them how much you saved at checkout.
- Indicate the shipping date and approximate time.
- If you are selling digital downloads, please explain how the customer receives the product. Is it via email or in a section on their profile?
- It is important to be transparent about how you use personal information.
- If they are hesitant to buy, offer a sample.
- Offer financing options such as installments if you are selling high-priced products.
- To test the checkout process, you can check if it works.
Step 8 of the Ecommerce Launch Checklist: Create All Automated Promotional Email Marketing
After someone purchases from your website, there is an opportunity to offer support or additional deals via email. Many of these can be automated through the ecommerce platform and email marketing apps.
Here are some ideas for email content:
- The receipt must be included with the purchase price.
- A photo of the item.
- Provide links to the product’s site, support and other product suggestions.
- To find out how the customer likes the product, send a follow-up of one to two weeks.
- Ask for a review.
- If they don’t order again within a few months, you can offer a coupon code.
- Ask them to sign up for a loyalty program.
- For specials or discounts, ask for reviews.
- Ask them if they would like future notifications about specials or products.
- Send gift cards to your email list.
- Send a promo for abandoned carts
- We are grateful for their purchase.
- Show the address where the product was shipped.
- You have the option to cancel your order.
- Share these links on social media
- Here is a link to track your shipment.
- An order number and a link for return instructions.
- Add a link to a survey.
Step 9 – Add Support Pages to Your Ecommerce Website
Although the support links have been covered previously, it is helpful to know which support pages should be included on an ecommerce website.
Consider adding the following links and support pages to your website:
- Contact forms and emails listed.
- Phone numbers listed.
- Live Chat.
- If necessary, a knowledgebase or help centre.
- Shipping details.
- Share buttons
- Offer 24/7 customer support.
- Offer a long return period.
- To show buttons on social media pages
Step 10: Optimize all Ecommerce SEO on Your Website
Online advertising, social media marketing and paid content are all popular options for new online stores. Search engines are going to have an impact on conversions eventually, so it is wise to get started now.
It’s not the idea to go through every page of your website trying to get as many keywords as possible. Instead, you should focus on writing brand-relevant copy that’s engaging, fun, and conversion-optimized. Search engines evaluate content on many factors, including its readability, relevance keywords, and value to customers. After you have completed your product pages and written content, you can add low-cost, high-performance keywords to increase the chances of it being found in search engines.
However, written content is not the only thing that’s important for optimizing search engine optimization. These are other ways to improve your SEO.
- Do extensive research to find keywords that are easy to target but still have the potential for success. Use paid and free keyword research tools to compile a list of keywords that you can use on company pages, as well as product or category pages.
- Eliminate duplicate content. Avoid copying and pasting content from pages that aren’t yours.
- Use the keywords in URLs, product descriptions and page headers.
- Rich snippets can be used to enhance the visual schema markup of your search engine listings.
- You can get your products featured on Google Shopping.
- Your pages should be optimized for speed. This is largely due to the hosting provided by your ecommerce platforms. However, it can be improved through optimized media, caching and lazy loading.
- Link to your most important pages such as the homepage, product pages and collection pages. Search engines will appreciate the organization of internal linking to these pages.
- Create a sitemap of your website. The sitemap should then be submitted to search engines for crawling. Sometimes, your ecommerce platform will complete and submit a sitemap. Check with customer service to confirm.
Step 11 of the Ecommerce Launch Checklist – Optimize Your Site for More Conversions
Every step along the way can increase conversions, from the homepage to product pages. Your store’s customers will be compelled to buy items by your store through buttons, banners and menus.
You may have a stunning website. You may have all the necessary optimizations for search engines. Your products may be appealing. Your sales might suffer if your conversion elements don’t tell people what they need to do to make that purchase.
These are the essentials to optimize conversions:
- Online ads allow you to create landing pages. Customers will be directed to a funnel page that is specifically designed for sales, and not your homepage. It can even cause confusion if they only link to your homepage.
- To demonstrate your product, offer videos and images. Customer knowledge is essential, so make sure they feel at ease before purchasing.
- To encourage users to share their purchases, enable social sharing buttons in the product pages, checkout module and shopping cart. Pinterest offers Pin It buttons that allow users to create pins from product images.
- You can add large, prominent Buy buttons that are visible and follow the scrolling. These buttons are often referred to as “sticky” buttons and they allow customers to see the option of purchasing an item.
- A simple and informative menu should include categories, subcategories, as well as the information you need to learn about your products. You shouldn’t have the more complex pages on your main menu. It’s better to place a link for Refunds or Returns in the footer rather than on the main menu.
- Popups and countdown timers can be used to create urgency. These can be annoying, so be careful.
- Your entire website should be responsive to smaller devices.
- You can add and test a search box to your website, which will allow users to locate items, collections, or blog posts quickly.
Step 12: Look at apps that may help you grow your business
It is easy to get carried away with apps on Ecommerce Platforms.
While it’s great to play with apps, they can cause security issues, slow down your site, and clutter up your dashboard. We don’t recommend that you add dozens of apps to your site.
Keep it simple and only add the apps you need.
For example, you don’t need to add a social media app. There are many of them. However, it is better to find a template with social sharing buttons.
You may need an email marketing app that is more powerful, something that allows you to sell subscriptions, or integrates with your accounting software. These tools are great, provided they don’t exist in your website theme or ecommerce platform.
You should think about adding functionality to your app without creating an app. If you can do custom coding, then go for it. You can choose a theme that matches the feature if you find one. If not, consider an app. Keep them to a minimum.
Step 13: Link To Other Sales Channels
You may eventually want to sell on other channels such as Amazon, eBay or social networks.
You can start by adding one or two channels to your sales experience. You don’t need to have any experience with them. Instead, start the multi-channel selling process by adding a few channels that you are familiar with. This will allow you to be an expert on each channel before moving onto the next. It’s okay to not spread yourself too thin when you start your business.
These are some of the types of sales channels you should consider:
- Online marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy and eBay.
- Social networks that offer sales platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook.
- Advertiser networks such as Instagram Ads and Google Shopping.
- Other sales methods include a point-of-sale or mobile card swiper.
Step 14 of the Ecommerce Launch Checklist – Add a Payment Processor (And Select Payment Methods).
Only online merchants can collect sales through a payment processor. Examples include Stripe, Square, PayPal, and Stripe.
The ecommerce platform will determine which payment gateway you choose. Some platforms require that you stick with one payment gateway, while others allow you to connect with hundreds.
It doesn’t matter what, it is important to go through the steps of setting up a payment processor account and getting approved. Then, run test transactions to verify that it works.
It is a great time to include multiple payment options to your website. Multiple payment methods can be helpful in conversions, since certain people prefer specific payment options.
These are some payment options to be aware of:
- Major credit cards
- Debit cards
- Google Pay.
- Apple Pay.
- Money Order
- ACH payment
Step 15: Configure Analytics & Testing Elements
There are many analytics tools that come with an ecommerce platform. You will find basic insights such as monthly reports and real-time graphs.
We recommend going one step further to increase your ecommerce business insight:
- To track all traffic from Facebook, set up an Analytics and Facebook Pixel.
- Tracking elements can be added to all social networks.
- To expand your ecommerce tracking, create a Google Analytics page.
- Register your site with search engine optimization and tracking tools like Google Search Console or Webmaster Tools.
- To track all shared links, you can use URL query strings, QR codes, and shortened URLs.
- Tracking can be used for other aspects of your business such as activating reports and insights to email marketing clicks and shopping cart abandonment and customer lifetime value.
Analytics and testing your ecommerce store go hand-in-hand. Before launching their websites, store owners must test the functionality. They should also continue testing the site on a monthly basis or quarterly basis. This should be accompanied by analytics and reports detailing any potential issues or potential problems.
These are the best ways to test your online shop:
- You can activate A/B testing campaigns on all aspects of your website, including the buttons, the text, the email messaging, and the checkout process.
- You can test the entire ordering process several times. This includes adding a product to your cart, checking out, and then processing payment.
- Check all instances of email automation to verify receipts and subscription emails are received.
- Browse the website and view all content, images, buttons or links. You can also take notes about page loading times and issues with security (such as with your SSL certificate).
- Analyze the SEO of your website using the backend interface. Use SEO checker tools to verify that everything is optimized.
- To determine if the site’s responsiveness and compatibility with all devices, view all pages in multiple browsers.
- To test the payment processor’s functionality, you should run multiple tests payments. You should also process actual payments before you assume it’s all working for your customers.
- Find out if your apps are all working.
Final Note: Save this Ecommerce Launch Checklist as a Future Reference
This is all there is to the ecommerce launch checklist. This guide will help you create an online store using any ecommerce platform.
You should however, check in on the state of your web design and website infrastructure regularly. You may need to revise some of your product pages or update the privacy policies based on changes in local laws. The ecommerce launch checklist can also be used to speed up the process of creating a site. We recommend bookmarking this page in you browser for future endeavors, or to share it with a friend, business partner, or colleague working on their site. You should be able speed through this process after you have gone through it once.
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. You can also share your opinions on other things you should do when opening an online shop.