The Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist, Every New E-Commerce Site Should Use!
Why You Need This Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist!
It seems everyone wants to sell online these days! At least here at the highly caffeinated agency, we get almost daily requests to build online stores for new and existing brands. All of our potential clients are super excited about launching their new online store and hopefully making money in their sleep. But it always surprises us how few clients actually have a realistic concept of what a useful e-commerce site entails! For the rest of you, we have compiled this ultimate e-commerce checklist every new e-commerce store should use!
Yes, it all seems so simple. Choose your platform, add a few products and a shopping cart, and watch the money roll in. The only thing missing in this scenario is actual e-commerce consumers. Mobile consumers are increasingly demanding and sophisticated. Merely presenting them with your online products is not going to work. Instead, you better focus on meeting particular user expectations. Our ultimate e-commerce checklist will help you do just that!
The Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist – By Section
Creating a Great First Impression
Remember that old saying: “You only have one chance to make a first impression?” That is especially true for e-commerce sites. The moment a potential consumer arrives on your e-commerce home page, they will form an opinion in just seconds! It is up to you to make that a positive experience. The first step is to ensure that potential shoppers view your store as a trustworthy site; that part is absolutely essential!
The next item on our ultimate e-commerce checklist is to create an inviting and appealing first impression. Just like you would not shop in a dirty and unorganized department store, online consumers shy away from cluttered looking sites with confusing navigation. Lucky for you, it only takes a few simple steps and tweaks to present your potential consumers with a rewarding first impression and keep them happily exploring your site.
Here is what we recommend:
- Make sure your e-commerce site has a properly configured SSL Certificate
- Include a professionally designed brand logo
- Make sure your website is compatible with all modern browsers, devices, and operating systems
- Prominently feature your shipping and return policies
- Place promotional links and graphics or icons prominently on the homepage
- Showcase your most popular products
- Create active calls to action (CTAs), and not too many
- Include a search option at the top of your site
- Prominently display any specials, promotional offers, or other announcements
- Feature your latest news or blog posts
- Prominently feature links to recent purchases and popular products
- Provide simple searchability options for popular products or brands
- Add a store finder if applicable; some consumers will prefer to shop in person if possible
- Include all available language options
- If you are selling to any country in the EU be sure to be GDPR compliant
The Overall Look and Management of Your E-Commerce Store
Once your potential consumers feel comfortable exploring your site, you are ready to focus on the next items on our ultimate e-commerce checklist. As we mentioned already, a useful e-commerce site is a lot more than a few products and a shopping cart. If you want your e-commerce site to actually support your business objectives, you need to work on that.
To meet the expectations of sophisticated modern consumers, you need to carefully consider both the design and functionality of your online store and how you will manage and moderate the different aspects. Use the next section of our ultimate e-commerce checklist to determine what you need on each page.
Here is what we have in mind:
- Include SSL Certificates and be sure to add both your www and non-www domain versions
- Add proof that you support secure checkout
- Stick to a minimal design for better usability
- Have an intuitive and easy-to-use navigation menu; use submenus if necessary
- Add breadcrumb navigation to help visitors find the products or pages they are looking for
- Make sure your navigation includes a link to “My Account”
- Make sure your menu has a link to “Shopping Cart”
- Make sure your navigation features a link to “Checkout”
- Prominently feature both products and categories
- Frequently test for page speed using Pingdom or GTMetrix, and fix obstacles
- Check for and fix or remove broken links using tools like Screaming Frog
- Remove any empty product pages, or complete them
- Use product categories and filtering options on every page
- Include an email opt-in in the footer of every page
- Prominently link to any purchasing information such as your exchange or return policies
- In your footer add links to your contact, FAQ, about and support pages
- Add links to your social profiles in both the header and footer of each page
- Add social sharing capabilities to promote your content and products
- Have a prominent account login, preferably in your page header or navigation menu
- Show what payment systems you use and any security measures you take
- Make sure your e-commerce is mobile-first and test it on all devices and browsers
Your Actual E-Commerce Product Pages
It always amazes us how little thought many of our clients give to their actual e-commerce product pages. C’mon folks; these are your bread and butter pages here! And merely having potential shoppers land on your product pages is not enough either. If you want them to actually exercise their credit cards, you have a bit more work ahead of you!
The next section of our ultimate e-commerce checklist focuses on the information your consumers need on each page to help them with their journey of conversion. This includes relevant info, tools, and guides to entice consumers to purchase your products.
Here are a few ideas you may want to include:
- Optimize all product pages for page speed; consumers will not wait for a slow site!
- Clearly explain what makes your product stand out from competitors or the benefit of using it
- Consider adding chatbot functionality to guide consumers through the purchase process
- Minimize clutter, so the purchase and checkout process don’t intimidate consumers
- Include a few prominent and compelling calls to action, but not too many!
- Encourage and feature customer reviews and ratings for each product
- Show product availability, including out-of-stock or backorder notifications
- Allow shoppers to sign up for notifications when a product becomes available
- Show related products
- Show cross-sells, upsells, and package options
- Offer exclusive deals for shoppers who purchase multiple related items together
- Include selling points, such as two for one, free shipping, or a time-limited discount offer
- Use only high-quality product images; hire a professional photographer if needed
- Consider using product videos instead of or in addition to product images
- Consider using videos showing your product in use by happy customers
- Allow shoppers to zoom in on product image details
- Include multiple product images and angles (360-degree views)
- Show detailed item information, description and specifications
- Include a color picker to show different color options
- Include a creative description focuses on product uses to help consumers with purchase decisions
- Create an SEO optimized product title
- Include SEO keywords on each e-commerce product page to improve search engine rankings
- Have an add-to-cart button on each product page (do we really have to mention this?)
- Make it easy to change purchase quantities
- Be sure to include transparent pricing information
- Prominently feature any sales or discounts
- Show the availability of each product to show scarcity and encourage shoppers to buy
- Include all shipping and tax calculations on product pages
- Show materials used, dimensions, colors, weight, washing instructions, and any other helpful product info
- Include all available sizes for each product, and add a sizing guide if needed
- Add a comments section so consumers can compare and discuss your products
- Bonus points if reviews can be filtered or sorted
- Have an Add to Wish List button on each product page, if you have a wish list
- Add a currency converter if you sell in multiple countries
- Show product codes for consumers who need this for reference
- Include social share buttons for each e-commerce product
- Show stats for each product regarding social shares, views, sales and reviews
Your Shopping Cart and Checkout Pages
OK, up to now, we showed you how to entice potential consumers to explore your online store and what all you must include to attract sophisticated and demanding online consumers to actually make a purchase. The next part of our ultimate e-commerce checklist focuses on the most crucial aspect of any e-commerce presence! Can you guess what that is?
Simply put, you want your money, and your consumers want their purchase! This is the bread and butter of your e-commerce site! If you really want to succeed at e-commerce, here is your opportunity to stand out from the digital noise. Simply make your shopping cart and checkout process easy and straightforward, and consumers will reward your efforts.
Here are some recommendations:
- Do not require creating an account simply to make a purchase
- Allow shoppers to login using their social profiles
- Allow storing account details for future purchases
- Accept all standard payment methods, including C.O.D. and payment by mail
- Offer multiple shipping options, including will-call
- Offer free or reduced rate shipping options
- Show any potential shipping restrictions or limitations
- Keep your checkout process as simple as possible
- Add checkout buttons both on the top and bottom of your pages
- Prominently feature security and payment seals during checkout
- Nicely ask buyers to continue shopping after making a purchase, but don’t be pushy!
- Allow shoppers to add items to a wish list for later
- Suggest up-sell and cross-sell options or items during checkout
- Don’t ask for reviews on checkout
- Allow the use of promo codes
- Show people how much they saved during checkout
- Show the approximate shipping date and time, if applicable
- Explain how buyers will receive digital products or downloads
- Be open about what you use their personal information for
- Offer a sample if they are hesitant about buying
- If you sell high-end items, offer financing options like installment payments
- Be sure to thoroughly test all aspects of the checkout process
Additional E-Commerce Support to Overcome Hesitations
E-commerce can be tricky. You are basically asking complete strangers to trust your e-commerce store enough to part with sensitive personal information, such as their credit card. This part of our ultimate e-commerce checklist deals with a few additional items that can make all the difference when it comes to assuring hesitant online shoppers.
A few things you can do:
- Your social media pages, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- A list of all your email addresses and contact forms; can be in the footer
- All listed phone numbers; can be in the footer
- A Live Chat area to assist consumers in real-time
- Forums that allow potential consumers to ask questions and get more info
- FAQs to answer the most common questions your consumers may have
- Shipping details, including shipping dates, number of packages, tracking info, etc.
- Sharing buttons on all products and product pages, as a minimum
- 24/7 customer support; live chat options allow for messaging while you are not available
- A reasonable return period, depending on the nature of your product
- A straightforward return policy
Other Pages That Add Value for Your E-Commerce Consumers
Once again, a useful and engaging e-commerce site is a lot more than merely a few products and a checkout page. Up to now, our ultimate e-commerce checklist focused on the essential, must-have pages of your online store. But if you want to appear especially helpful and informative, here are a few additional thoughts for you.
By including some additional content, you stand out from your competitors that may not go that extra mile! Even better, you get some extra SEO mojo by only showing search engines that you are more than just another e-commerce site selling items.
Here are some ideas for you:
- Educational pages showing the benefits of using your product
- Tutorials, webinars or podcasts showing how to use your product
- Product reviews and showcases showing happy clients with your product
- Case studies featuring how your products benefit consumers
- Company events, including by-invitation-only events for existing customers
- New product releases or product demos
- A behind-the-scenes video or page featuring the day-to-day life of your team
- A blog with recent industry or related events and news
- Allow both commenting and social sharing for your blog posts
- Lists or blogs that feature or relate to your products
- An external resource page showcasing additional information related to your products
- Articles about the state of your industry or products
- Contests or competitions featuring or showcasing your products
- A media or news page with mentions of your brand or products
- A page with video testimonials from happy consumers
Following Up with Your E-Commerce Consumers
Once again, an active e-commerce presence that will provide you with sustainable benefits does require a lot of effort. Up to know our ultimate e-commerce checklist focused on what you need to do to get consumers on to your site, have them explore it, and complete their purchase. But that does not mean you are actually done!
Just like in real life, your e-commerce consumers will feel a bit neglected if you forget about them after you got their money. We are pretty confident you would feel the same way yourself. To help you and your consumers avoid that empty feeling, the following section of our ultimate e-commerce checklist deals with how to follow-up with your consumers.
The simplest and most effective way to follow up with your online shoppers is via email. But don’t bombard your audience; you will simply turn them away. Try a few of our suggestions below, and if they lead to the results, you expect you can add a bit more. Not getting any results? Try a different option.
Here are a few ideas for your follow-up email marketing:
- A receipt with the price and a thank you note
- A picture of the item and a thank you note
- A link to track the order shipping status
- The order number and a link to return instructions
- Links to the product, site, support, and related product suggestions
- Info regarding what to expect when their order arrives
- A follow-up to see how the product is working out for consumers
- An opportunity to resolve any problems
- Ask for a review, perhaps in return for a discount or special offer
- Offer them to join a loyalty program in return for special pricing or other benefits
- Ask for referrals in return for special pricing or other benefits
- Ask if they want future notification alerts for specials and products, and respect their answer
- Consider selling gift cards in your emails
- Send a promotion for abandoned carts
- Show where the product was sent to
- Have an option to cancel the order
- Ask them to share their experience on social media
- Include a survey link and offer a benefit for completing it
Benefitting from The Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist
Now that you have the ultimate e-commerce checklist, you can start planning to implement a few of these tips on your e-commerce site. Many of you already maintain your own e-commerce store, so you may be able to handle this on your own. But keep in mind that e-commerce platforms each come with their own challenges. Therefore, implementing these tips may require some additional help from your web designer or developer. If you don’t have a web designer or developer, here is a Guide To Hiring a Web Designer.
Additional E-Commerce Resources
If you are just starting out with your online store or would like more help in making your e-commerce presence all that it can be you may want to check out some of these posts on our blog:
- Effective E-Commerce Web Design Equals More Sales – It’s That Simple!
- E-Commerce Trends and How They Will Affect Your Online Store
- Stop Believing This Crap! The 5 Top E-Commerce PPC Myths Busted by Data
- E-Commerce Shopping Cart Abandonment, And What You Can Do About It!
- Why You Need E-Commerce Optimization If You Want to Stay Ahead of the Game!
- Consumer E-Commerce Expectations You Must Consider If You Really Want to Sell Online!
- Effective E-Commerce Web Design Equals More Sales – It’s That Simple!
- Are Your Online Consumers Abandoning Their Shopping Carts?
- Sneaky E-Commerce Tricks, and How to Avoid Them!
- How Crowdfunding Affects E-Commerce
- 11 Critical E-Commerce Mistakes You Must Avoid
- E-Commerce Platform Tips for Small Business Owners
Still Unsure About Implementing Our Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist?
Of course, we would be happy to help you implement and follow our ultimate e-commerce checklist. We are experts at carefully building mobile-friendly e-commerce websites to meet (almost) any budget. From mobile-first WordPress online stores to e-commerce solutions, we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever increasingly social, mobile, and local consumer. Why not get started by requesting your free estimate?
And if you are still not sure exactly how the ultimate e-commerce checklist can impact your e-commerce sales, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way for your e-commerce site to provide your visitors with the e-commerce experience they expect. That is one of our specialties, after all!
Do you have anything to add to our ultimate e-commerce checklist? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well and grab our feed, so you don’t miss our next post! And help your friends and associates achieve the online sales they require by sharing our ultimate e-commerce checklist with them. Thanks, we appreciate you helping us spread the word!
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