The Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist for Online Stores
Use this Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist to Meet Consumer Expectations!
It seems everyone wants to sell online these days! At least here at PixoLabo, 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 have a realistic concept of what an active e-commerce site entails in 2020! For the rest of you, we have compiled this ultimate e-commerce checklist every new e-commerce store should use!
Yes, building an online store seems simple. Choose your platform, add a few products and a shopping cart, and wait for the register to ring. 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 specific 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 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 coming back.
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 impactful 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, an e-commerce site is a lot more than a few products and a shopping cart. If you want your e-commerce site to 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. You must determine 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 recommend:
- 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 menu includes a link to “My Account”
- Make sure your menu includes a link to “Shopping Cart”
- Make sure your menu includes 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 Product Pages
It always amazes us how little thought many of our clients give to their actual e-commerce product pages. Come on, 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 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 information includes relevant info, tools, and guides to entice consumers to purchase your products.
Here are a few essential things you need to do:
- 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 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, I showed you how to entice potential consumers to explore your online store. I told you what all you must include to attract sophisticated and demanding online consumers actually to 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 expect their purchase! Completed sales are the bread and butter of your e-commerce site! If you’re going 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 test all aspects of the checkout process thoroughly
Additional E-Commerce Support to Overcome Hesitations
E-commerce can be tricky. You are asking 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 that will make a big difference:
- Your social media pages, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- All your email addresses and contact forms; can be in the footer
- All your 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, and tracking info.
- 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 showing search engines that you are more than just another e-commerce site.
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 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 much effort. Up to now, our ultimate e-commerce checklist focused on what you need to get consumers on your site, explore it, and complete their purchases. But that does not mean you can relax now!
Just like in real life, your e-commerce consumers will feel a bit neglected if you forget about them after you got their money. I am pretty sure you would feel the same way yourself. To help you and your consumers avoid that empty feeling, the following section of my 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. Are you 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 you sent the product
- 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 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 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.
As you can tell, building and launching your online store is only a first step. As mobile consumers are becoming ever more demanding and sophisticated e-commerce store owners have to work harder simply to keep up. If you don’t, you will experience a rapidly accelerating decline in online engagement and conversions.
It is up to you to keep improving and enhancing your online store to meet the expectations of your target consumer. The sooner you get started the sooner you will see measurable benefits. These tips will get you started. We are here to help you.
Additional E-Commerce Resources
If you are just starting with your online store or would like more help in making your e-commerce presence all that it can be you may be interested in some of these posts on our blog:
- How to Reduce E-Commerce Shopping Cart Abandonment
- Using Effective E-Commerce Web Design to Increase Online Sales
- Key Elements of E-Commerce UX Design and How to Apply Them
Still Unsure About Implementing Our Ultimate E-Commerce Checklist?
Of course, as a top e-commerce consulting agency, we would be happy to help you implement and follow our ultimate e-commerce checklist.
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of WordPress website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
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 and answer your questions. We will 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!
Are You Running or Building an Online Store?
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