Below is a checklist of things you need to think about before you start designing and building your site. I recommend you copy and paste the questions to a separate notepad and jot down the answers. They will be an important guide as you move forward.
Your eCommerce Checklist starts here:
- What are you going to sell?A simple question that deserves a simple answer. Don’t underestimate your ability to complicate it. Start with the basics, your core products and go from there.
- How are you going to deliver it?Is your product digital or physical? For digital products that are downloaded, you might consider a service like Easy Digital Downloads or Checkout for Digital Goods for WooCommerce.Physical products require some additional planning. Consider which shipping service you’re going to use, how big the boxes need to be and think about international shipping.
- How are you going to accept payment?There are lots of payment options out there. PayPal, BitCoin, Stripe, Moneris, the list goes on. Are you going to take credit cards? Do you have a bank account for the funds to settle into?
- Will you be charging an ongoing fee?
Some products are a one-time shot, like a t-shirt, while others, like a membership site subscription, require recurring payments. Know the answer before speccing and building your eCommerce solution.
- Are you going to sell on an existing website, or are you starting a new site?
If you have an existing site, you will need an easy bolt on like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. If you’re going to start from scratch, think through all the elements, not just the sales piece, before you start designing.
- Will your customers need to login for any reason?
Even to update their shipping address. A customer account centre adds complexity and requires planning.
- How are you going to communicate with your customers and potential customers?
A regular newsletter? Perhaps a Drip Campaign? Think through how often and just plain how you plan to stay in touch.
- How many products do you plan to sell?
A key question to answer before initiating design and considering which platform and plugins to use.
- How many options will your product(s) have?
Will you be only selling red t-shirts? Or do you require the ability to customize the sleeves and logo?
- Which platform are you going to build with?
We suggest WordPress, but there are quite a few out there to choose from. Investigate thoroughly and compare before jumping in with one or the other. Perhaps reading the rest of this series would be a good starting point.