Whenever you’re about to begin a large project, it’s good to get all your ducks in a row before you start.
Building an E-Commerce site has a lot of moving pieces you need to consider before jumping in head first. You can miss a lot of important things that you need to make your site function the way you want it to if you don’t take a moment to plan.
So before you begin looking for a web designer or developer to build your awesome new website, be sure you plan out all of these features beforehand so you can get the best end result.
Have your products in organized
You should plan out all the products you’re going to want to sell before speaking to a website designer.
Planning out what items you’re going to sell, what it’s price will be, and how frequently you’ll need to restock the items and plan out their costs.
Breaking up all your products with detailed descriptions and the way you want them to be organized can help keep you on track and help a developer understand your business model.
Gather your product images
One of the biggest things that can derail the development of your site is not having photos of your products taken.
Images are an important part of an online store, as people need to see the product in great detail in order to feel confident buying it.
You should hire a professional photographer to shoot your products in the best lighting possible and from several angles.
Don’t wait to do this after you’ve started building your website as it will slow down the time of completion.
Who is going to manage it?
One of the biggest issues with running an E-Commerce store is it does involve a lot of work, more than another type of business website.
Someone, be it you, or someone in your business, is going to have to keep a hand on your site and learn how to manage it.
Before sitting down with a web design company, figure out who on your team will be the main point of contact for the designer, and who will do the internal updates once the site is complete.
You should also see how much you are comfortable managing on your own, and what your web designer will do to help you maintain it once the site is finished.
How does it need to scale?
It’s always a good business decision to plan out your 5 year and 10-year goals. Before you sit down with a web design company you should plan out what your growth goals are and what your website will need to support you as you add products or complex features.
Scaling can be a pain, and unforeseen things always come up, but before you invest several thousands of dollars into an E-Commerce site, spending some time planning out what you’ll need in the future and communicating it can save you from building a new site in a few years.
Sometimes you can’t add on new features if you don’t discuss it with your web developer in advanced, or maybe they can’t add the exact feature you want in the future, it’s a good idea to discover those things when you’re initially meeting.
See if you need something custom
Each E-Commerce site is unique and sometimes you’re going to need a specific custom option. Now, there are several ways to create a certain feature on your site, for instance, there are several plugins that do subscriptions and several different shipping plugins a web designer could use to have your site work as you need it too.
However, not every item is ready-made, and your business might need a solution so specific it needs to have something custom created.
Have an idea of the specific functions your site will need, and be sure to ask your designer if that’s something they can do easily or if they will need extra time and money to make a custom option.
What reporting tools do you need?
You should spend some time figuring out what reporting features you need in place to control your inventory and managing orders.
Reporting tools can be customized to notify you when you’re running low on a product, how many sales you made, where your buyers primarily are located, and so on.
You should know what the key metrics you want to track before sitting down with a web designer, that way they can figure out how to build it into the site.
How are you going to accept payments?
Payment processing for E-Commerce can be expensive depending on who you chose to use as a processor. From all the different shopping carts, it can be a challenge to find the right one for you.
Once you begin carrying more items or complex add-ons, you’ll need a product managing shopping cart that can calculate custom orders or possible discounts.
Consider your options carefully and make sure you do some research on the different shopping cart solutions with your web designer to find the exact cart you need.
There are a lot of things we may have missed, but those are the general items you should think about before you build an E-Commerce site.
Once you have a good plan of how your E-Commerce site will need to operate, contact us and we’ll give you a free consultation.