When a customer falls in love with a product and clicks the Add to Cart button without hesitation, they don’t know all the work that goes into creating the webshop they’re buying from. That’s a good thing! But making that process seamless and fluid for them is going to take a lot of work on your end, and the sooner you do that work the better. Before you launch your eCommerce site, let’s take a look at all the components you should have nailed down first:
Before you get too far into things, it’s a good idea to flesh out your design. This includes your website design, logo, and even social media aesthetic. This will ensure that your brand will feel cohesive and consistent across platforms, which is important for the customer experience.
Depending on how artsy you are (and how tight your budget is), you may consider taking care of some of this yourself. If you do, make sure to read up on how to tell the difference between a high quality or low-quality logo design, and consider making the design one of the things you spend your money on (instead of spending a lot of your time and ending up with a lower quality product).
Unless you’re using a template site that does all the work for you, you’re going to want to make sure you have your security nailed down before you get too far. Are you using an SSL for website encryption? If you’re planning on collecting data, processing logins, or taking online payments, you’re going to need an EV SSL set up.
Also, taking proactive measures like including bug hunting and independent security audits should be in your plans for the future. Instead of waiting for a security breach, be proactive, and set aside time to periodically search for weaknesses in your security.
Getting every piece of your supply chain figured out - and back-ups in case anything goes wrong - is crucial for running a webshop. This includes not only the suppliers of your products, but also any packaging materials, infill, and other additions you include with your orders. You want to make sure your suppliers are reliable and that you have a backup plan if anything goes wrong.
You also need to have a plan for when you scale. This will likely come with benefits, like being able to save money by ordering in bulk, but then you’ll have to consider that self-fulfillment may no longer be reasonable. You’ll have to factor in not just the cost of your product, but also shipping, packaging, and dealing with the inevitable returns. At that point, you may want to look into another option like dropshipping or working with a third-party logistics company (3PL).
Yes, you should have a plan for marketing as well! Based on your demographic you’ll want to look into at least one social media channel. You’ll also want to decide if having a blog is worth it, and what content will work best for what you’re selling. Following the skyscraper technique, having a few key pieces that you build links to is a proven way to gain traffic through organic SEO. Before and during the launch process you should have those pieces of content established or almost ready to publish.
What are your customers going to do if they need help? Sure, you can answer every email manually, but you should at least take the time to build an FAQ page for your website so they have a chance to find the answer themselves. Either way, make sure you have a separate email handle for all support questions to go to so that they don’t get lost amongst the fray of your regular emails. If you want to invest in support because you think it will be really important to your webshop succeeding, you can look into more costly options like an AI chatbot that can answer your customers' questions live.
One of the most important takeaways from your webshop should be analytics (second only to revenue). You need to set up analytics so that you can start collecting data - that data will help you improve your website and increase conversions (and as a byproduct, revenue).
The most important data points to understand at the beginning are time on site, bounce rate, and conversion rate. If your bounce rate is high, it can mean that the information they’re seeking is too hard to find, your website is too hard to use or too slow, or that the information they’re looking for isn’t actually there (and this would be an issue with a keyword). If your conversion rate is low, you can start experimenting with different ways to increase it, like sales, free shipping, cross-selling, or upselling.
Shipping and Fulfillment
Finally, you’ll want to have your shipping and fulfillment process set up, and a plan for the future in place. You need to decide on your shipping strategy - free shipping, free with a minimum purchase, or charging for shipping - and how you’re going to fulfill it. This also includes sourcing packaging materials as well, including boxes, mailers, infill, and address labels. There are many components that go into a successful shipping and fulfillment operation, which is why many businesses outsource.
Creating a webshop may seem simple on the surface - get a product, post product, sell a product - but there is a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes. Hopefully, this list can help you stay ahead of the game and have a smooth shop launch because you’ve taken care of everything in advance.