Building an online store from the ground up is a huge undertaking, especially if you're new to the business.
You are focused on so many things at once; marketing, budgets, branding, your products, launching a website, and shipping, to name a few.
As you get close to launching your ecommerce business, you may experience feelings of panic or stress, and that's normal.
However, with an ecommerce checklist in your back pocket, you can alleviate stress and ensure a smooth launch, knowing you've crossed your t's and dotted your i's.
Let's find out how!
An ecommerce launch checklist will help to ensure all your boxes are checked regarding your business and online store.
A strong brand identity and robust marketing plan will ensure your business resonates with consumers and is easy to find online.
Choosing the correct order fulfillment and product sourcing partners can make or break your ecommerce website, so do your research and choose wisely!
Following an ecommerce checklist will make every task easier to accomplish without the overwhelming feelings that are very common when launching an ecommerce business. Get the best tips for your ecommerce site in this section.
Finding a viable niche should be number 1 on your ecommerce launch checklist.
Whether you're getting into a popular niche like custom apparel or home decor or something more specific like pet sweaters, finding a niche that isn't highly saturated is ideal for any new ecommerce site.
With less competition and a focused audience that is eager to buy, your ecommerce website can stand out and experience major success quickly.
This isn't to say you won't find success in a lucrative industry because it's certainly possible. It may take longer and require more heavy lifting, but we can't control our passions. If it's profitable, we say go for it!
Consider your interests and hobbies when choosing a niche so your passion can shine through
Evaluate the market and choose a niche that has growing market demand by analyzing tools like Google Trends
Explore social media to discover what products your target audience is shopping for
Developing a thorough business plan is vital for creating actionable items for your business and staying on track as you experience growth.
A business plan should include your vision, financial goals, mission, and how you'll get to where you want to be.
An executive summary that highlights the key points of the plan
Description of your company
A thorough market analysis
Your product line
Company structuring and organization
Marketing and sales goals
A positive brand image can lead to more sales for your ecommerce store if done correctly. A strong brand fosters customer loyalty, recognition, and credibility online.
Branding includes your logo, color palette, brand voice and messaging, social media presence, and overall online and in-person existence.
Your brand recognition becomes how potential customers notice you both online and in person and promotes a sense of authenticity.
Choose a simple company name
Design a unique, memorable logo
Create a cohesive brand guide with colors, graphics, and fonts
Communicate what you stand for in your taglines and messaging
As you start to tick items off your ecommerce checklist, selecting the sales channels you'll utilize is a big deal.
Ecommerce businesses typically sell their products on ecommerce platforms or online marketplaces (or sometimes both!). It's the classic comparison of Shopify vs. Etsy, but your chosen route is important for your business.
Most ecommerce platforms charge a fee to use but are excellent for customization, telling your brand's story, interacting with customers, and driving sales to your site.
Online marketplaces are usually free to start, but are much more competitive because multiple sellers are in one centralized location.
Once you've selected the sales channel you'll be operating under, adding a custom domain name to your ecommerce website is critical. Doing so improves brand recognition as consumers will recognize your company name in the URL.
Product sourcing is the way you find products to sell in your online store.
This is typically done with manufacturers or wholesale companies, through dropshipping suppliers, marketplaces, or trade shows.
Product sourcing and production can be stressful because so much is out of your control. You may encounter high startup costs, negotiating contracts, the risk of investing in too much inventory, and limited control over quality.
Print on demand is a reliable method to create and sell custom products because you'll never have to hold inventory or manage products that didn't sell like you thought they would.
Gelato helps ecommerce sites sell high-quality custom products to run a competitive online store. We offer reliable print on demand services, a sustainable approach to the fashion industry, and exceptional customer service while integrating with all the popular ecommerce platforms.
Invite customers to explore your website and get to know your ecommerce business by crafting standard web pages that give them the inside scoop. These include:
The home page of your ecommerce website should be concise, compelling, and memorable. It's where you lay the foundation for your brand and give an overall feel for your business.
Include a top navigation bar or menu with links to your product pages, explore a blog, learn more about your business, and contact you.
Today's modern consumer wants to know who they are buying from, and the About page is the perfect place to introduce yourself, define your brand, share your mission and values, and include any other important information about your business, staff, and products.
Share your company's phone number, email address, and in-person address (if it exists). A contact page builds trust with shoppers and reassures them that a real, authentic person is behind the website and products.
Try to answer any questions potential customers may have when shopping in your ecommerce store, like your return policy, shipping costs, and where products are made or sourced from.
You can even check out your competitor's FAQ page to discover what questions they're answering for customers.
You've worked so hard to build brand awareness, get visitors to your site, and offer in-demand products, so don't throw it all away with a rough shopping experience or a glitchy checkout page.
Ensuring your checkout process and payment methods are smooth, convenient, and frictionless will build a loyal following. If you fail to do so, that shopper may never return to your website again. You get one chance to win the customer, so be sure to get it right!
Ensure discount codes are applied from the shopping cart page
Offer multiple payment methods for versatility
Double-check that an email is sent after an order is placed, along with follow-up emails with order updates
Shoppers can edit their carts at any point
Order fulfillment includes receiving and processing orders, packaging correctly, shipping them out promptly, and delivery methods.
Standard order fulfillment methods include:
Doing it yourself out of your home or workspace.
Working with a third-party logistics (3PL) company.
Using a dropshipping supplier.
Print on demand is the most cost-effective order fulfillment method; it allows sellers to focus on marketing and other business tasks while a supplier handles everything after the initial purchase. From fulfilling the order to packaging and shipping details, a print on demand supplier does all the heavy lifting.
As you price your products and prep your order fulfillment methods, ensure that you charge the appropriate sales tax and shipping costs for your products and location.
On your ecommerce site, optimizing product listings following ecommerce SEO best practices will help you rank higher in search engines, improve your site visibility, and drive sales.
Using an ecommerce website means your visibility and exposure are totally on you; there's no marketplace promoting your products. Standing out in different ways is critical to your company's growth.
Use high-quality product images and videos to appeal to different shoppers
Create detailed product descriptions with all relevant information
Optimize listing titles and product descriptions with relevant keywords to rank higher in search engines
In an ecommerce launch checklist, a robust marketing plan is an absolute must-have item to ensure success for an online store. A marketing plan goes hand in hand with a search engine optimization strategy, which will help you drive better traffic to your ecommerce site.
You simply can't skimp on marketing in this digital world, so creating a marketing plan should be high on your to-do list before you launch your ecommerce website.
Social media marketing strategies:
Connect with your target audience through comments, DMs, and Lives
Promote your products and ask for feedback on upcoming designs
Host giveaways, share discount codes, and freebies
Incorporate influencer marketing campaigns to build brand awareness and get more visitors to your website via social media
Email marketing: Collect email addresses through your social media platforms and build email marketing campaigns to share product updates, launch new items, offer discount codes, and more.
In a perfect world, your ecommerce website will appear on every Google search when a shopper uses relevant keywords. It doesn't happen by magic; you've got some work to do first.
Keyword research and optimization: Discover search terms related to your products and use them in your category descriptions, product descriptions, product page URLs, meta titles and tags, and more.
Content marketing: Build a content marketing strategy incorporating your chosen keywords and ideas via blog posts and eBooks.
Installing analytics tools on your ecommerce website will give you invaluable data and information about your website performance and customer behavior.
Popular analytics tools include Google Analytics and Google Search Console, which have unique functionality and benefits. The ecommerce platform you select may offer some analytics, which can be pretty effective and helpful as you scale your ecommerce store.
The customer may not always be right, but how you treat them may be the only thing they remember about your business.
An exceptional customer experience will win customer trust and make your online store a reputable business.
Customer service includes asking for feedback in addition to providing support for customers. When a customer interacts with your company, follow up and ask for feedback about what they would improve and what they like.
You can also ask for product feedback through reviews on your ecommerce site or your brand's social media platforms.
Approach every customer inquiry with openness and transparency
Include a packing insert in your orders that asks for honest reviews on your products
A clear return policy can improve customer retention by creating trust in your brand and encouraging customers to continue shopping on your site.
Offering easy returns will only benefit your ecommerce store, so we highly recommend adding one to your ecommerce website checklist.
To build an easy-to-understand return policy, try the following:
Clearly list the requirements for returning an item
Offer full refunds or store credit within a certain timeframe (usually between 30 and 90 days)
An ecommerce checklist is an excellent resource for launching your ecommerce business and website.
It ensures you are taking the necessary steps to build a reputable brand online, providing an exceptional customer experience from shopping on your site to handling customer service issues, and providing high-quality products that your customers want to buy.
The essentials of an ecommerce checklist will set you up for success and simplify tasks post-launch as your online store experiences growth and increased profits.
Launching an ecommerce business with Gelato has never been easier or more profitable. A powerful ecommerce platform and a print on demand supplier in your corner will make your job much easier and more cost-effective. Get started with print on demand today!