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Considering launching an e-commerce site?

September 19, 2014
Dandyline Designs - E-Commerce: Want to Sell Online?

We’ve recently received many requests for developing e-commerce websites for our clients. While they seem like an easy way to sit back and make money with online sales, without planning, that will remain a fairy tale. We compiled a list of questions for our clients to ask themselves before they get started.

Take a look at the questions below and answer them to the best of your knowledge. Once you’ve gone through them, you will be confident moving forward with selling online, or understand you need to get a few more details in place before you begin.

  1.  How easy is it for customers to make a buying decision based on only text and images where they can’t touch, taste or smell your products?
  2.  Will customers really buy your product online? (Seriously, you must realistically consider the implications of trying to sell an item which people will buy before seeing it in person)
  3.  Can you handle customer complaints and returns?
  4.  Do you have staff to answer customer questions in real time?
  5.  How many products are you considering to sell on the website?
  6.  Do the products that you sell fit into categories? If so please indicate the amount of categories that will be required to cater for the whole product range. (ex. Shirts, Shoes, Jewelry, etc.)
  7.  Do the categories also contain Sub Categories of products? Do these lead to Sub-Sub categories? (ex. Men –>Shirts –> Tank-Tops)
  8.  Can products sit in more than one category? (ex. a unisex t-shirt may appear in “Men” & “Women” categories)
  9.  Do the products have different variations? (ex. size, colors, weight, etc.)
  10.  Do you have an idea for the required sections of the website? For example:
    •  Homepage
    •  About Us
    •  Products
    •  Special Offers
    •  How To Find Us
    •  Contact Us
    •  Terms and Conditions
  11.  What offers would you like to see on the website? Please indicate if any of the following are relevant:
    •  Special Offer: % Discount for selected products
    •  Buy one get one free for selected products
    •  Discount codes to allow promotional codes for % discount offer
    •  Other
  12.  Is the e-commerce website going to be integrated with an existing accounting application for billing or stock management? If so, please supply details.
  13.  Is content management required for maintaining the products on the website.
  14.  Are you aware of the product fields that are currently required? For example:
    •  Product title
    •  Short description
    •  Long description
    •  How-to / directions
    •  Specification
    •  Video(s)
    •  Multiple images
    •  Email a friend/Share on Social Media
    •  Other
  15.  Who will supply photography and content creating (copy writing) for each item? 16. Do products require related product relationships?
  16.  Does the website need to include customer reviews?
  17.  Does the website require a search function?
  18.  Does the website need to include online chat for customer support?
  19.  Is content management required for the following items:
    •  Adding new categories, sub categories
    •  Managing discounts
  20.  Will you need Dandyline Designs to populate the new website with the new products in the future?
  21.  Would you require the collection of email addresses for a mailing list?
  22.  Have you considered how you want the orders to be managed? Are there any specific details you can provide?
  23.  Are you using a 3rd party to fulfill your orders or is this being carried out in-house? Additional shipping/fulfillment questions to consider:
    •  Have you considered the weight and cost of shipping?
    •  Can you ship using standard sized packaging?
    •  Are your products perishable?
  24.  Do you require an email alert to let customers know that an order has been delivered? Will an order have status level update system for customers (ex. your order has been processed –> shipped –> delivered)?
  25.  Do you have a preference to where the website is being hosted?
  26.  Are you selling outside of the US? If so, please state the countries that you wish to supply to. Also, have you considered:
    •  Currency conversion?
    •  Import/export regulations?
    •  Additional shipping costs or complex shipping rules?
  27.  Does the website require multiple currencies?
  28.  Do you need to deliver to multiple addresses other than the cardholder address?
  29.  Does the website require a gift-wrapping service?
  30.  Do you know the delivery calculation for the shopping cart? For example; $5 delivery for purchases under $10.
  31.  Do you require a customer account feature? If yes, please indicate what features are required. Here are some suggestions:
    •  Order history
    •  Change password
    •  Change delivery address
    •  Other
  32.  Do you require reporting in the content management system admin area? If so, please state what reports you are interested in.
  33.  Does the website require different admin levels for the content management system?
  34.  In addition to the content managed products do you need the additional functionality to manage and amend products via a CSV upload?
  35.  Do you have a preferred Merchant Account?
  36.  Do you already own a secure certificate (SSL) with your hosting company?
  37.  Does the new website require a blog?
  38.  Is this new website replacing an existing website? If so, have you considered the existing search engine optimization is not trasferable?
  39.  If this is replacing an existing e-commerce store, do you require Dandyline Designs to import any existing data from the previous website? (ex. customer records, products, etc.)
  40.  Are there any specific feeds you are currently using/require such as Amazon?
  41.  How you will promote your online store / how will customers find out about you?
  42.  Do you have a budget range for search engine optimization, link building and Google AdWords?

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