Myth: Building an online ordering site is difficult, time consuming, and expensive
Fact: It’s fast, convenient, and costs can be as low as $0
When designing an online ordering (ecommerce) site, everything comes down to the customers you serve. Many online brands are both B2B and B2C, but you don’t need a separate site for each sales channel. Build one site and use customer groups to segment and personalize the product catalog, pricing, and checkout experience. Don’t get bogged down planning the perfect store with all the bells and whistles right from the beginning. Start by outlining the basic site capabilities and customer needs; then fine tune and add enhancements as your store grows.
If your business is new to online ordering, or still on the fence, consider launching a business-to-employee ecommerce site first. Use this as a type of test site to optimize features before opening it up to B2B and B2C customers.
Your online ordering site can be a sleek, minimalistic store or an intricate, global-facing powerhouse.
Below is a basic guideline to help you get started. Expand each bar for a list of questions and features to consider. For each item presented, determine if it is something that fits your site and if it should be part of the initial build or a future enhancement.
Base Structure – What are you selling, who are you selling to, and what is the goal of the site.
- What are you selling? Product documentation, sales literature, marketing materials, business cards, tradeshow materials, promotional products, other?
- Who will be ordering from the site? Internal users, distributors and dealers, retail customers?
- Do you want to use your logo, brand colors, or custom CSS?
- Will you require legal disclosure or user agreement information on the site?
- Does the site need to be multilingual and multiple currencies?
- Who will answer user support questions?
Users – Who are they, how will they access the site, what information is available to them, what do they need?
- Are anonymous users (guest) allowed to access your site?
- Do new users need approval to sign-up for an account?
- Will users be assigned a group or associated with a department, cost center, branch, etc.?
- Are users required to be logged into the site to place orders?
- How many users do you expect to start with?
- Do all users have access to all products?
- Will all users pay the same price for products, or do you need a tiered pricing structure?
- What account information will users see and be able to modify
Products – Product documentation, sales literature, marketing materials, promotional items, and items that can be controlled, defined, and are setup for immediate processing so your team can spend less time on simple order taking.
- How many products will be available on the site?
- Are any products allowed to be customized (business cards, brochures)?
- Do print files revise frequently?
- Will you have inventoried items?
- Are any products sold in bundles or sets?
- Do you require kit configurations?
- Do you want to offer electronic media (download, USB, Video)?
- Would you like to add a visual image of the product (thumbnail, first X pages of document)?
- Are all products available to all users?
- Can users find products using minimal metadata fields?
- Would you like to upsell by showing related products?
Ordering – Define the amount of control you have on orders and product customization.
- Are there minimum/maximum quantities that can be ordered?
- Do non-customized orders require approval before being processed?
- Do customized orders require approval before being processed?
- Do users want to see order status?
- Will users want quick re-order capabilities?
- Will users want to see their order history?
Pricing and Payment – Determine pricing structures and payment configurations for each user group. Streamline process with integrations to tax and ERP systems.
- Do you want pricing to display on the site?
- How will pricing be figured?
- Fixed quantity selected from a dropdown (1, 2, 3, or 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.)?
- Set cost per product regardless of quantity?
- Per product price multiplied by quantity?
- Per impression price?
- Will pricing be the same for all users?
- How many pricing tiers – classifications – will you require?
- Who will pay for orders users, the company, combination?
- Would you like to apply a department-wise budget?
- Will tax be figured on all orders?
- Payment options can include:
- Credit card
- Purchase order
- Free to user (company pays)
Shipping – Define a shipping strategy that’s manageable, affordable, and fast. The right ecommerce shipping strategy for your business will depend on your audience, budget, margins, product, and a variety of other factors.
- Will you use our shipping rates and carriers?
- Do you have required or preferred shipping carriers?
- What shipping methods will be available?
- Will the shipping price be displayed on the site?
- Addresses book options:
- Multiple addresses
- Do want to show an estimated delivery date?
- Do you want tracking information added to the order details?
Administrator – Your site will need some level of management and can require one or multiple site administrators. Administrators can simply monitor activity or be an integral part the ongoing site development.
- Determine who all will help manage the site
- Determine what access level each administrator will need.
- You can add customized administrator roles.
- Manage users, user information, and credentials.
- Add and update content.
- Create and publish FAQs and help information.
- Apply banners, breadcrumbs, testimonials, promotional messages.
- Manage email and SMS communications both push and automated.
- Use predefined or custom develop SMS and email templates.
- Manage department or group specific messaging.
- Monitor activity through the store dashboard.
- Generate reports for review and analysis.
SEO, Marketing, and Analytics – Increase the quality of website traffic and reach your target audience faster by utilizing or integrating various tools to grow your site ranking and help you understand your customers better.
- Make sure the site is mobile responsive and offers easy, intuitive navigation
- Grow your site ranking by using SEO, site maps, keywords, URL redirection, robot, and canonical tags
- Understand your customers better with the help of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager
- Send personalized communication through Mailchimp and Mailgun
- Accept and reward product reviews through Yotpo, Stamped Io, Review Io, or Trustpilot
- Add social sharing like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Addshoppers