Posted on March 21, 2008
Filed Under (Advice, Ecommerce) by jennifer

E-commerce has come a long way, baby, over the past 10 years or so, with prospective online business owners having more options than ever before when it comes to where and how to set up shop. In fact, there are so many choices from where to register your domain name to who should host your site to how it looks to which shopping cart to use to how to optimize your site so the search engines and customers will find you it’s often hard know where to begin.

To help prospective captains of e-commerce plot a swift course, I spoke with several e-commerce experts, as well as folks who have gone through the process of setting up shop online. To read what they have to say, get¬†invaluable links,¬†and learn what every prospective e-commerce business owner needs to think about before selling online, read my article “Setting Up Shop: A Checklist for New E-tailers,” which was published on yesterday (March 20, 2008).

In a hurry and need some help getting organized? Here’s a handy-dandy e-commerce site checklist, provided by e-commerce and user experience consultant Carlos Manalo, who has worked with,, and

E-Commerce Site Checklist

  1. Create an Online Plan
    • Assess the opportunity and check out the competition
    • Define vision and metrics of success
    • Figure out the cost of doing business online
    • Determine tasks and staffing needs
  2. Establish your Merchandising Approach
    • Inventory
    • Merchandising focus
    • Promotions plan
    • Merchandising calendar
    • Integrate across channels
  3. Figure out the Moving Pieces: Logistics, Shipping, Fulfillment, Customer Service
    • Set up a merchant account; establish payment method(s)
    • Determine shipping options and policies
    • Think about how you want to fulfill orders in house or outsource
    • Establish customer service policies and get toll-free number and email address
  4. Select the Right Technologies
    • Domain name
    • Hosting service
    • E-mail/list management
    • E-commerce engine/platform/storefront
    • Analytics & reporting tool
  5. Develop the Web site
    • Product photography
    • Product copy
    • Product tagging/attributes
    • Site design
    • Site search
    • Online marketing program covering SEO, SEM, viral campaigns, online affiliations and public relations as well as online advertising.
  6. Be Ready to Adjust
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