What do I need to build an ecommerce website?

By February 12, 2019February 13th, 2020Blog
E-Commerce Web Design Checklist

Updated 2020-02-13

Ecommerce web design takes time and preparation. There are a few points you need to address such as setting up accounts, shipping rules, product inventory etc.

This post is provides a simple e-commerce website checklist to help you get organised before creating an e-commerce website with WordPress & WooCommerce.

Domain Name Registration

You will need to register a domain name for your website. For Australian businesses I recommend registering both the .com.au and .com suffix versions for your domain if possible.

Cheap Domains are a good registrar and are very reasonable for registering domain names. You will need an ABN for a .com.au and they usually cost $19 per year.

We provide web hosting and support for our customers as part of building their websites but a quick search for hosting companies will give you plenty of options to choose from.

Email Accounts

There are many ways to create professional email accounts for your business. I recommend using proper business email accounts and avoid using personal ones on Hotmail or Gmail.

My preferred platform for creating professional email accounts is Google’s Gsuite. It’s easy to set up and add more accounts if required.

Each GSuite Basic account costs $8.40 AUD / user / month. The website itself will require a dedicated email address it can use to send out order emails to customers and admin emails to the website owner. I recommend creating orders@ or sales@ for this purpose.

Each account comes with 30GB of space which is more than enough for most people.

Payment Gateways

A payment gateway facilities the function of accepting payments online via your website and depositing the funds directly into your designated bank account.

For most online store websites, I recommend Square. They are an Australian based business and provide excellent customer support should you have any issues.

With Square you can:

  • Sync product inventory with your website.
  • Accept credit card payments on your site, in person, by invoice or with your computer.
  • Set up point of sale with your phone or Square hardware.
  • Integrate with Xero and WooCommerce.

For virtual services or memberships that require recurring billing I recommend you use Stripe. Stripe can process recurring billing whereas Square cannot.

Business Address & Contact Information

If your business is going to be located from home you may not want to use your home address on correspondence. Registering a PO Box is a great way to accept mail for your business while keeping your private residence address private. Ensure the PO Box you rent allows for product returns. In any case you should make your contacts details clear on your website. Not only does this make it easier for customers who may have issues but it is also provides prospective customers a ‘trust signal’ that should something go wrong during the purchase they can easily get in touch.

Shipping Rules

Shipping is one of the dilemmas many new ecommerce website owners face. It’s best to know how you want to ship products before you start building your website. Here are the typical options to choose from:

  1. Free Shipping: This is easy to set up and business owners usually add a little extra to each product to cover shipping.
  2. Flat Rate Shipping: A single charge is made for all orders.
  3. Free shipping if you spend X amount: This is a combination of Flat Rate Shipping & Free Shipping and encourages visitors to usually spend more to qualify for free shipping.
  4. Weight Based Shipping: Shipping costs based on weight, volume and dimensions. Using this method means there is a lot more admin as you will need to add the weight, volume and dimensions for each and every product in your store. We usually use Australia Post to calculate prices.
  5. Pick From Store: Customers come to your store to collect their goods.

Image Optimisation

E-commerce sites tend to use lots of images. A single product may have 5-10 images alone so it’s important that your images are correctly sized and optimised to load quickly on your site. For more information on improving page speed load times click here.

Terms & Conditions

Having your T&C’s written up professionally by a solicitor is going to be money well spent. Ideally you want your T&C’s water tight so customers know where both parties stand when it comes to returns, cancellations, refunds, shipping costs, handling costs, guarantees etc.

See this website for free legal documents online to get you started. https://legalvision.com.au/legal-documents/

Insurance

Owners of ecommerce websites must ensure they protect themselves and invest in the following insurance policies, should your website ever be hacked, compromised or fail. The two types of insurance I recommend you get are:

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  • Cyber Liability Insurance.

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