A quick checklist for building a comprehensive ecommerce site
11th November 2010

Many clients and prospective clients come to us with an incomplete view of what it would take to start an e-commerce business or an online business. So here's a quick checklist covering all the points you need to cover from start to finish. Note: many of these items can run concurrently.

  1. Your Idea: Lets always start with a differentiating idea. Run it past friends, family and maybe some professionals.
  2. Registering a domain to reflect your company or product. Do it early to be safe.
  3. Create a briefing document - An web solutions company you look to hire will ask you for specifications. Your brief document should contain an outline of your planned business. More detailed the better but don't give away too much.
  4. Create a Request For Quotation (RFQ) - List out all the items you need a cost from the vendor.
  5. Shortlisting a vendor based on his credentials and past record. Negotiating his price including the peripheral items such as hosting, annual maintenance support, technical support etc.
  6. Planning your site structure and online catalog with your web solutions provider. Do make sure you include a good Content Management System (CMS) in the site.
  7. Start negotiating with the credit card payment gateway to get the right package. This takes time so start early.
  8. Setup the hosting and email accounts and get yourself and official email address. Your vendor can help you with this.
  9. Approving the website design presented by your vendor.
  10. Photographing your products to put up on the site. Hire a professional not your cousin. This is very important for an ecommerce site.
  11. Setting up the backend infrastructure required to manage the site and handle logistics and customer support.
  12. Monitor the construction of the website by your vendor. Ask for regular reports and previews.
  13. Final approval on the site functionality delivered by the vendor.
  14. Uploading of the product information and readying the site content.
  15. Plugging in the Credit Card Gateway you signed up for earlier.
  16. Fine tuning and testing of the site for launch.
  17. Do a soft launch. Weed out the bugs and systemic issues (there always are some).
  18. Throw a party and launch the site officially.
  19. Congrats - you are now into ecommerce.
  20. Now online marketing starts but thats a different checklist for another time.


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