The questions that you need to answer before you start building your online store.
The first step in getting your eCommerce website setup is determine a few basics about your business.
This is the address that you will be shipping products from. If you don’t ship, this is typically your business address.
Email address for orders
This is the email address that you will receive new order notifications.
This is also typically the reply-to address you want used for email notifications leaving your website. However, some businesses prefer to have a reply-to address that is devoted to customer service and separate one just for new orders. It depends on your needs.
It’s also possible to set up separate email addresses for new order notifications, cancellations, and refunds. For most businesses, this is not needed, but you should be aware it is available.
If you are collecting any data on people, then you need to have a policy on your website which informs people how you are using that data you have collected.
Several privacy laws are now in place to protect the Personally Identifiable Information of citizens of certain states with fines that can reach $2,500-$7,500 per website visitor.
We recommend Termageddon to create and maintain your policies for you. These are polices that are written by real privacy attorneys.
This is a quick one, you just need to know what currency your website will operate in. For those who need more robust solutions than just one currency they are available as add-ons from various providers.
If you have physical goods which will be shipped, then you’ll need to enter length, width, height, and weight for all of your goods. Most shipping plugins require all of these details in order to pack your goods into boxes for shipping calculations.
When shipping plugins do packing of goods into boxes, they basically assume that everything is a rectangular prism (a box), and then can pack those rectangles into other boxes. So if you can “squish” an object into a smaller size for packaging, then you’ll want to be careful how you enter it.
For example, if you sell a t-shirt and can fit 10 of them in a box size A, make sure when you do the math, that given the dimensions you’ve entered they do in fact fit in the box.
What countries do you sell products to?
Does your business focus on just a couple of countries? Then you probably only want to sell to those countries. The exception may be if you are selling digital products or services, you may wish to sell to a wide range of countries.
Will you allow reviews?
For some websites, product reviews are essential. For others, they don’t add any value.
- Selling hand lotions: you almost certainly want product reviews
- Selling services: you may not want product reviews and instead display general reviews for your total services.
If you decide to have reviews, the next question is who should be able to leave reviews?
- Online only: you normally want verified buyers
- In store & online: you may want to allow people who haven’t purchased from your online store to add reviews
As with any other type of website visitor provided content, you will need to moderate your reviews.
Some WooCommerce stores sell only digital goods and don’t need any shipping. If that matches your needs, then you can skip the whole shipping section!
Where do you ship to?
Many eCommerce stores will ship to all locations that they sell to, but not all of them. So you’ll need to determine if you will ship to all locations you sell to, or just a subset of them. This is particularly true for business that sell both physical & digital goods.
Do you have handling fees?
Some sellers add handling fees to their shipping to cover the cost of labor or packing for the products. Whether you do, and how much should be determined based on your business needs.
- Free shipping
- Flat rate
- Shipping providers
- Shipping integrations
Most of the time with an online store, you want to receive payment at the time of purchase.
- Offline payment
User accounts at checkout
- Should they create an account?
- Is an account required prior to checkout?
Variable vs Simple Products
Sales tax & VAT
- Order emails
- Product display
- Product filtering