First impressions last, especially in the case of your online ecommerce store. This is why your site launch can play a pivotal role in the success of your new business.
As the big day approaches, things can go a little haywire. With countless small details to take care of, it's easy to overlook some glaring issues that can come back to haunt you later. Why not take the easy route and create a comprehensive plan?
It is said that “A goal without a plan is just a wish" and a plan is exactly what you need to reach your aims for the store without missing out on the important details. So don't get bogged down by last-minute pressure and create a site launch checklist to help you stay organized.
Why Make a Checklist?
You might think making a checklist is boring but a good checklist can save you from a world of trouble. Checklists have proven their mantle in high-risk areas such as aviation to ensure the safety of airplane and rocket launches. Since then, they have been adopted by people in all walks of life and used as a powerful tool to stay focused for a favorable end result.
Your store is much like a machine with several moving parts and requires a series of tasks to work successfully. The formula for success can be written in the form of a well-made checklist. With a checklist, you can ensure you've taken care of all the tiny little details and achieve a high productivity rate even on an impossible time schedule.
So now that you've discovered how you can benefit from a site launch checklist, let's see how to make one that can help you cover all the bases.
A Comprehensive Site Launch Checklist
To get you started, here is a list of things that you must ensure before finally launching your Shopify store. Feel free to add more points as you go and personalize the checklist for even better results!
1. Make it Multichannel
In the highly digitized world of today, customers are no longer limiting themselves to a single channel and neither should you. The multi-channel approach has gained traction in recent years and proved to be a resounding success among customers. Consumers now expect integration between the channels they use and any business that fails to meet that might be at risk.
With multi-channel retailing you can:
- Meet evolving customer expectations
- Have multiple engagement points to increase sales
- Collect consumer data across different channels to grow and improve performance.
- Increase conversions by providing customers with the freedom to choose a platform they're comfortable with.
Previously the main problem with multi-channel approach was that there was limited support available which made integration and management a problem. Shopify makes this job easier by providing a unified platform and multiple sales channels to integrate with. Now you can stay on top by adding channels according to your needs and managing your store, sales, and customers across the channels all on a single platform.
2. Set up your Main Pages
Apart from the main store your site needs to have some other pages that can inform customers about your vision, aims, and other important details about your company. These pages normally include a homepage, the About page, contact page, and an FAQ page.
The Home Page
The home page is mostly the landing page of your website and it is the first thing a customer sees when they visit it. To make an amazing impression, your homepage needs to be impressive and informative.
The Contact Page
Second up is the contact page which provides crucial contact information to the customers. Through the contact page, you can provide your email, phone number and, location so customers can get in touch. Also, ensure to create a contact form which customers can submit on the site without having to email or call you separately.
The About Us Page
Many customers who are interested in purchasing from the company might want to know more about your vision or story. The About Us page is an excellent way to add a human element to your business by describing your origins and objectives to win over customers. Through this page, you can also introduce yourself and your team so people can feel more connected to your business.
Take inspiration from competitors and construct an FAQ page consisting of queries that your customers might ask. The FAQ page can also be used to give details about subscriptions and offers. The general categories of questions you can include are:
- Refund and return policy
- Contact Information
3. Check out Email Marketing
Email notifications are extremely useful for ecommerce stores to keep customers informed and updated. You can customize a number of automated emails to make them more attractive to prospective customers.
There are many useful email marketing apps in the Shopify store that can help you create different email notifications such as welcome emails, order confirmation, order receipt, shipping information, cart abandonment, and win back emails.
4. Review your Content
You might not notice the small grammatical and formatting errors in your website but your customers surely will. It is easy to miss out these tiny details when you are pressed for time. Make sure to review your content before launching your site to look for any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, formatting mistakes, 404 errors or broken links and fix it all up before the big launch.
5. Make it Mobile-Friendly
According to statistics, in 2018 more than half of the internet traffic shopping came from mobile devices. Websites which are unresponsive on mobile devices are a huge turn-off and stats show that 40% of people will shift to a competitor after having a negative mobile experience.
Here are some tips on how to make your website more mobile-friendly:
- Program your website to adapt to different kinds of devices so it works well on desktops, mobiles, and tablets to increase convenience.
- Take special care of all the interactive elements such as buttons so ensure they are usable from mobile devices.
- Go for visuals instead of lengthy content to make your website more accessible and easier to understand for mobile users who view it on small screens.
- Make sure your menu has the right padding so mobile users can easily comprehend it and tap on it without any issues.
- Adjust your input fields so mobile users can view and enter text.
Test your website thoroughly on multiple devices, especially on mobile. Most users access stores from more than one device so make sure your site is optimized for all devices. You can even use this tool by Google to check how mobile-friendly your website is.
6. Ensure Efficient Loading Speed
Websites which lag and take too long to load can repel customers. This is why fast loading speed should be one of the top performance measures for your website. One of the main reasons for slow loading websites are the images. Fortunately, Shopify has an image optimization app that lets you compress images without losing their quality. After performing optimizations, don't forget to check how fast your website is on desktop and mobile devices with tools such as Google's PageSpeed tool.
7. Test the Payment Gateways
Choose the best payment gateway for your business according to the ratings and your target audience. You can find the Top 20 payment gateway providers of 2019 here. Once you have your payment gateways, ensure to test them by making a mock purchase to check if everything is running smoothly before the launch.
8. Add Analytics to your Store
Analytics can help you derive important business decisions from your data. While Shopify has a built-in analytics tool, it's not as thorough as others such as Google Analytics. Google analytics is a free tool which can work in tandem with other analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics, Woopra, Piwik and much more. With a combination of such tools, you can gather valuable information for informed decision-making.
9. Increase Customer Engagement
Make is easier for customers to engage with you by making your contact information more accessible. You can also take it a step further with a Live Chat option for your website. According to a study by Furstperson, 77% customers won't purchase from a website without live chat. Furthermore, live chat is known to boost conversions and overall revenue while providing the highest customer satisfaction rates out of all existing communication channels.
10. Recheck Shipping and Tax Rates
Taxes laws and regulations are subject to change and can often be hard to figure out. Thankfully, Shopify provides you assistance with common sales tax calculations and lets you add your own cases to abide by the laws in different countries. However, it is recommended to consult a local tax official to help you figure out your rates and correctly file and remit taxes.
Also, double check your tax and shipping settings to ensure you are charging the right rates. A little bit of neglect can cost you a lot, so make sure you have all your taxes and shipping rates covered.
Plan Ahead with a Handy Checklist
Now that you have a basic checklist at hand, you can proceed with your launch in an organized manner. This checklist is the recipe for success for your newly launched website and will help you cover every minute detail before the big day.
So what are you waiting for? Create your site launch checklist now and make a striking first impression!