What deliverables should you expect to see in a design and development proposal for an e-commerce website?
Over the years, we’ve worked with e-commerce websites large and small. We’ve built websites for businesses just launching their first online store, and we’ve redesigned websites for established retailers. We’ve helped small businesses with brick-and-mortar store fronts offer new products online, and we’ve helped digital-first companies expand their brand with ticket sales to events or downloads of digital products.
Every ecommerce project brings its own unique requirements, but at their core, they share the same infrastructure: A website, a payment method, and a user interface that connects the customer to the product they want to purchase.
Of course, no e-commerce website is ever built in a vacuum. Our e-commerce projects start with the same core deliverables of a simple marketing website, and many of our projects also incorporate marketing projects. We’ve written posts covering core deliverables for both simple websites and marketing projects, and we’ll cover the basics here. However, the bulk of this post will focus on the deliverables that make an e-commerce project an e-commerce project.
Ready? Let’s jump in.
Project Kickoff Deliverables
We begin all our projects with a launch meeting with our client so that our team and theirs can meet each other and come into alignment about what the project goals and objectives are. Following the kickoff meeting there is a discovery phase where our team learns more about your business, your customers, and your competition.
- Kickoff Meeting
Core Website Deliverables
The design and development of any website happens in two stages. First, we create a mock-up of the new site design, which we present to the client for review. Any changes the client wants to make are adjusted at this stage, and then we move on to development.
The development includes the setup and installation of WordPress on your domain, the full buildout of the site, and the integration of custom content types. All our themes are built to follow the best practices for responsive web design so that your site is beautiful and accessible on devices of any screen size.
- Responsive Design Mock-up
- Mock Presentation
- WordPress Setup and Installation
- Responsive Theme Development
- Custom Content Types
Core E-Commerce Deliverables
Now that we’ve covered website basics, let’s get into the specific deliverables for e-commerce. Many of these deliverables are focused on the mechanics of setting up an online store, as well as refining design details to optimize the online shopping experience. Our core e-commerce deliverables are as follows.
E-Commerce UI/UX Customization
On an e-commerce store, the entire experience of the visitor must be optimized to reduce any friction between them and purchasing a product. We design a UI/UX experience that decreases cart abandonment and maximizes conversions by carefully customizing each element of the purchasing process, from the design of the product pages to the functionality of the shopping cart.
WooCommerce Setup and Configuration
We recommend the WooCommerce premium plugin to all our clients as the best WordPress solution for e-commerce. We’ve covered our reasons for preferring WooCommerce extensively, including comparisons to Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento, and BigCommerce.
The setup process for WooCommerce includes installing and configuring the software, white labeling customer accounts, and configuring notification emails.
Products and Category Architecture
Establishing the product and category architecture is the foundational discovery piece for any e-commerce store, as it establishes how products relate to each other, and how customers will search for them.
For instance, if you offer a line of products in a range of colors, are those products listed separately or as ordering options on the product page? Are smaller products available as add-ons, or is there another variable you would like to include? Getting this right is key to having a site where you can easily maintain your product catalog—and more importantly, scale your catalog without locking yourself into a product architecture that constrains your site performance.
When customers come to your site, you want them to be able to search for products, right? We use 3rd party integrations to improve product search function so that your customers can find what they’re looking for, no matter how big your catalog is.
Payment Processing Setup
We will setup the website to accept our client’s payment processor of choice, including credit card, gift cards, and new options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal. We will also configure PCI-compliant ways for users to save their payment info for future purchases.
We will test the payment setup in a live environment to ensure that funds reach the client’s account and that payment is working smoothly.
E-commerce shipping and order processing can be fully customized to client needs, whether you’re handling it yourself or using a drop shipper. We can set free shipping thresholds and show shipping estimates, validate addresses, ship to the customer or offer in-store pickup, handle label printing and returns, and automate package tracking.
Do you have physical stores as well as an online one? Our POS integration will link with your inventory management system to ensure the items in stock are accurately reflected on the website.
With the website built and the e-commerce functionality in place, we get ready to complete our marketing deliverables. If our client has a CRM or other marketing tool they want to integrate with the site, we can link these systems together.
We do all our copywriting concurrent with the buildout of the site so that the content is ready to be added to the pages once the development is complete. Our SEO specialist performs a full review of the site to ensure everything is optimized, and then we are ready to launch.
Many of our clients choose to continue our marketing services on a monthly retainer. For e-commerce sites, these retainers include content writing for blogs, social media management, email marketing, ongoing SEO work, and Google Ads management.
In particular, we offer special marketing services that target shopping cart abandonment. This is one of the primary concerns for new e-commerce website owners, and addressing it is the single most important step a business can take to raise their bottom line. Our marketing services can help identify the factors behind cart abandonment, and suggest strategies to help customers complete the checkout process.
- Marketing and Sales Platform Integration
- Content Implementation
- Shopping Cart Optimization
- SEO Architecture Review
Finally, with everything together, we conduct a final review of the site, test each page for any quality control issues, and perform the site launch. After this we consider the project complete, although we offer support to our clients for regular maintenance, billed at our hourly rate.
- Quality Control
- Site Launch
- Post-launch Testing
- Drop-shipping Fulfillment Testing
E-commerce is complicated, but working with us is not.
If all the above deliverables feel overwhelming, that’s because it’s a lot of work that requires a lot of expertise. The good news is that you don’t have to do any of it—that’s our job.
We have experience delivering custom e-commerce themes with some of the fastest turn-around times among our competitors. Projects that take other agencies six to eight months we get done in three. Projects that take them three months we get done in one. In fact, the main thing that slows us down is the time it takes to get a meeting on the calendar—which is why we avoid scheduling more than are necessary.
Instead, we keep our focus on getting the work done, because we know our clients depend on us to get their stores up and running so they can start selling. Our experience makes us efficient—and that’s speed we can put at your service to get you the website you need done in a matter of weeks rather than months.
So if you’re ready to launch your e-commerce store, contact us today. We’ll set up a needs discovery meeting with you so that we can put together a proposal that matches the vision you have for your e-commerce site. And if you’re wondering what that proposal will include, don’t worry—it’ll look a lot like this.