Planning An e-Commerce Website: The Practical Steps (+Examples)


In my previous article, I discussed some of the factors that you need to consider when it comes to planning an e-commerce website. In this article, I want to look at some of the steps to follow when planning an e-commerce website. Follow me as we are going to look at that in this article.


#1 Define your objective

The very first thing you need to do when it comes to planning your website is to define your website objective.



Before you even contract the Developer that will even design your website, you need to know the reasons why you are creating that website.



This will allow you to determine the necessary requirements that your website must have before you can have an effective e-commerce website.



Some of the examples of your objectives can include: generating income from the website, creating a national and global market for your product, increasing customer engagement, promoting good quality and valued customers as well as supporting socio-economic causes through the website.



#2 Define and segment your target audience

As part of the steps that you need to take when you are planning your website, you need to define and segment your target audience.


There is a need for you to know the kind of audience that you are expecting on your website. When you have now analysed the specific type of audience that you are expecting on your website, you need to now segment them so that you can now divide the audience based on what your audience has in common.



Here are some of the criteria for segmenting your audience such as Demographics, Age, gender, income groups, professional status, education, psychographics, brand consciousness, shopaholics, cosmopolitan, conservative spender, and values quality among others criteria.

#3 Do a competitive analysis

As part of your efforts towards planning your website, you need to do a competitive analysis of the audience on your website.


You have to know what they lacked that you can leverage. What are they doing that you can easily do better? This will help you to develop and target an audience from that perspective.



There is a need for you to understand your market in order for you to function well in your marketplace.


You also need to take time and check your competitor’s website and understand the key strategies that your competitors are using to drive the audience to their website.



You have to understand methods that they are using that you can leverage. This will help you to plan how you can also drive key audiences to your website.



#4 Perform Situational Analysis
Also, as part of your key strategies toward driving a key audience to your website, you need to perform a situational analysis of your key audience.


This will allow you to know the method for selling your product. You need to identify your best products that can create wonders in the marketplace.


What are the key products and offers that you have that your major audience will likely be interested in?



You also need to identify your advertising and promotional opportunities.



What methods can you adopt in order to ensure that you send words out about products and services that you have to offer?


This will ensure that you are using the right platform to promote your products and services.



Also, as you are identifying some of your products that can create wonders in the marketplace, you also need to identify some of your products that need attention.


This will allow you to create a blueprint on how you can repackage such products in order to make them more acceptable to your target audience.



#5 Create Budget
Definitely, the next major step that you need to do is to create a budget for the entire project.


There is a need for you to allocate your budget for building the entire website. You also need to distribute your budget along with different areas such as search engine optimization, promoting and designing of the website, and applicable technologies among others.



You can also find pricing of freelancing services offered on the internet as well as decide on whether the website will be created in-house or through freelancing services.



#6 Create Content Marketing Strategies

There are many people that start an online business but they are not paying much attention to content creation.


If you have a website or a blog, there is no way you can succeed if you do not have effective content marketing strategies.


You need to make sure that you align your content marketing strategies so that everything can work as a whole. You need to support your owned media with paid and earned media in order to make sense of your content marketing strategies.



You also need to create a business profile for all your social media platforms. When you are doing this, you have to make sure that all the strategies are aligned to work as one.


For example, if you are creating a social media profile, you have to use a common name so that it will be easily recognizable to your target audience. They will be able to recall the names without any hindrances.



#7 Hire your team

Also, the job of managing a website is always multi-disciplinary in nature. You need to make sure that you gather an excellent team that can manage different aspects of the website.



You have to make sure that you also outsource skills that you know that your internal team will not be able to effectively handle.



Also, you need to define the roles and responsibilities of each of your team members.


The main reason for doing that is to ensure that there is no duplication of efforts as far as the roles that members of your team are expected to play is concerned.



The roles should not only include the skill sets that you need to create, it should also cover skills that are needed to maintain the site as well.

#8 Define metrics for evaluating results

There is a need for you to also define some of the metrics that you will use in evaluating your results. This will help you to determine whether your business strategy is succeeding or not.


It will also allow you to make necessary amendments so that you can improve on what you have achieved already.



Here are some of the metrics that you need to consider which include: website traffic, customer engagement, conversion rates, as well as customer loyalty among others.

#9 Create e-commerce requirements

There is a need for you to also create e-commerce requirements specifications for different tasks


. You need to define user and functional requirements, search and content requirements, technical requirements, as well as SEO requirements among others.

 This will define what must be achieved for every assignment that has been defined for your project. This can also the management to define what should be achieved as the project moves from one stage of achievement to another stage.


Action Point

PS: I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you could drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.

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