Building an e-commerce website may sound easy but getting one that is fit to deliver result is difficult. The root cause of the gap between expectations and achievement is your requirement documentation. The website development agency or freelancer, simply delivers as per our requirement and cannot be really held accountable. Another cause of the problem is lack of digital marketing expertise on the developer’s end. This ignorance makes them create websites full of technical SEO in them.
Let us look at what all you should include in your requirement document. We will not be covering basic requirements of an e-commerce like admin panel to upload products, order history etc. These are a must and without them there can be no e-commerce website. Instead we will focus on what all typical requirements you miss in your requirement documentation.
This is a crucial aspect as you would need some mechanism to write meta tags for each page. You need an SEO panel where in title and description for each page is entered. The panel should have column for keywords that particular page is targeting. It will not be displayed in the meta of the page but will help your SEO team to remember what keywords they need to work on for the page and align the content accordingly.
You also would need character count to keep a check on the characters you have entered for title and description of each page. A check to look out for duplicate title and descriptions will be good. That way you do not have to run a site audit every now and then and make adjustments accordingly.
In WordPress all this comes with Yoast plugin wherein you can enter the meta and keywords for each page easily.
Carts in Line
Every item added to cart is mapped with either the logged in user id or a code saved in the local storage of the user’s system. With the help of this code you can easily see what all products the customer has added to the cart. This allows great insight on the purchase process of the user.
The admin panel should have a system where in you can offer additional discount to the customer to clear the cart. The discount can be limited for a short period thereby creating a sense of urgency to make the purchase decision.
We call this as cart in line system. The products, users have added but not cleared them show that they are desired but there is something about them that is stopping users from making the purchase. You can look into these products and modify to clear these inhibitions.
Blast mail, SMS and WhatsApp
Your e-commerce system should have system to send mass emails, SM text and WhatsApp messages. They generally require third party API integration which you will need to provide to your developer.
These services are required when you launch new products or offers and want to reach out to past users and newsletter subscribers.
The panel should be simple where you can select all or specific users and draft a small message or template to be sent.
Uploading images in products and blogs is never an end of its purpose. You would need to write alt tags for each image for which there should be an admin panel.
The developer should be smart enough to add alt tag initially. For example, when you upload a blog, the default alt of the image will be the name of the blog. The same goes for uploading product as well.
Similar logic should be applied when the images are uploaded. The name of the image should be changed as per the title of the blog or product.
Every time a user does some activity on the site you should get a notification in the panel automatically. For example, when the user makes a purchase, fill the contact form or even writes a review, you should get the alert in your panel. This helps keep the SEO team on toes as they know something has happened and need to take action accordingly.
Notification system should also be created for users as they would like to be notified whenever their order has some information changed. For example, you would want to notify them whenever the status of order has been changed.
Remove unverified users
In any website thousands of users gets registered and quite a lot of them with fake ids. The best way to filter them out is by asking them to verify their email id within 15 days. If during the period, they do not verify the email, their details should get removed automatically.
A discount system forms the basics of an e-commerce website. The discount system should have:
- Discount by type – Amount and percent
- Time validity – Valid from and valid till features
- Status – in case you want to stop the discount
- Offers – you can add free gifts along with purchase which can be availed in form of coupon
You can create discount system that allows good discounts on the first purchase. This can be further used for digital marketing. Seasonal or festival discounts that run for a specific period to automatically provide discount should also be present.
Media and Video Gallery
You might have a YouTube channel which can be easily integrated in the website for users to easily check out the videos. A simple admin panel that allows you to upload video links and the same can be shown easily in website.
The same can be used for image gallery as well.
You can also have categories for videos and images where
You should have a dynamic inventory system for every product. This ensures you do not sell anything that you don’t have in stock. It should have functionalities to add and decrease stock as you might have a physical store too. Both offline and online stores should complement each other.
The site should be able to handle out of stock products by not allowing them to be added and if added, have them removed from the cart.
Users do not like to be forced to create an account while making a purchase. You will have the name, email, phone details of the user when the purchase is made. A simple check that checks whether the email id is already registered or not and creates an option to create one shall make it easy on the user. You can create a dummy password and share the same on mail with the user.
If the business logic does not allow account creation, you can even ignore the whole module. However, chances for this will be very minimal.
It’s a very simple module that allows users to include items that they would like to purchase in near future. A simple heart icon which when clicked stores the user ID and the product ID in database. Whenever you run offers and discounts on these products, you know the ideal users who are looking to make the purchase.
The page speed of the website should be as high as possible, especially on mobile. This will ensure that the e-commerce development team develops the whole website from scratch instead of using a template. Templates have bloated codes in them and experience says most of these you do not really need. A good website development company will use latest technologies like tailwind, AlpineJS to keep the code to minimal.
Lazy load and Preload
Images constitute heavy load size of any website and one needs to handle them accordingly. For images that are above the fold, preloading is required. This loads the image in browser before the page is rendered, thereby improving the page speed drastically.
For images below the fold, lazy load is required. This ensures that the images are loaded after rest of the codes have loaded and do not impact the page speed. You should also set the height and width of the image that they are going to occupy for browsers to reduce the cumulative shift in layout.
Minified CSS and JS
A website should always use minified CSS and JS files as they are lighter in size. Google’s page speed recommendations also suggest this for a better page speed. While most of the files are static and are uploaded only once, the problem lies with the dynamic files. With Tailwind, livewire technology, these files are rendered dynamically. Mostly developers use git to deploy the latest codes and should have a script to generate production CSS and JS files that are minified.
Incorporating these points in your requirement should not increase the cost of website development. It will help you in getting functionalities in e-commerce website that will help you in getting good SEO results. These points ensure that you stay on top of the game with everything you need to push your digital marketing initiatives along with providing good user experience.