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Questions to Ask Client Before Starting An e-Commerce Website

June 9, 2021

Building an e-commerce site seems simple enough, build a website to sell products online. However, that is hardly the case. Launching an impactful, fast-growing, and scalable website takes research, logic, and an in-depth analysis of goals. Clients often fail to think deeply into the details of their web design and communicate their requirements effectively to the developers.

Asking the right questions beforehand avoids unnecessary and costly delays. The questions listed below can greatly improve client communications for building e-commerce websites.

  1. What are the Product and its target audience?
  2. What special features do you require? 
  3. Is there any data you need to migrate and any systems that require integration?
  4. Do you need visuals on your website?
  5. How much are you willing to spend?
  6. What is your timeline for completion?
  7. How do you intend to manage site maintenance and updates?
  8. Where will you be hosting the website?
  9. Which mode of Payments will be used on the website?
  10. Which system do you wish to employ for customer service and feedback?
  11. What unique features do you want on the website to generate traffic?
  12. How do you intend to optimize the process for price listings and quotations?
  13. Do you have a process to measure success?
  • What are the Product and its target audience?

This seems like an obvious question, albeit the most important one. It is essential to keep the product in mind while designing the website. A site for a real estate agent will be very different from the one selling stationery for school students. Product categories and attributes need to be taken into account while designing the website.

It is essential to know the product audience. Targeting a specific niche ensures better sales and high traffic. An e-commerce website should be designed keeping in mind the target market, its trends, and the product competition.

  1. What special features do you require?

It is important to know any special requirements of the client from the get-go. Certain clients require their websites to be multilingual, others want product customization and pre-ordering features. Certain clients require separate content presented to visitors and retailers. Use this question to get clarity from the client from the get-go.

  1. Is there any data you need to migrate and any systems that require integration?

Does the client already operate an e-commerce platform and will they need to migrate and integrate data from the previous platform? Additional integrations can include an accounting system, an inventory system, a client service, and management system, and a marketing communications system.

  1. Do you need visuals on your website?

Visuals can greatly enhance website traffic and engage the customers to spend more time exploring the product. Question the client as to the availability of product pictures and any photography requirements for the website.

  1. How much are you willing to spend?

It is imperative to define a clear budget from the start and tailor the client’s requirements and wish lists accordingly. Define short-term and long-term objectives with the client for better optimization of resources.

  1. What is your timeline for completion?

Try to work out a realistic timeframe for site development with the client. Keep in mind that there might be changes made during production, with improved planning and more innovative strategies for a premium e-commerce site.

  1. How do you intend to manage site maintenance and updates?

Work out a plan with the client regarding site maintenance and update frequency.

  1. Where will you be hosting the website?

E-commerce website development platforms like GO-Gulf operate on SaaS methodology and shall include hosting the website for the client. However many inexpensive cloud platforms are also available. Having a good host ensures that the site is fast and is accessible when required to scale up for high traffic. It should provide security and backup to the website.

  1. Which mode of Payments will be used on the website?

An extremely important component of every e-commerce website is the Payments section. Determine from the start how the product is to be billed. Are there any recurring billing options? Is there any Sales Tax applied? Does the site need to accept multiple currencies? If so will the other currencies be converted from USD exchange rates? Such technicalities are the difference between a good and great e-commerce website.

  1. Which system do you wish to employ for customer service and feedback?

Good customer service is essential to good sales. Whether it is laptops or cellphones, cakes or flowers, good customer relations can make or break a sale. Establish the platforms required on the website to handle customer feedback like a chatbot, email, and to post customer comments and reviews. Systems to protect customer information like payment accounts need to be established.

  1. What unique features do you want on the website to generate traffic?

There are a plethora of e-commerce sites out there. Established e-commerce platforms like GO-Gulf help clients build sites that stand out from the crowd and attract potential customers. Features like blogs, social media platforms, product reviews, customer feedback, good product visuals, and in-depth features can help generate more traffic on the site.

  1. How do you intend to optimize the process for price listings and quotations?

Pricing for the products needs to be accurate and updated timely. Efficient systems should be in place for continuous price updates along with special discounts and promotions. Certain products require specific quote requests and programs should be in place to order a quote for the said product.

  1. Do you have a process to measure success?

It is essential to have a system of tracking success. Will the sale of the product determine your success? Is the client aiming for maximum views and traffic? What are the primary and secondary goals the client aims to achieve? Does a high number of queries or quote requests translate to good sales? These questions are integral to a good client-agency relationship and improve the clarity of communication.

In conclusion, this seems like a lot of preparation even before you start building your site, but these are the questions that will ultimately ensure a smooth process and successful delivery.

Clear expectations help agencies like GO-Gulf set defined targets for delivery and enable them to create premium e-commerce websites tailor-made for the client’s needs.

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