There are several key elements you should be looking for when a web designer sends over an e-commerce website design quote or proposal. Whether your e-commerce website is for digital products (e.g. you’re selling courses and e-books), or for physical ones, all of these elements should be in your e-commerce website design package.
These are literal must-haves in the industry now, or else you’ll end up with an outdated site that will just deter customers with horrible user experience. Not what we’re looking for, am I right?
1. Full e-commerce setup: products, shipping, taxes, etc.
I know this seems pretty obvious, but you might be surprised how many website designers or developers don’t provide enough in this area.
I personally ask my clients for what shipping and tax costs they’d like to implement, and make sure it’s set up in the backend (variable shipping fees and taxes, and all). When you purchase an e-commerce website design package, you shouldn’t be left to figure out these things on your own.
Make sure to also confirm how many products your designer will be uploading for you. For example, a quote for 50 products vs 10 products will be quite different.
As an e-commerce website selling products online, it’s crucial to have secure payment systems in place so your customers can trust your brand and feel safe and secure shopping on your site. Paypal and Stripe are super common options.
You also need to ensure your website host provides SSL certificates for your domain. This what makes the little padlock you’ll see at the left by the link on every website that marks a site as “secure” or not. Skip the hassle and ensure that your website host includes free SSL certificates in their most basic plan. You shouldn’t be paying more for them as an “upgrade” — it should be included! I personally use and recommend Greengeeks for all my clients. You can get a discounted rate of $2.95/month when you purchase through my link.
3. Modern, aesthetically pleasing design that converts customers
Say goodbye to clunky websites, and hello to user optimized design! Think about it — your website is like your storefront, but in online form. So no customer wants to stick around in a store that’s messy, clunky, and overall a bad experience to be in.
You want an in-person store is beautiful and makes customers want to stay and shop for a little longer. Same deal with your website! By having a beautifully designed website that makes customers go “wow”, your clients and customers will stick around longer on your site, and be much more likely to convert to sales.
Make sure to view the designer’s portfolio beforehand to see their skill and design style.
4. Responsive Design
It’s a MUST-HAVE! You need responsive design, not only for desktop and mobile, but for all devices. One easy way to test if a website is responsive is by resizing your browser window to make it skinnier. If the website automatically shifts to fit everything inside the window, then it’s fully responsive! If part of the website disappears and you have to horizontally scroll to see everything, then it’s not fully responsive.
You can also test whether a site is mobile responsive using Google’s tester here.
Responsive design is key for 2 main reasons:
- Your customers are most likely using mobile devices to search for things now, with Yoast estimating that 50-60% of searches are conducted on a mobile device now, with that number rising every year. Plus, according to Google, if your mobile site is difficult to navigate, there’s a 61% chance visitors will leave. So in short, you’ll increase sales because consumers are very likely to be going on your website on a mobile device.
- Google penalizes websites that aren’t mobile optimized. Seriously, they’ll put you lower on search results, which means customers are less likely to find you. ‘nough said.
5. Support & Tutorials
Unless you want to be paying for your website designer to go in and make changes every time you have a new launch or product to add, ensure that there is some sort of support system in place for you to learn how to use the platform yourself!
For example, I personally include a 45 minute call at the end of the my e-commerce website design experience, where I walk my client through their website and how they can maintain it. It’s recorded so the client can refer back to it if needed. If my client wants me to help maintain their site anyways, then great! I can certainly do that for them. But I’m more about client empowerment: I believe every client should be able to know how to edit their website so they don’t have to come calling every time they need something changed.
6. Email List Integration
Email lists are so key in the marketing of e-commerce businesses. So they shouldn’t be an add-on that you have to hire separately for. Especially for e-commerce websites, it makes sense to do the email list integration together because there’s some backend setup that need to happen to link the e-commerce activities (such as purchases, abandoned carts, etc.) to email automations.
You’ll be able to save a lot of confusion, frustration, and time by having it done all at once. Remember, time is money!
7. SEO Optimization
Your website should be primed and ready to be found by Google. It can be a confusing process for non-techy people so it’s really good to have that extra support getting these set up, instead of having to figure it out all on your own. For example, in my packages, I help my clients connect to Google Analytics, submit to the Google Search Console, and also do basic SEO optimization.