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The essential ecommerce checklist for optimizing your online store

Jessica Farelly
By Jessica Farrelly

Optimizing your online store (and shopping experience) shouldn’t stop once you’ve launched your ecommerce site. In fact, after the basics of setting up your domain, finding a platform, taking product photos, and uploading product descriptions, there are more advanced steps every e-tailer should have on their ecommerce checklist. 

These eight points will not only help improve your shoppers’ experience, but also make it easier for customers (and potential customers) to find you once you’re up and running.  

The 8-point ecommerce checklist

1. Mobile friendly 

In 2021, mobile ecommerce sales are expected to surpass desktop sales, at 54% per eMarketer via BigCommerce. Is your website mobile friendly and responsive? Thankfully, it’s easy to test. 

Making sure your customers have a flawless experience on mobile should be one of the first things you do once you open your store. However, with every update to your site, it’s important to go back and ensure the mobile experience hasn’t been altered. 

Most platforms will automatically adjust to desktop vs mobile, but there are always manual tweaks you might need to make. You might experience issues like images not loading properly, CTA buttons being out of place, or even quick add-to-cart options not functioning correctly. Problems like this can be caught by doing regular QA tests. 

2. HTTP vs HTTPS

The extra “S” stands for secure. And with all the information ecommerce stores collect from users, it’s important for your site to be secure. Not to mention that Google gives you a slight advantage from an SEO standpoint if your site is HTTPS. 

How does HTTPS help keep things secure for your customers? According to ahrefs, “HTTPS encrypts HTTP requests and responses so an intercepting attacker would only see random characters instead of credit card details, for example.” That alone is a pretty compelling reason to make the update. 

3. Search and SEO

Speaking of Google, SEO has never been more important. Whether it’s to ensure you get found organically or because you’re running a paid campaign, keep those keywords top of mind. 

In this ahrefs guide, you’ll find a step-by-(very-detailed-)step ecommerce checklist to increase not just your site traffic, but even sales. 

The abridged version: 

  1. Research the keywords for every page on your site
  2. Optimize your on-page SEO (aka your meta titles, product descriptions, URLs, etc.)
  3. Find and fix your “technical SEO” issues (aka duplicate content, orphaned pages, etc.)
  4. Grow your link building opportunities 
  5. Invest in content marketing 

4. Navigation 

Having customers easily navigate your site is incredibly important. This study shows that visitors spend 23% of their collective attention on your website’s header. Clever section names won’t cut it; you have to make it easy and intuitive for your visitors. 

Part of your navigation includes facets and filters, which work to make your customers’ experience of searching and shopping for products much easier by giving them control over how results are narrowed down. Utilizing these features can significantly improve your overall site experience.  

Insights to shape your ecommerce strategy in 2021

ecommerce report

5. Merchandising 

Merchandising isn’t just for brick-and-mortar stores anymore. It’s critical for ecommerce sites to merchandise so engage customers and get them excited about their shopping experience. 

In the digital world, merchandising your ecommerce site is all about organizing your products so customers can easily and quickly find what they’re looking for. Think: arranging products in an aesthetically pleasing order, highlighting special promotions, boosting new or best selling products, creating seasonal or sale landing pages, and so on. You can even create marketing campaigns based on your merchandising (or vice versa). 

6. Recommendations 

The online shopping journey can be a highly customized experience for shoppers. Unlike shopping in a physical store, ecommerce sites can personalize recommendations to the user

What does that look like? 

  • Cross-sell recommendations (Ex: add those geometric earrings to match that new blazer in your cart)
  • Similar items recommendations (Ex: check out these other women’s blazers)
  • Trending products recommendations (Ex: popular items “black faux-leather leggings” and “white silk blouse”)

And so much more. Customizing someone’s experience with your store can make a huge difference to their overall experience, as long as it’s done strategically. 

7. Site speed 

Unbounce reports that “nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.” That’s a big risk to take. Can you afford it? 

That’s not the only risk. Not only are they less likely to make a purchase, they’re also less likely to return to a slow site.

ecommerce checklist
Source: Unbounce

Here are a few ways you can improve your site’s speed: 

  • Reduce your image file size without losing quality with sites like TinyJPG
  • Reduce redirects (for example from or to mobile sites)
  • And here are a few more tips from Moz

8. Reviews

These days, customers trust other customers more than they trust brands. So let customers share their feedback about your products right on the product detail page. Adding this form of social proof can greatly increase your sales since the average customer reads 10 reviews, according to HubSpot

Reviewing your ecommerce website checklist 

Remember, just because your store is operational doesn’t mean you there isn’t room for continual improvements. Using this ecommerce checklist as a handy tool will help you keep track of areas of improvement and where to look out for fixes.