I have spent last 8 years working as a E-commerce web developer. There are a couple of major lessons I have learned throughout those years that could help you launch your new business online.
Here are 4 things to check before launch.
1) Is your Payment Gateway working?
Assuming you did your customer research and can sell or already sold your product without a website, the first thing to test on your new website is your Payment Gateway.
Payment Gateways allow you to receive money online from your customers when they pay for their orders. No matter how your website looks like, how bad the UI / UX looks like, the main reason for your website is for you to receive payment from a client.
Put an item into your cart and actually place an order! If your order goes through and you receive an authorization against your card then your payments are working!
2) Is your site searchable by Google?
If you are not on Google Search you might as well give up. 90% of searches online are made using Google Search. Before you launch your website you need to check if your website is searchable by Googlebot.
You can try a couple of services freely available:
These services will tell you if there is anything wrong with your site’s SEO and Googlebot access to your site.
You can also test if your site is indexed already by using a Google Search Operator: site:paulmade.me
You can learn about more Google Search Operators here.
3) Is your User Experience simple?
I recommend running your site against users who have never seen your website. Usually, you will see where they are struggling to use your website in just a few seconds.
Grab a few friends and tell them to check out a product on your site. Separate them and let each one of them go through the process without the other one seeing how the first one did. Don’t interrupt them and let them go through the full process without your help. Watch what they do and write down issues (better film it of course).
When they are done, ask them a few open ended questions like:
– what did you have problems with on this website?
– was there anything that confused you on the website?
– is there any information missing from the product page to make a decision?
This should be done only to see an obvious problem on your website – a problem that will prevent clients from buying. If its something minor, I recommend fixing it after the launch, because I believe launching a website earlier is better than taking another 1-2 months to fix UI issues.
More on usability testing you can see here:
4) Advertising budget
Do you have a budget to advertise? Getting your shop online is a major achievement, but what a lot of shops miss is an advertising budget when they do go live.
From my experience, an average store will take at least 2 years to start to get noticed. The earlier you get noticed the more sales you have, the more return customers you have and the more money there is in your pocket.
In my opinion, Facebook is still one of the best and cheapest ways to advertise your online store. It allows precise targeting of potential customers and re-targeting of users who visited your website (through Facebook Pixel).
Learn how to advertise your store on Facebook here:
Targeting methods I recommend:
– Creating Audiences through Audience Insights
I would start advertising with small sums($20-100 maximum) – you need to find out which types of ads work for your business. So the more you experiment with your ads, the more effectively you spend your ad budget.
Do not blow your whole budget on one ad – that is a way to lose your whole ad budget on a strategy that might not work.
NOTE: Some of the other platforms like Google Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn are good, but your budget will have to be at least $5000-10000 per month to get any effect.