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Guide to Prepare For Your eCommerce Website

We prepared the following list for our clients when we need some business decisions to be made on their end in order to help set everything up on our end. 


1. Select Your Platform

The two contenders we recommend choosing from are WordPress and Shopify, both of which have lots of pros and cons. WebsiteBuilderExpert ranks WordPress and Shopify as follows:

WordPress Shopify
Design Customized Templates
Customization Limitless (custom code adaptable) Restrictive
Plugins Over 50,000 plugins to choose from Over 3,100 Shopify plugins
Development and Setup Difficult learning curve More beginner friendly
Ongoing Maintenance Easy for any computer savvy person Easy for any computer savvy person
Transaction Fees 2.9% + 30¢ to start

Can be negotiated lower

As low as 1% with volume

2.9% + 30¢

Lower with premium memberships

Upfront Costs None, unless you hire a web design agency Monthly fee only
Ongoing Costs Web hosting: $10-40/mo

+ One time plugin add on fees

Subscription fees:

Basic Shopify: $37 CAD/mo

Shopify: $100 CAD/mo

Advanced: $378/mo
+ Ongoing plugin adds

The rest of our setup tips are based on a WordPress website using the plugin WooCommerce, as we prefer the level of customization and absence of ongoing costs for our clients. If you haven’t got a website for your business, Complete Digital Advantage provides high-end website design services for bloggers, start-ups, small businesses, non-for-profits, and more.



2. Pick Your Product Categories

The biggest decision when trying to create an easy user experience and journey flow throughout your website is putting yourself in the shoes of your customer and deciding what products to put where so they can best find what they are looking for, similar to setting up a storefront. What categories and subcategories can you create so that the hierarchy of information makes sense?


3. Prepare Your Product Information

Here is a sample template of all the information parameters you can enter for your products. Some are more relevant than others. Here is a diagram of how they appear on the shop product pages. 

Here are the basic parameters to decide:

  1. Title*
  2. Short description*
  3. Price*
  4. Long description/details
  5. Shipping measurements and/or weight
  6. Variations (if any)

4. Get Product Graphics Or Photos

Make sure what you’re selling is clear. Try to get photos of products alone, then more lifestyle photos so customers can put it in the context of their lives. Make sure all product photos have a level of consistency throughout so they look custom and deliberate. Here are some examples. 

  1. Stock photos: If your products are pretty commonplace, the easiest and cheapest way to get photos is to search on stock!
  2. 3D renders: A lot of packaged products can be realistically rendered by a designer to create a crisp, professional look
  3. Photography: If you go the route of hiring a professional, make sure their style matches your brand and that they have specific product photos in their portfolio. Top web design companies will provide product mockups and photos with high quality compositions to match the creative identity of your brand  

5. Select Your Product List Search Parameters

What parameters do customers care about when filtering for what they’re looking for? Here are some examples.

  • Clothing: Price,color, size, style, mens/womens
  • Food: Ethnicity, meal, vegan/vegetarian

6. Decide Your Shipping Options

Before customers decide to buy anything online, they will first make sure there are reasonable shipping options to their area. Make this message clear, we usually recommend a title bar at the top of the website. We usually recommend a combination of #2 and #3 below, to incentivize larger cart amounts with free shipping minimums but also to offer a set table depending on distance and price. 

  1. Choose from a real time integration with Canada Post, UPS and other providers.
  2. Provide a shipping table with set rates by dollar amount purchased or by weight. 
  3. Choose to offer free shipping (with certain minimums) and build it into the price. 

Here is a template table to help determine your specific pricing should you choose this option. When shipping internationally, simply replace the distances with regions. WooCommerce allows easy shipping zone isolation by provinces as well as postal codes.

Price Range 0-5km 5-10km 10km-15km 15km+
$0-50 $10 $15 $20 $25
$50-100 $5 $10 $15 $20
$100-200 FREE FREE $10 $15


7. Fine Print and Policies

Most payment processors will require policies to be declared on your website to customers. Here is a worksheet to figure out what details need to be plugged into a typical policy template. 

  • Refund policy: 
    • Will you accept returns?
    • Will returns be cash or in store credit?
    • Is it a 30 day window or other?
    • Where and how should returns be sent back?
    • Do you accept exchanges?
    • Where and how should exchanges be sent back?
  • Terms of use: Typical templates will work for most vendors, inclusive of information on:
    • Accuracy of information
    • Right to limit sales by region
    • Third party tool liabilities 
  • Privacy policy: Look for this from your agency or platform as it will include information on how certain plugins collection information


8. Payment Processor

We typically work the bottom two processors. If you’re already currently using a merchant terminal, we can also typically integrate it online so your POS is on the same platform, ensuring your inventory and accounting is in the same place. 

Our experience has shown that most of these merchants are open to negotiating your processing fees, but you have to show them a degree of volume.

The lowest rates we’ve found for our clients is Chase as a merchant, and as the gateway. You set up both, speak to an agent about the volume you’re doing, backed up with financials and bank statements to get your specific rate. The more volume, the less Chase takes on top of standard international credit card processing rates. For example, their margin can be as low as 0.1% on top of the base interchange rates. 

Here are their respective pricing pages: 

Please sign up with one of these providers and give us the login information.

Other monetization tips to consider: 

  • How can you simplify shipping for customers?
  • Does your product offer variations like color or sizes?
  • Can you create packages of products to bundle together?
  • Can you offer subscriptions of your products to gain recurring revenue?
  • What typical questions do customers ask, that you can answer on your product page to eliminate any hesitations before purchase?