To help you plan and execute a successful launch, I’ve created this BigCommerce launch checklist. Use it as a guide to ensure you’ve covered all your bases and set your store up for success.
Steps before using BigCommerce Launch Checklist
01. Creating Your BigCommerce Account
Before launching your store, you’ll need to create a BigCommerce account. This is a quick and easy process that can be done entirely online. Go to the BigCommerce website and click on the “Start Your Free Trial” button. You’ll then be prompted to enter your email address and create a password. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to access your account and begin setting up your store.
02. Choose the right BigCommerce plan for your business
There are four BigCommerce plans to choose from, each with its features and pricing. The right plan for your business will depend on several factors, including your budget, the size of your inventory, and the complexity of your product line.
03. Set up your domain name and hosting
Once you’ve created your account and chosen a plan, you’ll need to set up your domain name and hosting. This connects your store to the internet so that customers can find and purchase your products.
There are a few different ways to do this. Still, the most common is to purchase a domain name from a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to connect your domain to your BigCommerce store. This can be done by changing your DNS settings or using a third-party service like Cloudflare.
Once your domain is set up, you’ll need to choose a hosting plan. BigCommerce offers three different options: Basic, Plus, and Pro. The right plan for your business will depend on the size of your inventory and the amount of traffic you expect to receive.
04. Configuring Your Store Settings
Once you’ve created your account and logged in, you’ll be taken to the BigCommerce Control Panel. This is where you’ll manage all aspects of your store, from adding products to processing orders.
To get started, click on the “Store Settings” tab and begin configuring your settings. You’ll need to enter information such as your store name, contact information, and currency. You’ll also be able to select your preferred language and time zone.
05. Adding Products to Your Store
Now that you’ve configured your store settings, it’s time to add products. To do this, click on the “Products” tab and then click on the “Add Product” button. You’ll be prompted to enter information such as the product name, price, and description. You can also upload images of your product and add keyword tags to help customers find your product in the search engines.
06. Creating Your Store Pages
In addition to products, your store will also need pages. These can be used to provide information about your business, showcase your product offerings, and much more. To add a new page to your store, click on the “Pages” tab and click on the “Add Page” button. You’ll be prompted to enter a page title and description. You can add images, videos, and other multimedia content to your pages.
07. Configuring Shipping and Payment Options
Now that you’ve added products and pages to your store, it’s time to configure your shipping and payment options. To do this, click on the “Shipping” tab and then click on the “Add Shipping Method” button. You’ll be prompted to enter information such as the shipping provider, shipping rate, and delivery time. You can also specify which countries you ship to and whether or not you offer free shipping.
To configure your payment options, click on the “Payment” tab and then click on the “Add Payment Method” button. You’ll be prompted to enter information such as the payment processor, credit card type, and transaction fee. You can also specify which countries you accept payments from and whether or not you offer tax-free shopping.
08. Publishing Your Store
Once you’ve added products, pages, and shipping/payment options to your store, you’re ready to launch! To do this, click on the “Storefront” tab and then click on the “Publish Store” button. You’ll then be prompted to enter your domain name. Once you’ve done this, your store will go live, and customers will be able to start placing orders.
09. Optimize your site for search engine visibility
You can do a few things to help ensure that your store is visible in the search engines. The first is to add keyword-rich titles and descriptions to your products and pages. You can also install an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO to help optimize your site for the search engines. Finally, submit your sitemap to Google and Bing so they can index your site.
10. Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track the traffic to your site. This is helpful for understanding where your customers are coming from and which products/pages are most popular. To install Google Analytics, sign up for a free account and follow the instructions on the Google Analytics website.
11. Add social media buttons
Make it easy for customers to share your products and pages on social media by adding social media buttons to your site. There are several plugins that allow you to do this, such as the Social Media Feather plugin.
Congratulations, you’ve now launched your BigCommerce store! By following the steps in this guide, you can ensure that your store is ready for success.
What to Consider When Launching an eCommerce Store
Now that you’ve launched your store, it’s time to start thinking about marketing and promoting your business. But before you do that, there are a few factors you need to consider. Here are some essential factors to keep in mind when launching an eCommerce store:
01. Your target market
Who are you selling to? What are their needs and wants? What are their demographics? These are all critical questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
For example, suppose you’re selling women’s fashion. In that case, your target market might be young, stylish women looking for affordable and trendy clothing.
02. Your niche
What makes your store unique? What sets you apart from the competition? These are essential questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
For example, suppose you’re selling vintage clothing. In that case, your store might be known for its unique selection of items and excellent customer service.
03. Your product offering
What products are you selling? How are they priced? What is the quality of your products? These are all critical questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
For example, if you’re selling electronics, your store might be known for its competitive prices and wide selection of products.
04. Your website design
Is your website well-designed? Is it easy to navigate? Does it look professional? These are all critical questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
When deciding on your website design, make sure to:
- Use high-quality images: With eCommerce, visuals are everything. Use high-quality photos to show your products in the best light possible.
- Use a simple layout: Keep your website design clean and simple. Avoid using too many colors or fonts, as this can make your site look cluttered and unprofessional.
- Use negative space: Negative space is the area around your website’s content. Use it to your advantage by incorporating it into your website design. This will help to make your site look clean and organized.
- Use easy-to-understand language: Use language that is easy to understand and avoid jargon. Remember, you want your website to be accessible to as many people as possible.
05. Your branding
Do you have a strong brand identity? Is your branding consistent across all of your marketing channels? These are essential questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
Your branding should be:
- Memorable: Make sure your branding is unique and memorable. Suppose you sell vintage clothing. In that case, you might consider using a retro-inspired logo or color scheme. This will help to make your store stand out from the competition.
- Consistent: Your branding should be consistent across all your marketing channels, from your website to your social media accounts. This will help build trust with your customers and make your store recognizable.
- Professional: Your branding should be professional and polished. This will help to instill confidence in your customers and make them more likely to purchase from you.
06. Your marketing strategy
How are you going to market your store? What channels are you going to use? For instance, will you use paid advertising, social media, or email marketing? These are essential questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
Your marketing strategy should be:
- Well-planned: Make sure to take the time to plan your marketing strategy. This will help ensure that your campaigns are effective and that you’re not wasting your time or money.
- Targeted: Your marketing campaigns should be targeted to your target market. This will help ensure that your campaigns are relevant to your customers and that you’re not wasting your time or money.
- Diverse: Your marketing strategy should be diverse. This will help ensure that you reach your target market through various channels.
07. Adding Your Catalog (Categories and Products)
After setting up your store and adding your products, it is time to start adding your catalog. You can do this by going to the “Catalog” tab and clicking on “Categories.” Here, you will be able to add your categories and subcategories. Make sure to add a description for each category, so your customers will know what products are in each category.
Next, you will need to add your products. To do this, go to the “Catalog” tab and click on “Products.” Here, you can add your product information, such as the name, price, description, and photos. You can also add more detailed information, such as the weight, dimensions, and shipping information.
It is vital to ensure that you provide accurate and up-to-date information when it comes to adding products. This will help ensure that your customers get the right product when they purchase from you.
08. Your Shipping Methods
Are you going to offer free shipping? What shipping methods are you going to offer? These are essential questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
Your shipping methods should be:
- Affordable: Make sure your shipping rates are affordable. This will help ensure that your customers are willing to pay for shipping.
- Fast: Make sure your shipping methods are fast. This will help to ensure that your customers are satisfied with their purchases.
- Reliable: Make sure your shipping methods are reliable. This will help to ensure that your customers receive their purchases on time.
09. Your Payment Methods
What payment methods are you going to offer? How are you going to process payments? These are essential questions to answer when launching an eCommerce store.
Your payment methods should be:
- Secure: Make sure your payment methods are secure. This will help to ensure that your customers’ information is safe.
- Convenient: Make sure your payment methods are suitable. This will help ensure that your customers can check out quickly and easily.
- Flexible: Make sure your payment methods are flexible. This will help ensure that your customers can choose the payment method that is best for them.
10. Surveying the Storefront
After setting up your store and adding your products, it is vital to take a step back and survey the storefront. This will help ensure that everything looks good and that there are no errors.
When surveying the storefront, make sure to:
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors: This will help ensure that your store looks professional.
- Check for broken links: This will help ensure your customers can navigate your store easily.
- Check for missing images: This will help ensure your products look good.
11. Testing the Checkout Process
Checkout is one of the essential parts of an eCommerce store. This is where your customers will input their information and make their purchases. Because of this, it is vital to test the checkout process to ensure it is working correctly.
To test the checkout process, you will need to:
- Add a product to your cart
- Go through the checkout process
- Input your information
- Make a payment
- Check your email to confirm that you have received an order confirmation
12. Tools of The Trade (Order Fulfillment)
This is where you will need to have the right tools for the trade.
Some of the tools that you will need for order fulfillment are:
- Shipping labels: This will help to ensure that your products are shipped out quickly and easily.
- Tracking numbers: This will help ensure that your customers can track their orders.
- Packaging materials: This will help ensure that your products are well protected during shipping.
13. Enable Google Shopping
Enabling Google Shopping is a great way to get your products in front of potential customers.
To enable Google Shopping, you will need to:
- Go to your Google Merchant Center account
- Add your product data
- Submit your product feed
14. Promote Your Store
Now that your store is running, it is time to start promoting it.
There are many ways to promote your store, such as:
- Social media: From Twitter to Facebook, there are many social media platforms that you can use to promote your store.
- Email marketing: This is a great way to reach your customers and tell them about new products and sales.
- Blogging: This is a great way to share your knowledge and help your customers make informed decisions.
After following all the steps in this BigCommerce Launch checklist, it is time to launch your store. This is an exciting moment but also a time to be cautious. Make sure to test everything one last time before making your store live.
This BigCommerce Launch checklist should help you ensure that you have a successful eCommerce store launch. By following these steps, you can avoid common mistakes and launch your store confidently.
Need Help with Launching a Successful eCommerce Store?
If you need help launching your store using BigCommerce, I’m here to help. Schedule a consultation call with me today to get started.