[intro]When you have completed this Guide, you will have thoroughly checked your EKM online shop to ensure that everything is ready for your launch.
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Why do I need a Checklist?

Building your own online shop is a complex series of tasks and it can be very easy to miss a step along the way, especially if you’re completing all of the tasks yourself. This Guide will take you through all of the steps you need to have completed, so you can be sure that when you launch your brand, you will have the best possible chance of making your online shop a success.

Features

Have you installed the recommended essential features?

Advanced Inventory Manager - If you’re not confident using spreadsheets and the Import/Export System to edit the contents of your EKM online shop or you only have a small product range of 500 Products or less, then the Advanced Inventory Manager is essential for you as it allows edits in real time to Products and Categories; you can add, edit and delete content, move Products and Categories, adjust prices, create Featured Products and much more.

Google Tools - this feature is where you add your codes from Google in order to link with Google Analytics and Google Ads. It’s also where you find your Product Feed, which needs to be submitted to Google before you launch.

Password Protect - Whilst you are still building your EKM online shop, it’s a good idea to hide it behind a password wall to prevent it being visible, especially if you’ve already pointed a domain at it.

Abandoned Cart Statistics - This will help you identify how many carts are being abandoned, which can often indicate an issue with prices or with your Payment Gateway.

Product Attributes - This feature allows you to add attributes to your Products, such as weight (essential for setting up an accurate Delivery Method), colour, size, GTIN, EAN or MPN.

Social Plugins - This is the feature you use to connect the social media for your EKMonline shop onto the shop itself.

Classifications - You need to install this feature so that you can classify your shop Products and Categories, which helps the search engines know where they should be listed within search results.

Of course, there are a lot more features available on the EKM online shop platform but these are the essential ones to help you get your shop up and running.

Theme

Have you added a Theme that suits your brand?

If you have, you don’t need to worry about this step, but if you feel at this point that your Theme is not right for you, then this Guide will take you through the steps you need to follow to change your Theme to something more suitable for you.

Have you added your own Design Images?

Design Images are essential to a Theme to make it your own. These include not only static Design Images throughout your shop but also Carousel images too.

Have you checked the appearance of your Theme and Design Images on a mobile phone and a tablet?

When you have applied your Theme and uploaded some Design Images, your next step is to view your Theme on a number of different devices to ensure that that the images display properly and there is no negative white space.

Have you customised your Checkout Flow?

It's essential that when customers enter the Checkout Flow, the branding and colour scheme that they see matches that of your EKM online shop. This Guide will take you through the steps required.

Have you added a Favicon?

You need to create a .cio image file to upload and use as a Favicon, so visitors to your shop can differentiate it from any other browser tabs they may have open at the same time. If you’ve not done it yet, this Guide will take you through the steps required.

Navigation

Have you created a useable Category structure?

For the best possible user experience, all of your Products need to be no more than three clicks from the Homepage, to make it easy for your customers to find what they want. This Guide takes you through the process of creating the navigation on your EKM online shop.

Are there any unfinished Categories?

Are there any Categories that are empty with either a single Product or no Products in them at all? If so, add any single Products to a more suitable place and hide any currently unused Categories until you have more than one Product to add to them.

Products

Product Images

Of the Products that you’ve uploaded so far, do they have at least one high-quality Product Image (ideally, you’re aiming for five different Product Images per Product/Product Variant)? If you’re unsure, this Guide covers high-quality Product Images and the kind of standards you should be looking for.

Product Descriptions

Are your Product Descriptions a minimum of 200 words each, comprising of bullet-pointed features, a paragraph of text and the product specifications? If not, this Guide will be able to help you.

Category Management

Dependent on the kind of Products you sell on your EKM online shop, some of your Products may benefit from being displayed in more than one Category at once to increase their exposure. If you have not category managed any of your Products yet, this Guide should help you.

Featured Products

A single row of Featured Products on your Homepage can be very beneficial, especially with Products that you know there’s a high-demand for. If you’ve not yet your top Products Featured Products, then this Guide will take you through the steps required.

Analytics

Check the Analytics tab of your EKM online shop to find out if there are any Product Images, Categories or Product Descriptions that need your attention, and rectify any issues before you continue.

Delivery

Have you set up your Delivery Methods yet?

If you only intend on shipping to customers within the UK, you need to make sure that your Delivery Methods are configured as such. This Guide will help you.

Have you set up and configured any Country Groups?

If you intend to ship your Products to Europe and beyond, it’s essential that you’ve configured Country Groups and associated Delivery Methods for them which accurately reflect the correct prices. If you’re not sure how to set up a Country Group, you can read more in this Guide.

Webpages

Have you created enough Webpages?

Regardless of what kind of Products you sell on your EKM online shop, you need to create Webpages for your customers to refer to before and after placing an order with you. This Guide recommends what kind of Webpages you need to create to provide the most transparency and the best customer experience.

Domain

Have you pointed a Domain at your EKM online shop?

Whether you get a free domain name from EKM or have instead purchased a domain name from elsewhere, it’s essential that you have applied a domain name to your shop before you launch.

Have you set up email addresses on your Domain especially for dealing with customers?

You also need to set up email addresses with which you can communicate with your customers, such as sales@[domain name] and info@[domain name]. If you have set up your domain name with EKM Domains, this Guide will shop you how to set up email addresses on your domain. Alternatively, if your domain is with another provider, you will need to contact them directly to arrange setting up emails on your domain name.

Outgoing Emails

Have you configured your Shop Email Address?

This is the email address customers see when they have ordered something from your EKM online shop, and it needs to be an email address which corresponds with/built onto your Primary Domain, and not a personal email address. This Guide explains more.

Are you happy with your Order Templates?

The default text on the Order Placed Emails and Order Status Updates is functional, but this can be edited to match the ethos of your brand and the ‘voice’ of you EKM online shop. Click here to learn how to edit these templates.

Invoices

Have you customised your Invoices?

If you intend to add an invoice/delivery note with the Products, it’s essential that this is customised to match your EKM online shop with your contact details and branding. Click here to learn how this is done.

Settings

Have you set your Tax rate?

It’s essential that you set the Tax rate on your EKM online shop, particularly if some of the Products that you sell are tax exempt. You can read more in this Guide.

Have you set your Currency?

If you intend to ship your Products to customers abroad, to improve their user experience, it’s recommended that you set the base currency for your EKM online shop with any additional currencies for countries that you will ship to. This allows foreign customers to select their currency for the prices to which further encourages sales.

Have you completed your Shop Details?

The completed fields on the Shop Details page must be completed fully and accurately, as these are output in several customer-facing areas of your EKM online shop. You can read more in this Guide.

Payment

Have you added at least one Payment Method?

You need to have at least one Payment Method to your EKM online shop, but more than one gives your customers more freedom regarding how and when they pay. For example, Klarna allows customers to receive the goods and pay for them at a later date, whilst PayPal Express uses an express checkout flow to enable a quicker check out process, using the details already saved on the customer’s PayPal account. It’s also worth considering offline Payment Methods too, as these allow you to take orders over the phone and accept cheques and bank transfers.

Search Engines

Have you submitted your EKM online shop to Bing and Google?

Submitting your site map to the search engines is essential as it can help your online shop appear quicker in search engine results. You'll need this Guide for Bing and this Guide for Google.

SEO

Have you completed your on-site SEO?

SEO - or Search Engine Optimisation - is the name given to a group of methods employed to make your EKM online shop more inviting to search engines. This increases your visibility in search engine results, making it easier for customers to find you. On-site SEO is focussed on the methods you employ first within the confines of your EKM online shop and is essential to your success.

Have you completed your off-site SEO?

Slightly different to the above, off-site SEO concentrates on other methods you can employ to improve your SEO but which are configured away from your EKM online shop. This too is essential to your shop’s success and provides a firm foundation to build on should you wish to invest in paid advertising at a later date.

Traffic

Have you set up Google Analytics?

To monitor the traffic to your EKM online shop and receive in-depth reports to who is visiting and what pages they visit, Google Analytics is essential. Learning how to use Google Analytics will help you better understand how your shop is performing in terms of keywords, content and navigation and will help you improve with time.

Promotions

Have you set up your first promotion to encourage first-time visitors to buy?

Before you launch your EKM online shop, it’s a good idea to set up a promotion to celebrate the eventual opening. You can set this up using the Discount Management feature if you’ve not done this already.

Testing

Have you performed a Test Order using an offline Payment Gateway?

When testing to see if discounts trigger as they should and that your shop content is all displaying correctly, an offline Payment Gateway can be used as it allows you to complete an order without charging you anything. This is useful, as we recommended performing test orders using different incognito/in-private browser tabs on a variety of different devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles to ensure that everything displays and performs as it should. Learn more about making test orders in this Guide.

Have you performed a Test Order using your Payment Gateways?

After you have checked how your shop appears on different devices using the Guide above, it’s also worth making a test order and this time, completing a transaction using another Payment Gateway. This is so you can be sure that the Payment Gateway has been correctly configured. Again, you’ll need to use an incognito/in-private browser tab, and it works out cheaper if you create a test product specifically which has a cheap price and hide or delete the Product when you’re done testing.

Social

Have you set up social media business profiles for your EKM online shop?

Social media profiles, such as Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages and Twitter profiles are essential for the success of your EKM online shop and aid with your SEO by creating lots of backlinks which refer to your shop’s pages, as well as providing a platform for potential customers to contact you. If you’ve not yet opened any social media accounts for your EKM online shop, this Guide will help you set up and configure profiles to promote your products.

Have you planned your social media strategy?

If you’ve already created social media to promote your EKM online shop but your updates to it are still few and far between, then it’s because you haven’t developed a strategy to define what you post, when it’s published and how it’s shared online. This Guide will help you define what your customers are looking for and how to create engaging content which can be posted on your social media.

Launch

Do you want to do a ‘soft launch’?

You’re nearly ready to launch, but do you want to do a soft launch beforehand? A soft launch is where you launch your shop to a small group of visitors - usually friends and family first - who are the equivalent of your final testing group. Then a couple of days later, you should be ready to go with your actual launch.

Have you organised a date for the actual launch?

Once you’ve organised a date for your actual launch, you need to promote this across your social media accounts, and if your budget can afford it, invest in some paid advertising too. This will ensure that your EKM online shop reaches a larger audience and more potential customers.

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]