The Ultimate Checklist for Relaunching Your Ecommerce Website

February 7, 2022

61fc57948ce623784e213ed3 Relaunching your website scaled relaunching your ecommerce website

Relaunching your ecommerce website (often on the heels of—or including a rebrand) can feel like untying the Gordian knot.

Ecommerce sites can be a tangle of budget uncertainties, complex features, existing click-to-install integrations, and site development challenges, though there are ways to make the whole transformation as smooth as possible.

For this, it’s handy to have a website redesign checklist.

An ecommerce website checklist simplifies the process of elevating your web experience—from ideation to final execution.

Based on some interviews with experts, and what we see with many of our Shogun Frontend customers—we’ve created a checklist to help you organize and plan tasks ahead of your ecommerce store relaunch/redesign.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Want to elevate your Shopify store experience with headless commerce? Learn more about what it’s all about in our jargon-free behind-the-scenes breakdown.

1. Set a primary goal for your website’s redesign

Set just one primary goal for your redesign—like improving conversions or site performance (speed)—so your team’s efforts are unified. Aspects of a website redesign can easily fall out of scope, and a goal gives you a standard against which you measure every feature’s necessity.

When ideating possible website features and integrations, ask yourself, “Will this help us meet our goal?” If the answer is yes, it can stay. If it’s no, it gets scrapped.

Your website redesign goal should be smart and scalable for the future, says Catherine McLachlan, lead designer at Pixel Union. Here’s how to decide on your goal:

Identify the problems with your existing website

First, you need to know the most pressing issues with your existing website. To identify these problems, you should:

Conduct user surveys

Your customers are in the best position to provide first-hand feedback on different problems and pain points they’ve encountered while shopping on your website. They can uncover issues like slow website response time, a complex checkout process, or poor mobile responsiveness.

Conduct a technical audit

Running technical audits with tools like Google Lighthouse, or a journey-mapping tool like Hotjar will show you weak points in your site’s overall structure, including conversion leak points, accessibility issues, and poor site performance.

After identifying the problems, arrange them on a preference scale to decide which ones will have the most impact on your site when resolved. Determine the effort for proposed impact and make some selections of tier one and tier two must-haves vs. nice-to-haves for the new shopping experience.

#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>See examples of exceptional ecommerce<cta-title>We’ve rounded up some of the best interactions you can replicate for success. Download the guide

Analyze competitor—or aspirational ecommerce sites

By looking at other ecommerce experiences, you’ll discover the latest features, design trends, and tweaks to try in your rebranded/relaunched website. Competitors’ shopping experiences can give a sense of direction on what to prioritize for your website redesign based on what you like most (we’re all shoppers keenly aware of how a given experience feels).

There are several ways to conduct this analysis. First, start by running site audits and reading through customer reviews. You can also check out these top ecommerce websites for ideas.

2. Establish a realistic budget

At the outset, you need a realistic budget to know what you can accomplish with your resources. It also helps you avoid overspending or making last-minute cutbacks at the expense of your site’s core features and integrations.

Comparing budgets for your ecommerce website build or redesign

Your budget should be flexible to accommodate any changes that happen along the way. To create a flexible and realistic budget that meets your website redesign goals, you should:

List your must-have features and integrations

This is particularly important if you are planning to launch a headless Shopify site, for example. You need to know which integrations you’ll need your new site to include (as when you stop using a Shopify theme, some of your apps will stop working). In this step, list your must-have features and integrations to set aside the cost of those features in your budget. The list will depend on the kind of experience you want to create for your shoppers.

For example, suppose you want ultimate creative flexibility and unparalleled site performance. Something that isn’t tied to your existing backend functions. If this is the case, you may be looking at taking your storefront headless.

For this, you can consider a unified platform approach which will vastly reduce the budget and technical overhead required. For a headless store relaunch, you need to plan out the core website integrations, and how they’ll work.

Research standard website design pricing with ecommerce agencies

Ahead of approaching an agency to help with a rebrand or site launch, you need to align your budget with the acceptable standards.

On average, web design agencies charge anywhere between $3,000 and $100,000 for their services, pending the project. And if you’re looking to build the infrastructure of a new site, you’ll need to research what this entails with a web development agency.

Keep in mind that the cost of working with a web development agency may or may not include different tech components for your ecommerce site relaunch, like if you determine you need a separate content management system, for example. A CMS alone can run up to several thousands of dollars. But if you rebrand with Shogun Frontend, you get a unified or packaged solution that includes a CMS without incurring these additional costs.

Start your research on the type of ecommerce experience you’ll need using industry reports, customer review sites, and niche-based communities, then narrow it down to specific agency websites. Most design and development agencies you can pair up with have their rate cards on their websites.

Consult internal stakeholders on budget expectations

It’s rare for stakeholders to spend more resources than they initially planned on a project, so it’s best to align on your budget upfront. Also, companies that engage stakeholders early and often are more likely to complete a project on time and within budget.

At the early stage of the project, bring key stakeholders up to speed on your ecommerce goals and understand their budget expectations. You can gauge the sentiment for how the budget may be able to flex pending the scope of the project and the ROI you project.

3. Find an agency to partner with

Ecommerce-focused agencies have access to the best content, development, and design resources that’ll help you achieve your website goals. Catherine McLachlan, lead designer at Pixel Union, says “an agency is your partner for now and the future. We provide other trusted partners that you don’t get with a freelancer or internal team.”

A website design agency is at the forefront of innovative technology and can help you with questions like:

1. Should we take our ecommerce site headless?

2. Should we go the route of a unified frontend platform, or is composable commerce suitable for our brands’ size?

3. What customization options can we explore?

Seasoned ecommerce agencies will also be able to help you with your integrations and analytics setup if needed as you expand beyond the limits of standard ecommerce platforms.

There are 79,882 web design services businesses in the U.S., so how do you find the best one to work with?

Ask for referrals

Asking for referrals is the fastest way to find an expert you can trust. Generally, people only recommend businesses they’ve had a positive experience with, so you’re sure to catch a good deal.

Niche Reddit communities, Slack channels, and social media platforms are the best places to ask for referrals.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Check out some of the agencies we often recommend for ecommerce website redesign projects.

Review portfolios and rates

You need to find an agency that can work with your budget to deliver the quality of work you want. Most agencies provide their rate card and portfolio on their website.

During the portfolio review, go through the agency’s clients—have they worked with any big names in your ecommerce vertical? Also, read their case studies to get a sense of the types of projects they’ve handled in the past and gauge their experience with building ecommerce stores (especially if you’re considering headless commerce).

#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>See Shogun Frontend Certified Agency Results<cta-title>Launching a new rebrand or site? See how these Shogun-certified agencies deliver incredible experiences. See the implementations

Communicate your brand’s expectations but respect their expertise

You should communicate your expectations for the rebrand/site relaunch to improve collaboration and help the agency deliver its best work for you. Set up an onboarding meeting to discuss your website goals with the agency before the project kick-off.

As you assert your goals and expectations, you should also respect the agency’s expertise. See them as a strategic partner and allow them to lead the website’s creative direction.

4. Start the build/redesign

The actual site redesign process typically involves three phases: the content phase, design phase, and development phase. Here’s what happens at each one.

Relaunching your ecommerce website

Content Phase

The content phase is where you provide the necessary content assets for the website to your agency, including:

  • Product images
  • Website copy
  • Logo and brand images
  • Brand style guide

Since you already have a website, the agency would review existing assets to see what can be re-used and which require replacement to take your redesign to the next level. For example, they may revamp your brand style guide or create new product images as needed.

Design Phase

In the design phase, the team develops the website’s information architecture, which entails creating a wireframe and prototype. A wireframe is a simple framework for the website. It maps out the site’s functionality and gives a well-defined user interface direction.

After creating the wireframe, the next step is turning it into a prototype. A prototype is an interactive representation of your website’s “look and feel” after development. Unlike a wireframe, a prototype has color, navigation elements, and other design details, which help you test the site’s UX.

Development Phase

In a typical rebrand or ecommerce site relaunch, the development phase is where the agency build team brings a website prototype to life. Your agency partner will often assemble design and code to create a minimum viable product(MVP). Launching a minimum viable product is the best way to test the market and gather feedback to improve your online store in the future.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Note: If you’re launching an ecommerce site (and maybe even a rebrand) with Shogun Frontend and an agency implementation partner, the development phase happens in our software. In this phase, our partner agencies will build your site, and a set of reusable, customized sections you can use in the future with no code. Check out how we helped Daring Foods transform its shopping experience in just three months!

5. Relaunch and Review

Before you hit publish, the work isn’t over! Now you need to check that your site runs as it should. Your agency will guide you through a complete QA process, typically, but here are a few things you’ll do to ensure you have a successful website relaunch.

Check Functionality

Check and run through the website features to ensure they work as intended.

  1. Validate forms. Run through every form, whether it’s a purchase or a contact form, using information not connected to your business (like a secondary email address) to make sure it does what it’s meant to.
  2. Click all links. Check that links redirect to the right pages and information and that none of those pages are broken.
  3. Test dropdowns, buttons, and checkboxes to ensure they function as designed.

Test Performance

Check your site’s overall functioning to be sure it’s at the optimal performance level.

  1. Test page load speed. Use Google Lighthouse to check whether your load speed is where it’s expected.
  2. Test concurrency. Use LoadNinja to check how the website performs when multiple users are logged in.
  3. Test volume. Use HammerDb to check how your website processes large volumes of data.
  4. Test stability. Check how the website functions over a long period.

Test Compatibility

Check if your site is compatible with different devices, browsers, and operating systems.

  1. Check the appearance of the website’s images across multiple devices.
  2. Test mobile responsiveness with tools like Google Resizer.
  3. Check image spacing on smaller screens.

Review Content

Content testing requires ensuring that your site’s content is well-optimized. It requires:

  1. Remove any dummy text.
  2. Check image sizes and placements.
  3. Check the brand colors and font sizes.
  4. Optimize images with alt tags.

If there are no issues, the agency will hand over the website, and you can start planning for the launch.

Collect user feedback from visitors

User feedback from visitors helps you discover any areas that need improvement. For example, visitors can provide feedback through a simple pop-up customer survey or in the website’s live chat.

Achieve unparalleled customization and site speed with Shogun Frontend

Relaunching your website is the first step in boosting the performance of your ecommerce business. However, to achieve all-around growth, you need to implement similar changes across your entire online brand, including your social media presence.

Ecommerce businesses can launch the websites of their wildest dreams with Shogun Frontend. Exceed the limits of modern commerce with a storefront that’s limitlessly creative and unparalleled when it comes to performance.

The Shogun Team

Shogun's team is full of whipsmart ecommerce experts, dedicated to making the process of building and customizing your Shopify store simpler, faster, and more intuitive.

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