The best way to ensure the success of an eCommerce project is to make sure to be as thorough as possible with the up-front planning and thought. Here we have some of the criteria that must be considered before embarking on an eCommerce project. Many of the items below can be marked as Yes, No, or Nice To Have.


  • Will your current web design be used for the ecommerce site?
  • Will the ecommerce site be integrated with your current website – will the two be one, or will there be a separate “shop” site with a consistent look & feel to your non-shop site?


  • Estimated number of products
  • Are products separated by category?
    • Estimated number of categories
    • Can a product exist in multiple categories
    • Do you have images to be assigned to the categories?
  • Will products have images?
  • Will products have multiple images?
  • How will the images for products be displayed/organized?
  • Will products have options (colour, size, etc.)?
    • Will options be selectable within a product (ie the “widget” product will have a dropdown for colour), or will each option exist as a separate product (ie one product that is red widgets, one product that is blue widgets
      • This can have inventory implications if inventory tracking is being done within the ecommerce system. See below.
    • If a visitor changes a product option from a dropdown, does anything about the page change (ie looking at widgets, select blue from the dropdown, and the picture of the product updates)
  • Will product inventory be tracked?
    • Will products cease to display if their inventory level reaches 0
    • Can products with 0 inventory be ordered (back orders)?
    • Does inventory for each product option need to be tracked individually (ie different inventory tracking for each of 10 red widgets and 10 blue widgets)
  • Are all products physical items, or are some electronic/downloadable items?


  • Same pricing for all shoppers?
    • Different pricing for different groups of shoppers?
    • If yes, please describe those differences.
  • Is “special” pricing required (ie Christmas special pricing) per product?
  • Are special discounts or coupons to be offered?


  • What couriers do you use?
    • Canada Post, UPS, FedEx, Purolator, others?
    • Are there certain couriers used for different types of orders?
      • If yes, please explain how the courier used is decided.
    • What is the weight range of the products to be sold?
  • How will shipping rates be determined?
    • Live rates lookup
    • Table of rates
    • Rate per $ value
    • Other


  • What forms of payment will be accepted
    • Credit card
    • Paypal
    • Cheque
    • Bill me
    • Other
  • Are credit card transactions to be performed at the time of checkout
  • Are credit card transaction only put through once the order are shipped?
  • Do you already have a Internet Merchant Account?
    • If yes, who is it with?
  • Do you already have a Payment Gateway account?
    • If yes, who is it with?


  • Will taxes be charged?
  • Will taxes be: Ontario GST & PST, Canada GST, outside Canada none?
  • Can some products be tax exempt?
  • Are there any other tax implications that will have to be dealt with?


  • In what currency will the store operate?
    • If more than one is to be used, how is that determination determined?
  • Will the option to see rates in alternate currencies be offered?


  • Do products/inventory need to be imported into the ecommerce site from another system?
  • Do orders need to be exported from the ecommerce site to another system?
    • Customer contact info?
    • Shipments?
    • Other?
  • Is the site to be integrated with a shipping company (ie Purolator, UPS) for live shipping rates lookups?
    • If your current courier does not provide a viable online integration solution would you consider using a different courier for your web site shipments?
  • Is the site to be integrated with a payment processor for live credit card transactions?
    • If so, which one?
    • Do you already have an account with a credit card processor?
  • Will the ecommerce site be integrated with your current website?
    • Will the two be one, or will there be a separate “shop” site with a consistent look & feel to your non-shop site?

Functionality for shoppers

  • Wish lists?
  • Tell a friend?
  • Recently viewed product?
  • Recently order products?
  • Re-order?
  • Review previous orders?
  • Check status/look up shipping?
  • Others?

Attracting Shoppers

  • How will shoppers come to the site?
  • Is the online store a compliment to a bricks and mortar store?
  • Will you be doing a search engine campaign (seo/sem) in conjunction with the launch of the store?
  • Will code be required on the site to track goals tied to web analytics?


  • Are there other requirements that you have that we haven’t considered here?