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Make These 4 Strategic Moves Before Building an E-Commerce Website

Follow this critical formula to help ensure your new online store is a home run.

In 2017, online sales represented 13% of total retail sales in the United States, an astonishing 49% growth since 2011. As consumers continue to turn to the internet to buy products and services, a high-performance and user-friendly e-commerce website becomes even more critical than ever. If you are a business interested in expanding into – or revamping – an e-commerce website, here are the key strategic moves to make before you start building:

  1. Identify your business goals
  2. Determine how you will measure success
  3. Define user personas
  4. Develop a post-launch marketing strategy

Keep reading to learn more about each of these steps in the e-commerce website development process.

1. Identify your business goals

Before you begin designing your e-commerce website, first consider the measurable business goals you want to achieve, and develop your site with those in mind. Determining specific revenue and lead growth you want the new site to generate, for instance, can help ensure it contains the necessary foundational features to live up to your expectations.

Need help establishing measurable business goals? Discover this and other benefits of working with an agency here.

2. Determine how you will measure success

Setting business goals are one thing but knowing how you’ll measure them is quite another. Before venturing into web development, consider the tangible metrics you will use to track progress after your new e-commerce site is up and running. How will you know if your investment has been a success? Answering this question on the front-end can prevent you from dumping marketing dollars into a project that isn’t clear whether it’s delivering the returns you’re banking on, leading to an ultimate swing and a miss.

3. Define user personas

The next step in the process is to develop a user persona. A persona is a characterization of your target customers – who they are, what motivates them, and what they want to accomplish. Developing written fictional personas can help you gain insight into what makes your visitors tick so you can design an e-commerce website that resonates with them, complete with targeted funnels that quickly guide them to relevant information.

Learn more about website funnels - what they are and why they are important - here.

4. Develop a digital marketing strategy

An integrated digital marketing strategy is like a comprehensive roadmap for using your new website to extend your brand and drive the traffic, leads, and sales to meet your goals. Complete with keyword research, conversion-minded website design, a custom mix of marketing tactics, and return forecast, this strategic move is a must before proceeding with any new web development project – e-commerce or not.

Find more reasons to have an integrated marketing strategy here.

Don’t make the mistake of diving head-first into an e-commerce website development project without considering these four strategic decisions beforehand. Commit to assessing the big picture from the get-go, and your efforts will be rewarded!

If you need help planning for your e-commerce website development project or would like to chat with our Madison-area digital marketing professionals about taking your website to the next level, contact us online or by phone at (608) 827-7800 today.



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Victoria Thomas
Vice President - Vicci Car Auctions

We came to Sortis with an enormous idea. When meeting the team, it was clear we had made the correct choice; we were very impressed. As the project progresses, they have exceeded our expectations at every turn. We started this journey wanting a website, and immediately requested their further involvement because it was clear they were experts in many areas. Now we truly consider them partners. They have taken our dream and helped us clearly define a path to make it a reality and we are in awe as we watch it unfold. There aren't enough words to express my satisfaction.

Jason Jenson
Vice President Marketing - PartsNow!

What impressed me about Sortis was their approach. It is not simply about building a nice website. it is about the positioning, messages and Brand of our company as well as the impact on the customers.

David Francis

Project Manager - AT&T

Sortis helped us understand the best solution for our needs. They were flexible, thorough and efficient. It has been a pleasure working with the entire team.

wbastaff_dircomm.jpgSamantha Long-Dennis
Director of Communications - Wisconsin Builders Association

Over the past year, our non-profit association has come to know Sortis as a professional, timely, and innovative digital marketing partner genuinely invested in our success.  They have been a terrific asset to a communications department of 1 (AKA me), helping me accomplish projects and tasks I simply did not have time to do on my own while also providing the necessary guidance and feedback to make sure we are keeping up with the industry’s best practices.  We’re also just as pleased with the process as we are with the final products produced; in other words, working with Sortis is a breeze.  They are always ahead of the game, deadlines are met, the quality is there the first time, and—if anything—they are usually waiting on me!  This is a refreshing scene change compared to past partnerships, and it allows us to cover a great deal of ground every month.