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Ecommerce Website Development Questionnaire – 10 Key Questions

Posted on: December 26th, 2017 by Simon Swords

Ecommerce website development questionnaire: why do you need it?

Before you embark on having your new ecommerce website built it’s always good practice to speak with a few web development companies to get an overall view of development costs and timescales. For these estimated costs and timescales it is helpful to have the answers to some key questions to hand when speaking with potential software development partners.

Typically, your first discussion with a potential software partner will be a short telephone conversation. So, to ensure that you impart valuable information consistently it is helpful to have the answers to some important high-level questions about your ecommerce website set down in writing.

Answering these high-level questions will show any web development company that you have started to think seriously about your ecommerce website and that you’re ready to collaborate with a web development company on your software project.

These 10 key questions are just a starting point, this is not an exhaustive list and they only answer some of the high-level questions that you will need to think about in the future as you and your software partner work on your web development project together. You may even think of more questions and the answers to better help a web development company to understand your ideas and vision for your ecommerce website.

Ecommerce Website Development Questionnaire For Client

Here are the Ecommerce Website Development Questionnaire 10 Key Questions that you should have the answers to, and not just one word or one sentence answers either, you need to really think about these questions and supply as much detail as you can to get your ideas and vision across to any web development company that you contact, either by phone or email.

1. What kind of visitors are you expecting to your ecommerce website (income, interests, gender, age, etc.)?

This first question helps you to start thinking about the potential customers visiting your ecommerce website and therefore helps you to begin to create ‘customer personas’ that will help your web development company to start to construct a plan for the ecommerce website in the best way to serve your customers’ needs that you get from your ‘customer personas’. Obviously, an ecommerce website aimed at teenagers will be very different from an ecommerce website aimed at working mums or an ecommerce website aimed at purely business users. You should aim to supply as much information as you can on your potential and ideal customers, as this will inform on design aspects of your ecommerce website.

2. Name two or more of your competitors, and describe how you differ from them?

Competition on the internet is high, with everyone vying for customers and profits. That means that the ecommerce website you want and that will be designed and built by your web development company will be compared to a lot of other ecommerce websites in the same marketplace. So, the point here is to make your ecommerce website memorable and stand out from the crowd by serving your customers’ needs in the best way possible and marketing your unique selling proposition (USP) or unique selling point. You do not want to copy from your competitors, but use their ecommerce websites to spark your own ideas that you can then discuss with your web development company.

3. What actions do you want visitors to take on your ecommerce website?

You can create an ecommerce website for selling products, providing information, educating or making a website visitor fill in a form. Depending on your customer’s needs the website architecture, functionality and design can vary substantially. Do you need an ecommerce website to sell your products or a content management system (CMS) to run a business blog where you can do all the updates yourself? Your website development company will be able to advise you on all the options available to you based upon the required actions that you want your customers to take on your ecommerce website.

4. What is your budget and your deadline for completing the ecommerce website?

There are lots of customers out there with very unrealistic expectations. They want an ecommerce website comparable to say Amazon, eBay or Etsy with almost no budget, in a week. You need to be realistic with your budget and the anticipated deadline. The website development company’s purpose is to make it clear what a realistic budget and timeline is for your software development project. If your quote seems to be too high, then you probably have unrealistic expectations, so you should either put more money into the project or scale the project back and maybe aim for a minimal viable product (MVP) version of your ecommerce website.

5. What features should your ecommerce website contain (user registration, file upload, contact form, photos, videos, etc.)?

You will need to know what features you would like your ecommerce website to have and manage your expectations accordingly. A small company ‘brochure’ style website doesn’t need to have as many features as say a complex ecommerce website connecting to multiple databases and integrated with multiple application programming interfaces (APIs). Again, your website development company can advise you, normally based upon previous work they have done, so it is important to research web development companies that have done work similar to what you are envisioning for your ecommerce website.

6. Please list the names of three sites that you like and explain what you like about them?

Very often you already know what you want your ecommerce website to look like or be similar to, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you find an ecommerce website design that you really like. You shouldn’t (for many reasons including copyright laws) directly copy an ecommerce website, but you can use what you like about a particular ecommerce website to spark ideas for your own ecommerce website. Your web development company will be able to advise you on what they feel are the best design decisions for your website based on your customers’ needs and the customer experience (CX) you want your customer to have.

7. Do you have any colour preferences or look and feel for the ecommerce website?

Similar to the above question, you already have your own preferences on what colours you want on your ecommerce website and its general look and feel. Again, by talking to your website development company they will be best placed to advise you on the colour preferences and their related psychological implications and the general look and feel of your ecommerce website and its effect on the customer experience (CX).

8. Who will be the contact person for this project and what will be the turnaround time?

Right from the start you’ll need to have a contact person for your software project, whether that person is a Project Manager (PM) or a Product Owner. There’s nothing wrong if you have a number of people that are responsible for the software project. But to avoid multiple and often conflicting inputs you need to pick a contact person who will be the main contact with the website development company. You will also need to agree with the website development company on the milestones for the project and specify the timeframe for getting replies from your contact person otherwise your project can last a very long time and miss deadlines.

9. What do you NOT want on your ecommerce website in terms of content, colours, graphic elements, etc.?

Like the question above, you already have an idea on what elements you don’t want to include on your ecommerce website, some people can’t stand the colour blue or stock photos of office people, while others will like the colour blue or stock photos of office people. Let your website development company know what you don’t want on your website, then they will not waste time building a website that you don’t like.

10. Who will be responsible for maintaining the ecommerce website and how much time will they have for it?

Say you want a customer forum on your ecommerce website, it will require some time to moderate so the right question is do you have the time and staff available to manage a forum? What is the skill level of the person who will update your website? Can he or she code HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, C#, ASP.NET or do you need a content management system (CMS) so it is easy for your staff to update the website themselves? These are important questions, as a website isn’t just a static thing, it is constantly growing and will require updates and maintenance for its lifetime.

Download Ecommerce Website Development Questionnaire Templates


Are you looking for an e-commerce website development company? Atlas can help, we are specialists in building innovative e-commerce websites for companies large and small. We offer web application and web development and also application support and maintenance at affordable rates. Contact us today for help or advice on your next e-commerce website project.

Simon Swords


Managing Director

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