Website Strategy Checklist

The Right ERP and eCommerce Platform can Make [or BREAK] Your Business

Use the Web strategically, as a sales enablement tool, to help your manufacturing or distribution business grow.

An eCommerce platform does NOT replace your SALES TEAM; it's a tool that makes your SALES TEAM stronger.

Where is your business now and what sales levels do you want to grow to? How can the Web impact your business in your quest to grow your revenue? What are your next steps? Start by drafting a plan. Use this handy checklist to begin. (feel free to download and Save as PDF)

General Questions

  • What do you plan to use the Web for?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What does your audience desire from your organization?
  • What content could you produce that your audience will appreciate?
  • What motivates your audience to make buying decisions?
  • What key factors guide your audience through their buyer’s journey?
  • How will a prospect or customer get to your site?
  • Why will they be on your site?

Content and Media

  • What do you have to offer the world as far as media and content?
  • What kinds of things can you produce that will attract strangers to your site?
  • Who on your team will product content for your site?
  • What kind of content creation schedule can you commit to?


  • Are your product standard or custom?
  • Do your products come in variations?
    • How will you represent those variations?
  • Would you say that your products are simple or complex?
  • Do you have a lot of products?
    • If so, how will customers find what they are looking for?
  • Do you have only a few products?
    • If so, what features stand out about your small selection of products?
  • Do all customers want the same kinds of product?
  • Or do different customer types want different products?

Define your audience

A persona, (also user persona, customer persona, buyer persona) in user-centered design and marketing is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand or product in a similar way. Marketers use these constructed fictional characters together with target market characteristics to be representative of specific market segments. The term persona is used widely in online and technology applications as well as in advertising.

Define at least three personas or customer types representing your customers.

  • Persona 1
  • Persona 2
  • Persona 3

Customer Experience

  • Will you allow guests to see your products?
    • Will you allow guests to see product pricing?
    • Will you allow guests to checkout without creating an account?
  • Will you allow anyone to create an account?
    • Will your team authorize accounts once they are created? Or will anyone be able to create an account and then place an order?
  • Do some customers have specific pricing?
    • How will they experience pricing on the website?
  • Do some customers see different products than other customers?
    • How will those customers experience products on your website?
  • Why would people buy from you through your website rather than in person?
  • How will your audience respond to discounts and discount codes?
  • What devices will your customers use to navigate your site?


Before you compare eCommerce platforms, these are questions to get you started. Fom here, you've got more "discovery" — important questions to ask to further define your project. The more time you spend in this planning phase, the easier (and more resource effective, i.e., time, money and people) the rest of your project will be.


About the Author — Josh Fischer

Josh Fischer is passionate about launching successful Web projects — from online retailers and distributors to manufacturers big and small — to improve customer conversions (and bottom line profits!). Josh was instrumental in developing xTupleCommerce, a revolutionary B2B eCommerce Web Portal — integrated with open source xTuple Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) — to solve productivity and customer relationship issues for every business type and size. Josh writes about and teaches innovative strategy and technologies to build Web-based brands and digital marketing.

About xTuple — Open Source ERP + CRM + Web Portal

Leading commercial open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite with integrated customer relationship management (CRM) for Manufacturing and Distribution companies who need to control and improve profitability. All critical supply chain functions in one modular system: accounting, sales, customer and supplier management, inventory control, operations. Manufacturers: make-to-order, make-to-stock, mixed-mode. Distributors: electrical, HVAC, plumbing, industrial and consumer wholesale distribution. For omnicommerce needs, available with real-time business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce/Sales & Service Customer Web Portal.

Want a Guided Tour?

Request your private, one-on-one demo of xTuple. Designed with your industry needs, your employee size, and your unique business processes in mind, this is your personalized preview of all CRM, ERP and Accounting features, plus the Customer Sales & Service Web Portal.