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Writing a Good Ecommerce Brief

Writing a Good Ecommerce Brief

Prior to approaching an ecommerce agency, it’s important that you do the groundwork so that a thorough and accurate quote can be provided. It is worthwhile getting your brief right at the start, to avoid unexpected surprises after the design has started. At Digital Six we normally provide our potential clients with a questionnaire to ensure that we understand their requirements. We have shared some of the main considerations below to get you started on writing your ecommerce brief.

Consider your goals and objectives

Firstly, consider what you are expecting to achieve from the project.

  • Do you have big aspirations to become a major retailer in the UK and internationally?
  • Are your expectations relatively modest?
  • What are your turnover projections?
  • If you currently have a website, by how much do you expect sales to grow as a result of the project?

Once you have identified your goals and objectives then you can consider what services will help you achieve these goals.

Often times, an ecommerce website is just one piece of the puzzle. If your aim is to become a major retailer, you will need to think about all aspects of the marketing mix. Digital Six offers various marketing packages you may want to consider such as tailor-made SEO strategies, paid media management, and social media advertising.

How much are you willing to spend?

It is important to check that your budget matches your goals and objectives. In the world of ecommerce you normally get what you pay for. Designing and developing an ecommerce site is a time-consuming process and most agencies charge for their time. The longer the project takes, the more expensive.

If your company is just testing the water in ecommerce, with a budget that is less than £7,500, we would say that your best bet is to set up a template website on software such as Shopify.

Although Digital Six doesn’t take on projects within this budget range, there are designers that specialise in setting up templates on these platforms. It saves everyone a lot of time if you are open and honest about your budget from the start.

For a custom design on an advanced ecommerce platform such as Magento, you should expect to pay more than £15,000. These projects normally involve more than a week of designer’s time and at least a couple of months for development time.

It is important that you have a realistic budget set aside for the project as a whole along with ongoing hosting, maintenance, support and marketing.

The First Questions We Ask

At Digital Six we have a standard list of questions that we ask most potential clients, as we want to ensure that we have everything covered. These questions include the following:

About your Business

  • What is your company name and URL?
  • Do you have a logo and identity or do you need one designed?
  • What type of products will you be selling? (e.g. clothing, art, photography equipment, etc.)
  • Roughly how many unique SKUs will the site have?
  • Who do you consider to be your competition? (list competitor websites)
  • Who are you selling to? Can you describe your typical visitor?
  • Why did you approach Digital Six?

The Project

What best describes your needs? (delete as appropriate)

  • I am starting a new online business from scratch
  • I have an offline business and want to start trading online too
  • I have an online shop and want to redesign and improve it
  • I have an online shop and want to increase search engine ranking and sales

When is your desired launch date?

Why this date?

What is your budget for this project? (delete as appropriate)

  • under £7,500
  • £7,501 – £15,000
  • £15,001 – £30,000
  • £30,001 – £50,000
  • £50,001 +

Have you already decided which platform you wish to use? (e.g. Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce etc)

Do you have any preference for a payment service provider? (e.g. Braintree, SagePay,, PayPal etc)

Do you have any requirements that might involve some custom development? (e.g. integration with Point Of Sale, separate wholesale pricelist, bespoke features etc)

Will you be targeting visitors outside the UK? Which countries?

Do you intend to have multi-level access for members of staff?

Do you require multiple domain names managed under the same ecommerce platform?

Have you considered additional sales and marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon?

What are your key business needs you want your new website to address?

The Look and Feel

How do you want your visitors to perceive your business when they visit your website?

Besides your competitors, what websites do you like the look and feel of and why? (Please list website addresses)

Ongoing Support

What type of ongoing support and services do you require? (delete as appropriate)

  • Hosting
  • Technical Support
  • System upgrades and bug fixing
  • Proactive consultancy
  • PPC
  • Social media
  • Design work including banners
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Ecommerce training
  • Ecommerce strategy

Do you have a budget for ongoing maintenance and support?

Are you working with any other agencies for advertising and branding support?

Producing a thorough ecommerce brief can be a daunting task. However, with the information we have detailed you should be able to engage in a productive conversation with the ecommerce agencies of your choice. For more information, please get in touch with

– This article was last updated 1st October 2018 –

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