Granted, a national retail chain probably has a much larger budget for a Web site than you do. Even so, your smaller store can embrace the same concepts that the big boys use for a smooth, effective online transition. The best way to make this transition is to plan.
Adding an e-commerce component to your store is similar to planning a big party or a major event. Part of your plan is already in place: You have an approximate timeframe for making your project a reality. To make that time-table more manageable, break it into three smaller chunks, or stages: orientation, implementation, and evaluation. For each stage, create a checklist of activities that should occur during that stage.
When you're talking about moving your store online, the orientation stage includes everything from conducting initial research to evaluating and choosing the best vendors and software applications.
Following are some of the tasks that you should accomplish in the orientation stage: