6 Steps to a successful ecommerce project

23 Jul 2015

Your online presence is now more important than ever but many retailers who recognised the opportunity early on have now out-grown their ecommerce platform or the development partner.

Symptoms that your e-commerce platform is straining at the seams might include conversions rates dropping, shopping cart abandonment increasing and the costs of maintaining and extending the existing platform continuing to rise.

This is against a landscape of consumers with ever growing expectations, and the continuing growth of new channels like social media. The imperative to remain competitive in e-commerce is constant.

If you want to keep up with the trends and your competitors, there is no option but to start again.  Typically, this means going to a new ecommerce solutions partner and developing a new site on your ecommerce platform.  (Note: Unless you are an ecommerce coding expert, always select your partner first and platform second.  As with any business, the people matter more than the technology.)

Planning a project of this scale is not something to be tackled lightly, but neither is it rocket science.   You just need a checklist of actions.

From over 12 years of experience in online retailing Solutionists have developed a template for each of the steps, to help you step through the process carefully and logically.  You can download it from www.solutionists.co.nz/template

SIX steps to a successful ecommerce project.

1. Assemble your internal resources  

A strong project manager who can co-ordinate the team and provide discipline to meet deadlines. The team should ideally include the current or proposed ecommerce manager, your customer services manager and your  IT manager (or external IT resource). 

 2. Set business goals 

If you can, it’s a good idea to do a business case, even if the decision to rebuild has already been made.  This will ensure that everyone has a clear picture of the business goals, the likely budget and the planned return on investment.  

3. Make a plan

A re-platform project can take anything from 6 to 60 weeks, depending on complexity.  You need to allow a realistic timeframe for each stage of the project, bearing in mind that your team will be mostly still doing their day job and the solution provider will do a better job if they have enough time to think and plan.

4. Define new website capabilities

You will need to list all the features that your new ecommerce store requires.  This is sometimes known as an RFP (Request for Proposal).  Putting weightings on the features (e.g. using the MoSCoW protocol for Must  have, Should have, Could have and Wont have) you can ensure that you give weight to those features that are most important to you while not missing out on the cool stuff you don’t need but would like.

5. Select the right ecommerce Partner

In the end, none of the above will succeed long term, if you don’t select the right partner.  Can the provider continue to support you after go-live, do they understand your business and are they still going to be around in 5 years.

6. Get started



author:

Frank Gilbert

date published:

23 Jul 2015