Identify your ecommerce requirements.
Before you look at ecommerce platforms, figure out what you need. It will be much easier to locate and select a solution if you determine your criteria early on.
Make a map to help you start your search. Draw a diagram showing where your company is currently and where you want it to go. What are the current features and experiences available on your website? Make a list of them and make sure the solution you choose has similar (or greater) capabilities.
Next, consider your company’s long-term goals. Do you intend to open additional stores or markets? Do you have any plans to expand your fulfilment options? You need a solution that will help your company grow and improve.
Another useful exercise is to chart your clients’ purchase journey. How do they track you down? What are the channels that they use? What is their preferred method of order fulfilment? The answers to these questions will help you figure out what features and capabilities you’ll require.
When writing out your criteria, make sure to include the following:
Front-end requirements — Your website must look and work well. What do you want visitors to see and do when they come to your website? Take into account navigation, search, and the information you want clients to see and how it should be presented. You should also consider the customizable options that an ecommerce system should provide.
Integrations / back office – Your ecommerce site must integrate seamlessly with your back-end activities. List the features you’ll need in the platform to ensure that products are successfully ordered, selected, packed, and sent.
Also, think about the software you’re already using (ERP, fulfilment, accounting, and so on) and check if the platforms you’re considering can interact with them. If not, do they have any built-in features or other integrations that would be beneficial to your company?
Client relationship management – Consider the skills you’ll need to develop and maintain customer connections. If you communicate with customers via email, for example, you’ll need a solution with built-in email marketing features or one that integrates with your existing email marketing platform. Do you provide a customer loyalty programme? Check to see if it’ll work with your new ecommerce platform.
Specify which functionality you require for catalogue management. What is the total number of SKUs you have? How many different variations are there?
Make a list of any particular catalogue requirements you may have. Do you, for example, sell bundles? Is it possible for buyers to customise their purchases? Consider these factors now, and keep them in mind as you evaluate different options.
List the security and dependability criteria you require in your ecommerce platform’s architecture. What is the best way to construct the platform? Is it scalable or flexible? What kinds of certifications and encryptions does it need?
Performance and scalability
Make sure the platform can handle the amount of traffic and data you have. How does each platform handle high traffic volumes?
Specify your mobile requirements. What other qualities should your mobile site have in addition to being responsive (which should be a given)? Some ecommerce retailers, for example, include “click-to-call” or “click-to-map” buttons on their websites.
You should also consider how you want your mobile site to be structured to avoid problems like code bloat and slow page load times.
Make a list of them.
You can generate a list of required features by completing the previous exercises. Organize these requirements in a spreadsheet that will allow you to compare options side by side later on to make things more efficient.
Note: During this initial round of assessing your needs, you should also involve important members of the organisation. Have personnel from IT, customer support, sales, marketing, fulfilment, and operations weigh in on your new ecommerce solution requirements. This will provide you a clear picture of your requirements.
Consider engaging the services of an ecommerce consultant.
You should also consider bringing in independent specialists at this point. Hiring an ecommerce expert may greatly simplify the process of locating and selecting a system. Consultants can provide information and experience that your internal teams may lack, allowing you to make more informed (and impartial) decisions when evaluating various options.
If you want to hire a consultant for this project, here are some guidelines to help you choose the best one:
Examine their previous work and experience
Years of experience and a good portfolio are wonderful, but you want to make sure their credentials are relevant to your company. Look for experts who have worked with businesses with similar sizes and business models to yours.
Establish clear expectations
Ensure that both parties are aware of the project’s goals and scope of work. Make it clear what you want the consultant to do. Specify the duties they must do and the outcomes they must achieve, as well as the costs of their services.
Check for compatibility
Expertise and skill levels are insufficient. You should also make sure the consultant gets along well with you and your team. Take the time to assess cultural fit and determine if they’re a good fit for your team. Take a look at their work ethic. What are their methods of operation? What kind of social interactions do they have? The answers to these questions will help you figure out if you’re a good match.