Considerations for client and agency when preparing an ecommerce venture.Posted on
1) A fully defined feature checklist.
Before the design process can begin the client and agency must be clear on the type of features that the ecommerce site will have. Provision can then be made to ensure the designer takes into consideration the placement and design of these elements. Increased website functionality can also create the requirement of additional database information.
2) A database with all the necessary fields in place.
Be it a large or small online shop the initial seeding of the database should be done as a bulk import. Using a spread sheet is far easier than keying data directly into the ecommerce platform and allows the customer the time to work on product data, cross sells, up-sells etc. during the websites development phase.
3) Provision of imagery.
One of the most important and often underestimated aspects of selling online is imagery. It is VITAL to have engaging, professional lifestyle photography and also detailed still life product images. After all… a picture tells a thousand words.
Next to the development and marketing of the site this will be your greatest expense.
4) A detailed understanding of the existing IT systems and third party suppliers used.
Your ecommerce agency must fully understand your current business processes. This is especially important when developing sites for multichannel retailers who will already have POS systems, fulfilment companies and couriers that the ecommerce website will need to integrate with.
5) Merchant provider and payment gateway.
If you enjoy filling in forms you will love this part. A merchant provider will likely be the bank who you currently use for your business transactions. The payment gateway company will provide you with the secure link between the website and your bank allowing you to take money and issue refunds.
6) A development plan for the future.
Selling online is an art form that can often require numerous iterations of designs and features to maximise conversions. When planning your ecommerce venture consider budgeting for split testing, focus groups and continued website development.
7) Marketing plan.
Any website is only as good as the traffic it receives. Of course one must consider search engine optimisation and social media but do not ignore the power of print advertising. The use of unique promotional codes will allow you to easily monitor the success of marketing campaigns both off and online.
A point that borders into the realms of business consultancy, but one that is worth mentioning. As an e-retailer you should not/cannot expect to run such a business on your own. We have seen first-hand the value of investing in great people and so have our clients.
From creating and sending out promotional email newsletters, engaging with your customers through social media to managing an AdWords campaign these all require a significant amount of time.
A professional agency will be more than happy to provide these services for you and you will of course benefit from their knowledge and expertise, but do also consider employing someone to manage these aspects of your business for you. It may very well be more cost effective.