Ecommerce Implementation Best Practices Part 1
Adjustments to your organizations ecommerce technology and marketing landscape is a large undertaking. Whether you are considering a site refresh, modifying your cart technology or embarking on an omnichannel initiative, you are investing in your organization’s future. Ecommerce implementations of any scale are worth the time, energy, and expense to keep up with changing customer expectations.
After many years of ecommerce experience from ticketing and programs to furniture and hotels, Adage has come up with 11 best practices for an ecommerce implementation all marketers should consider. These 11 best practices were featured in the FitForCommerce 2019 report, and I’ll cover each of them in a series of blogs on the Adage Ideas page.
The first two best practices focus on platform selection and having realistic expectations when choosing features and functionality. The FitForCommerce 2019 report and the full 11 Best Practices for Ecommerce Implementation eGuide are available for download.
Best Practice #1: Select the Right Platform to Limit Customization
It’s hard to imagine any implementation without some sort of customization; however, the degree of customization impacts how easily a platform can be upgraded to newer versions. Rather than customize a platform with limited functionality or build something from scratch, the best practice is to find the right technology – one that will meet most of the company’s needs and fulfill its mission.
Too much customization leads to a platform known and understood by only a few individuals. This creates unnecessary pain because these individuals may have other responsibilities with competing priorities. Or worse, the individuals may leave the company and take this intellectual capital with them.
Furthermore, too much customization becomes very complicated and expensive over time. Each new upgrade of the platform may require reverse engineering the customizations, then redeveloping them on the new platform. Over time, the redevelopment cost and lost opportunity caused by delay in implementation could surpass the cost of the platform itself.
Selecting the right platform at the start will keep customizations and redevelopment to a minimum.
Best Practice #2: Don’t “Boil the Ocean.”
Too often, approval and funding of a new technology project result in key stakeholders wanting to include features that have been important to them for years. Packing everyone’s “wish list” into an implementation project will complicate the requirements, increase the scope, extend the timeline, and ultimately, increase the cost.
Because these types of projects significantly impact the business, a more prudent approach focuses on first replicating the current production environment before adding incremental functionality. Scrum, an agile development framework, focuses on the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVP includes all the current core functionality delivered on a consistent solid platform that will scale over time. It represents the foundation upon which other features will be added. It functions in a production environment but may not be public.
Depending on the circumstances, a company may or may not want to launch with the MVP and instead wait for the Minimum Marketing Product (MMP). The MMP includes some additional work to the MVP, typically the features business stakeholders agree should be available on the new platform at launch.
Considering these two best practices are a great start to your organization’s next ecommerce implementation. Stay tuned for the next installment where we’ll cover understanding current and future site traffic and systems integrations. The full eGuide is also available for download.
Download the eGuide