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We often get asked, how do I know when my business requires a new website? Often for large businesses with solid online trading records, this question arises after months of internal discussions and meetings. We understand that a new ecommerce solution is seen to be expensive, time-costly and a large drain on resources. We’re here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way! Our experience in the industry has enabled us to develop a clearly structured project process, something we believe every good ecommerce agency should follow.
A successful, on-time, on budget ecommerce solution: how to!
This is the first phase of every project. Yes, we have pitched for the work and, at this stage, have won the deal, however, we never fully know the scope of the project until our Ecommerce Consultants and Business Analysts run a workshop and document your site specification and features overview.
We place a huge emphasis on this stage, why? Because it is the most important. Understanding what you want your solution to deliver, which different features you would like to utilise and how you want your platform to integrate with your business becomes the basis for the entire project. Following our initial workshop, our EC’s and BA’s draw up a sitemap, functional specification and begin to schedule design, development and integration work in line with your requirements.
Top tip: If you are currently working with an agency on a project that does not hold a planning phase (or equivalent) we strongly recommend that you proactively ask for this to become part of the project.
Two golden rules; designers must know UX and always work from wireframes.
Yes, you may have heard wireframes are dead but we firmly believe that designers need to focus on creatively art working a seamless user journey both between pages and throughout the sales process, not on determining which elements need to appear on a page to meet the requirements of a functional specification.
Our design team are adept in understanding how a user will interact with your website and how to make that interaction more engaging, more approachable and more enjoyable for all of your visitors. We are very strict with this, a wireframe is needed as it highlights the key elements to appear on the page, a wireframe is not a preliminary design, and it does not tell the designers where to place items nor their size on the page.
Top tip: Ask to see a set of wireframes! Clickable prototypes are the best. A visual representation of your specification document really helps to understand the final features your website will have.
Development & Integration.
To us, development should never be a problem with ecommerce projects. Once we have an understanding of the solution we are delivering our developers get to work. We have a lot of clients that come to us after their ecommerce project has halted half way. 90% of the time the reasons for this are issues with integration.
We have a team of in-house Integration Architects who define each integration requirement you have. Having successfully completed many ecommerce projects over the years, the chances are if you require integration we have already worked with the 3rd party. We would highly recommend selecting an agency that is experienced in the type of ecommerce integration you require whether that be SAP (etc).
Top tip: If you are unsure whether your agency is suitable to deliver an integration project, work with another agency offering integration consultancy to guide you through the process.
No matter how experienced your agency is, every ecommerce solution needs testing once the development phase has finished. We would strongly recommend asking your agency to provide you with a compatibility document outlining which devices, screen sizes and browsers are supported.
Top tip: Check your current site analytics to reveal your most popular screen sizes and browsers. Place specific emphasis on these when testing your new solution.
Are you ready for your new ecommerce solution? Get in touch with our team today.