June 12, 2013



eCommerce platforms… let the jury decide

After working with Magento eCommerce for the last 4 years and attending various conferences and expos focusing on selling online, optimisation and retention marketing, I can categorically say the verdict from both our business and clients is unanimous.

Many technically minded people may be quick to judge Magento, or other open-source platforms, but until you’ve run up multiple stores, incorporated mobile or responsive user experiences, marketed heavily to your database, launched private or categorised sales, optimised your funnel and aggressively pushed your products and prices, you’ll never know how good any eCommerce platform can be.

With so much to consider, you need answers from every part of the process. Ask the user who logs in to manage fulfillment, stock and inventory – regularly managing and updating content daily. Ask the developer who manages the environment – updates plug-ins and modules, integrates POS, CRM, sends feeds to affiliate networks and channels. Ask the designer or front-end developer who enhances UI and UX, creates images or banners and updates cms and static blocks. Ask the real questions about an eCommerce platform.

Think about it from a group point of view. Don’t let the decision rest with one source, consider all the players in your ‘selling online decision’. The success of a bricks and mortar store relies on far more than one or two individuals and the same must be said for online. Ignore the current technology you have invested in and review the opportunity from a fresh perspective before returning to the obvious operational efficiencies. Think about your POS and integration, and how the user experience should influence this decision as much as your IT department.

eCommerce is as much about attracting and retaining customers, as the experience of simply purchasing products online. It’s a ‘marketing arm’ tuned to your retail strategy. Tuning a retail strategy is particularly important, it’s definitely not a one size fits all approach when considering online. Multichannel marketers focus on different objectives and approaches to pure-play online retailers. Trends like ‘click and collect’ and ‘made to order’ are strategically tuned for new and established retailers. Ultimately, the aim is to deliver a relevant and rewarding consumer journey and experience. One that grows with your customer’s needs, demands and expectations. This is by definition scalability – and this is also an important key to your jury led decision.

There are many questions on many levels – many technical, many marketing. How long will the actual development take to implement? Will it still be as relevant today to your business as it is when when it goes live? Can this solution scale to success? Can you actually define and benchmark success? How will it integrate with current and future components of your supply chain and points of sale? How does it align with your overall business strategy?

Consider all the factors in your approach to eCommerce. Employ experience and a suitable strategy which outlines a relevant road-map and most importantly defines success. Often you see inflated expectations aligned to unrealistic investment. Out of respect to partners you want to build solid relationships with, have a clear understanding of your sales targets and what success looks like. This will help us provide a solution that will launch from a relevant starting point and scale to success.