Launching an eCommerce project means finding the right eCommerce development partner. Choosing the appropriate fit for your business or organization can be a daunting task, but not if you take the time to prepare first. With so many eCommerce developers out there, how do you make sure that the one you choose understands your business, connects with you and your staff and provides the appropriate services for your sites current and future needs? In order to make a good decision, we’ve put together some important questions to ask before you start your search.
1. How can your platform meet my unique needs as a business?
With eCommerce business operations come unique challenges. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a site. Different types of businesses come to developers with situations that need a specific solution, and ultimately, a site capable of conforming to their needs.
To maximize the potential of your site, you shouldn’t impose technical limitations on your plans from the start. You’ll know you have found the right platform when everything you desire for your site can be made to happen.
2. What extendable features does your platform offer?
Think about your eCommerce website as a constantly evolving digital ecosystem. It’s unreasonable to think that there is a one-size-fits-all solution or that your site will remain the same for any extended period of time. Therefore, it is important to consider things such as integrations, partnerships, and even ongoing maintenance that the developer is able to provide.
Close integration between your eCommerce site and many essential business solutions, such as email marketing tools or accounting software, can be a crucial element for ensuring a merchant’s success. Any good eCommerce development partner will have relationships with and be able to suggest preferred partners for many of these solutions and integrations. Make sure to make a list of what you think your site will need and include partners you already use and ask the developer upfront about working these into your site.
3. How will your platform adapt to future changes you may need to make to the site?
To pay a development team to create your eCommerce site is a significant investment. The investment ought to pay off for years to come.
As such, it’s critical that the platform selected has the flexibility to add or remove features, and be modified on an as-needed basis. Additionally, the user is going to want their platform to remain relevant.
The development team they wish to use should be continually making improvements and upgrades to their platform in order to ensure their clients do not fall behind in ever-changing eCommerce developments.
4. Will your end-result for our business be easy to use for our employees and customers?
The back-end users of a business are responsible for handling the day-to-day operations of a site, as well as managing the content. On-site development teams are uncommon for a business to have. As such, the internal users, and your eCommerce site, will benefit immensely from a simple and user-friendly way to control what is on the site’s front end.
A comprehensive eCommerce platform should be able to offer its users the features they need in a manner that allows them to have the ability to perform their job, without putting any obstacles in their way. If a platform and a site are hard to use, or worse, incomprehensible to the users, the site itself may not be used to its fullest potential.
Moreover, online customers demand a clear and easy to navigate website. According to Statista, eCommerce sales in the U.S. are projected to surpass 603.4 billion US dollars by 2021. To ensure the success of your organization’s online selling capacity, merchants must meet and exceed customer expectations on all fronts. This includes ease of use, fast load times, clear and up-to-date product information, a seamless checkout experience, and much more.
5. Will there be functionality to create an omni-channel approach for our operations?
The eCommerce industry is constantly producing new developments. Mobile-friendly sites became a new consideration a few years ago. Now, mobile-friendly isn’t even an option; it’s typically an unspoken requirement, and seldom up for discussion.
Commerce is evolving faster than ever. Beyond desktop and mobile, beyond tablets and eReaders, retailers are beginning to transact through IoT and voice-activated devices.
A business seeking out a new eCommerce platform should consider how they transact today, and where they hope to transact in the future. By ensuring their ability to foster a multi-channel approach to business, eCommerce merchants can be sure that they will be able to reach their consumer in the way they need.
6. Will your team be available to me during and after this process?
Throughout the development process, questions and concerns may arise that require the attention of the developers. Additionally, the business may want to review work done on the site, or give their input as each development is made.
The development team must be easily accessible to the business soliciting the work, and be open to feedback and communication throughout the entire process.
Knowing that the development team you choose is committed to working with you throughout the entire process is something that can give you the assurance that the job will be done to your exact specifications, and that you are always able to give input along the way.
7. Will there be assistance when implementing the site for use?
When the new site developments are ready to be rolled out, the development team should be available to detail how the new site works, assist in training employees, and provide materials that will inform users.
A customizable platform means that the site will need user-specific information that the development team should be able to provide. The team should also remain in communication all the way through post-launch in order to be available to address any issues or questions that arise as the users and customers encounter them.
8. How will major issues be dealt with?
Bugs, errors, and changes are an unavoidable consequence of any eCommerce website project, and the developer’s job should not come to an end once your site has launched. Additionally, help with the daily maintenance aspects of your platform could be a way to free your business resources for other company tasks. If an issue or concern arises one week— or even one year— after your site goes live, knowing that everything will be monitored is important. There’s no need for you to have an IT team on-site waiting to fix any issues since your development team is already on it.
Make sure to ask what level of support they provide, what their experiences have been with previous sites and what their process is for dealing with major issues that may arise.
Altogether, the development team a business chooses is going to have a lot of responsibility when building the site the business desires. The company is making a significant change and investment in their business, and they need to be sure the team they choose is going to meet if not exceed their expectations for building their site.
By focusing on the eight questions presented here, you can be sure that you are choosing the right development company for the job.