EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post is the seventh and final one in our series. If you’re thinking about an eCommerce project at your company, consider this required reading. The posts in this series – and the link to resources at the end of each post – will help you complete some vital groundwork and address important questions that will save you time, work, and money. We hope you enjoy them and find them useful.
Welcome to the concluding post in our “Seven Keys to a Successful eCommerce Launch” series! If you’ve been with us since the inaugural post, you know that we’ve covered planning your eCommerce project, establishing your company’s specific marketing objectives, addressing operational objectives, determining internal resources and vendors, dealing with timeline and budgeting tasks, and tackling the implementation. Many of you may have already downloaded our free eCommerce Planning Template, and completed the first six tabs of that document, populating them with your own information.
This will be a shorter blog post than the first six. Why? Because by now, all of the legwork has been done. Your eCommerce project has gone from idea to reality (with a lot of work in between). You finally have a real-live website that is serving real-live customers and creating opportunities for your organization. Now all you have to do is plan a launch party and then sit back and watch the money roll in, right?
Not so fast! There’s still work to be done – and it’s a critical final step in your eCommerce journey. Well, technically speaking, there are actually three critical last steps you need to deal with. Let’s take a look at each one.
Revisit your plan.
Remember way back at the beginning of this series, when we first discussed the eCommerce planning framework itself? Think back to everything you learned in the blog posts that came after that one, consider all you’ve accomplished, and then look at your completed Excel document. Now that your website is up and running, examine the eCommerce plan you initially created. Did you stray from it at all? Was there anything you missed? Is there something you forgot to include? Did you encounter any delays or unforeseen problems? (Remember those “unknown unknowns” from the sixth post?) Make any appropriate notes for future reference.
Analyze, analyze, analyze.
In the second blog post about marketing objectives, we prompted you to come up with quantifiable and measurable success tests for your eCommerce launch. Now it’s time to go back and run all of those tests. Analyze the results thoroughly. Did you perform better or worse than you expected you would? If it’s the latter, how can you improve?
Remember to use all of those new tools you have.
A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money went into getting your eCommerce capabilities up and running. Understandably, you and your team are relieved that the planning and implementation are behind you, and all of you are probably looking forward to enjoying the rewards of your hard work. But don’t make the mistake that many people do. Remember to take advantage of that powerful eCommerce arsenal that is right at your fingertips. The coolest features in your new website are nothing more than decoration if you don’t use them.
One more thing…
We’re willing to bet that you or someone in your company has already begun thinking about ways to tweak or enhance your shiny new website. For example, you might be wishing you had added certain functionality that you initially thought you didn’t need. Maybe you’re considering some changes to tie in with a new product that you’re developing. Perhaps you’re making a key acquisition in the coming months, and your website will need to reflect that. One thing’s for certain – an eCommerce project never really ends. Time to dig out that planning document, book the conference room, and call another meeting…