That’s the real question that any company evaluating a new ecommerce platform wants answered. When you eventually put pen to paper on a deal, you don’t want to be the gal or guy who takes pause and can’t confidently answer the question about whether the platform is actually going to help you actually make money or not.
This time of year is ideal for those that sell direct to review their existing platforms, especially if the traditional holiday season is where the majority of their yearly revenue comes in. That’s why on our free month-by-month ecommerce planning calendar, we suggest March as the time for you to ensure that what you have in place is right for the growth of your company.
Scale is very frequent in ecommerce and companies do have to upgrade platforms as time goes on, either with newer versions of an existing implementation or changing to a new provider.
So how do you get started? Here’s three basic tips:
Identify your likes, frustrations & your wishlist.
When anyone is interested in something new, it’s our nature to start finding flaws with whatever we are looking to replace. A minor issue suddenly can become a lot bigger because you see something shiny and new on the other side of the street. But before you jump to the first platform with ultra-shiny bells you look at, do a session with your key stakeholders up and down the stack. Discuss what you like about your current platform, what you really dislike, and what your wishlist for a new platform would be.
Where do you want to be in the year ahead and can your current provider get you there? What do you need your ecommerce platform to do in the immediate future and can you scale accordingly with success?
Also, by not doing the discussion in a silo, you’ll have buy-in from the most important people involved in the process and will be that much more educated on what you ask of the vendors that you evaluate.
Ask your internal experts and your professional network for opinions and options.
Ever run into a situation where you need a new system or provider and someone says, “Yep. On it.” and the ones they come back with aren’t great and leave out some key players? Everyone hunts and gathers for information differently and in a lot of organizations, people may actually have experience with some of the platforms you might want to consider but are never asked their opinion. (Imagine that!)
With that aforementioned group of key stakeholders, have everyone do some research and come back to the big table with a few options while using that list of pros and cons to help guide the search. Sure, you’ll find some consistency in the options that come back, but you may find some new innovations and features with a platform you might have otherwise dismissed.
Also, those social networks you use to distract away from your day? You know, the ones you’ve built up over time of people you know and trust in different industries? Ask them what they use, what they like, etc. Especially with bad experiences, your peers will be more than happy to explain any past difficulties with third-party vendors.
Find the right partner to help.
This is going to sound completely self-serving, but having another group to bounce ideas off of is a great thing to have, especially in those cases where your expertise is lacking or you can’t discern between two great options. In those cases where you look to an agency/dev shop to help with evaluating and implementing a new ecommerce solution, their background should be an important factor in facilitating those conversations referenced above and helping you make the right choice.
If you’re putting a significant financial and human capital investment into evaluating new ecommerce platforms, isn’t it worth a second opinion?