Once you have determined the “why” behind your eCommerce project, it’s time to make two of the biggest decisions of the entire process: picking a partner and a platform.
For many, these decisions come in a specific order; first a platform is selected and then a capable partner is brought onto the project. Here at Briteskies, we think that those decisions should be made in reverse: first pick a partner, then find a platform.
Although it may seem backwards to some, this strategy makes a lot of sense. Even if your organization finds the ideal platform for your eCommerce project, a good platform can be ruined by a bad consulting partner. However, a competent partner can make even a subpar platform a successful choice.
Consider this: after deciding on a software, a company typically calls the software vendor and asks for their help in finding a partner. From there, the company is at the mercy of the software vendor. Instead of considering the driving forces behind the eCommerce project (as determined in Part 1), the vendor will have their own business motivations to consider when suggesting a consulting team. None of this is to say that the suggested consulting teams won’t be talented or helpful, but simply that the motivations behind all parties involved may not align.
Instead, consider choosing a partner before selecting a platform, or letting your top partner choice drive your platform selection. Your partner selection should be based on the “why” behind the project, not necessarily the software solution being chosen. By partnering with a team that understands and wants to solve the issues driving the project, you will be able to choose the right software for the job.
At the end of the day, a partner who helps you find the right software has more of an interest in your project’s success, as opposed to a vendor whose first concern is selling you their software.
Choosing the right partner is no easy task, however. While the circumstances of each individual project will ultimately determine who is right for the job, there are some qualifications that apply to any eCommerce situation.
Check Their Track Record
A potential consultant should be able to provide you with examples of past successes to help you with your decision. By showing you what they have done for other, similar projects, you can hopefully find a partner with a proven track record in your “why.” Once you know they have had success in those types of projects, the platform simply becomes a means to an end.
Once you have determined that your potential consultants are in fact capable of the job, it is important to consider compatibility. Would you hire a new team member without first considering their cohesion with the rest of the group? Probably not. The same consideration should be given to a potential consulting partner.
Discuss a Results Road Map
Beyond making sure personalities mesh well is ensuring that development styles are similar. You don’t just want a great result; you want a pleasant experience throughout the process.
Once the compatibility of your two teams is determined, you need to consider a results road map. The question is no longer can they get the job done, but how will they get the job done? How are they going to take your plan from point A to point B? Although you and your consultants may be in tune where the results are concerned, you will want to make sure you are on the same page as far as the process as well. Remember: your consultants can’t read minds! Discuss what you want from them and ask questions about their strategy.
Now that you have all of these specifics figured out and you’ve selected both a partner and a platform that you trust, it’s time for the final step of the eCommerce process: setting up the site.