What to Expect from an eCommerce Project Definition Phase

Matt Trimmer

what to expect definition phase.pngWhether our team is implementing a new eCommerce platform or helping a client upgrade their current site, we always start an eCommerce project with the Define Phase. We’ve covered why we have a Define Phase, but what exactly takes place during it?

During the Define Phase, our team discovers and reviews the client’s initial thoughts for the project, then discusses the more detailed information needed to help implement the best solution possible.

Brainstorming the New Site

Our team has certain goals for the Define Phase, specifically to learn how the company works, which in turn helps us make the website work. We’ve found that the best way to accomplish this is to have a big brainstorming session.

In this session, the client lays out what they want from their new site, and our team learns how the business operates and what needs to be included in the new implementation. Using our eCommerce experience, we are able to interpret their list of wants and propose the best path to take moving forward.

The goal of this brainstorming session is to determine the functionality required of our client’s new site. Figuring out how their business operates allows our team to develop solutions to their challenges within Magento. While a client might say, “we want the site to do this,” our team has to figure out the business need behind that want, then outline the correct way to implement the solution in Magento.

Sometimes, clients will request functionality simply because their competitors offer it. It’s common for clients to want to copy features from either their legacy site or competitors’ sites, and it is our team’s job to figure out how to make those features better using our Magento expertise.

Design Needs

A lot of the information that we try to gather during the Define Phase is necessary for the following Design Phase. The site design is often the most exciting part of a project for the client, as it’s the most obvious indicator of change and growth on the front end. This usually translates to the client having a lot of ideas about how they want their new site to look. 

As we’ve said before, most people don’t know what they want until they see it. For site design in the Define Phase, this typically means that a client comes to us with dozens of examples of things they like on other sites. It’s important to remember, however, that just because something works well on one site doesn’t mean it will work well on your site.

Another thing to consider when comparing your future site with those of your competitors is that a live site is already old. Any site that is currently live took months of planning and development, so by the time it went live the ideas behind it were already dated. They may even be working on changes or improvements to their site.

Instead of comparing themselves with their competitors, we ask clients to explain what they’re trying to accomplish. From there, our design team can come up with an ideal solution unique to the client’s situation.  

When it boils down to it, our team is there to make our client’s lives easier through eCommerce technology. That is our ultimate goal, and the Define Phase process helps us get there.

Are you looking to work with an experienced team for an upcoming eCommerce project? Contact us.

Download 5 Questions to ask yourself before starting an eCommerce project.

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