What You Need to Know Before Starting an eCommerce Project

Hannah Gierosky

before-ecommerce3 Tips for Kickstarting your Magento Commerce Project

There is a multitude of moving parts in an eCommerce implementation or upgrade, and partnering with a development team is a great place to start in order to achieve success. But partnering with experts does not necessarily mean just handing over the entire project. A truly great eCommerce implementation occurs when there is cooperation between the client and the development team. Here are our team’s suggestions of things that a client can prepare for during their eCommerce project to not only save time and money, but to result in their perfect online store.

1. Define the Scope

Launching an eCommerce site is exciting, and even though most people want to dive right in, research and work done up front by the client can save time and money throughout a project.

When taking on any task, it is important to understand the “why” before jumping into the “how.” For an eCommerce project, this means having a rough idea of the scope of the project before beginning. It does not have to include each step of the process, just a general understanding of the big picture.

During an eCommerce implementation or upgrade, it can be easy to get caught up in the details and to forget that a one-off request is never really a one-off request. By starting the project with a big-picture approach, it is easier to keep in mind the chain reaction that can occur when making changes.

Additionally, one of the benefits of defining the scope of a project at the very beginning is that it gives the development team the opportunity to maximize the functionality and structure of the site. Knowing the goals in advance allows the team to set up the site properly in order to make additions and changes in the future. While the Briteskies team does their best to allow for changes in any project, some foundations are dug too deep to easily change things.

Answering questions such as, “What is our strategy?” or “What is the big picture?” at the very beginning of the project can save a lot of time and confusion down the line.

2. Prioritize project needs

Once the scope has been determined, the priorities for the project need to be set. Researching options prior to meeting with the development team gives you the opportunity to explore all of your options before any permanent decisions have been made.

So many times, business owners don’t know what they want until the development team has started building. By researching ahead of time, those details can be fleshed out and worked into the scope of work.

After priorities have been determined and the project has begun, it can be tempting to bump things up in the hierarchy. It is important to remember, however, that moving something up in importance moves something else down. These types of changes cost time and money as other things are shuffled around.

Don’t forget that just because something is not a high priority does not mean that it has fallen through the cracks. If it was in the initial plan, it will be completed.

3. Establish clear lines of communication

As in any successful partnership, communication is key. Openly sharing knowledge between your team and the development team is a crucial element of an implementation both up front and throughout the process.

For our development team, knowing the business reasons behind a project is crucial. Our team needs to know why they are implementing a solution and whom it is affecting in order to ask the right questions and make the best decisions possible for the project.

The most frequent case of miscommunication comes when an error has occurred. As a client, you may not fully understand how a function works or what it does. If that function is not working, then communicating the problem to the development team is all the more difficult. Answering the following questions before contacting the development team can save the developers a lot of time and, ultimately, money: 

  • What is the error message?
  • Who was the user at the time of the error?
  • What day and time did the error occur?
  • What was the user attempting to do?

Another frequent culprit of miscommunication is change. Change is allowed during an eCommerce project. In fact, it’s inevitable. But not communicating that change can bring a project to a grinding halt. Changes made by the client need to be documented so that the development team isn’t in the dark. Additionally, any changes on the business side need to be communicated to the development team, including personnel changes or third party authorizations changing or expiring.

Clearly communicating change is imperative, even if the answer for the time being is, “I don’t know, let me look into it.”

Click below for the five questions you need to answer before meeting with your Project Manger for the first time.

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

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