3 Questions Your E-Commerce Solution Provider Needs to Ask
Many e-commerce projects fail because of a lack of strong, open and honest communication, especially when it comes to understanding the client’s real business goals and objectives — and the issues that stand in the way of meeting them.
For example, the feature set may have failed to anticipate the business objectives of the retailer or the needs of online buyers. The solution provider’s sales team may have been out of sync with its delivery team, overpromising what it could provide clients. The online store may have been outdated — and not following e-commerce and user experience best practices — the day it launched.
To prevent these issues and create that much-needed strong communication, you need to know which questions to ask from the start.
Discover Why, What and How
Your e-commerce solution provider needs to understand your goals to create a seamless online experience for buyers. Help your provider visualize what you’re trying to achieve by starting with a deep dive into these three key questions:
1. Why are you in business? Your solution provider needs you to articulate your purpose and mission, so start with your commitment to customers. It also needs to understand your industry drivers — i.e., the external pressures or factors that impact your business. Help your provider understand why your existing solution (if you have one) isn’t working, as well as what is working. Like any development project, you’ll communicate the goals and objectives, as well as the obstacles you face in reaching them. Ensure the solution provider understands why you chose those goals and how they relate to your mission.
2. What needs are most critical? Explain why the “most critical” goals rise to the top of the list and how they relate to your objectives. Identify the low-hanging fruit, and go for some of the “quick wins.” It’s also important to identify features that can be pushed to phase two. Take the time to clearly outline your team’s level of involvement throughout the development process.
3. How will we manage the project? Clearly articulate the provider’s role — as well as your own — and explain who the key stakeholders are for the project. Jointly, plan how you’ll communicate milestones, additional questions and answers, and progress. Plan tests every two weeks to ensure that the project is progressing in the direction you envisioned.
You’re the expert on your business. Your e-commerce solution provider is the expert on implementation and delivery. Maintaining open, strong communication — and addressing the right questions along the way — makes it easier for both sides to stay aligned and strive toward the same end goal. With better communication, you’ll have the control to guide the project and provide the necessary course corrections to ultimately meet your business objectives and your customers’ expectations.
Radu Munteanu is the CEO and founder of Luminos Labs, a digital commerce consultancy.
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