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The five key questions to ask before choosing your next e-commerce platform

Ask yourself these five questions before selecting your next e-commerce platform and avoid the pitfalls of lost revenue, and wasted time and resources.

A quality e-commerce platform is critical to the success of your online business. However, without careful preparation, you risk implementing a solution that’s either too simple for your needs, or too complex and difficult to manage. Either option will hurt your business in terms of lost sales and increased time management overheads. Thankfully, choosing the best solution for your business
doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply begin by asking yourself these five fundamental questions, and you’ll be well on the road to e-commerce success.

1. Ask yourself:

What do you want to achieve? The market for e-commerce platforms is booming,
and all platforms offer something different. Some are stripped-back, barebones solutions that are suitable for small web shops with no need to scale. Others offer a comprehensive, flexible platform that can be tailored to your specific needs and growth targets.
This is why having a crystal-clear understanding of your business needs is of paramount importance if your web shop is to succeed. It ensures that you don’t saddle yourself with a solution that can’t grow with your business, or get bogged down by a bloated platform that offers hundreds of functions you’ll never use.
Take the time to identify your goals and KPIs. The list on the right is a great starting point:

  • Turnover
  • Conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Upselling
  • Internal workflows    
  • Free up time  
  • Optimized buyer journey
  • Simple and intuitive buying flow    
  • Recommendations    
  • Customer retention rate

2. Ask yourself:

Who are your customers, and how do you make their journey easier?
Knowing who your customers are is critical to the success of any web store. This sounds trivial, but in many cases the reality of who shops at your stores could be dramatically different to what you expected. One perfect example of this is My Little Pony, which has a surprisingly large customer base in the 40+ year-old male segment. These customers are the so-called ‘bronies’. I bet you never expected that!
So, whether you’re embarking on your first project or upgrading an existing e-commerce platform, if you haven’t yet pinned down who your customers are, your chances of success have already diminished.
At the same time, it’s also important to understand your customers’ pain points. As such, invest the time to analyze the customer journey and identify all the touchpoints. Part of this includes investigating how your customer searches for your products and reaches your website, as this provides valuable information about how a new e-commerce platform could impact your customer journey.

3. Ask yourself:

Is your organization ready?
Be under no illusion that implementing a new e-commerce platform is a long-term undertaking and not a quick fix.
To use a famous running analogy, it’s a marathon not a sprint. However, when you do finally cross the finish line, the benefits hugely outweigh the effort.
Even so, be prepared for the process to require a significant level of organizational change, and for it to demand resources from every department. This means planning ahead to ensure you have the necessary support in place, and that all the relevant stakeholders have a clear understanding of both the process and benefits.
However, even with the best of intentions, such preparations may hit stumbling blocks in the road that threaten to derail the process, and end your marathon at the last mile. We’ve seen many cases where our fantastic partners were ready to help, but the client simply wasn’t there yet.
This is why we recommend working with agencies that can not only help with the implementation of a new platform, but also the early organizational work to manage change within the business.

4. Ask yourself:

How does the platform co-exist with your existing systems?
Regardless of whether you undertake the process in- house or enlist outside help, it’s vitally important that you evaluate how the new e-commerce platform will co-exist with your current systems. This is because although e-commerce is a significant element in
your overall business strategy, it’s just one of many components that all need to work seamlessly together.
This starts with a system overview, including assessing your existing systems, how they integrate, and where e-commerce fits into the overall plan. This will ensure that you’re able to make decisions that work in the best interests of your company.
In our experience, the ERP system is often at the core of a digital B2B ecosystem. This is the place where product, logistics, finance, and other types of data are centralized. In addition to this, there are potentially many other systems, such as CRMs, Warehouse Management solutions, Digital Asset Management solutions and more that need to be taken into account.
With a detailed analysis of your system framework prepared, it will be easier to understand how the e-commerce platform fits in, and the roles and functions it must adopt.

5. Ask yourself:

Have I remembered the “third phase”?
All projects have three core phases: preparation, implementation, and operational. Again, this may sound like a trivial point to highlight, but external partners are often only brought in during the first two phases. There are good reasons for doing this, but neglecting the third phase can be costly.
This is because whenever a new system is implemented, and the organization has to adapt to a “new normal”, even the best platform in the world won’t help if your employees don’t understand the system and its features.
As such, we strongly recommend that you enlist help not only with the technical implementation, but also the human implementation, to ensure that your staff are ready to use the new platform to its fullest potential.

Ready to take the next step?

Introducing Ucommerce

Ucommerce is a leading software company in e-commerce solutions. Our e-commerce platform is internationally recognized, and for the past twelve years we have worked with some of the most well-known brands in Europe, and the rest of the world.
We are a group of thirty dedicated “Ucommercians” who have the passion and drive to deliver amazing customer experiences in collaboration with our 150+ partners.
We have successfully worked on e-commerce implementations for top brands, including Tom Tailor,
Southampton FC, Jackson Fencing, British Health & Safety Council, Billund Airport and many more.

Our Ucommerce platform is built to be flexible, scalable and able to adapt to any kind of workflow. We call it Framework First. Ucommerce integrates with Umbraco, Sitecore and Sitefinity.

The results? An example is Billund Airport. They increased their online revenue by 65 percent. Dive into this success story and many more, here. If you’re ready to create an amazing buying experience for your customers and increase your store’s revenue, we’re ready to meet the challenge. Get in touch today and let’s discover what we can achieve together.

Interested in what Ucommerce can do for your business?

Reach out to the Sales Team directly by shooting an e-mail here. Or hit the button below and fill out an inquiry and you will hear from us shortly.