There is so much ecommerce software out there. Websphere Commerce, Microsoft Commerce Server, Magento, Hybris to name just a few or you could go down the completely bespoke route offered by some companies. How does any organisation, in this jungle of possibilities, know whether they are making the right choice? Too often a platform can be selected without enough investigation time or requirements analysis. The reason for this is that the decision is very often seen as a software purchase, as opposed to a strategic decision to find the right partner for the ecommerce side of the business. Unless you’re a very large company that can employ an entire in-house development team, the chances are you’ll need a supplier to help you with your ecommerce.
But how do these agencies know which software is right for your company? Well quite often - and this is our little secret - they don’t. When they walk through your door and recommend a solution after only an hour or so of discussion, they don’t really know whether it’s right for you. So why do they do it?
- They have worked with it before: It makes sense. They have implemented a project with this software before and therefore know how it works and so can sell it again and probably make more profit. It also gives you the confidence they have used it before. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
- It’s a market leader / popular: Ecommerce platforms rise and fall in popularity (think back a few years, no one knew about Magento). The herd mentality to software that has an excellent reputation also makes sense, but can sometimes be created by a good software sales team or lucrative partner agreements with agencies. Again, this doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
- They get a commission: Pretty simple, agencies will generally get a kickback especially if they sell quite a lot of the software during any given 12 months. Obviously, this is not in your best interest.
- It fits all situations: There is a belief sometimes that a company should change its processes to use the new software or heavily customise the solution to work with you and your systems. One solution does not fit all and market-leading software for one company is wrong for another. One solution does not fit all.
Having said all the above then, how can you choose an ecommerce platform correctly? Well, let us give you our take on ecommerce platform selection. First of all (unsurprisingly) we believe you need to select an ecommerce partner who has proven results online and good customer testimonials. This partner (like ourselves for instance) should be key in guiding you through this process.
Our approach to ecommerce is to run very thorough requirements analysis first. We need to get to know your company intimately, your internal systems, your goals, your customer base and much more. Only when we have the complete picture of where you are now and where you want to go can we make a plan for getting there.
With that plan in hand, we work with you to go to the market and select the most applicable software to help you achieve your goals, whatever that turns out to be. This is therefore not always the best in class, the cheapest, the most feature rich or the most popular, but it will be absolutely the right fit for you and your business.
So before you jump headfirst into a new platform stand back and ask one question – are you 100% sure it’s right for you and your business?