How To Plan for a Successful eCommerce Implementation
Want a seamless and successful eCommerce implementation? Read on to learn how to implement eCommerce for your business.
Amid the rapid global shift to eCommerce, companies are rushing to implement a solution that can get them online fast - only to find out an eCommerce implementation might require more planning than they realized. Without thorough planning and scoping of your eCommerce implementation - especially regarding ERP integration - you may be left with little more than additional manual processes and order errors to constantly keep up with. In this guide, we break down several key strategies to help you successfully and smoothly implement eCommerce for your business.
Solicit Feedback and Inclusion from All Stakeholders
First and foremost, it is best practice to solicit feedback and inclusion from all stakeholders, as successful eCommerce implementation relies upon both internal and external adoption. A good plan of action is to find out what can and should be achieved, both for customers and for the business. After all, eCommerce exists to make everyone's lives easier.
Consider the perspective of the sales teams and work to implement your eCommerce solution in a way that allows salespeople to process orders more quickly and more efficiently. Create a commission structure that gives sales agents credit for sales closed through digital channels so they can benefit from the new structure and increase the number of sales.
From the customer perspective, implementing eCommerce can add value to the experience, but existing customers may be reluctant to switch to buying online. Listen closely to their needs and concerns and leverage sales representatives' relationships to make a smooth transition to a personalized eCommerce experience. Once on board, customers can benefit from ease of purchase, online catalog availability, and real-time inventory and fulfillment information.
Assess Customer Requirements
When planning for a successful eCommerce implementation, it is paramount to assess your customers' requirements and design a solution tailored to meet those needs. Customers expect an intuitive shopping experience that enables them to quickly and easily achieve their purchasing goals. Evaluate what customer-facing business processes need to be exposed in their front-end experience, and ask yourself, "how should it look?" When assessing customer requirements, also ask the following:
- What information does a customer need to make a confident purchase decision?
- What are the customer's requirements for shopping and checkout?
- What login or self-service features are needed?
- Are there other features that make the shopping experience easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable for the customer?
Create a Go-Live Plan
Just because you create an eCommerce store does not necessarily mean all your customers will automatically transition to shopping online. Before you begin rolling out your eCommerce solution, create a go-live plan. Consider the following questions:
- How will you spread awareness about your new online purchasing option?
- How will you incentivize customers to purchase online?
- How will you sustain the eCommerce strategy and keep customers coming back?
Strategies such as loyalty programs, limited-time offers, personalized emails, and content can build excitement about your eCommerce store and increase customer retention.
Vet eCommerce Providers
Businesses commonly choose to partner with an eCommerce provider to make the most of an eCommerce presence. There are many options available on the marketplace, and choosing a provider who can support your business in attaining your implementation and growth objectives is important. Thoroughly vet eCommerce providers and their implementation capabilities. Have they integrated eCommerce into your ERP before? Have they customized business processes and customer experiences for your industry? Make sure the eCommerce platform can:
- Integrate with your ERP
- Easy to manage
- Delivers robust capacity and capabilities
- Complements your sector
- Includes reliable and long-term customer support
Prioritize ERP Integration
Successful eCommerce and ERP integration is the key to achieving accurate and efficient eCommerce experiences for both customers and employees. Additionally, integrating eCommerce and ERP allows data to move seamlessly between the systems so they can operate symbiotically.
Ensure you choose a platform that can integrate fully to your ERP solution so that the following types of data and processes are efficient and accurate:
- Sales orders
- Product information
- Customer-specific pricing
- Customer details
- Business logic - such as constraints around certain products, customers, shipping, delivery timelines, rental availability, etc
- Invoice payments
- Flexible payment methods like ACH
- Custom processes or fringe use cases that are unique to your business
To learn more about ERP Integration, read our blog Why ERP Integration is Important for B2B eCommerce.
Avoid a Big-Bang Rollout
eCommerce implementations can be complex - and a big-bang rollout that has to coordinate around short-term possibilities, long-term goals, and all stakeholders in between can bring additional, unnecessary complexity to a project. Strategize for your rollout in phases, beginning with an MVP (minimally viable product) for phase 1. The MVP consists of the minimal features you need to empower customers to the extent it meets your goals. In phase 2, you can roll out long-term wishlist features.
eCommerce implementation can be complex, and we are here to simplify. DynamicWeb specializes in eCommerce implementation, and no project is too complex.
To learn more about eCommerce implementations, download our free whitepaper Your Guide to Building a B2B eCommerce Strategy.
To take the next step with your eCommerce strategy, contact DynamicWeb today.