Its very common for eCommerce projects to fall apart for many reasons, but here are some of the most popular we see.
Bad Requirements Gathering and Discovery: It is easy to jump into a project and think its all going to go well but you need to have some sort of requirements process up front. The more detailed the requirements document and process to not only identify the requirements but how they will be built is key. For instance you may want reviews but are you going to use the core platform or an app like Yotpo.
Leaving it all up to a third party: The idea that you can simply hand off your project to a third party eCommerce agency is ludicrous. eCommerce is so intertwined with the details of your business that you have to have some internal team members working very closely with a third party providing detailed knowledge that only your business would know. The best projects are when there are great folks on an eCommerce agency working hand in hand with the merchant team to leverage the strengths and weaknesses of both teams.
Thinking Build it And They Will Come Works: Building your site is just the initial infrastructure. You have to continuously improve it to be successful. Not budgeting for improving content, digital marketing, new features, will cause massive failure in the long run.
Not leveraging third party technology: Custom building should be your last resort unless you have a massive budget. Start by looking at whether your core platform or add ons can do what you need before you invest in custom development.
Adding Too Many Features & Complexities You Don’t Need: So many companies want features because other companies have them instead of waiting until post launch to add them with more thought and care as to how it will help them grow. The more features you add the more complicated it will be to manage the site so you need to be confident the feature will add reciprocal value. It is also hard to tell what worked and what didn’t when you launch too many features all at once.
Using The Wrong Platform: So many companies go on a platform because their agency or expert told them so. Most of these experts don’t know all the options that well and are choosing a platform that works best for them not you. Do your homework and figure out what is best for you over the next 5 to 10 years.
Bad Software Engineering: It’s expensive to hire good software engineers, even overseas is getting much more expensive. Many projects fail because of bad architecture and bad engineering. Quality over quantity is usually the answer when it comes to engineering.
Neglecting UX & Conversions: Often times companies will obsess over vanity metrics and how the design looks versus how well it actually converts to business. Thinking about the design from a user experience and conversion stand point will help you win business versus just look good.
Undervaluing the Importance of Phase 2: The more you try and cram features into phase 1, the harder it will be to launch. It’s important to look at the first project as the foundation and that you can always launch new features after. I would argue phase 2, 3, 4 etc is as or even more important than phase 1 in that it is what is going to get you to where you want to be long term.
Not Having The Right Team Members: Many companies try and launch an eCommerce website or business with very little understanding of eCommerce. It’s a very operational business and requires a mix of skill sets. You can’t rely entirely on third parties for this and need the right team in house.
Poor Communication: Bad communication can kill a project. Leveraging tools like Slack, email, Jira, and other communication tools can bridge the gap. The main problem with overseas development is usually not the technical capability but the communication which is why you hear horror stories. Bad communication can exist in the US or any place too.