By jason on 08/06/2013
When conducting e-commerce projects, success is the intended outcome. While there is no "one way", there is a general set of topics to consider to improve your chances of success.
While writing a proposal, we put this list together, and thought it would be good to share.
General E-Commerce Topics:
- Product Management
- User Experience
- Merchant Feeds
- Order Process
- Order Fulfillment
- Store Administration
- Maintenance and Continued Development
The product data is a vital component in the success of an e-commerce website, and must be simple to use. Whether you require proofing/approval systems, the ability to import sets of products, locating products with specific attributes, or to batch update a set of products (for pricing, inventory, status, SEO, promotional reasons, etc); you must have the tools, and the ability to customize and create new tools, to ensure you’re able to fully utilize one of your biggest assets - your product data.
Product data is important, and so is how users interact with it. From the site search, to search results, catalog, detail pages, calls to action, product suggestions, ease of use, and interactive features; engaging your users and providing an excellent user experience is significantly beneficial to the bottom line and return on investment for your e-commerce application.
When you have products and customers buying them online, security becomes a critical issue. From SSL encryption, to user authentication/access control, robust code, software patching, and PCI compliance, you’ll want an experienced member on your team familiar with all of these topics.
Generate even more traffic by utilizing product feeds that can be submitted to merchant centers to get products in front of more people looking for the products you offer. Google Base is one of the most popular merchant feeds, and enables placement in google product search results. Other merchant feeds include Bing, Yahoo, Shopzilla, and others.
It’s part user experience, part site management, and wholly important to the success of the site. From the cart, to checkout, shipping, sales tax, discounting/promotions, payment processing, notifications, receipts, reporting, analyzing, and making better decisions about how people transact business with your site will help to grow customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenues.
Getting orders placed is a good start, however, to deliver optimum value for users, the fulfillment process should be simple, informative and efficient. From tracking order status, to automation with existing systems, and notifications at each stage of the fulfillment process; a few minor enhancements can have a big impact.
From updating email addresses to viewing customer accounts, reviewing previous orders, setting shipping specials, to almost anything you need to do to administer a successful site; Drupal/Ubercart a flexible platform with simple and powerful pre-built tools and add-on capabilities.
When the order and fulfillment processes are complete, the support phase begins. From dealing with customer questions about products or orders, to managing a knowledge base, dealing with returns, and finding better and more efficient ways to support your customers, it’s ideal to ensure the customer support process is simple and intuitive for customers and for you.
Keeping the relationship warm and learning how you can improve helps to keep customers loyal and happy. From email newsletters, to surveys and special offers, having a system in place for follow-up will benefit both you and your customers.
Understand the value of your customers, website visitors, conversion rates, and determine the return on investment for your development and marketing efforts. Learn where potential customers are getting held up in the process, or how you can make the site more user-friendly with the use of sophisticated analytics capabilities.
Maintenance and Continued Development:
Customer expectations are higher than ever before and downtime must be minimal. Proper test/staging/production environments are important steps, as are quality assurance and planned production releases. Having the ability to roll-out new releases, test, and maintaining back-ups for every production release is of major benefit to minimizing downtime and efficiently enhancing the site’s software.