[ eCommerce ] 

The term "eCommerce" is often misused to simply describe online shopping cart software whereas more accurately it is meant to describe the entire set of processes and procedures behind running an online retail business. A proper eCommerce strategy should therefore incorporate elements of Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Distribution, Shipping, and a host of other services geared towards making your online business successful.

With a wide range of software and services available today, DevDesk helps businesses find best-of-breed solutions that fit within their existing technology stack and offers new and old vendors alike a technology roadmap for building their online ecommerce environment. In addition to providing guidance and best practices for running your online store, we can provide the technical resources necessary to build an integrated technical ecosystem by making connections to your legacy systems or providing a full migration to new technologies and cloud-based applications.

 

Analysis

altDevDesk's approach for an eCommerce deployment starts with a full analysis of your existing business structure and an evaluation of your organization's goals and objectives. We recognize that all businesses are unique and before we can offer you a quality product it is essential that we become fully immersed in your internal processes and procedures. By understanding the way you operate, we can cater an ecommerce strategy to fit within your company's existing framework.

Similarly in order for us to build a website that properly speaks to your audience, we spend the time and attention that is necessary to educate ourselves about your products and your industry. Our experience has taught us that for any web development project to be successful the importance of planning and strategizing cannot be underestimated. It is not uncommon for us to spend up to one third of the total project time on research, planning and documentation. During this stage, our clients should anticipate a fair amount of involvement to help communicate these processes and to take an active role in outlining objectives with their local account representative.

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Platform

In terms of Sales and Marketing choosing a solid shopping cart platform is an essential step in developing your eCommerce approach. In today's market there are a variety of ecommerce and online shopping cart solutions to choose from. Given our custom application development strategy we have built relationships with developers who have experience building sites in nearly all of the standard open source (free) and commercial (paid) cart platforms but we have our favorites that we can help you choose from depending on your existing environment and unique I shopping cart requirements.


altOne of our favorite carts, which offers both free and paid versions, continues to be Magento since it has an intuitive back-end user interface, a fast growing developer community offering a wide-variety of free and paid plug-ins to optimize your sales process, and advanced features such as faceted search (or faceted navigation) built in. Navigation and flow of a shopping cart are two elements that we scrutinize closely as they can have a huge impact on the user experience and customer retention.

Faceted Search

With faceted search: layers of automated filters help guide a customer to products relevant to their interests. Developing such navigation requires a team that can comprehend what is important to your customers, an understanding of their search habits and a systematic approach to architecting the design of this navigation. By spending adequate time on planning and strategizing in the early stages we will be able to prepare an intuitive faceted navigation that fits within your business model.

Site Flow

By site flow we mean the process and pages a customer experiences when making a purchase. We implement best practices for walking a customer through the purchase process and limit the number of steps it takes to make a purchase in order to increase user adoption and decrease cart abandonment. Of course there are many other techniques that we can introduce you to as you continue to grow your eCommerce business but these examples can help to give you an impression of our most basic principles that we feel any good shopping cart site developer should follow.

Strategic Outline

When evaluating software design firms, standard features you should look to expect in a basic eCommerce startegy include:

  • Site Map & Navigation
    • Outline of Pages
    • Site Flow
    • Navigation (Faceted Navigation)
    • Search (Faceted Search)
    • Template Based Design
  • Import/Export Plan
    • Expected Format
    • Content Mapping
    • Data Cleansing
  • Products and Images
    • Product Grouping
    • Step-by-Step Product Building
    • Image/Photo Management
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Plan
    • Relevant Content & Copywriting
    • Key Phrases, Tags & Metadata
    • URL Structuring & Navigation
    • Image & Crawler Optimizations
    • Goals Based on Investment
  • Marketing Plan
    • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
    • Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (eCPC)
    • Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) 
    • Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) 
    • Cost-Per-View (CPV) Advertising
    • Social Networking
    • Targeted Marketing Strategies
      • Email Campaigns
      • Newsletters/Blogs/Forums
  • Basic Integrations
    • Payment Gateways
    • Merchant Accounts
    • Site Analytics
    • Shipping Services
    • Social Network Links
  • CustomerAccounts
    • Review Purchase History lnvoices
    • Save Wish Lists
    • Manage Comments & Complaints
  • Expansion Strategy
    • Multilingual & Multicurrency Platform
    • Language Translation Services
    • Upselling & Cross-selling Plan
  • Taxes & Shipping Considerations
    • Local, National or International Taxes
    • Rules Applied at Checkout
    • Multiple Shipping Options
  • Single Page Checkout
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Advanced Deployment

  • Custom Site Design
    • Content Writing in "Your Voice"
    • Sourcing Images
    • Custom Templates
    • Seasonal Site Designs
  • Advanced Integrations
    • POS Software
    • Accounting Software
    • lnvoicing Systems
    • CRM Software
      (Customer Relationship Management)
    • Marketing Platforms
    • Existing CMS
      (Content Management Systems)
    • Reporting Systems
    • Third-party Marketplaces
      (Amazon, eBay, Froogle, etc)
    • Drop-Shipping
    • Electronic Data Interchange
      (EDI) 
  • Distribution Networks
  • Reseller Networks
  • Atfiliate Networking Strategies
  • Mobile Purchasing Strategy
  • Inventory Management Strategy
    • End-of-Year Product Counting
    • Multiple Warehouse Locations
    • Warehouse Design

The Bottom Line

The lists of features and processes above should demonstrate that there is often more to consider in an eCommerce deployment than simply "building an online store". DevDesk can help you identify those areas where your business may benefit based on an involved analysis of your goals and objectives. Whether working with DevDesk or another design firm, we recommend you learn more about the design firm's eCommerce strategy to avoid problems in deployment or unanticipated add-on costs that you may be likely to experience over time.

For questions about our strategies or to arrange an analysis of your next eCommerce deployment please Contact Us to arrange an appointment.