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3 Things an eCommerce Consultant Wants You to Know Before a Vendor Selection

As businesses further propel into digital transformation – many driven by the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s no surprise that the eCommerce industry is predicted to grow by $11 trillion by 2025. We’re seeing more and more businesses looking to either revamp their eCommerce strategy with a new vendor or dabble in eCommerce for the first time. So, what does an eCommerce consultant want you to know? 

Partnering with the right vendor can often make or break your long-term success. If your organization is ready to consider what a digitally fueled future could look like in the eCommerce space, what are some things you should consider before beginning your eCommerce vendor selection? 

Tips from an eCommerce Consultant

1. Consider the role your eCommerce solution should be playing (and shouldn’t

A natural inclination for businesses embarking on a digital transformation and selecting a new eCommerce platform is that they want the technology to do it all. During requirements gathering sessions, it’s not uncommon to see functional requirements related to things like content or payment processing. There‘s a common feeling of “we’re investing this time and money into something new, so it needs to do everything.”  

This is a totally understandable feeling, but in order to drive to success in the eCommerce space, it’s important to know the role that your eCommerce solution should play. The best eCommerce systems shepherd your customer through the buying process and serve as a connector between your business’s disparate systems. A good eCommerce solution often can help reduce the cost of your operations and increase efficiency, but not because they do it all, rather because they’re able to integrate with your already existing systems that are doing things like content management, payment processing, and more.  

2. Understand your long-term business goals, and consider how your eCommerce solution can help you get there  

Another common thing we see from businesses beginning their eCommerce vendor selection process is overly relying on the technology to help them form and meet you’re their long-term business objectives. It’s not uncommon for organizations to be so excited to figure out their vendor and assume that’s going to solve everything, completely neglecting the important goal setting and strategy that needs to happen before and outside of the process of selecting a platform. The technology should enable your success, but not be the end-all-be-all way you get there. 

Before embarking on an eCommerce vendor selection, business should understand what percentage of their current revenue is coming from eCommerce (if any) and what their year-over-year growth goals look like. Who is your target buyer? What does their buyer journey look like? What do you want it to look like in the future? Are there new products you’re hoping to launch down the line? Doing a quick assessment of your current state while gathering requirements is never a bad idea to determine where you are currently and where you’re looking to go. 

3. Ensure you’re getting the right cross-functional representation in the room and keep them updated  

Embarking on an eCommerce vendor selection is not a small or easy task and may impact more parts of your business than you initially expect. It can be easy to unintentionally leave key team members out, which can then lead to rework later. 

Generally, we recommend making sure you have representatives from IT, Digital, Marketing, Finance and Accounting, Legal, and Supply Chain as part of your core team to begin, but every business will have different needs that may ebb and flow throughout the process. We also have seen a lot of success with something like a weekly newsletter letting folks who may be a little more removed – but still impacted—know where the team is in the process and when they’ll need to be engaged.  

Clarkston Can Help 

If you’re looking to begin your eCommerce vendor selection journey, we can help. We pair our comprehensive vendor selection methodology with our eCommerce consultants’ many years of experience to partner with you through the process from start to finish. Interested in learning more? Let’s chat! 

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Tags: Consumer Products Trends, eCommerce, Vendor Selection & Advisory, Retail, Retail Trends