Before advancing to an ecommerce agency with your ecommerce project, you need to do your own research; most of all; you need to PLAN, so as to avoid any unexpected surprises when the design has kicked-off.
You always want the best for your business and the best only come when you plan well. Most ecommerce agencies (like we at AGS) task prospective clients with the job of answering a detailed list of questions for the need to clarify what their true requirements are. If these questions are not answered appropriately and effective plans are not put into place, your ecommerce project may go awry.
Listed below are the relevant questions you need to ask yourself when creating your ecommerce brief and how to answer them:
What are your ecommerce goals?
You need to ask yourself: “What are your goals and objectives?” “What do you aim to achieve?” It is impossible to go very far in life without a specific goal. Your ecommerce goals must be specific and straight to the point, realistic, measurable, and achievable and most importantly it must be time-framed. If your goals aren’t clearly defined, your developers will be lost on the trail of your project.
Once your goals are clearly defined and you understand what your aims are, you can begin to consider the strategies you will take to achieve your ecommerce goals. Your goals are the driving force between the strategies you want to take.
This is not all. Your ecommerce website alone does not solve the equation; you will need to have knowledge on marketing strategies. But goals set the pace initially.
What goals have you set? Some examples of the way goals should be set are:
– Increasing sales by 20% in the next six months.
– Improving profit by 50% within a year.
– Spreading product to a new market and a new range of customers.
What Budget Have You Set?
Knowing how much you intend to spend is really important. Your budget must be set according to your goals and objectives. That means, that the amount you intend to spend depends entirely on the complexity of your website.
How much does an Ecommerce cost? Well, this depends on what you have in mind. If you are just testing the works of ecommerce for the first time and you want to sell around, maybe 10-20 products without extensive graphics, user registration or email integration, then it could be on the cheaper scale of $3000-$5000.
If your aim is to have a solid ecommerce websites with plenty of features and a custom design on an advanced ecommerce platform, you could be looking at $10000 at the least.
The cost gets very high if you plan to go large-scale on multichannel platforms. The starting costs could be as high as $30,000 depending on what agency you plan to work with. Remember, you should have an idea of the type of ecommerce website you want and plan your budget according to it. In the ecommerce world, most times, you get what you pay for. After all, quality things are never cheap.
What features will you require for your ecommerce website?
In a bid to attract customers, you must plan to shoot up the feel of your website. Without features, website may appear boring to customers. Simple features like news updates, blogs, social media presence, search box and amazing graphics could make your website sparkle and feel alive. Examples of features you should consider are:
Customers want to be able to look at the products they wish to buy with an eagle’s eye; hence, the need for goof product navigation and zoom.
This is mostly always present on ecommerce stores. Elements of a shopping cart are product name, short description, price, total cost, quantity box, product image thumbnails, etc…
These are items on sale or new items just recently added to the inventory. Having an image slideshow at the top of your home page could draw attentions of your customers to new products they may end up buying.
- Delivery Information and Return Policies.
- News and Events
- Quality graphics
- Newsletter subscription
- Related Products, among others…
Do you have an ecommerce platform in mind?
Let your developer know that platform that you have a heart for. Your developer might not use this same platform but from your choice he could recommend a better but similar one for your project.
Hosted platforms cost less but may not be as boisterous with required features as non-hosted platforms. Examples of hosted platforms are: BigCommerce and Shopify while examples of non-hosted platforms are ZenCart and Magneto. If you find yourself at sixes and sevens when choosing a platform, your developer will recommend one suited for your project tailored to your needs.
When Do You Want the Project Completed?
Creation of ecommerce website takes time so you must be realistic as to the time you want it completed. You cannot expect a complex online store to be finished within the space of two or three weeks. Converse with your developer and agree on a deadline day that satisfies you.
What Type of Ongoing Support would you require?
Your work does not stop when your website has been deployed; you need to make sure customers are patronizing your online store. Ecommerce website development walks in tandem with other services such as:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing in the form of newsletter subscriptions.
- Pay per click advertising. (This works fast.)
- Search engine optimization (SEO takes time but can be effective.)
- Photography and digital media design.
There are lots of other things to be considered also like:
- What payment service provider should you choose?
- How will you charge for shipping? (If your store does target visitors from various countries)
- Are you working with other agencies for advertising and branding supports?
Making an ecommerce development brief can be a difficult task. But with these detailed information listed above, you can never go wrong in your plans. After this, you should now be able to engage that ecommerce agency with your planned ecommerce project.