3 Steps to Choosing an eCommerce Partner
Selecting the right vendor or service can be difficult and often time consuming. Whether you’re looking for a new eCommerce solutions provider or a service like web search or inventory management, here are a few basic steps that all retailers should take prior to scheduling any demos with potential partners:
1. Define your goals.
Creating a roadmap of your objectives before researching partners will help you determine where the missing pieces of your tech stack are. For example, if you are looking to improve the loyalty of your existing customers, drill down on customer data, such as who your target demographic is, how engaged with your brand customers are currently, and where you would like to see an increase in engagement or conversions. Ideally, your eCommerce platform should provide this type of information, and offer analytics tools to create actionable insights. When researching potential partners, ensure their offerings align with your business goals.
2. Do your research and read the fine print.
There are usually multiple vendors for every type of eCommerce service, so ask around to see who is using which tools and what their return has been like after implementing it. Speak to other partners and ask for references from the vendors themselves. Another factor to consider is resource management. How quick is it to implement that particular technology? And when it’s up and running, how much time needs to be dedicated to upkeep? Also, how much training will it take to learn the tool and keep it running at optimal levels? Oftentimes, vendors will charge an additional fee to provide training to you and your team. Make sure you know what the costs are ahead of time, and add in a couple weeks of buffer time to ensure your team can get up to speed on the technology before launching any new projects.
3. Pick your team.
When selecting a product or service, you are also selecting who you will be working with. Vendors should act as an extension of your team, so you should be sure that their values align with yours, and that their expectations for the relationship are the same. The software they provide also needs to be intuitive and easy for each member of your team to use. If it cannot be explained easily, you will have twice the trouble getting your team to work with it. The team you work with should also provide ongoing support and be willing to teach when needed and step back when not.
Keep these three steps in mind when choosing an eCommerce partner, and be sure to perform your due diligence before making any final decisions.