Article

Stefan Smulders
Stefan Smulders 13 May 2022

Essential Elements for Efficiently Planning and Managing Ecommerce Projects

Ecommerce platforms have emerged as a powerful medium for increasing sales for any business. These applications include buying and selling products/services, booking online appointments, and a lot more. In other words, ecommerce is a fast-growing industry that is changing how we shop online.

There are several reasons behind the increasing success of ecommerce solutions. Ecommerce platforms,

  • Reduce entry barriers 
  • Have lower initial costs
  • Provide higher profit margins. 

Ecommerce is slowly growing in stature as a retail option. Today, of all the retail sales in the world, ecommerce accounts for about 14%. While the number might look small, the growth trajectory shows constant upward trends.

But, you need to note that finding success in ecommerce requires meticulous project management and planning. Moreover, after the pandemic, many businesses that were originally vary of its potential, want to build an ecommerce platform.

Ecommerce refers to the selling and buying of goods and services via the internet. But beyond buying and selling, ecommerce also refers to the transfer of data and funds through an electronic network. For example, when you want to consult a dermatologist online. In this case, you pay to book an online appointment on their website. This act of booking the appointment is a form of ecommerce.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of project management in ecommerce as well as the essential elements for efficiently planning and executing ecommerce projects. 

Let’s dive in. 

Why Project Management is Crucial in Ecommerce

(Image Source)

​​Efficient project management and planning are necessary to keep everything on track and ensure success. In the same sequence, ecommerce projects require sound leadership and clear directions because of:

  • Their complicated nature 
  • The involvement of several stakeholders and processes at various stages of project execution.

This is where project management comes into play. 

Some notable reasons why effective project management holds value for ecommerce projects are as follows: 

  • It helps set clear goals and strengthen focus

The most common cause of ecommerce project failure is a lack of clear goals. Project management assists ecommerce businesses in defining their priorities and project goals.

Project management ensures that your ecommerce teams get clear and timely briefs. Moreover, a project manager is responsible for instructing and motivating teams on a daily basis to complete their daily tasks. 

A project manager helps team members focus better by breaking the work down into smaller bits. This way, a project manager helps team members achieve the main project goal. 

  • It helps achieve realistic project planning

Project management helps ecommerce businesses set practical and reasonable deadlines for completing and delivering a project. A project manager understands that most tasks take more time and effort than originally anticipated. With this understanding, they formulate a realistic schedule to bring the best out of available resources. 

This way, project management helps ecommerce businesses with realistic project planning. Moreover, project managers help bring out the best in team members by defining clear processes. Clear processes help meet deadlines and weed out unreasonable expectations across teams. 

  • It helps with strategic alignment

Project management helps architect ecommerce projects so that they align with clients’ broader strategic goals. Each ecommerce company has very specific strategic goals. Effective project management ensures that individual project goals become an extension of these goals. 

In other words, project management helps with strategic alignment. Further, strategic alignment helps ecommerce companies deliver real value for their customers. It also helps mitigate risks that may emerge at various stages of a project. Moreover, strategic alignment ensures that projects stay on course and adapt to changing market or business needs. 

  • It plays a role in quality control

Project management is incomplete without quality control. Your project may meet all the deadlines and adhere to budgetary allocations, but if it lacks quality, it will likely fail.

Project management ensures that the quality of each deliverable remains at a high level. A project manager tightens and simplifies schedules, manages team members, and streamlines processes. As a result, they help control the quality of outcomes. 

Project management makes sure that the output is thoroughly examined and reviewed at each step of a simplified process. By controlling the quality of outcomes, project management plays a critical role in improving ROI. 

  • It helps reduce costs

As discussed above, project management aids in reducing the costs of completing ecommerce projects by: 

  • Increasing efficiency
  • Reducing risks
  • Optimizing resources

Even with the additional cost of investing in project management tools, ecommerce businesses stand to gain far more.

Essential Elements to Help you Plan and Manage Ecommerce Projects

By now, we have seen the immense importance of project management in ecommerce ventures. It’s time that we discuss the strategic elements that are necessary for planning, executing, and managing ecommerce projects. These are: 

1. Setting Realistic Goals and Tracking Them 

Naturally, every ecommerce company wants to sell more things and make a profit. At the same time, it's not rare for them to neglect the importance of defining realistic objectives. Many ecommerce projects suffer from a lack of clearly defined goals.

It’s vital to note that an ecommerce project requires well-defined and easily trackable goals. In other words, the goals of an ecommerce project must be both practical and attainable.

You may use an online tool like Google Analytics to define project goals and track them. You should ensure that you register each goal as a conversion goal. Each conversion goal can then be measured through auto-generated metrics. 

As discussed above, a project manager helps set these realistic goals and has the expertise to track their outcomes. 

2. Gauging the Competition: Competitor Analysis

The ecommerce industry is incredibly competitive. Therefore, online businesses must keep a careful eye on their competitors and their marketing gimmicks. The idea is to stand out from the competition. 

An in-depth competition study and market research can reveal your competitors' shortcomings and strengths. These could include the reasons behind the success of a given ecommerce brand and the relative failure of others. 

You can examine your competitors' marketing methods through competitor analysis. Additionally, you can learn from the experiences and mistakes of your direct online competitors. With competitor analysis, ecommerce brands can avoid these costly mistakes and follow the best practices that work. 

3. Setting a Clear Workflow 

To ensure a seamless workflow, create a clear and detailed visual map of all the phases and activities. To begin, make a list of the project's specific objectives and requirements. This will provide you with an overview of the tasks you need to complete. It will also give you the relevant information for planning, time estimating, and budgeting.

After that, divide the accumulated data into sprints. Now, accordingly, design the various stages for executing the said project. You should visualize each stage to help team members take the ideal path to successfully complete it. Finally, you must schedule regular meetings to monitor required changes and remove barriers. 

4. Efficient Time Tracking 

Time is such a valuable resource, and when you use it inefficiently, it can create problems for any project. It's tough to properly manage tasks in the absence of precise data on time utilization in an ecommerce project.

Ecommerce project managers can use time monitoring and work tracking software to solve this problem. Time tracking helps project managers calculate the time spent on each job and identify the areas of work where too much time is expended. In this way, time tracking helps them take acute measures to reduce this time wastage. 

Time tracking software provides deep insights and helps you determine if the business numbers meet your expectations. It also helps determine tasks that need optimization to bring the project on track to meet the set deadlines. 

5. Involving the Best Ecommerce Tools 

Digital systems are used for the bulk of online businesses. As a result, your ecommerce business must take advantage of the available business tools for project planning.

You need to select the best tools with the most up-to-date features to:

  • Smoothly scale your business
  • Keep your team running
  • Reduce wasteful costs through automation

In general, most ecommerce businesses use project management software that is easy and scalable. Time tracking software and video conferencing software are some of the examples of these tools. Such tools make planning and management much simpler and more effective. 

For instance, you can also use social media platforms as a tool to market your ecommerce brand. While Facebook and Instagram are the most sought-after social media platforms, as an ecommerce business owner, you should leverage LinkedIn — the professional social network.

With LinkedIn Ads, automated messages on LinkedIn, and various other very useful features, you can promote your ecommerce business and increase sales. 

6. Constant Iterations and Rigorous Testing

Ecommerce is a relatively new industry, and not all projects reach the stage of fruition. You plan some website modifications, draft them, test them as A/B variants to see how well they work, and then return to planning.

Since it is unrealistic to achieve perfection in managing a project, rigorous testing becomes necessary. It's never too late to get better. Moreover, as an ecommerce business, you'll need to continuously develop and come out with newer iterations to stay ahead in the race. 

7. Managing Costs

When it comes to an ecommerce project, your platform should outperform your competitors in terms of features. It should provide maximum value with the fewest possible flaws. A project manager must understand that rework and bug fixes are a part of the process when they determine a project’s cost.

You won't have to cope with rerun costs if you keep this in mind. The cost of rework decreases progressively with continuous iteration in a well-planned project, rather than ballooning as with the waterfall approach.

Conclusion

We hope that this article helped you gauge the critical importance of project management for ecommerce projects. You must actively include these elements in the planning and management efforts for your ecommerce projects.

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