Phoebe McCreath April 27, 2020

Help! I need an eCommerce solution FAST.

During these strange times, we’re sure many companies have identified that they should have implemented an eCommerce solution a long time ago! But as New Zealand moves to Alert Level 3 this week, there’s no time like the present to get set up for online trading.

If you've identified that you need an eCommerce solution, your first question is probably, ‘ok but where do I start?’. With any project, the first step is to identify who the user will be because that opens the door to what solution will best fit your business.

When kicking off these types of projects with clients, we always start with an ‘ideate’ phase which helps us identify things like the customer journey and the goals of the project, right down to which technical solution will be most effective to achieve your goals. Let’s tackle the three typical eCommerce solutions we identify during this process and how they differ in complexity.

Out-the-Box eCommerce Solution.

This type of eCommerce site is perfect if you have a few products you want to start selling online and you're not worried about complex details such as syncing with a warehouse, inventory management or creating custom order workflows. If you’re looking to get an online store up and running for people to simply purchase your products online, we would recommend an out-the-box solution like Shopify, WooCommerce (WordPress) or even Ucommerce (Umbraco).

These sites are quick to stand up and provide all the basic functionality like inventory management, promotion management, online payments as well as more complex functionality like upselling and cross-selling products. These types of solutions are usually budget-friendly and are a great way to test the market with a new product while allowing you to be scalable in the future.

The Hybrid Solution.

Sometimes the need arises for extra functionality within the bounds of an out-the-box solution. If you do find you need to sync with an inventory management system, warehouse management, need custom product attributes and even personalised shopping experiences, then a hybrid eCommerce solution is for you.

Depending on the eCommerce platform chosen above, we can often identify and personalise a plug-in as the solution. We’ve done this for numerous clients in the past for things like custom kitchen planners, integrations with complex warehouse management software systems and even multi-sites that sync to international warehouses all over the globe. Once again, these types of out-the-box solutions, coupled with a hybrid approach to customisation through the use of plugins and even custom-built integrations, allow you the flexibility to get a product to market quickly while integrating with more complicated business processes behind the scenes.

The Custom Solution.

 With the two solutions mentioned above, you might be thinking, ‘when would I possibly need a custom solution?’. While it does sound like you can meet all your needs with these two solutions, sometimes in the ideate phase we discover the purchasing journey may be too complex for out-the-box or even hybrid eCommerce sites. For example, some of our tourism clients have complex booking workflows or complex purchasing processes for products that require additional servicing or configuration.

While these examples could be taken care of using a hybrid eCommerce solution, the tipping point is when too much customisation is applied to an out-the-box solution. This can cause unnecessary complications further down the line and so in some cases, it’s better to build a custom solution from the start. This also allows you to create a customised journey for your user on their path to purchase, resulting in a better return on investment for your business.  

Custom eCommerce solutions are often faster, more streamlined and provide the user with a better experience. The result is a site that converts more users and ultimately drives revenue for our clients.

Marketing your eCommerce Site.

While these three solutions allow your customers to transact online, it’s important not to forget two other key, rapidly growing areas of eCommerce – Google shopping and social commerce.

Google shopping is an important part of any eCommerce site, allowing you to promote your products through PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising and even integrate your purchasing process on Google itself.

Social commerce is a massive industry and one we’ve seen grow rapidly, especially during lockdown. This allows you to market and sell your products directly on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. By doing so, you’re able to leverage your investment in your eCommerce site while simplifying product discovery and even purchasing for your users. We can help you identify these marketing channels during the workshop process and run the set-up of social commerce in parallel with the build of your eCommerce solution, allowing you to hit the market with your new eCommerce solution supported by a robust marketing strategy.

Check out some of our customised eCommerce solutions too, taking complicated purchasing workflows and turning them into simple, intuitive user journeys.