10 reasons why ecommerce site implementations go wrong

We set up InEcommerce because we’ve experienced way too many ecommerce design and development projects fail or fall way of course. Early planning and finding the right partners is essential for a problem free implementation.

Here are the top 10 reasons we’ve experienced as to why some of these projects go wrong:

1. Ecommerce Platform Experience: everyone has to start somewhere, but choosing the right development partner with experience in your platform of choice is essential for a smooth ride. Often partners are chosen because they are cheaper or have better sales people! Ultimately it’s down to how well they know the platform which will result in the best solution. Quite often however, cheaper is rarely better. With experience comes a price.

2. All in One Solution: there are some fantastic full service ecommerce agencies out there (that’s for another post), but often the best creative agency is not going to be the best development partner for you. The ones that can do a great job end-to-end are relatively rare and pretty well known and are easy to find. If you do choose an agency with strong design capability (it’s easy to assess that), then make sure you go deep on their tech expertise. And vice versa, if they’re strong in tech, you’ll know it – go deep on the design and make sure they’re not taking credit for other people’s creative work. Nothing worse than having to find a new agency half way through a project.

3. Stakeholder Support: everyone is keen to get going but without proper stakeholder approval and support from the business, then you’re going to have issues progressing very far. Make sure your agency or pm spends time doing stakeholder interviews and ensuring there is alignment on what the expectations are for the business.

4. Content: You have a fantastic looking site but your content is not ready. From general copy for the about us page to the all important product detail pages. Make sure there is a cohesive plan ready from the get go.

5. Domain Access: you’ll be amazed at the number of businesses that have no idea how to access their domain name! Some developer would have bought the domain in the early .com days and then moved on without passing down the info. Everybody scrambles at the last minute when it’s time to point the domain to the new site. Nightmare. Make sure you have full access to your domain at all times!

6. Payment Processing: Yes you will need a merchant account to process payments! Not such a big issue these days with the likes of Stripe etc but 1st time ecommerce implementations do get stuck on this. You can’t have an ecommerce website without a transaction. So make sure you’re sorted on this front early on especially if you want to use a traditional bank system for processing your online payments as these can be fiddly.

7. Resource Issues: You’ve picked a great platform. You have your designs. Everything is moving along nicely and then radio silence. You panic. You call your agency and you’re told that your lead developer has resigned and there are no resources to take over until a new hire is made. This is worst case scenario of course but often, agencies are working at 100% utilization and there is rarely spare resource. This can lead to some serious delays. Unfortunately it does happen and it’s completely out of your hands.

8. Rogue PM; the project manager is the centre point for all activities on your project. Having a great PM is essential to a successful site implementation. An inexperienced PM will cause you endless headaches and delays. Make sure you interview your PM and are happy they understand the nuances of the platform you are developing on and that they understand Ecommerce 😉

9. Scope Creep: it happens all the time. You start a project and as you go on, you realise you need more functionality. It’s natural. An inexperienced agency will all you a lot of flexibility which might seem great initially, but very often it will end in disaster. Your project will over run. Resources will run out of allocated time as they’ve been side tracked into creating all sorts of new features they weren’t planning. This ends up costing you more money and a lot of delays. A good PM will build in some flex but will also be firm with what is possible during the initial phase.

10. Quality Assurance: there is nothing worse then waiting patiently for your wonderful ecommerce site then to finally get your hands on it and its riddled with bugs! Building in a decent time for QA is essential to ensure you get something that’s been tested and it works. The more complex your site is the more time that’s needed to test. QA is essential and if this step is skipped, you’ll be uncovering bugs way after the site has gone live, which ends up in a terrible user experience.

Phew. Those are just some of the nightmare issues we’ve come across that delay an ecommerce project. Have you had any disasters in your time either as a client or an agency? We’d love to hear from your so we can share learnings and have a giggle.

If you are about to venture on a new project, make sure you check out our ecommerce directory for the top ecommerce agencies near you!

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