05 Jan 6 things to know before creating an e-shop
With rapid advancement of technologies, more and more companies move their business online. Here are several tips to follow before starting doing business on the internet.
1. Consult the specialists
The likelihood of project delay increases if both parties are not consulted. For example, it is crucial to know before starting the development project if ERP is adapted for integrations with e-shops or has compatible warehouse management logic.
It is a mistake to consider e-shop integrations with ERP functions as a last step. There are many complimentary functions between the two systems: accounting, warehouse management, stock management, pricing, invoice import/export, client database and more. The compatibility of these functions must be discussed before the development of e-shop begins.
2. Put your accounting in order
The e-shop must be attuned with company’s accounting and business management systems.
When creating a serious e-shop, a lot of data about stock will be taken directly from the ERP and reflected in the digital storefront. That is why it is essential to put all barcodes, prices and item descriptions in order.
3. Choose an open source platform
A platform for an e-shop can be either free (open source) or paid (commercial). Both will require tailoring to your needs.
The general recommendation is to choose an open source platform. Not only is it cheaper but also allows freedom from one provider, giving security from developers going bankrupt or in case of unmotivated price hikes.
The most popular platforms on the market, like PrestaShop or Magento, are also not always the best choice. All have a lot of functionality potential, but in reality, only a small portion gets used while very specific development orders become large and complicated projects. In cases like these the best choice is, for example, Drupal Commerce, as it is simpler and more adaptive.
4. Follow the 3 stages of development
After the ERP is set and technical platform is chosen, the e-shop development cycle begins. Usually, it can be divided into 3 main stages.
First stage is strategy and planning. In this stage, market is inspected, competitors are researched, client groups are defined and found, their market behaviour is observed. The entire business logic is fleshed out after this information is collected and processed.
Second stage is the technical development of the e-shop: tech solutions, design, adaptation to mobile devices, integrations with ERP, etc. During this stage, it becomes clear how good your ERP system and its developers are and how well it exchanges data with e-shop.
Third stage is post-launch support, development and client service. It is very important to not start with huge e-shop project. It’s much more advisable to start with small, basic e-shop functions and develop them step by step, with client behaviour and competitors’ moves in mind.
5. Choose an e-shop developer that understands marketing
It is very important that the e-shop developer would be well-versed not only in programming and design, but also marketing. Online marketing is essential for internet business and while building the e-shop, the developer must keep in mind the advertising nuances. This will result in more user-friendly and effective online marketing campaigns.
6. Prepare well
Launching an e-shop can be equated to opening a brick and mortar shop: necessary investments needs to be considered, have designated personnel in place and most importantly – need to constantly support and upgrade. Only when the preparation is done well, one can expect financial returns.