The eCommerce industry is experiencing extremely rapid growth. Revenue is skyrocketing, large replatforms continue, innovative new features launch regularly, and end-consumer expectations are higher than ever before (think buy online, pickup in store or BOPIS). This industry growth was only accelerated more by COVID in 2020.
It is likely your organization has been doing ecommerce for quite a while, well before this spike in innovation. Maybe you’ve done a replatform and have technical debt, or maybe you are on systems that are outdated or heavily customized. Regardless of your stage in the our client lifecycle (stabilization, optimization, innovation), if you’ve been doing things more than 2-3 years, now is the time to take a look and see if your ecosystem is still working.
Is there a better way to meet the needs of end consumers? Are you going to need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to customize features that are in most commerce platforms? Your team should be having a quarterly review, a yearly review, and roadmap planning to determine how you can keep up with the innovation in our industry. Ask questions about your current processes and tools and simplify where you can.
We have found that leveraging platform features vs. customizations can save a lot of custom development costs. In some cases, this can result in a complete replatform. At CQL, we like to ask “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” meaning, is the ROI of a new feature or project really worth the price of the customization? Is there a better, smarter, more efficient way to achieve a better future state than today?
Here are two examples of things you can challenge:
- Process driven examples. These examples include looking at your current “processes” and determining what is working, what’s not, and what the ideal solution would be for your organization. For example, you may not have a PIM today, and realize in discovery that you need a PIM. Maybe you need a change from Sovos to Avalara for your tax provider. Maybe you want to improve your returns process with more self-service return functionality.
- Feature set examples. These examples include looking at your feature requirements and determining what features are needed and where. For example, think about product cards on a PLP and how you can simplify the product cards. You may need to have a “add to wishlist” button and an “add to cart” button. If that functionality is out-of-the-box, no customizations are needed. But if it is custom, it might be time to add tracking to your site to confirm if shoppers are adding products to their wish list directly from the PDP or the adding products directly to their cart from the PLP. Track and measure to determine if the custom route is worth the investment.
As you look at your quarterly and yearly plan, prioritize new innovations based on ROI. It never hurts to measure and challenge the way you’ve done things in the past; it could end up saving you a lot of money.