August 3rd, 2008 | 3 MIN READ

How to Choose eCommerce Technology

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Jason Billingsley caught up with a number of ecommerce vendors and consultants at Internet Retailer 2008 in Chicago last June, including this month’s webinar guest, Bernardine Wu. Bernardine is the founder and CEO of FitForCommerce. FitForCommerce is an ecommerce consulting and coaching firm that helps online retailers understand their ecommerce project requirements, and match them up with vendors and solution providers that best fit those requirements. In short, when you’re planning a redesign, re-evaluating your ecommerce platform or other technology solutions, FitForCommerce helps you figure out “what you need and where to find it.” On August 14, Bernardine will be presenting The Art & Science of Choosing Ecommerce Technology. She’ll be with us for a full hour, including time for attendee questions. Bernardine shared a lot of good advice already in her quickie 4:30 minute interview with Jason:

Here's a summary of the interview: (these are not exact quotes)

What is the number one ecommerce innovation?

Make sure you have your basics covered first. There are lots of great bells and whistles 360 degree views, blogging and rich imaging, but first you need to nail your basics: SEO, SEM, a functioning site, checkout with as few clicks as possible, strong branding, proper use of email and trigger emails and crisp and clean product images.

What would you tell someone who is re-platforming and not sure what process to take?

Do your due diligence! You wouldn’t buy a stock or take a job without doing your homework. The same goes for choosing an ecommerce platform. Due diligence means kicking the tires and asking the tough questions. (FitForCommerce uses a list of 2,000 questions). It’s like going on eHarmony and choosing a mate. The devil’s in the details. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself 3 months into a project and realizing oops, something wasn’t there.

What about ecommerce RFPs?

RFPs are like religion – some people love them and some hate them. To be done well, you need to know the beginning with the end in mind. Know your requirements and what kind of site you want. Have your requirements written out, all the specs for your site and that’s your RFP. All the providers that you talk to should be able to look at your requirements and tell if you’re a fit for their solution or not.

When writing an RFP, should you do it in house or with a consultant?

Looking for outside help is important. Leveraging someone else’s expertise, an outside party who can handle the legwork can make things as painless as possible. They can also advise you on the right delivery model? On-demand, licensed software or a hosted hybrid. So make sure you don't miss this webinar. Even if you're not in the market for new technology today, chances are you will be within the next couple of years.

You will learn:

  • How to figure out what your eCommerce strategy and needs really are
  • How to research eCommerce best practices and technologies
  • How to define and document your requirements
  • How to assess the responses from the eCommerce solution providers; compare apples to apples
  • How to select from your ‘short list’

Plus, just for registering you'll also receive all 30 of FitForCommerce’s “eCommerce Best Practices” for eCommerce Platforms, Web Analytics and Search Engine Marketing, to name a few. After you attend, you will also receive all 30 of FitForCommerce’s “eCommerce Key Questions” to assist you in assessing eCommerce solution providers.

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