Not all ecommerce projects fit into a nice little box. Some industries have very complex sales and require advanced features like product configurators, bundling of products, accessories and services that need heavy customization. The telecommunications industry is a perfect example. For telcos with mobile service offerings, an ecommerce platform must have the ability to support a complex sale where the customer selects a phone, a rate plan, a term length, additional services such as text messaging and caller ID, product accessories like a case or Bluetooth headset and even options like "I want to keep my own phone number" or "I don't want my number to appear on caller ID." It's possible that no two product configurations are exactly the same.
The ecommerce platform must also support special promotions and customer service like upgrading a plan, renewing a contract, adding services or purchasing an additional handset. And because there are so many steps the customer has to take, a usable site is crucial to converting new customers and keeping existing ones. Because competition is fierce, having unique features is highly important to telcos to be competitive. If you recall our webinar The New Ecommerce Dilemma: Buy, Build, or Leverage?, organizations where the ecommerce solution required is complex, unique, requires heavy integration with other systems and is of high strategic importance -- chances are slim an out-of-the-box commerce platform is going to have features exactly as you want them nor the ability to extend them to set you apart from your competition. Such a project requires a completely in house build, or an ecommerce framework that gives you a jumpstart with the basic features you need (faster time to market than build from scratch) and the ability to customize the daylights out of them.
This was the case of Telus, a leading telco here in Canada. Telusmobility.com went live a couple weeks ago on the Elastic Path platform. Telus chose Elastic Path's ecommerce framework to build its custom solution. Here's a little "Show and Telus" of what they built with our framework. A lot of these features I have never seen before on any other sites.
Email/RSS subscribers, can't see video? View this post on Get Elastic. Highlights There's many paths a customer might take to build a bundle, here I demonstrate starting with a plan. After you choose your plan, you're notified that your cart is updated, and there's a prompt to take the next step: add a phone. If you don't know where to start finding a phone, there's a phone-finder tool that filters the available phones based on the features you want (about 1 minute into the video). You can view a gallery of product images by scrolling horizontally, which means less clicks to see multiple product views. You can also see 360 degree views. Because handset prices depend on the length of your contract term, each handset requires a choice of terms and prices. Once you select your handset, the cart notification appears again with a summary of everything in your cart and links to next steps: add services or accessories. If you select accessories, the system remembers which handset you selected and filters compatible accessories automatically. You can edit your contract term right in the cart summary, and line items are separated into categories: Phone, Rate Plan, Services, Activation Fee and Accessories. Each category has its own return to shopping link. How About Your Ecommerce Project Requirements? Whether you're enterprise, mid-market or a mom and pop shop, your ecommerce project is going to have certain requirements. It's crucial to know your requirements before you go shopping for an ecommerce vendor. The framework isn't a fit for everybody, and just as Software as a Service doesn't serve all needs. Need guidance sorting out your project requirements? Don't miss our next webinar with Fit For Commerce's Bernardine Wu: Requirements Diligence: The Cornerstone to an eCommerce Project's Success. This webinar will discuss: • How to build a comprehensive requirements set • How to incorporate workflow design and best practices into your requirements • How to use benchmarking and market data to justify your requirements • How to distinguish between a must-have vs. should-have vs. nice-to-have It's happening Tuesday, June 30 at 9am PST, 12pm EST. We hope you'll join us. If you missed today's webinar Multichannel 2.0: Are you ready for the next generation of commerce channels?, stay tuned for the blog recap and webinar replay coming Friday.