Here’s some questions you should be asking during the design process if you’re considering building a new website.
Businesses developing a new website without fixing their internal back-end systems first are ill-prepared for the increase in sales activity driven by a new site, says Don McLean, Fronde’s Australia Country Manager.
“Ask yourself if you’ve got the processes and people in place to be able to cope with double the orders,” says McLean. “Otherwise you’re putting yourself in a situation where you can collapse once the website goes live.”
You only have one chance on the internet, so it’s worth conducting research to see what other succesful eCommerce sites are doing. You might attract customers with a sparkling front end, but without the back-end processes, you’re in danger of potentially letting down customers when you can’t deliver.
“There’s no point in having the most glamorous shopfront without having the business processes to support it. Why would you try to attract someone to the shop if you didn’t have the right stock, or you’re not offering what they are looking for?
“As a customer I want to know I’m going to receive the item on time. Ironically, you’ll lose repeat customers and potential customers with a new site when you can’t fulfil that order properly.”
How can I prepare for increased traffic?
First, identify what functionality you will need, considering both the customer and the back-end area, and identifying what support you have in place.
Second, carefully consider whether building a new site is the best option for your business:
- Are your inventory controls lacking?
- Is identifying when to reorder stock a difficult task?
- Do you have the right level of stock on hand?
- Do you have trouble tracking and locating your stock?
- Do employees experience additional strain during peak business periods?
- Can you handle the level of customer service traffic and the extra queries coming in?
If you still feel confident that you’re covered, make sure you have enough working capital to keep everything going, recommends McLean.
How do I implement an integrated system?
Integrated systems will streamline the ordering process, so when someone orders online it is done automatically, says McLean.
In other words, the customer completes the transaction using the latest online payment technologies, stock is sent to the warehouse, the order is sent to accounts where you can track it, and customers are notified of their purchase.
“Otherwise it will become a manual process. If you have disparate systems – a website on one system, accounting on another, customer service on another platform – straight away you’re going to introduce errors.”
Should I be considering the cloud?
The cloud is a valuable tool to help sites bring together different systems – accounting, finance and customer relationship management (CRM) – into one complete business management system, says McLean.
Whatever the software or strategy you decide on, fixing any back-end issues first will help you work towards a more efficient new site that can handle any number of demands.