Ecommerce planning requires a dedicated approach to scope and bound the functional requirements of the business. An organizations web presence will depend on its goals and objectives. This in turn will define the technology and platform required for the execution stages, the marketing initiatives, support personnel and ancillary requirements to bring the plan to fruition.
Before you commence the build stage it is important to have a written ecommerce project plan. This includes undertaking feasibility, requirements and business evaluation. The project should be shaped to integrate with existing business processes. You therefore need to determine the extent of any back office integration or legacy system integration. The design and technology used will accommodate business process requirements. For example, a comprehensive online store may be required to interface with an existing inventory management system. It is important to define business requirements adequately because it will be used by developers to interpret the ecommerce project plan and for reference during the testing phase to check that the project implementation meets the original stakeholder objectives.
The interface design of ecommerce planning will need to accommodate the project functional and end user requirements. Online ecommerce projects have extensive database integration and must trade off the design to be search engine friendly. The layout is usually first conceptualized using a series of screen shots to form a visual representation of the project. Company branding defines the look and feel of the interface. There are usually some tradeoffs that take place during this stage to meet the multiple competing requirements for the project.
The choice of platform used will usually depend on what is supported internally within the organization or externally by the web development company. The choice of payment gateway provider will also factor into the development process. The development team responsible for coding the project needs to have a technical document that defines the requirements of the project. The ecommerce plan needs to be tightly defined specification wise and interpretation wise so that costly overruns are avoided during the implementations stage.
When the interface and coding has been finalized, extensive functional, usability and security testing is undertaken. This is to check that the site is robust, meets the project goals and objectives and can handle stress and platform tests. The test objectives are specified in the ecommerce plan. When final adjustments have been made, the project is deployed.
The marketing initiatives of the ecommerce plan will become important after the project has been launched. A separate and detailed plan will need to be developed for this and the company now needs to switch from the development mode to the promotion mode.