Although the way that I work with clients tends to differ with every project, I generally take on one of, or all of, the following roles in an eCommerce replatforming project:
- Hands-On eCommerce Solutions Support – I often provide hands-on support through platform migration projects, with areas I’d generally cover including platform setup and configuration, module configuration, data migration, merchandising support, managing things like shipping and tax and project management/direction.
- Requirements Gathering – I typically run a series of workshops to capture all functional requirements and build out a requirement and solution for each line item. This would generally consist of going through the native capabilities of a number of eCommerce platforms and the common customisations and third party solutions used, against each line item. I’d then enrich these requirements and, in many cases, support the decision process around the platform selected. In some cases, I’d also then run the RfP process, depending on requirements and the retailer.
- Platform Due-Diligence – I’ve also undertaken a number of projects focused on due-diligence around specific eCommerce platforms – with the objective of better understanding certain capabilities, levels of customisations required, technical strengths, and potential limitations.
One of the most common remits I’ve covered recently has been assisting in managing the requirements gathering, platform selection/validation and RfP/ITT phases, as detailed below.
I’ve been involved in eCommerce for around 10 years, working with online retailers of all sizes. Over the last 5 years, I’ve been focusing more on the technology and customer experience aspects, having previously worked more on strategy and customer acquisition.
My involvement in a replatforming project is completely bespoke to the needs of the client and I’m happy supporting specific areas (such as search, initial setup of specific modules or analytics, for example) or providing general ad-hoc support, as well as being involved in the areas listed above.
My company recently hired Paul to help us work through a complex e-commerce platform migration from Magento to Shopify Plus. From day one, he poured himself into the team and project and brought tremendous value.
Paul didn’t hesitate to dig into our requirements, help us organize and prioritize features, and advise us on best practices that we hadn’t previously considered. Despite the time zone difference (GMT+1 vs. PST), Paul worked around our schedule and made himself available when we needed him, even staying up and on-call nearly 48 hours straight to ensure a smooth launch.
What was most helpful throughout the duration of the project is Paul’s willingness to get hands-on and lead different aspects when we didn’t have the right resources internally. Additionally, he frequently tapped into his vast network of connections and partners in the e-commerce space that were instrumental in helping us find a resolution to several launch-critical blockers.
I would recommend Paul’s expertise without hesitation, and will definitely be leveraging his services again in the future.
– Kailey Gomez – Project Manager, Bulletproof
Examples of Areas Covered
- Requirements gathering/project scoping – creation of full functional specification
- Platform validation – determining for each platform whether requirements are supported natively or require a third party extension or a customisation, and then providing support in validating these and ultimately selecting a platform
- Hands-on project support – this might involve supporting internal teams, managing external resources, and getting hands-on with specific elements of the platform.
- Management of RfP processes – creating documentation, selecting vendors or integration partners, creating scoring criteria, and overall management of the process.
- Support through discovery – helping to assure best practice is followed in specific areas, and providing additional platform knowledge.
More Information on the process
A big part of this exercise is about defining what’s really needed within a project and deciding what can be built into a phase two or the post-launch workstream. Custom requirements often increase project costs disproportionately and also slow the project down, so I generally help define what is business-critical and what can be achieved natively or via a third party. Depending on the scope of the relationship, I’d also then map out what the solution could look like and potentially take on the implementation.
Often, another key area of input is looking at what can be delivered without needing development work, via native functionality – for example, rule-based category merchandising processes, better use of product data, improved reporting, automating specific functions, and better data capture.
In terms of billing, I’m very flexible and work on a mix of fixed scope contracts, ad hoc projects (tracking and invoicing based on time), a set retainer through the duration of the project and a combination of these methods. Another way I often work is quoting for the delivery of specific deliverables.