The year is half over. But that still means there’s plenty of time to accomplish your e-commerce goals for 2019 even if it means you need to re-set. While you may be tight on time to get a major re-platforming completed before your B2C holiday shopping season and while you will certainly need some of 2020 to migrate a complex B2B catalog with thousands of complex SKUs and many integrations, there is still a lot you can get done this year. Here’s a framework for re-setting your goals and understanding what’s achievable for the remainder of 2019:
Many B2C e-commerce merchants only have until October 31 before holiday marketing and sales kick in. Now is a great time to reset goals and put achievable functionality within your reach. Consider having a close collaboration / working session with your development team as a way to identify an MVP release that is achievable, secure, and still a positive outcome for your customer experience. Here’s a practical agenda to use when identifying what you want to include in your MVP:
- Start by defining up your comprehensive list of requirements. This could be a homework assignment for all team members to come prepared, which would streamline the meeting itself.
- As a team, review the list of requirements and use a ranking system to divide into “Must Haves,” “Want to Haves,” and “Phase 2.” The MoSCoW rating system is a useful guideline.
- For the “Must Haves” rank them by priority and identify all those functional requirements that the development team is certain it can complete, test, and release on time.
- If there are “Must Haves” that need to be cut from the MVP, discuss the feasibility of a post-launch sprint that can be completed in time to support the core 2 weeks of the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and December 10.
- Set up the remaining functionality in a series of priorities project sprints where development can start or wait until the holiday season is over (depending upon resource availability).
2. Get Planning – It’s Never Too Late!
Some merchants can get stuck in an operating rut, realizing that there isn’t enough time left in the year to get a migration or redesign project started and completed. Other merchants know that technology changes are imminent (upgrades, replatforms etc including addressing issues like the sunsetting of Magento 1 in 2020). Instead of getting “stuck” create a plan that takes into account both internal and external factors. Include your internal development teams or vendors and create a detailed plan that everyone feels comfortable committing to. Tag a team member to be responsible for this plan and if possible it should be that person’s key responsibility for the duration of the plan.
3. Stop Putting Off That Upgrade – It’s Not Sexy but It’s a Goal You Can Achieve in ‘19!
Some e-Commerce merchants are having tremendous success but still need to figure out how to migrate to a new platform or upgrade to a new version because of expiration or sunsetting issues. Magento 1.X versions are all being sunset for support in one year so merchants have exactly 12 months to deal with the problem or they put their businesses at risk – especially in the area of security.
If your business is humming along successfully and your team doesn’t feel the need to redesign a website or integrate new catalog experiences think about completing an upgrade but keep the scope simplified by:
- Keep the catalog structure the same
- Limit new functionality to that provided “out of the box” in the new platform
- Limit the integrations to those that currently exist
- Limit any design modifications to a common theme that the new platform utilizes
Merchants impacted by the sunsetting of Magento 1.X would do well to keep these guidelines in place if they do not start their projects soon. Once successfully migrated to the newer version of the platform, you can iterate quickly to enhance the features and functionality beyond what you relaunched with. This approach ensures that you keep your business thriving with minimum risk.
- Stuck Making a Platform Decision? Consider a POC approach
We have observed a number of clients and prospects taking a POC approach. Although it can add time to a major project, going through an evaluation of platform finalists by paying to have them execute a “proof of concept” can help to reduce risk and increase buy-in. The risk is reduced by asking the participating platforms / SI’s to demonstrate how the platform would work and seeing specific functionality in action without having to imagine or guess what it will perform like after a hefty investment. There is still plenty of time to complete POC evaluations this year! Here at Accorin we can spin up Magento POCs with some customization in a couple of weeks.
The year is half over but if you engage in planning sessions with your team(s) now, there are a number of ways you can reset your plan to achieve goals in the months that remain in 2019. We have a tried, tested and proven methodology to achieve success when faced with this type of business challenge. Get in touch to discuss how we can help get you ready for holiday shopping season.