OrderDynamics Corporation provides on-demand eCommerce solutions to online merchants looking to grow online sales. The success of OrderDynamics is highly attributed to its ability to create superior website shopping experiences and powerful SaaS platform with Dynamic Merchandising tools to enable your sales and marketing plans. The OrderDynamics solution is designed for online merchants, and services different businesses such as multichannel retail, B2B, manufacturing.
With the capital markets tightening down, its clear that large up-front software and hardware purchasing will not be the first choice for many businesses. Developing your own eCommerce software is almost like building your own word processor or spreadsheet - why re-invent the wheel? On-Demand eCommerce or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution providers offer a powerful core eCommerce platform, on a redundant hosting network payable on a monthly basis. This reduces time-to-sales and allows development budgets to stay focused on creating software and components that enhance the unique value of your business.
Checkmark #1: Ability to Deliver
Lets just start off by saying any company you choose should have a successful track record. Online merchants should probe deeply to get a comfort level on the following from the eCommerce provider:
You don't need a 50 page document here, but it is important to do your due diligence and ensure the answers to these questions give you a comfort level that your potential new partner is not a fly-by-night operation. If you feel like there may be a fit, before you sign a contract talk to a Customer reference about their journey and experiences so far.
Important things to ask a reference:
References are a great piece of validation, but it should come towards the end of the process when you already know they can meet your needs.Checkmark #2: Find Alignment with your Company
Coming to grips with this is important. Your busienss will be more important to one provider than anothers and its critical to establish this alignment.
Checkmark #3: Your Top 3-5 Pain Points
Have you ever seen a typical eCommerce feature list? If the solution is feature rich, you're looking at possibly 500 or 1,000 lines of text. Not a great way to evaluate anything. So start by picking out 3-5 key things that are challenging today and that you want to specifically improve upon the day the new eCommerce solution goes live.
Any effective consultative sales engagement is about mapping "pain points" and business requirements to the solution and communicating this to the Customer. Whenever we do demos, we start off by asking what is most important to you and what would make the biggest positive impact on your business today. Another question we ask is: "What wastes your time the most, or causes you the most grief." Questions like this immediately identify where you need to improve and what tasks need to be delegated to an automated technology solution. If you can identify these key issues, and find a way to eliminate them, then you will have more free time to focus on growing your business.
Some examples we hear often include:
A simple way to evaluate a service providers sales process is if they're proactively working to understand your top needs. This will also tell you if they're really listening to you. After the product demo, you should have a good comfort that your immediate needs will be met.
Ultimately the final proposal should be reflective of these points.
Checkmark #4: Your Wish List
By limiting the scope of your immediate needs, you should then build a subsequent list of future plans or areas you would like to know more about. For example, SEO control may not be something that is a huge concern over some immediate challenges but may be a deal breaker if the provider cannot deliver this down the road.
This also gives you the opportunity to understand how the service provider responds to questions you may have. After all, they will be a provider of business-critical services for you - you need to know you can pick up the phone and ask them important questions and expect consultative responses. This process should be collaborative with clarifying questions to make sure they understand your needs prior to delivering you a solution.
What if they don't have the features?
If the feature you need is on your core list, you probably didn't hit check mark #3. However if it is something that you can wait for, then the question is a much larger issue. This is because it starts to push on a fundamental issue faced by many online merchants... future features that you may need to drive business - that's check mark #5.
Checkmark #5: Your Future
eCommerce is accelerating at light speeds and online merchants must be able to exploit all the possibilities the Internet may present over time. This includes things like:
This is a moving target so what you want to know here to meet check mark #5 is really some fundamental company values of your service provider:
Your future service provider should have a strategy in place to continuously drive future value to online merchants and their end shoppers. This should be a main part of their website, collateral, philosophy, team structure, and business plan.
If you're not getting the signs and signals that this is a core operating focus, you need to continue looking. We call this Dynamic Merchandising at OrderDynamics and this is reflected in our mission statement.
Its totally clear that your success is highly underpinned by the eCommerce solution you select. The right partner will recognize that you are very much a key to their success. This "partnership" approach isn't for all online merchants, albeit recommended, and the level of the solution will vary based on where they're at in their eCommerce Journey.
Will it ship in time?
Worried the gift you bought someone will arrive before the big day? So are your customers. So, take every opportunity to remind shoppers of shipping timelines. You can use cut off times or counters to incent purchase decisions and remind them that the products will arrive prior to the special day.