Simplicity is the key
Moving to a brand new site platform or the launch of an updated and revised website. Both of these concepts scream risk and the potential to damage brand awareness or customer experiences if implemented badly. However...
If they are carried out correctly they can achieve the intended goal: to build on the current customer experience or current site functionality. This is of utmost important because if you are not building and progressing forwards then there is the risk that you could be damaging the brand you have worked so hard to build.
When embarking on either of the scenarios mentioned at the outset, careful and realistic planning is necessary. This post will cover 2 key areas; requirements and e-commerce activity. Project planning methods, development methods etc are all very important too, but all of that hard work can be undone if these two points are neglected. Lets tackle them one by one…
What are you trying to achieve? Are you giving the site a face-lift, completely changing the platform or adding on significant functionality? Your objective will help you determine the amount of risk that your project will bring. A complete change of platform will inherently bring more risks as it will touch every aspect of an order/customer journey and will require significant amounts of testing to ensure that all of the functionality and expectations that the current site provides still exist. Considering a change in platform should deter you from considering additional functionality which exponentially increases the risk and length of testing. It may be tempting to contemplate the “super site” that can do it all and does it on the first time of asking but in real life that is rarely the case and a spanner in the works (even a very small spanner) can set projects back past their delivery date.
The simpler the project the less that can go wrong; it sounds like a simple concept and thats because it is. But keeping this truth in mind can help quickly deliver improvements to websites whether they are just front end improvements or site overhauls. Considering phased deployments and utilising MOSCOW prioritisation can help to keep projects on track for delivery dates should issues come up during development. A project delivered on time (even if what is delivered is simpler than you would like) is better than a complex project delivered badly and past the planned date. Think about it.
The site is live! Or soon will be. Right, time to hit the marketing button and go crazy. But before you press your finger on that button think about a few factors that may make you reconsider and hold off from firing those marketing cannons. How long has the site been live? Have all aspects of the site been tested in the live environment with real customers? Have you projected and estimated the response of certain campaigns, whether done by tv, email, facebook, twitter etc.? Driving traffic to your site without considering these questions can be damaging to your brand and can be difficult to recover from. Consider some of the consequences of some of those questions. The site has just gone live, the complete fulfillment process has not gone through all its aspects with live customers and 20 000 people are due to hit the site any moment from a campaign. A certain part of the order process could fail, a particular scenario could go unaccounted for or it could just be that the architecture and hosting of the site has not been geared up to handle such a spike of traffic. Allowing some time for the site to be tested in a live environment with real customers can help y
ou to confirm that the site is stable, that any added functionality is working and that any existing expectations from the old site have not regressed or broken.
Again the answer is to keep things simple.
There are obviously many factors to consider when embarking on projects of these types but keeping things simple (in planning, development and post launch activities) can save on time, money, reputation and heada