The importance of a solid brief

When an eCommerce project fails, it is usually down to a combination of inadequate briefing leading to a misleading specification, which is then exceedingly difficult to manage as a project. When this happens, you will be aiming at the wrong target, and the result can be detrimental to your business.

It is not unusual that people do not fully understand how to effectively write a brief that leads to a good quality eCommerce specification. There are so many things that you must consider, first and foremost are the people with interest in the project, your stakeholders. Typically, website development briefs are constructed by either the IT department or marketing and often just one person in that department. The reality is many stakeholders have a legitimate interest in the successful delivery of an eCommerce project.

Helping you develop a meaningful brief

The sheer scale of an eCommerce deployment necessitates broad engagement and the commitment of time and resource. The development of a skilled team that is empowered and represented at the most senior level in the business is a core element of successful delivery. Without senior team sponsorship, you will often see that resource is hard to come by at the right time.

This document provides a wide range of prompts and discussion points that will assist with gathering what you need to develop a meaningful brief leading to an accurate eCommerce project specification.

More than just functionality and design

In this document, you will be encouraged to assess:

  • Who are you as a business, and what are the core business objectives?

Purpose brings clarity to the extended team. What is it that you sell to whom and where? And of course, how much do you need to sell that will help define an appropriately capable platform.

  • Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved in the eCommerce project?

Their level of involvement will vary, but their engagement and awareness are essential.

  • What skills are required across the project not only to deliver the project but to use what is provided effectively to facilitate the business?
  • Consider your customers and what it is that they need.

This is an opportunity to ensure that they are brilliantly serviced and at the forefront of what you do.

  • What is it that your competitors do well, and how can that be equalled or exceeded?

You might consider functionality, service, and marketing as key elements here.

  • A complex eCommerce system will have dependencies and dependents.

Will they impose constraints or unlock extended capability with the removal of previous restrictions?

A living document that regular updates

As we often mention, understanding your current and potential product set has considerable bearing on the solution that would be most beneficial for your business objectives. This also leads to considerations around data, descriptions, imagery, and transactions. It’s an important piece of work.

But there’s more that needs to be considered, including:

  • Where you trade regionally and what marketplaces you interact with – two of the key elements of platform decisions.
  • Can you effectively administrate your eCommerce function with your platform of choice?

Our checklist will be a living document and will be regularly updated. Please keep checking back for updates and get in touch with us for more help and guidance on how to write an eCommerce specification successfully and effectively.

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