The relationship between a retailer and their ecommerce developer is an important element of any online store. Ensure the success of your online store by asking potential ecommerce developer partners the right questions. Questions like;
- What percentage of your deployments are on time and on budget? What are some reasons they are not?
- Do you have an escalation process if someone after hours can’t be reached?
- If resources leave, how are they replaced and what redundancies are in place to maintain knowledge of the environment?
As an ecommerce managed service provider, Tenzing provides infrastructure and services that improve performance and security for retailers. We work closely with retailers and system integrators on all of our deployments and while we’re not the best candidate to help you decide what agency has the best design chops, the decade we’ve spent working in ecommerce has given us some insight into what makes a productive relationship between a retailer and their ecommerce developer. Based on this experience, we’ve built this list of questions that retailers should ask potential development partners (but often don’t). It is important to ask potential partners questions related to;
SITE OWNERSHIP AND SECURITY
Make sure you’re clear about access and ownership of the site from day one – you would be surprised how often this is not clearly defined. It is also important to make sure that the integrator you work with takes security seriously.
Part of your evaluation should be to understand how the agency works, and how well that will fit with your team and partners. The ongoing relationship and communication between your teams are crucial to the project’s ongoing success. Depending on the scope of the project it might be a good idea to interview key resources or ask to review resumes.
Understanding how the team approaches their work will help you envision how you will work together. While smaller agencies may not have a substantial documented process, they should at least be able to explain their processes and approach. Consider how their processes will work with your internal team and other stakeholders.
The success of your site isn’t based on how good it looks on day one, but rather on how well it performs over time and how well you can work with the development and design agency to evolve the site as needed. Make sure you understand how this will work before deciding on a vendor.
CHANGE AND RELEASE MANAGEMENT
Site updates and changes can be stressful tasks if not handled correctly. As a frequent cause of downtime and performance issues it is in your best interest to understand how the agency approaches updates and how they avoid issues.
It goes without saying that you’ll ask for customer references and sample works, but go one step further and ask your ecommerce developer for performance metrics like site uptime and speed.