by Amba Wilkes
You may have already spotted the signs that your eCommerce store needs updating. It could be slow site speed, limiting functionality, out-of-date branding, unresponsive pages or it may simply not support your objectives anymore. Alternatively, you could just be getting started in eCommerce or looking for a profitable route to market with a DTC website.
But for many brands, these issues don’t automatically lead to budget being released to make the necessary changes. This is when a solid business case is needed.
How do you convince stakeholders that investing in your online presence is worth the cost? In this blog, we explain why a strong business case is a must-have to get your web project started and how you can go about building a business case you can be confident in.
a business case: why it’s important.
A business case is thefirst step in getting your web project underway. Building an accurate business case will get you thinking about those all-important project considerations such as:
- challenges you’re experiencing
- the opportunities available
- technical solutions
- the impact on the wider business
The insight gathered from these areas can also uncover answers to important questions which will help you gather the support and budget you need. A considered business case can demonstrate the value of the project, present solid evidence to justify costs such as an increase in conversions and highlight the benefits the improvements will deliver to internal and external users.
how to build a business case.
understand why the project is needed.
Being able to confidently and succinctly explain why the project is needed is the first step in creating your business case. To get to this point you need to understand exactly what it is you need your website to do for your business.
Consider questions like these to get you on the right track:
- who are your internal and external users?
- what are their needs?
- what are your objectives?
- what challenges are you experiencing?
- what are the priorities?
- who needs to be involved in the project?
These are important questions that can be tricky to answer – particularly with multiple stakeholders to consider. In this case, an external agency can often be well positioned to guide you through a discovery process to figure out exactly what your needs are.
Our discovery process is split into four themes covering your strategy, customer journey, design and UX and technical considerations. This research is followed by an in-depth discovery workshop on your brand, your existing website and where you ideally want it to be, and your industry to fully understand the size of the project, and determine budgets and timescales.
Between this extensive research, user behaviour analysis, Google Analytics data and competitor research, we can get the foundations for your web project in place.
Starting with the research allows you to build a more convincing business case which will help you manage expectations across the board.
For example, the discovery process may have uncovered that you actually need a rebuild instead of a redesign. The insight generated from the research will give you a much clearer idea of the budget and resource needed to do this. You could even put together a must-have and a nice-to-have version to present to management.
If the decision is made to go with the minimal viable product (MVP), this provides an opportunity for future phases that can be worked through with a proactive retainer plan.
your ecommerce platform choices.
Your platform choice is a big part of success and should underpin your business case. Your business case will be stronger if you can propose a platform choice, costings and timescales in advance of questions being asked.
It’s important that your choice is right for your business today and in the future, offering the features and ability to scale with your growth plans. When choosing the right platform for your eCommerce store, there are a few areas we would recommend considering so you can approach this part of your business case with ease:
- your objectives: With room to grow, you won’t be limited by your platform so be sure to consider what you need now and what you could need in the future.
- platform support: What support does the platform offer? Some choose to outsource their support which can make it hard to get the help you need when you need it. Many businesses find peace knowing there’s a person at the end of the phone, email or live chat when you need them.
- scalability: Can your platform cope with high traffic demands? Or the ability to cater to different currencies and regions? Your platform should be capable of handling traffic influxes without your site crashing.
- security: Most platforms today offer comprehensive security standards. But it’s important to be aware if you’re responsible for maintaining these security processes or whether they’re looked after by the provider.
- payment gateways: A payment gateway acts as the bridge between the customer and your business. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay for your products or services in a secure, fast manner. Use trustworthy, reputable providers such as Klarna, PayPal or Apple Pay to help with this.
- your users: Who will be using the platform and what will they be using it for? It’s important to think about this from your external and internal users’ points of view as your website needs to be capable of supporting both.
If you have no idea where to begin with your platform choice, you might want to lean on the support of a web agency to help you out.
how an agency can support you in building a business case.
Forming a business case that’s convincing, accurate and realistic can be too much for one person to handle. Taking on the opinions and expectations of multiple stakeholders alongside budget and timescale considerations can make the whole task feel overwhelming. But this is where an agency could help.
Many businesses fall into the trap of thinking they already need to have internal sign-off before engaging with an agency to get a project underway. However, engaging with an agency in the early stages can be a great help to how your project plays out.
An experienced agency will have the insight and knowledge to support you in crafting your business case as well as guide you through a process that helps you understand exactly what you need from your site. Drawing upon our retail background, we get to the bottom of what you need and what your customers want. As a committed agency, we invest, really getting to grips with your brand and what you want to achieve.
Whether you want to replatform to Shopify, undertake a complete redesign or performance improvements are needed, we can help. Get in touch to chat with our team of eCommerce experts to find out how we can help you create an online store designed for your business and your customers. Or take a look at our work to see who has trusted us in delivering their eCommerce website on the Shopify platform.