Today, we’ll be talking to Henrik Feld-Jakobsen (Director of Strategy, Vaimo) to hear more about our different approaches to building an eCommerce store. You’ll get a behind the scenes look at what goes into this process, and why it differs depending on your goals, and how it helps your business succeed.
Two Different Ways to Launch your Ecommerce Store
Hi Henrik, welcome and thanks for joining us on Vaimo’s blog! To begin, can you outline Vaimo’s approach to eCommerce builds, and how this sets up our clients for success?
Today’s eCommerce landscape is unpredictable, and businesses are having to respond to many external events and factors. It’s with this in mind that we developed two distinct eCommerce tracks for our clients. We call them the ‘Classic Project Approach’ and the ‘Rapid Launch Approach’. Business goals are often diverse (depending on maturity, industry, etc.), and it’s through these different approaches that we can tailor the build to fit our clients’ interests.
‘Rapid Launch’ would suggest something faster than a ‘Classic Approach’… What’s the difference between the two?
The Rapid Launch concentrates on launching a site in phases. Yes, of course, this can mean a fast launch, but it also means a launch focused on best practices from the start rather than including all the bells and whistles automatically.
A helpful analogy is using a motorcycle to commute. Initially, a pushbike would be sufficient to cover the daily journey and is an improvement over the user’s current journey. This represents phase 1, or the Minimum Viable Product. As they start to use the bicycle more, they realise an electric motor would enhance their journey. Over time, they can add larger brakes and tyres, a more comfortable seat and a petrol engine until their pushbike becomes a motorcycle.
The key to the rapid launch approach is that each iteration or phase represents an improvement over the last. The budget is also released gradually to achieve the end goal, without having to throw away any previous work. The user also benefits from tailoring the solution based on their use of it which, in the case of eCommerce, is done with customer data, and being able to learn the solution in a gradual, controlled way. In the case of eCommerce, this is phased operational growth.
On the other hand, with a Classic Project Approach, you need to capture as many of the requirements in the initial launch as possible. To continue with the motorcycle analogy, the nature of your commute means that the minimum viable product is the motorbike itself. In essence, the difference between both projects equates to how far you want to go in that initial investment.
Before we explore the mechanics of each process, why would businesses choose one option over the other? What scenarios work best for each?
Both approaches are not limited to a particular company. It’s important to note that. But there are different interests among companies that would lead them to choose one approach over the other. For instance, it’s the company’s preference to launch a new site in phases if they want to take advantage of a data-driven approach to customer experience (CX), as well as the operational benefits of allowing their internal team to scale-up and learn the solution in line with the phasing.
Additionally, they might not want to wait for the whole duration of a phased approach to implement everything they need. In this case, this company might opt for the Classic Project Approach, where the new site launch must offer functional parity with what they currently have, from day one.
A rapid launch means that you are focused on capturing only a specific part of your market from the start — the part that holds the most value for your company. A client may want to try out a direct-to-consumer model, where out-of-the-box functionality and best practice designs are sufficient to test a proof of concept. The focus here is on a faster feedback cycle and launching with the bare minimum to realise the business case, creating value earlier and faster. Once completed, this can be followed by further incremental launches in an agile approach.
Considering what you just mentioned, let’s say a company chooses a Rapid Launch Approach — could you lay out the benefits they’d experience from taking this route?
Sure, the client will see a significant benefit in their customer experience. Sometimes when launching a large-scale project on the classic approach, you’re making some assumptions about how your customer will use your site. When launching in phases, you’re harmonising your digital purchasing experience with their needs along the way as they use your site. So, you take a data-driven approach to improve CX from the beginning.
A company taking this route can expect their budget to be lower and their timeline to be shorter. Since a phased approach concentrates best practices, we can implement them faster. For this reason, the phased launch emphasises the highest ROI from the start and allows for a low initial investment and break-even point on your investment.
Lastly, the operational side of the client’s business sees benefits. We’re implementing things, in many cases, that are the industry standard. So, your team avoids diving into a sea of complexity right away. In the phased approach, your team learns from Vaimo’s experience and also gets the chance to build expertise throughout the phased launches.
A big thanks to Henrik for joining us on the blog today. If you’d like to learn more about what approach is right for your eCommerce strategy, then simply reach out to a member of our team today!