eCommerce sales skyrocketed in 2020. In fact, the pandemic accelerated the shift toward eCommerce close to five years, according to a recent study by IBM.
While some will go back to pre-pandemic shopping habits, many will stick with what they have learned this past year. With eCommerce representing a larger piece of the bottom line, it’s important to re-evaluate your current solution and understand the total cost of ownership (TCO). That means looking beyond the implementation cost and adding up all costs- including those to execute and manage your eCommerce business in the future.
The true value of your eCommerce platform comes from measuring, learning, and adapting it on an ongoing basis as your business evolves.
Your eCommerce solution is part of your organization. It will grow and evolve over time, just like the rest of your business. A realistic cost evaluation will account for not only implementation but ongoing innovation, maintenance, and operations. While each business will vary based on its vision and requirements, the majority of costs fall on these items:
Many leaders fail to understand that while some of these seem minuscule compared to the implementation itself, they actually play essential roles. Accounting or not accounting them can be the success or failure of the delivery of your eCommerce platform. Make sure to offer each a reasonable allowance and track their likely impact to give yourself a realistic cost evaluation and prevent any nasty surprises.
When considering the cost of an eCommerce platform implementation you will also want to account for non-functional requirements and policies. Consider the security approach taken by the technologies and your implementation partners. Also, look into support costs and what might is included in the future. Support is available in two forms, help when you have a problem (reactive) and help mitigating problems before they happen (proactive). Make sure you know what you have on your side.
Beyond the items listed above are more mainstream costs to consider.
■ Hosting/Cloud Costs: Network bandwidth charges can be variable based on traffic. Add-on costs can include content delivery networks and security products such as DDOS protection.
■ Vision and Design Costs: Working with experts to define your vision and design the solution and supporting architecture.
■ Business Readiness: This includes setting up and priming the eCommerce system with your data, updating your branding, and making sure your team is trained on the new eCommerce platform.
■ Maintenance Costs: The ongoing costs of supporting the solution can vary for each business. Generally, this means hosting and support fees.
■ Personnel Costs: This is the cost of staff to manage the system day-to-day. Consider those in customer service, merchandising products on the platform, setting up promotions, data analytics, and more.
Determining the TCO for your eCommerce solution is much more than your implementation cost. By taking time to account for all the facets of the solution, you will feel more confident about your investment.
Echidna remains committed to our customers to understand their business in order to design modern commerce engines that will power their next phase of growth and innovation. Our goal is to help our clients deliver top-notch quality on a predictable schedule and at an affordable rate. If you are looking to make changes to your eCommerce platform, connect with us to start a conversation.