For large organizations tasked with developing an ecommerce presence, the first step is strategic vendor selection. Picking the right development partners is critical to a successful ecommerce initiative. But how does a business navigate the complex landscape of vendors to make sure they’re getting the best solution for their needs?
At Clouda, we believe every organization has unique ecommerce needs, and aligning those with the right vendor can be difficult. That’s why we’ve put together this tech guide. It’s designed to help your business find the perfect eCommerce development partner and navigate the vendor selection process.
We’ll start by exploring the three most important factors to consider when evaluating vendors: project scope, resources, and capabilities. Then, we’ll jump into the process itself, complete with an eight–step checklist for vendor selection. Finally, we’ll cover the benefits of vendor partnerships, and discuss best practices for creating a successful collaboration.
The first step in the vendor selection process is evaluating the project scope.
It might seem obvious, but if your vendor doesn’t offer the required services—or the level of service needed—your ecommerce project will suffer.
While evaluating the project scope, look for vendors that provide an appropriate level of service for the project at hand. Ask specific questions to each vendor—like what processes and frameworks they use, and how they handle deadlines—so you can make sure your scope is a good fit.
An ecommerce project requires a lot of resources. Look for vendors who have the people and technology to meet your business’ expectations and timeline.
Make sure the vendors you’re considering have enough personnel and other resources to develop and maintain your ecommerce project now, and in the future. Remember to consider support services as well: Ask potential vendors if they provide deal with issues like customer service, security, and technical support.
It’s just as important to assess a technology provider’s capabilities as it is their resources. You want to make sure the vendor you select has the in–house expertise to deliver the project in a timely, efficient manner.
Evaluate each vendor’s reputation and portfolio to gauge their past experiences. Ask to see their latest ecommerce project and have their team further describe the development process. This will provide a better understanding of the vendor’s development style and the kind of results they can produce.
Vendor Selection Process
Now that you’ve determined the project scope, resources, and capabilities of potential vendors, you’re ready to start the selection process. Here’s a streamlined eight–step checklist you can use to help make your decision easier.
1. Create timelines and project expectations.
2. Develop a list of potential vendors.
3. Start initial conversations with those vendors.
4. Narrow down the list to a few top contenders.
5. Ask the finalists for presentations and proposals.
6. Conduct in–depth interviews with vendors.
7. Finalize negotiations with a selected vendor.
8. Sign a contract and move forward with the development process.
Benefits of Partnering With a Vendor
When selecting the right vendor for your project, you’re also selecting a partner that can provide your organization with long–lasting value. A vendor can provide insights on best practices, processes, and technologies that may be employed to make your project successful.
Also, by selecting a vendor with proven success and experience, your business will experience greater cost savings due to reduced risks and accelerated development cycles.
Best Practices for Vendor Collaboration
Establishing a successful vendor partnership requires clear communication and a shared understanding of goals. Make sure to discuss the project scope, workflow, and technology with the vendor. You should also discuss the vendor’s technical capabilities and how they intersect with your business needs.
Check in with your vendor on a regular basis to ensure that the project is on track. And don’t forget to celebrate success together! When the hard work is done, take the time to acknowledge the project and the team that made it happen.
Vendor selection is a critical step in the ecommerce development process. If handled properly, it can set the stage for a successful long–term partnership. With this guide, you should be better equipped to navigate the vendor selection process and create a powerful, balanced partnership for your next ecommerce project.