If you want to grow your online business your relationship with your development team or your agency is crucial. The performance of your ecommerce website is everything. It needs to be fast, have reliable hosting, to use a CDN (content delivery network), be stable and have very little down time. And without a strong working relationship with your developer it can be a major headache for your business. Running an online store is more than simply selling product - there is a cost to managing and maintaining an ecommerce website and you do have to be prepared to invest in the site and your business to truly scale and grow. It is the foundation for your online store and if it doesn't work your customers experience will be clunky.
When you work closely and collaboratively with an ecommerce development partner and you have a strong site, you have technical support when you need it and you have a development roadmap to take you where you need, it will not only take the stress away for you and leave you time to focus on other things, but it will also enable your marketing team to do their job well and become a place your customers love to visit and make purchases from or contact you. When you can't connect your websites plumbing it will hamstring your marketing and your growth.
How do you build a trusting and collaborative relationship with your website developers?
Here are 3 key important things we believe are key to cultivating a strong partnership -
Let’s take a deeper look at what these mean and why they are so important.
The very first things your ecommerce website development partner needs to understand is where you are with the current business and what your future goals are. This matters because it will influence platform recommendations, budgets and the future state for your business.
Questions to answer include things like:
By fully understanding the current business and future plans your team can provide the appropriate level of support and work with you to move your business forward as you grow. If you’re just starting out you might want your developers to be there on as and when needed business but as you grow you will likely find you want a development roadmap to plan out projects as your business matures.
As with most things in life the ability to talk through issues calmly and productively is the most crucial element to working well together. With open and honest dialog from both sides and a huge amount of transparency you will build up true trust and engage in a mature relationship where both sides accept there will be wins and at times failures. Straight shooting and honesty will help you avoid the costly mistakes that others have made.
Things can and do happen with websites and it’s the ability to problem solve that fix or find alternative solutions that is key to a beautiful partnership where your business grows in the way you want.
It’s surprising how reluctant business owners are to share crucial information and how frequently development partners will not give you the full picture of a situation. This results in frustration from both sides and creates barriers that needn't be there.
In our experience glossing over the truth rarely works - you can’t solve problems together when there isn’t transparency or trust. It’s a big issue and we regularly talk with business owners who have ended up in difficult situations because of this very thing!
Risk is something all business owners have to accept and that includes technology and websites. Businesses who accept risk and accept that they will have to invest in their website or their greater technology stack and are in it for the long term generally have a better chance of reaching their goals.
Risk also means willingness to invest the business for growth and push to the next level. You can't find growth when your technology stack doesn't work and rather than reviewing website maintenance and development work as an expense it needs to become part of your risk assessment.
Don't let the growth of your business online be held back because you are unwilling to accept the risks of running a profitable online store.
Fast, secure and managed hosting needs to underpin your website. While many platforms like Shopify have this covered from the get go however that doesn’t mean you may run into problems. And this is where a managed service comes into play. When it’s managed you have someone looking over your site each month, updating plugins, checking all is working and monitoring performance in real-time so you don’t have any downtime.
If you don’t have a CDN (content network delivery) you might be missing out on performance gains, speed and security. Ask you current supplier if you’re using one - if the answer is no ask them why, or come and talk to us.
You don’t want to be waiting a week to have a simple fix or task completed so find out how long their support task queue takes. Ecommerce can be complex - there is a lot to think about, lots of technology and integrations to consider and you want to have someone who gets you, loves your business and truly wants to work alongside you to achieve your business goals and dreams.
Consider a monthly support retainer
Depending on the size of your site you can discuss a support retainer whereby you pay an agreed amount per month for support or development. This will totally depend on your business size, your development plan. Monthly support is the perfect way to give you the confidence to have site issues fixed quickly without worrying about how much it will cost. We have experienced many business owners restrict themselves by not investing in website maintenance because of the cost - and it's limiting in many ways.
Online your website is your store front and how it works is incredibly important to online success and growth. Partner with a development team that knows ecommerce and can help you scale as you need. Talk to us about your ecommerce requirements [email protected] or call us on 64 9 300 7336.