ChannelAdvisor is a leading provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions that enable retailers and branded manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimise their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels
Choosing an ecommerce management system for your business
It’s a question we get asked a great deal (and several sellers quizzed Chris and I at ChannelAdvisor Catalyst this week: “which multi-channel/ecommerce management software system should I choose?”
There are a number of options and great variety in the services available. But our answer is always the same: “it depends on your business needs.” But here’s the longer answer we give and some of the questions you need to ask yourself. Don’t forget you can find lots of relevant services in the Tamebay guide.
What do you need?
The first step is to make a comprehensive list of what you need from a provider. Which marketplaces do you want to plug into? Do you need accounting software included? Does it need to be compatible with other systems you use? Stock control? Despatch notes? CRM? Make a thorough and detailed list of everything you need from the software and start checking out which of the suppliers fit the bill. Thus starts the process of elimination.
Ask your peers
Once you have a shortlist of suppliers, it’s time to start asking about and get some recommendations. What you’re looking for are sellers similar to you who are using the sotware you’re considering. This way you can get honest appraisals, warts and all, of the product in question. Don’t forget that this is a big business decision you’re making, so gathering as much information as possible, before taking the plunge, could save you real headaches later.
Talk to them.
And when you have a provider or two in mind it’s time to open a dialogue with them and see if they size up. In particular assess whether they really can do what they claim to do and run through your requirements with them in detail and make sure they can deliver. It’s also no bad thing to make sure that this is a firm your’re willing to work with in the long run and hopefully it can grow with you. Do you like them?
Consider savings, not just costs.
These services come with a cost and there are a number of different price models: commission, subscription, up-front fees. And at first glance they can seem rather expensive. But consider not just the expense but the savings. That could predominantly be time. When you engage such a service the idea is to save time as well as money. So factor that in to your considerations. And don’t forget too that the service should give you an uplift. Think about the expense strategically rather than recoil immediately in horror at the price.