From site launches to software integration to performance enhancements, managing an ecommerce technology stack is complicated. Many companies could use help.
“As the marketplace for ecommerce [software] starts to broaden and becomes more complex, adding platforms and apps [can be] really hard, especially for small and medium-sized companies,” said Mark Wexler, a founder and partner at Whirlwind Ecommerce.
Wexler’s point is that having a consultant and advocate experienced with multiple platforms and services can be a huge help.
This advocate should be experienced in the types of software your company requires. This person should not represent a provider nor benefit financially from it.
What follows are five reasons to hire an ecommerce technology advocate.
Hiring a Technology Advocate
1. Save money. Launching or re-platforming an ecommerce website can be expensive and time-consuming.
“You don’t want to get to the eleventh hour and realize you made a wrong choice,” Wexler said during a live event for CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce on February 4, 2021.
Few things will be more expensive for your business than starting to develop a website or digital experience only to find out that it won’t work or perform as promised.
A good technology advocate could help avoid this sort of mistake and, potentially, save your business money.
2. Gain a competitive advantage. One of the first steps a commerce technology advocate would take is to identify your company’s goals and requirements for a given technology or software.
This process might include prioritizing requirements and identifying how your business could gain a competitive advantage.
For example, to develop what Wexler called a unique selling proposition around fast delivery, a technology advocate might identify solutions, off the shelf or custom, to streamline the order fulfillment process.
3. Save time. Familiarity breeds speed. Presumably your company could research all of the available options for, say, CRMs, CMSs, order management systems, accounting suites, or ecommerce platforms. But the process would take time.
A technology advocate specializing in ecommerce platforms, for example, would be familiar with multiple candidates. He should know when to choose, hypothetically, Shopify Plus or a headless BigCommerce implementation.
This familiarity could help your project move more quickly without sacrificing rigor.
4. Straight answers. Often a business’s internal technology specialists are familiar with only a small portion of the software and technology options.
The leaders at these businesses “find themselves having to rely on information from biased parties. They are going out and talking to vendors, talking to service providers, and researching on the internet. You find a lot of biased parties out there providing information toward their loyalties, which are with their company,” said Wexler.
An account executive, however fair and well-meaning, likely thinks her company’s offering is the best in many situations.
A technology advocate would be interested in your company’s requirements, goals, and success — not any particular software.
5. Implementation help. Benefitting from a technology advocate’s expertise does not have to end when a solution is identified. These professionals often have project management and programming experience.
An advocate could recommend integration strategies, suggest database architecture, and even write code to connect legacy software to a new website. Thus the same insights applied to finding the best technology might help with getting it up and running.