When considering briefing an eCommerce agency to build your first eCommerce website or consult on a larger transformation programme a period of reflection can be a great starting point.
This time should be spent reviewing what has and hasn’t worked in your technology ecosystem in the past. Questions such as, what is limiting growth, what have you see working for others and what new services would you like to launch? There are a lot of questions, some of which the answers won’t be known at this stage, however gathering together what you think are your requirements are helps to start the briefing process.
What should I include in my eCommerce brief?
Introduction & Background
We want to understand what your business does, the types of products/services you sell and how you are currently set up operationally. How long you have been trading online for, or are you just starting out? What are your revenue streams like on a monthly basis? Do you have a marketing or digital team that will actively work on the project with us? More importantly, why have you decided to take this step with a new eCommerce project?
Objectives & Goals
Creating a set of objectives and goals helps you to set targets of where you’d like to be. For an agency, it’s how we’ll measure the success of a project. Did we help you achieve that extra revenue, conversion rate, customer acquisition, new service launch etc. Having realistic objectives and goals, that can be measured and reported on make a great difference and give all stakeholders something to aim for.
Perceived Target Audience
Understanding your target audience is important. Having this understanding can help configure your whole offering, not just across your eCommerce platform but the targeted advising you run around it. Think about what your user would do on your site, how they’d interact with your social content and email marketing. If user research is something you need help with, include this in your project brief and we can show you ways to create customer personas and further methods of user research.
Not all eCommerce briefs will be the same, every business has different needs. Whilst you may not be fully aware of your technical requirements at the moment, things to consider at this early stage are:
- Do we know our preferred eCommerce platform, such as Shopify or Magento?
- Will their be a subscription service, paid digital downloads or physical products?
- Are multiple store fronts needed for different regions, along with currency and transaction?
- Is the eCommerce inventory located in one warehouse, multiple warehouses or drop shipped?
- Is there a preferred payment gateway?
- Will the site target users with personalised content?
- How flexible would you like your Content Management System to operate?
- Is a support desk needed for your eCommerce customer service team?
- Who do you current host your website with, has there ever been any down time?
- Would you like monthly conversion rate optimization (CRO) support?
These are just a few examples of the type of deliverables to think about at this stage, don’t worry if you can’t think of everything as we can advise during the discovery process of what we feel you need for your business.
If you are entering into an already competitive marketplace, it’s helpful to understand who you are competing against. This us allows us to review your competitors activities and see if they have missed something that could be valuable to implement during your project. Providing links and a brief background on each allows us to further investigate.
Project delivery timelines completely depend on the level of project complexity. If there is a specific event or campaign you happen to be attending or running in 3 or 6 months time and you’d like to be up and running, we’d work with you after scoping out the project to see if something like this is sensible. Projects can be delivered through one period of activity or in phased stages over a period of time through different project delivery methods.
Sharing your budget can help us to propose appropriate solutions within your budget. It’s better to be up-front, so that you don’t receive a proposal that is 5x over budget and not likely going to be put into production. Sharing a from/to budget with us such as £20,000 – £40,000 is also beneficial, as a few different approaches can be explored and proposed. Other examples of how a budget can be put to work is in stages. Instead of launching with every single feature (un-tested with your customers) it can be better to prioritise features into phases, and circulate the budget accordingly.
Due Diligence Timeline
When asking an agency for a RFP for you project it’s best practice to set some due diligence and notification deadlines as part of your brief. Normally, these would includes dates and times around; What is the deadline to respond to your brief, will you meet with an agency during the process and what is your timeline for selecting an agency.