eCommerce implementations can be tricky and a business needs a trustworthy partner to guide them through the process and the complexity involved.
It is good to break down the selection process into logical steps:
Step 1: Internal assessment
Assemble a team to discuss the capabilities and strengths as well as the core competencies that will help you decide where you need to add expertise. When you outsource the work that is not part of your core competencies, your organization can focus on the important internal tasks.
Step 2: Effective RFP
Ensure your RFP covers these 5 elements:
- Priorities and objectives – List the key priorities of the project and check if the vendor response has alignment to your objectives
- Corporate culture – Summarize and share your company culture and ask the vendor to share the same, this could be a key factor to look at when choosing the right vendor
- Specific questions – Add all the questions that you need answered to decide if they are the right vendor – there could be questions around their Magento competency, the solution they have been mind for your objectives, their team and locations. An important question to ask a Magento vendor is, “What type of testing is performed on my site before it is sent to me for final testing and approval?” It is important to understand what the company tests when they make changes to your site. Some pertinent questions in deployment and support include – Do they use a version-tracking system to track all of the changes they have made? What is their process for making changes to your live site? While some of these processes are technical, it’s good to get a clear picture of how the company handles this type of work and what you should expect when your deployment happens.
- Define success metrics – The vendor should be able to define where they want to go and how with accurate measures. If they are unable to do that, it is an indicator that they are not a right fit and are unclear about your business goals
- Request case studies – If the vendor shares success stories of similar Magento implementations that will give you a good idea of their expertise and experience
Step 3: Partner assessment
As part of partner assessment, get to know the people from the vendor team including the people who will be assigned to your project. Discuss any client references in Magento and interview different service providers to compare. Client references will decipher promises vs. reality – they will clarify information about deliverables that were part of the project, the budget and timeframe, the responsiveness and the problem-solving capability.
When you talk to the partner see if they have industry know-how and documented best practices. Also you need to figure if they understand your business thoroughly. If they bounce off innovative ideas and delineate clear goals and costs that’s an added advantage. For instance, eCommerce can hugely benefit from 24×7 support for stores for which you can evaluate the vendor based on the process of support. You can verify if the vendor offers shared support services or dedicated support services and the prices could vary based on that. The services should ideally comprise of –
- Bug Diagnosis & Fixes
- Site Maintenance
- Configuration Management
- Performance Testing
- Security Patch Updates
- Application Health Check
- Quality Assurance
- Named Account & Project Manager
- Critical Support
- User Experience
- New Feature Development
There are many options to choose from when deciding on a Magento vendor – it is important to research your options fully to ensure that you are getting the best quality, fair pricing, work that is reliable and stable, and the company that is overall the best fit to help you build and grow your business.