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How to gather all of your eCommerce site requirements.

Ready to start down the eCommerce path? If you’re starting from scratch, you’ve more than likely looked into how much an eCommerce website costs. Or, maybe you’re overhauling an existing or low-performing eCommerce website. You’ve researched your eCommerce platform options and are heading into the next step of formulating your ecommerce strategy.

We often see a pattern with clients as they begin their eCommerce journey. They struggle with prioritizations during the strategic planning phase.

Unfortunately, they fail to develop a structural approach to finding all site requirements, leading to inaccurate project scope. Even worse, poor planning makes the development process more stressful.

Here are three keys to successful eCommerce requirements gathering to help you develop the best ecommerce strategy for your business. In addition, access a free worksheet to help you in the process.

Understand the difference between business, functional, and technical Requirements.

Gather business requirements for your team.

Begin to formulate your ecommerce strategy by identifying your business requirements. These are the needs of the site from a business perspective. For example, business requirements might include:

  • Pricing rules – B2B accounts have negotiated discounts and terms.
  • Shipping rules – Some products have exclusions or special requirements.
  • Order fulfillment workflow –  Some products are drop-shipped while other orders may be fulfilled in your warehouse.
  • Legal / regulatory requirements – Some industries adhere to strict legal and privacy policies.

Gather functional requirements for users.

These requirements should reflect performance goals based on the customer’s experience. Here are examples of functional requirements with follow up questions:

  • Product reviews are needed to increase conversion rates and stand out from the competition.
    • Will moderated reviews be a part of the process?
    • Are anonymous/guest reviews acceptable?
  • Product tours (photos/videos/etc.) will increase user engagement.
  • A shipping calculator is needed to set expectations and decrease cart abandonment.
  • Saved carts or printable quotes helped users stay on track. Shoppers often need a manager’s permission or a purchase order before checkout.
    • How long can a customer save carts and quotes?
    • Is a created account necessary to receive a quote? Do customers have to provide a phone number and email address?

Gather technical requirements to facilitate the eCommerce strategy development process.

These requirements should prevent developers from having to make any assumptions. One example of a technical requirement is password policy. How would you map out the password process step by step?

Another example would be eCommerce SEO. Your site will likely require URL rewrites to give full control and an automatically updated sitemap.

Working through requirements for each persona is invaluable, even if there is overlap. The process always identifies new issues and opportunities.

Address security needs.

Your ecommerce strategy doesn’t end with identifying your needs. Assess your security posture as part of the initial scope conversations. After that, security should be a priority throughout the project.

eCommerce can be much safer for your customers than brick-and-mortar retail if security is prioritized. Simply adding SSL to make your site “https” isn’t going to cut it!

Make sure you’re up-to-date on what risks your eCommerce platform can face. Continuously upgrading will also add to the overall security of your eCommerce application.

Understand your mobile users.

We often find that mobile users have different goals than desktop users. In fact, sometimes these goals can vary between device types (like smartphones vs tablets). Including a section in your ecommerce strategy specific to your mobile users will enhance the success of your project.

Two example scenarios come to mind:

  1. Tablet-based point of sale systems continue to be on the rise. Many B2B companies are leaving desktops to use tablets for a variety of tasks. Inventory replenishment and order management done at the touch of a finger. But, most of these tasks are situation-specific. A user is checking specific orders or looking into a customer inquiry. Reporting and analytics can wait for “office time”. So, the investment into making such features work on tablet devices isn’t justified.
  2. For an industrial/manufacturing supply company, all orders come through established accounts. These orders generally come from desktop browsing sessions. However, product availability and compatibility information is only available on the shop floor. So, a mobile phone optimized experience for technicians becomes a priority. It should focus on providing product information and a simple way to send/share what parts are in stock. Focusing on driving transactions on the device doesn’t make sense.

Try our free planning resource.

Over the years, Atlantic BT has scoped many custom eCommerce projects and developed a worksheet to streamline the ecommerce strategy planning process.

Free Download eCommerce Requirements Worksheet

Relying on a trusted Magento partner will facilitate development.

At Atlantic BT, we have a dedicated team of certified Magento, (now Adobe Commerce) developers, marketers, and designers to create your eCommerce platform. As an end-to-end cybersecurity partner, we provide secure hosting, application security, and contingency plans to keep your platform safe. To get started reach out to us anytime!

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