If you're building an ecommerce solution does it match your revenue model?

Dumb question of the day - does your ecommerce system match your revenue model?  I know, I know, it sounds like a silly question, but if you're in the process of implementing an ecommerce solution it's important to make sure the system you're building or buying fits your business model.  Let me illustrate:

Consumer ecommerce sites are impressive.  They can ship millions of products overnight, personalize the products offered when you shop and present dozens of offers during the checkout process....

This is all very impressive... but what if you're selling a printer like a commercial press that requires configuration, installation, consumable supplies on contract for the next three years and a service contract - also spread across multiple years?

Both examples fit nicely in the world of ecommerce - but they are very, very different.

And what about proactively marketing to your customers with a digital marketing platform that is aligned to the life cycle of your customers?  Are your customers highly transactional consumers or slow moving industrial businesses that need some strategy baked into their decision to do business with you?

So, back to my headline question, if you're building an ecommerce solution does it match your revenue model?  Is your revenue transactional and packaged like a book, a CD or a digital download?  Or is your revenue attached to the delivery of service, configurable and earned over time?  You need to know these answers before getting too far down the path of a corporate initiative to create more "ecommerce" revenue.

Finally, if you're working with an outside agency or outsourced development resources, make sure they have experience in companies and industries similar to yours.  There are nuances in ecommerce that will simply be missed if they don't understand your business "in their gut."  A company that builds ecommerce for the likes of Beneton, Levi's and Nike is not in the same market as a provider that has built ecommerce solutions for Bechtel, British Petroleum and RR Donnelley & Sons.  They're just not the same.

Ecommerce is a boon to business, but you better get it right or it quickly becomes a boondoggle.



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