Whether you’re migrating from a platform like Shopify to Magento, or you’re interested in building a new Magento eCommerce store from scratch, there are a few things you should know before you get started.
Developing a Magento website can be complex, and things can definitely go wrong if you don’t plan ahead.
Trust us. As Magento experts, we know – and we’ve done lots of project rescues for companies who were in over their heads.
So, how can you avoid these complete disasters? Let’s discuss the top 5 steps you can take to make sure your project goes smoothly – and avoid a potential disaster.
1. Partner With A Reputable, Certified Magento Specialist
First and foremost, you need to work with the right development partner to create your Magento website. Whether you’re planning on using Magento 2 or the Magento Commerce platform, you should choose a Magento Solution Partner for your project.
Magento Solution Partners, such as 121eCommerce, have proven their ability to succeed when building Magento projects, have a certain number of certified Magento developers on-staff, and are equipped to handle pretty much any Magento development project.
This is where a lot of first-time eCommerce entrepreneurs get off-track. Hiring experts can be expensive, and it’s very tempting to see if you can hire a cheaper development company to save some money and still get a functional Magento website.
And that’s not impossible! There are some developers out there who aren’t Magento-certified who may offer great services. But you’re taking a risk. And when it comes to Magento development, you get what you pay for.
If you don’t work with a reputable, certified Magento specialist, you may dump tens of thousands of dollars into a Magento store that just doesn’t work – and there’s not a lot you can do about that. So we highly recommend that you get off on the right foot, and hire a Magento Solution Partner to handle your project.
2. Know Your Scope – And Stick To It Whenever You Can
Ahh, scope creep. It’s a project manager’s worst enemy, but one of the most common problems with any software development project. Add one new feature here, another there, and a few more over here… over time, your project can balloon into a monstrosity chock-full of complex, proprietary features without you even realizing it!
So that’s where scope management comes in. To avoid disaster, you need to define the scope of your website early, and stick to your plan whenever possible! You should work with your Magento development partners to determine what features are truly essential for your website to work – and what the “nice-to-haves” are. And when work begins, stick to your scope, and avoid making tons of feature requests just because you can.
Remember, once your website is up and running, you can still continue to add features and functionality – and it’s a lot easier to do so once you’ve got a stable, reliable Magento store! There are a lot of extensions available on the Magento Marketplace, which can be used to add more functionality to your store while avoiding the cost, time, and complexity required to create your own custom code and features.
3. Work Out Your Project Timeline In Advance (And Make Sure It’s Realistic)
Similarly to the scope of features included in your Magento project, you should work out a realistic project timeline with your Magento developers before you get started. Even the most basic Magento website can easily take up to 3 months to build, and it can easily take a year or longer to build a very complex, feature-rich Magento store.
You will need to work with your developer to get a more informed estimate of how long your project will take. While doing so, remember the old project management adage: “Fast, cheap, or good. Pick two.”
It’s entirely possible to rush your Magento implementation and push it out the door more quickly – but to do that, you’ll either have to sacrifice quality, or spend a lot more money hiring additional developers or paying for overtime.
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communicating with your development team is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your project. Most Magento eCommerce disasters happen because the stakeholders and developers aren’t on the same page.
For example, if you change your mind about a feature on your Magento store, but you fail to communicate this to your developer and they build it anyway, they’ve just wasted a bunch of time and effort on something you don’t need – and this could have been avoided with a few emails or phone calls.
These small, individual breakdowns are usually what cause a Magento project to fail. There’s rarely a single cause. Instead, small breakdowns in communication lead to cascading failures that result in a website that barely works – and is late and over-budget.
5. Prioritize Functionality Over Beauty During Your Magento Launch
We know this may be hard to stomach – and in an ideal world, you would have a Magento store that loads quickly, works perfectly, and looks great, too! And eventually, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
But when your store launches initially, it’s really important to prioritize backend performance and reliability about sleek design. Customers do care about how a store looks – but they care about performance even more. 51% of customers say that slowly-loading pages are the #1 reason for purchase abandonment.
A sleek, well-designed eCommerce store is totally valueless if nobody wants to shop because they’re getting errors when they try to check out, or if the website crashes twice a week. If you have to choose between the two to get your website up and running, prioritize a strong backend – and once your website is functioning smoothly, you can focus on aesthetic changes.
Avoid Disaster – Follow These Tips When Planning Your Magento eCommerce Implementation
At 121eCommerce, we know a few things about Magento. We specialize in new website builds, eCommerce migration, and Magento project rescues – and we think that if you follow these 5 tried-and-true tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a smoother, less stressful Magento development process.
Want more information? Need more tips and advice for building a new Magento website? Feel free to check out our blog, or contact us online if you’d like to learn more about our services. As a Silver Magento Commerce partner, we’re always here to discuss your unique needs, and how we can help you achieve your business goals.