We're starting a new series (catchy name forthcoming), asking Titan clients, partners, and experts about all things ecommerce. Our first guest needs no introduction, but we'll do it anyway...Greta Brooks is our first (and only) two-time Ecomm Forum panelist, Ecommerce Director of Gopher Sport, and all-around awesome human. We've loved working closely with Greta and the Gopher Sport team, so we asked her a few key questions that everyone should know before starting a new ecommerce project.
What do you have to pay the most attention to when working with an outside partner, like a system integrator (SI, aka Irish Titan!)?
- THE DETAILS! The SI will do what you ask and what’s in the plan, you are in charge of your details.
- As team lead, it’s vital I understand what we are asking of the SI in every task (that ‘we’ is huge: me, my team, leadership folks, product people, marketing stakeholders, etc).
- I have to grasp the ‘why’ behind each request and how it affects the build and the business so I can take it or leave it behind. I learned this lesson the hard way a few times in our current implementation and the result is scope creep, estimate shock, missing data, wrong data <gasp>, and discouraged teammates.
- Paying adequate attention to the details through an entire build is a marathon. I’ve been running this marathon for 1.5 years and I! am! tired! It’s worth it; the result is a site that is correct, that works, and works for your business.
What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of this project?
- Do you want to save actual months and literal tens of thousands of dollars? Go get the best experts you can find to do almost every part of the implementation for you, and get them at the beginning.
- Do not be fooled by the chutzpah to do it yourself, hire specialists who have done this more times than you. Rely on them to do it the right way, the first time, and teach you later. This specifically applied to us with our data and PIM integration to our new platform.
- We thought we could do it ourselves, we tried three times. We’re now bringing in experts to clean up our attempts and build us a stable product integration that will stand the test of time.
What’s been unexpected in the ecommerce building process?
- This is my first end-to-end re-platforming, so this epiphany feels naïve. I’ve been surprised at the literal mountain of things I’ve learned.
- I initially imagined each team member would handle their area, push buttons in their silos, then get together for launch to say “Voila! Here’s a site!” When in reality, it’s been an incredible team effort and test of our communication skills.
What has been your favorite part of this project?
- I fought for an SI that I believed had the expertise to complete our build, but also was a personality fit between our companies. It’s been rewarding and a complete joy to see that play out in our favor.
- Daily scrum for over a year and through a pandemic is more interesting, more fun, and more productive when you genuinely like the folks you’re working with.