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Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed
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Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed

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You know you can't accomplish absolutely everything you desire for your business without assistance. And you aren't about to trust just anyone to handle vital aspects of your work. When selecting an …

You know you can't accomplish absolutely everything you desire for your business without assistance. And you aren't about to trust just anyone to handle vital aspects of your work. When selecting an Ecommerce partner, you want exactly that—a partner. Your business needs a long-term relationship with an expert consultant who is as invested in your successes as you are, someone who truly becomes a member of your team. And you know you can't afford to make the wrong decision, but with so many important factors to consider, narrowing your choices can be a challenging and intimidating prospect. With numerous options available, how can you be confident that you're hiring the most talented, experienced, and trustworthy people for your business's specific needs?

Fortunately, ECommerce Partners has created "Choosing an Ecommerce Partner: How to Succeed," a helpful and user-friendly guide to finding an expert consultant who will take your business to the next level. In four easy and concise steps, you'll determine your company's strengths and the areas in which you most need external guidance, helping you to determine which agencies will be the most appropriate fit for you. You'll begin to sketch a portrait of the ideal Ecommerce partner based on your business's individual needs, instead of simply signing with whoever is the cheapest, most popular, or closest to home (and you'll learn to prevent flashy sales pitches from influencing your decision, too.) You'll also draw parameters for what you can realistically invest in terms of both capital and internal resources, so that your decision doesn't strain your finances.

Next, you'll learn how to construct an effectual request for proposal (RFP), which will help you to solicit the information you require from potential partners in order to make an informed decision about who best suits your needs. You'll ask explicit and detailed questions that generate the most helpful, informative, and comprehensive answers. You'll evaluate the agency and its people—not just the key players, but everyone who will be working on your account on a day-to-day basis—to ensure that they're the talented, professional, communicative, and trustworthy team you seek. You'll learn the value of analyzing case studies and speaking to current clients for recommendations. And, finally, you'll employ ECommerce Partners' structured partner analysis to measure the most important attributes and compare them across all potential consultants. At the end of the process, you'll have a clear picture of each agency and what its people bring to the table, as well as any potential shortcomings.

ECommerce Partners' valuable and easy-to-read presentation will set you on the right course to determining the ideal consultants. Don't put off finding the right people for your needs for one more day.

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  • 1. 1April 2013
  • 2. Running an Ecommerce business requires managing a complex ecosystem offunctions and processes.With a multitude of options, the process of selecting an Ecommerce partner canbe an overwhelming and intimidating task. Remember that the cost of lostbusiness and misdirected internal focus resulting from poor implementation willbe significant!So, what does it take to successfully choose an Ecommerce partner?This presentation will take you through a process you can use to break down thisselection into manageable steps.Ensuring Success2
  • 3. Avoid common pitfalls that befall other companies in the process. It is a mistake toshortcut the decision-making and select partners simply based on:•Price•The partners your competitors choose•Flashy presentations and visuals•Salesperson charisma•Availability and geographyFinding the right partner is not a one-size-fits-all process. This requires a moreproactive approach…3Understanding Common Pitfalls
  • 4. Remember: This is not about the PERFECT provider.It’s about finding the best FIT for the priorities, strengths and goals of yourbusiness.4It’s All About the Fit
  • 5. 1. Start with an internal assessment2. Construct an effective RFP3. Assess the people — yours and theirs4. Select your partner through a structured analysisWe’ll take you through the key components of each step.5Four Key Steps
  • 6. This will build alignment on keystrategic issues and priorities.Begin by asking your team thesekey questions…6
  • 7. WHAT ARE OUR CAPABILITIES AND STRENGTHS?What are our core competencies?To add the most value, evaluate what you should maintain internal ownership of andyour areas of expertise.Where do we need added expertise?By outsourcing tasks not within your core competencies to subject matter experts,your company can focus on the most important internal tasks.What partner attributes will best complement us?Define what is most important to you in a partner as it relates to your internalstrengths and weaknesses.7Step 1: Internal Assessment
  • 8. WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO COMMIT?Have an honest discussion about what and how you are prepared to commit.How sophisticated and expansive a solution do we need?Be realistic about what you need at launch to achieve your business objectives in relationto what can be rolled out over time to develop a phased approach.How much upfront investment can we make, and what are our growthexpectations?This will help you focus on partners with a business model that can support your sales andprofitability goals.What internal resources do we have to manage the business?A realistic assessment of how many different external partners you can manage will helpnarrow down your partnership selection—the decision between managing a team ofexperts vs. a one-stop shop.8Step 1: Internal Assessment
  • 9. With your specific strengths and priorities inmind, you will have the foundation toimplement an effective RFP.This will highlight the key differences ofpotential partners on all the criteria that areimportant to your company.9
  • 10. An effective RFP will gather all the necessary details about whether or not a potentialpartner has the core competencies and subject matter expertise to deliver a strong,value-added solution.The goal here is to determine if your potential partner has:•The know-how that is relevant to your company and industry•A service offering that complements your internal capabilities10Step 2: Construct an Effective RFP
  • 11. Equally important is to determine if potential candidates have the criticalqualities necessary to become a trusted and effective partner to your brand.They should be:•Business oriented•Problem-solving and flexible•Transparent and specific•Focused on results11Step 2: Construct an Effective RFP
  • 12. Regardless of your business, all RFPs should include five key elements:1.A clear outline of your priorities and objectives2.A description of your corporate culture and a request for potential partners toprovide the same3.Questions that are narrow and specific — the more specific the better!4.Questions that ask potential partners to clearly outline what success looks like,how they will get there and how they will measure it5.A request for case studies12Step 2: Construct an Effective RFP
  • 13. Remember that an RFP is just one pieceof the exploration of potential partners.Assessing WHO you will be working withreinforces that you are hiring PEOPLEand not software.Your solution will only be as good as thepeople who execute it.13
  • 14. PROJECTING THE WORKING RELATIONSHIPTo get a stronger sense of what working with potential partners will be like on a day-to-day basis:•Meet the people who will be doing the work, not just the sales team andsenior leadership•Go onsite — visit potential partners at their offices to get a sense of theirenergy and culture•Prepare diligently for client reference calls•Talk to other service providers that have experience working with yourpotential partners14Step 3: Assess the People
  • 15. Ask questions to assess three key criteria:#1: PROMISES VS. REALITYDoes reality match up with promises made in the proposal process?Contact client references and other industry contacts to determine:•Do they deliver what is promised and do they meet expectations?•Do they complete tasks on time and on budget?•How responsive are they when problems arise, and how do they solve them?•Is the team consistent and reliable?15Step 3: Assess the People
  • 16. Ask questions to assess three key criteria:# 2: THE TRUST FACTORWill they be a trusted partner that will fit well with your team?When you meet the team in person, evaluate the following:•Does their professional approach feel like an extension of your team?•Does the energy in the office and of the team members feel dynamic?•Are their “A-Level” players a part of your team?16Step 3: Assess the People
  • 17. Ask questions to assess three key criteria:# 3: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS AND RESULTSWill they be a trusted partner that will fit well with your team?In the course of your interactions, evaluate the following:•Do they bring new, business-driving ideas to the table?•Do they proactively and clearly communicate how things will get done, and at whatcost?This assessment process will likely result in some of the most crucial insights thatdetermine your final selection.17Step 3: Assess the People
  • 18. You now have all of the key inputs to make a final decision.While costs and budgets are certain to be primary considerations,include all the critical elements of a successful partnership whenmaking your final decision.18
  • 19. Throughout your process—from the RFP to follow-up calls to what others say aboutthem—the ideal partner will have demonstrated essential qualities:•Ecommerce expertise and the ability to add value to your business and team•Explicitness and transparency (boilerplate answers should be a warning sign!)•Processes that are responsive and solution-oriented•Their clear vision of how to accomplish your goals and a specific game plan tomake that a reality•Client testimonials and case studies that demonstrate results•Cultural fit that complements your team and extends its capabilities19Step 4: Structured Partner Analysis
  • 20. QUANTIFYING YOUR INFORMATION•List the major qualities that you wish to evaluate across all partners•Assign weights to each quality in accordance with its relative importance•Score all potential partners using a numerical scale (0-10).•Calculate weighted score for each quality (Score * Weight).•Calculate final quality score for each partner (Sum of weighted scores).Next, We’ll show you an example….20Step 4: Structured Partner Analysis
  • 21. QUANTITATIVE SCORING FOR A POTENTIAL ECOMMERCE PARTNER21Step 4: Structured Partner AnalysisThis is only a partial presentation of how Weighted Criteria Evaluation is applied to the selection process.If you want to learn more about the factoring of weighted price vs. quality across multiple vendorsplease refer to our in-depth Whitepaper on Choosing an E-commerce Partner - How To Succeed
  • 22. Outline key pros and cons of each potential partner to:•Clarify what internal capabilities you need to manage the relationshipwith your final choice•Serve as a more qualitative complement to the scoring process.NOW YOU ARE READY TO MOVE FORWARD!22Making a Final Decision
  • 23. 23In Conclusion…Whether you are looking to enhance your existinge-commerce channel or just getting started and wish tobuild a strong e-commerce business, you must be on thesearch for a long term relationship. Orient yourself towardsan e-commerce PROGRAM, not just a one-time project.And remember - don’t be looking for the “perfect” partnerbut one that is best in FIT for your company. We welcome you to challenge us with all of your uniquee-commerce needs and considerations. We will be sure torespond with a personalized approach, letting you knowhow we can be that long-term partner of your choice.Please call us at 212-334-3390 or email usat Sales@EcommercePartners.net for moreinformation.

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