5 E-commerce Project Management Lessons
Are you running an e-commerce business? Maybe you have an idea for an e-commerce business, and are in the process of setting it up.
Whatever your current situation, here are five relevant project management tips for operating a successful e-commerce site:
Set targets, and keep track
This is a project management technique that rings true no matter what your type of business in whatever industry it may be. Do you have an objective? If the answer to this question is ‘no’, then it’s about time that you started to think more carefully about exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve, rather than just operating on a day-to-day basis with no discernible goals or targets.
Once you have stablished those goals you then need to employ tracking and measurement systems which give you valid, up-to-date data at a simple click of a button. Of course this kind of information is readily accessible now with tools such as Google Analytics, which will give you a great indication as to how effective your website is, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as you will also need to measure everything from delivery times to customer service satisfaction. Seeking to improve in all these metrics, and collecting the data which tells you how you are doing at any given stage is vital to improving the efficiency of a business, which ultimately reflects on the bottom line. It can be the difference between a business that survives and thrives, and one that simply falls by the wayside. Learn more about the Top 10 E-commerce metrics to track in your site here.
How do you allocate time?
Time is the single most important commodity that you have, even more so that cold hard funds. That’s because your time, and that of your co-workers and specialists that you employ, is so valuable that it cannot be afforded to be wasted on tasks that may seem important, but are adding no real value to what you are doing.
‘Step one is to separate those activities which are important from those which are vital, and those which you can do yourself to those which can be effectively outsourced. You can use a task management platform like Hibox to assign and prioritize your team’s tasks. Step two is to then start allocating time in a way that maximizes it for those value-adding activities that are completed by the specialists that are there for that very reason. Anything less is simply ineffective management of this priceless resource,” argues Tomas LeBraun, a project manager at BritStudent and WritemyX.
Establish and set a fully scalable budget
When it comes to finances, things can be a little tough. In the early days of any business, it can be hard to find the resources to survive, with contributors operating on good will alone. This is unsustainable, of course, so a funding and financing plan needs to be in place from as early as possible.
But are your financial resources scalable? Meaning, as your e-commerce business starts to gain traction, and the orders start coming in, do you have the resources to grow the business accordingly in response to increased demand? If the answer is ‘no’ then you are once again falling down one of the cracks that are exposed when there is poor, or no, project management involved.
“It’s only logical that as your business starts to grow, you will need to spend more, not less. But many small businesses fail to think that far ahead, meaning by the time they start to see some traction in their business, the kitty is bare, and they are relying on cashflow alone. And the cash can never come in quick enough in this case. What is needed is a scalable budget that has been prepared. Funding needs to be sought out at the earliest convenience to cover this very need,” says Hamilton Barnes, a business writer at Australia2write and NextCoursework.
Can you scale up supplies and workforce?
As you start to get increased orders, which is what you want to see, of course, do you have an adequate supply plan which will cater to this need? It’s a good problem to have, in a way, because it means that your business is gathering pace, but failing to foresee that you will need more of what you sell in a shorter space of time has been the ruin of many a business. If you cannot supply it, then someone else will.
So once again, have a plan in place which prepares for this eventuality. If you start getting supplies wholesale, then you should be able to start turning more of a profit from individual items too, so this all comes back to scalability and setting achievable and measurable targets early, not simply going with the flow. If you fail to see what’s coming, then in most cases, you will fail.
And your e-commerce business might just be you. Or it might be you with a couple of trusted lieutenants. But all things being well, it’s not going to stay that way for long, so what is your staffing plan? You don’t have one? Like finances and supplies which have already been covered, if your e-commerce business starts to gain momentum, then you will need more people to operate your business, But where are they going to come from?
Do you have the technological capability to satisfy demand and run your business effectively? Another vital consideration is the tools that you use to run your business. Although what you have may work well on a small scale, will this system adequately support your business as it grows? Do you have the analytics you need to measure, are you using a project management tool which can help with the establishment and tracking of all the points as mentioned here? And just because you have the software to support your current needs, will it be sufficient for what you plan to do it the future? Will that software migrate across to another software you plan to use, for example?
Successful project management is all about envisaging the project as a whole and planning across that whole duration. If you are operating on a day-by-day basis that is of course impossible to achieve, so your first task is to visualize where you want your e-commerce business to go. From there, you can employ these effective PM tasks to get you there. For an all-inclusive project management tool for your e-commerce, try Hibox today.