When setting up and developing e-commerce, it's worth looking at it in parts. Managing the effects of change is easier when technology choices, logistics and storage are conceptualised separately from issues related to people and carrying out the work.

Setting up new e-commerce or developing old e-commerce is not a simple task, but the process can be controlled by breaking it down into parts. One way to think about e-commerce development is to divide it into hard and soft aspects.

The "hard" aspects of e-commerce development are related to technology choices, storage and logistics, among other things.

The “soft” stuff is related to people, i.e. competence development, recruitment and change management in general. Especially when e-commerce is established as part of an existing business, it is worth carefully mapping out its effects in advance.


The hard aspects, i.e. things related to technology and goods

Before you set out to implement new or develop old e-commerce, set clear business goals.

Set business goals. Is it intended to target new markets, increase sales in the current market or, for example, expand the customer base? Find out who the potential e-commerce customers are, what they want and what their buying behaviour is like. Evaluate your company's strengths and development areas for starting an online business.

Consider storage solutions and logistics. Plan what kind of storage solution you need for your e-commerce. When planning warehouse operations, in addition to the space to be used, it is necessary to take into account how the receipt, shelving, packing and sending of goods are organised. Choose transport partners and delivery methods based on the goods to be sold, customer expectations and, of course, costs.

Make the technical specification at the right time. Business and user needs guide the technical specification. The e-commerce platform is often chosen too early. E-commerce can consist of one system, but most often it is a combination of several different systems. It should work well together with, e.g., existing enterprise resource planning and accounting systems.

Use experts for help. If necessary, use external consultants in planning the architecture of your e-commerce and choosing technologies. In this way, you will ensure the widest possible range of knowledge as the basis of your plan, and you will eliminate potential areas of confusion and pitfalls.


The softer sides, i.e. leading change and influencing people

In addition to technology and other more technical aspects of online shopping, setting up e-commerce affects the organisation, people, company culture and other softer things. It is important to prepare for the effects and to be able to lead the change.

Recruit employees and other roles. Depending on the size of the e-commerce operation, almost immediate recruitments may be needed or the role of employees may be increased, such as the person responsible for the e-commerce. The need for customer service will probably increase, and in some cases a new, separate customer service function will have to be launched due to online shopping.

Increase employees' skills. New skills are needed in the organisation, because an increasingly large part of the personnel needs to understand, e.g., technology, supply chains, product information and e-commerce marketing.

Notification of changes in advance. The change caused by online shopping and the impact on people's job descriptions must be communicated in advance and clearly. For example, in a sales organisation, e-commerce may significantly free up salespeople's time to provide a more personal service, and this has a tangible impact on everyday life.

Direct everyone's eyes to the benefits of change. In the short term, online shopping can be a weighty change, but it can be lightened with clear and timely communication. In the long term, setting up e-commerce can modernise the business, increase sales, improve relationships with key customers and bring new skills to the organisation.


We hope this blog post clarified some of the most important things to consider when developing e-commerce. We are happy to help you. Contact us.

Crasman avatar