One option you have is to build your own solution. Of course, this is the option for larger retailers who already do have enough internal resources to build out their own solution. It’s quite possible, depending on the size of your organization that you will have to dedicate an entire team to handle the rebuild. You will at a minimum require a front-end developer, a back-end (infrastructure) developer, as well as a designer perhaps in addition to a full-stack engineer to help put the project together. Building your own website from scratch without using an existing commerce platform, would point to a situation where you are planning to become of Amazon scale, in which your business depends on owning, innovating upon, and updating your own software infrastructure.
This is likely not ever right for some of the larger retailers or eCommerce operators. Why? Well, for instance when we help clients build their retail platforms, they are receiving the state of the art in a SaaS package, which we have already incurred the cost to develop, while letting you maintain your own strategic focus on the business. As eCommerce is our strength, it can become your own strength just by using the technology. With this being said, it becomes a matter of building your own style platform, on top of an existing platform. Including new functionality, adjustments to the workflow, and making design decisions separate, makes it more appropriate to build the solution you need, without the need to build the entire platform all over again.
The rebuild you plan to execute on will be leveraging existing technology. This means you will still be developing in-house and should consider your own unique advantage. Building in-house with an advanced commerce platform allows you the flexibility to create more value for customers. With Orkiv, we work with you during the build out to support your objectives. Being that in this case, the relationship is mostly a support role, Orkiv would provide the software and API’s, assist with developer questions, and provide a level of support for if any developer had questions. Projects of this type are usually for small to mid-sized enterprises, with a thorough plan behind it.
Some resources to have prepared before working with Orkiv to complete a rebuild:
Keeping these questions in mind will really keep a project straight from the start. Having the right plan, materials, and key personnel figured out before ever getting started, makes the chance of success far better.
At Orkiv, this is our primary method of working with clients. In this case, a retailer or eCommerce operator has already laid out their requirements for the project (see the bullet points above). Typically this process involves a search for technology agencies to look through the requirements and serve up a proposal for you. In order to have accurate quotes, it is important to submit the required information. If you don’t and switch up the project during the middle, or decide to add additional functionality to your website, it may end up running over budget, or longer than expected. Of course, it’s a matter of ROI, so if these features are going to be the difference in sales potential by a magnitude, probably makes sense to include it. We work with clients who have come back mid-way through a project with an almost entirely new set of features. It can work, there simply needs to remain a constant level of communication.
The process of working with Orkiv as your external development team is not as involved as you may think. Yes, the communication is very important, but we always work with you directly to establish milestones, timelines, and goals for the project. This ensures a few things: A) all people involved are on the same track B) developers know the task and will not require lots of ongoing support C) Deliveries on the milestones happen automatically, so there is no confusion as to how something should look or feel when it is done, as feedback is provided throughout. In our experience developing client websites and applications, it is always easiest to be open an honest about the development process. That being said here are a few tenents of our development process.
For building your project, at Orkiv it is critical that we communicate our value and what our capabilities are. That being said, here is a comprehensive list of the technical capabilities within the Orkiv team:
Branding and Strategy — if this project will be quite new to you and/or the company you work with, we will work directly with you help craft the necessary components for a successful online and mobile launch for your stores. This may include logo design and integration of the existing store design and company culture. This may also include the strategy behind the update and what things are actually possible with this type of update.
Design and Functionality Requirements — In any project beyond the branding is the user interaction (UI) and user experience (UX) which controls how the customer will be guided by your web presence. It helps dictate which actions the customer takes, and how they accomplish tasks through the website/app (ie. the process of completing a purchase). In this step, Orkiv will work with you to come up with example websites and templates, which will be used to model aspects of your website to dictate the design as you like it. Additionally, this involves coming up with the right features for the project. Perhaps that means a loyalty and rewards system, or it could be streamlining the omnichannel capabilities for buy-online-pick-up-in-store.
Coordinating resources, domain retrieval — Orkiv will assist in the entire process of gathering the necessary documents, initial contents, contracts, privacy policies etc. to make sure the website can be completed in the designated timeframe. We have also assisted in the transfer of your domain from another provider.
Content Production — Orkiv can assist in some of the content production as well as using our own stock photo gallery to provide filler content for the website during production. As with all web content, it must be SEO relevant in order to attract attention on the web. Most often, Orkiv will help assist in recrafting of existing content to boost the search engine optimization (SEO) relevance for the “on-site” content.
Custom Commerce Website Design — The first step in completing any new web project is to establish the new design. In this stage, we are taking the components of other sites, your current site (if any), templates, and our own design insight, to establish a strong look for the website. With the design started, you will be able to get a first glance at the new web project coming to life. This is also a chance for you to provide insight on the initial design so it can be tweaked.
Sourcing the Technical Components — This role is primarily left up to Orkiv on how to get the project done correctly unless there are pre-required platforms which must work together. This might range from a beacon based advertising network for in-store usage to a fully automated eCommerce system (like Epic Commerce) for making recommendations and sending out event-triggered emails. Whatever the technical needs for the project, Orkiv will work with our own internal platforms, or source external platforms to make the system work properly without sacrificing quality, functionality or performance of the website and mobile apps.
Custom Commerce Development — The other component involved in the website is to create and/or integrate the “back-end” components which allow the input of dynamic content (like products, text, font’s, events, beacons, etc.) into the website. This is also the components that actually make the website function. The pairing of the design and the components that make the design work is where development brings the whole project to life. Here again, you will get the opportunity all throughout the build to test various functions on the platform itself, to determine what, if anything needs to be updated.
Custom Mobile Commerce Development — While the initial steps of planning, feature selection, timelines, and milestones will help here, the development of a mobile app is entirely different. Orkiv handles websites and mobile app’s the same but different and here’s what I mean. The objectives and what the user should be accomplishing will most likely be the same between the website and the mobile app, but the actual development process involved with the app is totally different. On that note, however, the mobile app is quite a bit more capable than a website is. For instance taking photos, scanning a barcode, or panning over an object to see a virtual presentation of the nutrition facts, for instance, is only something a native mobile app can accomplish. So, it may be that the mobile app build-out is very different than the website. This will involve new design, functionality, and a whole different method of programming the app together. Of course, the mobile app and the website, if connected at all, will share (pass) much of the same information back and forth. This is how a customer can save one product to their cart on the web, and have it show up in their account on their mobile device. Orkiv can help with the integration of a new mobile app, with similar or different functionality.
There is one other caveat to building a mobile app which should be taken into consideration. That is, the matter building native iOS and Android apps, or building a cross-compatible application. Here are the main differences:
Quality assurance and Bug Testing — Once the applications or website is completed, there is always a strict QA to go along with it. Ensuring users can complete all the tasks which have been included in the project, and making sure they work smooth, are the smartest way to ensure your new project get’s off to a good start. This is also time to test the app for security flaws, bugs, and potential “slow” spots within the website or app which is causing something to work slower than anticipated. This process can take 1–2 weeks or longer depending on errors/changes.
Submission to App Store — If you have created an Android or iOS application, you will go through the process of launching the application in the native stores (Google Play and Apple App Store). Submitting your application to the Apple App store takes 10 days to hear back. Android app store submission is typically only 1–2 days. If the app is declined, you must fix errors and resubmit, to wait another 10 days to hear back if it is approved.
Launch — Upon approval from the app stores, and the website appearing online, you’ve gone live. Congratulations. Orkiv will help get everything live, and to begin the process of engaging customers, gathering insight, and improving the existing platforms.
Support — After the website and mobile applications are publicly available, there is a number of ways Orkiv assists with clients to maintain, improve and drive further business to your business. The basics for any website and mobile apps are that you will need the server infrastructure to launch with. You will likely need the content management system and/or the inventory management system to keep up with the changing business needs. Finally, you will need the ability to change some of the core functions or features of the website to your desired outcome. Based on the required support, we work with you to come up with something that works.
Marketing — In many cases, we work with clients to support their marketing objectives in accordance with the platform just launched. This plan may be worked out ahead of time, and thus will be started during development. Orkiv has helped with various aspect of the digital marketing “funnel” for driving new customer. Namely, this could involve any number of the following components (some of which would be required to be set up during development):
Of course, there is one other form of working with Orkiv, and that is through a technical partnership, where Orkiv will provide the resources for completing the project, working directly with your own development team to co-develop a project. In this case, Orkiv is utilized to help build certain components, as well as to train your own team on how to adapt and integrate with the Orkiv software and capabilities. Here, we use shared resources to build the ultimate project, combining multiple brains and delivering something which works internally and can be improved upon. This type of development environment may even involve Orkiv team members working directly at your location to ensure the project goes according to plan.
If you found this outline of the Orkiv process helpful, perhaps it may be beneficial to incorporate the next steps involved in your own project. This guideline will help ensure, whether you work with Orkiv or another company, that things get off to a good start, and that they continue to succeed. Throughout our experience crafting over 120 retail and eCommerce based websites, this process has evolved over time to become a staple of how we are able to get results for our clients while delivering exceptional solutions to keep up with the pace of innovation. We work tirelessly to provide the right insight, technologies, and processes for your business to stay competitive with. If we don’t do our job, then how could you do yours? With that in mind, we stay focused on making the right solution for you, incorporating our own expertise to expand on the internal ideas you’ve come up with.
We aim to have a positive experience with all of our customers and will go to any length we can to ensure you are the most successful after having worked with Orkiv. It is our own commitment to excellence, amongst other things that we aim to bring to your business when you work with us.
I personally hope you received a good degree of knowledge here whether you work with Orkiv in the future or not. If you do, go ahead and submit your project or reach out to a firstname.lastname@example.org to get started right away. If this was helpful, share it with a colleague who might find it useful.
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