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As you may know e-commerce is a major growth area, both for our economy as a whole, but are a spark for many retailers across the country. It’s expected that online sales will grow at 4x the rate of retail sales as a whole. But it’s tough to know when to redesign your e-commerce store, to make it fresh and most importantly, create more sales.
Why is it difficult? Because redesigning an e-commerce store is a time consuming venture. So gauging when the best time can be difficult. If you’re seasonal in sales it can help, but then you have to think about cash flows. So what to do?
When you’re going into the discussions, find out from them how long it has taken in the past to redesign other e-commerce stores. Expect some variation of course, but generally this should be a 3-4 month process. Sometimes, if you have only a few products it can be done much quicker, but as a general rule this should be pretty accurate.
Use historical data such as Google Analytics and of course your accounting department, to help you find what times of the year are the busiest. You’re going to want to target the month prior as your worst case scenario of launch.
(Note, for each of the last 3 years, August has been this e-commerce store’s biggest month in terms of traffic. They’re wrapping up their redesign this month ahead of that curve.)
This is because there will be hiccups in any e-commerce transition. Anyone who says that they’ve been without hitches in a launch isn’t telling you the truth. You’ll want at least 30 days to iron out problems so it doesn’t impact sales when you’re at your peak.
If the months leading up to the Holiday season are packed with ad creation, inventory stock piling, and staffing up, it’s not the time. You may want to have a new website for your busiest season. You may even have the capital to do it then, but if your time can’t be devoted to pushing the project forward, then it won’t matter.
You do have a couple of options if it’s a true necessity, and you’re pinched for time. Many agencies (like ours) offer a “white glove” option. We can handle nearly all the communication with vendors, the content creation, and integration with your softwares. While it usually costs more, the savings on your stress and getting the project off on time usually outweigh the price.
The answer to that is pretty simple. Whenever it’s best for you. Maybe it’s best to leave the redesign until after the holidays, or whenever your busiest time is. But quite simply, if the holidays are your time for sales, now is the time to kick that project off.