If you have plans to start a new website on Magento and don’t know where to start, or if you already have an existing website and you’re thinking of revamping it, then you might find this article interesting.
Creating Magento websites might seem as a simple process that includes installing and configuring Magento, choosing some of the predefined themes available, importing products and setting payment and shipping options.
However, there is more that meets the eye. The truth is, there will always be some additional things you’d like to improve on the purchased theme and custom functionalities you’d like to add on top of the default Magento, so something that might seem simple and straightforward at start can become more demanding and require a certain amount of planning.
Also, in many cases you won’t even be interested in a purchased theme and you would like your site to be unique and tailored to your customers needs. You also might want to add additional layer and connect your Magento with 3rd party extensions and some outside systems (such as order management, shipping and accounting system, or ERP).
So what would be the best first step to do in a situations like this?
Projects with high level of complexity and large scale projects require a throughout planning and making crucial decisions right at the project start. Here at Inchoo we approach to these type of projects starting with initial discovery and planning phase which is a standalone process that precedes development.
Why is this phase important?
We believe that quality planning process is imperative for making a stable foundation to build upon, rather than making changes in the middle of development process, which is costly and time consuming.
During the planning phase we put focus on the following:
- getting to know Client’s business and Client’s current workflows better,
- researching Client’s competitors and their solutions,
- identifying the key architectural elements of the site,
- preparing plan for overall database design (products, attributes, attribute sets),
- helping Client with deciding which Magento edition to choose (Community or Enterprise),
- analysing Client’s current solution (if they already have an existing website) including design, traffic data and customer’s behaviour which helps us to make data driven decision for achieving best results.
During this phase, in coordination with the Client, we also plan out the best way to integrate Magento with custom functionalities, 3rd party extensions and an outside systems, making sure that all of them work seamless together.
Result of this process is a detailed technical documentation file which outlines the desired workflows in detail, technologies selected and the process of how to achieve the integration(s) as well as the respective timelines and proposal for performing all the work.
Who is usually involved in this process?
We successfully engage clients in the planning phase as we require valuable input from persons who work closely with the business (sometimes this is a Project manager, eCommerce manager or even a business owner).
On our side, for overall business case and workflows analysis, feature planning and SEO considerations we have a team of eCommerce consultants (Inchoo Consulting Group) and they make sure we deliver the best possible e-commerce solutions to our clients and ensure long-term success for Clients.
We also involve certified senior Magento backend and frontend developers for architectural planning and as well as UI designer for high-level usability discussions. They are all experts with years of experience in the eCommerce industry.
With that being said, deliverable of this process and our consulting work is a direct result of the knowledge, experience and time.
Different development companies have different approaches and sometimes planning phase is not perceived as that important. Behind Inchoo success stories lies a well planned process which allows us to deliver high quality solutions for all our Clients.
If you find this article and our approach appealing to your needs and your project, contact us for more details.