People are struggling to adapt to the reality brought on by the novel coronavirus. Their needs have changed leading to new shopping behaviors. Businesses are trying to deal with this new scenario, while analysts are working to figure out how the world will function after the pandemic is over.
Although we can’t exactly predict it, it’s safe to say that the world is going to be more digital than ever. And companies that already initiated the digital transformation process within their organizations are a few steps ahead.
Digitalization unlocks the ability to overcome crises fast
Don’t place all your eggs in one basket. That is a fundamental lesson for everyone investing their time or money into a project. When we talk about businesses, that premise is still valid.
Traditional brick-and-mortar stores that were reluctant about the idea of going digital find themselves at a crossroads right now. The quarantine measures imposed in countries worldwide shut down all non-essential businesses. It means that, apart from supermarkets, grocery stores and drugstores, shops are probably closed.
To resume sales and survive the crisis, it’s almost mandatory for companies to start selling on the internet. If they don’t act fast enough and don’t work on their digital transformation now, their future is at risk.
On the other hand, companies that already work with an omnichannel or unified commerce approach are fully prepared to face the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easier to adapt to surging demand and pivot strategies when you manage all your sales channels through the same platform.
Go live in 10 days (and four steps)
At VTEX, we’ve been helping companies across the world to implement their e-commerce stores in record time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team engaged in projects that took from two-three weeks to as little as five days to go-live. And we are doing this following a four-step action plan.
The first step consists in defining the blueprint of the project. Talking to the stakeholders will give us an idea of the features and integrations that the team will work on.
But to precisely determine the MVP (minimum viable product), separating the must-have from the nice-to-have parts of the project, you’ll need to use agile methodologies, such as Scrum. That will be decisive if your company wants to have everything up and running fast.
2) Key definitions and alignment
Once the blueprint is finished, it’s time to set the project’s deadlines and milestones. These will help the development team to know if they’re on schedule with the deliverables. Not only that, but it will also create a sense of alignment with the stakeholders, which is crucial for the project’s success.
Also, this is the time to define categories, draft the site map, and resolve localization issues – if the brand wants to sell to people in different countries. And remember: Everything that can’t be provided or decided within a given timeframe will be automatically considered a nice-to-have feature.
To keep the team committed to delivering everything on time, we recommend holding two daily meetings. The first one takes place in the morning and sets the tasks for the day. The second one is more of a punch-out meeting, with the team talking about what they accomplished. Both of them start with a reminder about the go-live date to make sure no one loses sight of the goal and what is needed to reach it.
3) Implementation and QA
With the go-live date set, it’s time to get some coding done. Make sure everyone is fully aware of the deadlines and keep a routine of daily meetings to check the progress of the dev team.
You’ll probably want to keep the stakeholders up to date with checkpoint calls, so they won’t get caught off guard with possible delays or changes of scope.
4) Go-live and improvements
Once the QA team and the stakeholders approve the implementation, the site will be ready to go live. But the work is far from done.
Remember all those nice-to-have features? With the online store fully operational, the developers will iterate on the MVP, adding all the improvements without the need to stop sales.
Digital transformation is everyone’s business
We know this is not an easy task. Particularly for those companies that are still grappling with digital transformation within their organizations. The challenge is not just to get an e-commerce website running, but to define the processes that will make the digital operation more efficient, delivering value to the whole ecosystem: partners, suppliers, customers.
Because rapid changes demand fast responses, everyone must do their part. If all of us put in the effort and commitment that is needed, we can accelerate the digital transformation and help businesses worldwide survive the crisis.