E-Commerce Lessons (a rant)

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Ian Lurie Oct 13 2008

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Please don’t take this personally, unless you’re a crappy developer, in which case I don’t care. For less rant and more information, see 17 Features for E-Commerce Success.

I’m angry (angrier). I am sick of the following story:

  1. Client hires developer to build e-commerce site.
  2. Developer nods vigorously when asked if they know how to build a store that actually, you know, sells stuff.
  3. Developer lets no one see the site during construction.
  4. Site launches and is a total disaster.
  5. Developer asks for more money to fix the product of his/her own mental retardation.

12 years ago, I could understand it. No one knew what worked and what didn’t.
10 years ago, it was kind of cute, the same way a skunk is cute: From a distance.
5 years ago, I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old, slept 2 hours a day and frankly didn’t care that much.
As of this morning, I’ve decided there’s no damned excuse for it, as I’ve seen no fewer than half a dozen examples of this kind of stupidity.
Developers, don’t sell yourself as an ‘e-commerce developer’ if all you know how to do is write code to manage products and process orders. That’s not e-commerce. That’s a shopping cart. E-commerce means writing something that will result in commerce, which requires more than beautiful code.
Business owners, think. If you hire a developer and put them In Charge of your entire site launch, you’re guaranteed a disaster. Developers know how to do one thing: Write code. And they do it really well.
Most don’t know how to improve search rankings. They don’t know how to make a site usable. And they sure as hell don’t know how consumers behave. Most of them spend their working and non-working lives basking in the glow of 2 or more LCD monitors, and only emerge, blinking, into the sunlight when starvation requires.
But in the end, it’s the ‘professionals’ that are at fault. If you tell a client you’re capable of building an online store, then you’re promising just that. And that means a store that has a chance to succeed. If you can’t do that, you’re incompetent at best, and a fraud at worst, out to make a buck by ripping off clients who don’t know any better.
If you’re a client, read my next blog entry. It’s a list of e-commerce features your site must have.
If you’re not totally insulted at this point, you might want to sign up for my 10/16 webinar. It’ll be right on point.

tags : conversation marketing