Why adopt an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach for all your e-commerce platform projects ?
- 17 Mar 2022
Why adopt an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach for all your e-commerce platform projects ?
You are ready ! Your specifications are fine-tuned. All your business needs are described and prioritized, your technical constraints are outlined, and you even have a very precise idea of the screens you want to present to your customers and the experience your site should provide to stand out. You have launched your consultation to find the right partner for the implementation !
And the answers are disappointing... Feasibility, lead time or budget, at least one of these major decision criteria is not met.
The bidders propose an approach known as MVP - Minimum Viable Product - synonymous for you with giving up in order to fit into a budget (we do less right away, but it fits into your budget) or deadlines (we do less but in time) or to evacuate functional areas outside the initial scope of the proposed solutions (we will manage the complexities in the next version).
"In view of your budget and time constraints, we recommend an MVP approach.”
And yet : the MVP makes sense from a business, change management and financial point of view.
It should be an integral part of your online business deployment strategy even before you launch any consulting.
Here are the good reasons to adopt an MVP approach for the realization of your online sales space :
1) Prove that a business model is viable !
If the value of a B2C e-Commerce strategy has been proven since the 2000 / 2010 decade, the same is not yet true for B2B business models. The historical way of doing business has been proven, customer intimacy is there, the business is complex, the terms of contracts negotiated with end customers are too disparate ... Many are the internal reluctance to launch a new online sales channel.
An MVP is to quickly deploy an e-Commerce site, at low cost, with just what is needed to generate sales :
- You rely mainly on the standard functionalities already well-developed by the publishers' platforms on the market
- You may deploy only a part of the offer on the digital channel
- You can also open this service to only a part of your customers and collect their feedback
- You keep some manual tasks at first, like data import or export
This is the perfect way to demonstrate, at a lower cost, that your business model is viable, that your customers and prospects adhere to this new sales channel or its new version.
It is a Proof of Concept Business (PoC) for your management, allowing you to implement new services for your customers, to increase the available offer, or to simplify your life by automating tasks and by interconnecting the platform a little more with the information system.
2) Make your investments profitable as soon as possible
An e-Commerce site deployed quickly is also a “time to market” and sales issue.
Implementing costs of a complete platform are substantial. It can be difficult to release these budgets in one go. A business plan showing quick revenues can help to accept the bill.
The revenue generated is then partly reinvested in improving the website in future versions.
3) Encourage adoption by your team
Deploying a new e-commerce site implies a change of tools and processes for your employees. Like any changes, it involves uncertainty and opposition.
A new e-Commerce site launched quickly also means a faster availability of this new tool to your employees: editorial and sales teams, product referents, sales people, etc.
Your teams can quickly get to grips with the new site and better understand the native features of the chosen tool. Based on their feedback "in real conditions", they can influence the site's roadmap.
You then combine two values to guide your roadmap: the value for the end customer - the one you naturally have in mind since the very elaboration of your specifications - and the value for your collaborators, a determining element too often underestimated.
4) Reduce the total cost of ownership
An MVP approach is essentially based on the use of all the native functionalities offered by the editors of the chosen platforms. It allows you to develop a true mindset of adopting the product rather than trying to adapt it.
And this is the key to a platform that lasts over time: this mindset minimizes the amount of specific code to be produced and avoids "twisting" the native platform in a direction in which it was not initially designed, thus reducing
- The cost of maintainability of the platform over time (generated essentially by the specific source code, the editor being responsible for the maintenance of its native platform through patches or security patches),
- The risk of non-compatibility during the deployment of new versions proposed by the editor (how many upgrade projects have turned into replatforming because of these incompatibilities?)
- The risk of performance impacts requiring additional investments in your infrastructure.
You then have a platform that costs you less to maintain in the long term.
5) Help you adopt an agile industrial approach that ensures efficiency throughout the life of your site
An MVP approach - better said, "an MVP state of mind" - guides you from the thought process to the implementation of your platform. It requires you (for your own good!) to implement :
- A rich and flexible solution to benefit from all possible gas pedals today and tomorrow. It is important not only to look at the content "to date" but also at the history of major versions and the editor's roadmap in order to measure the dynamism of the latter.
- A reusable graphic component approach (a design system) to accelerate the publication of landing pages
- A tight internal team to facilitate rapid and scalable decision making
- A policy of measuring business value and efficiency on each element of the functional and technical perimeter: define the criteria of what will be considered a success or a failure, to support the feedback and the roadmap of your site.
What you need to remember for a successful MVP process :
- Identify the right KPIs for the MVP, and to do so, clarify the business issues and constraints, to prioritize
- Keep an Agile approach and do not push the specifications too far (at the risk of describing "a unicorn" that no platform can cover natively)
- Keep an open mind: there will not be only one way to meet the need
- Seek value for internal users as well as for customers: the operational excellence of your teams and processes must be just as decisive in your choices
- Rely on flexible and scalable tools that have been proven successful for other vendors in your industry
- Do not confuse MVP and PoC (Proof of Concept): do not lose sight of your business target
Smile regularly implements MVP approaches that quickly bring value to its customers. Here are some feedbacks to illustrate what I mean
AZELIS, the leading international supplier and distributor of specialty chemicals and food products, is strengthening its position in the industry market by enhancing its customer-focused digital strategy. SMILE is proud to work with AZELIS to build a global B2B customer portal that will be deployed in more than 50 countries worldwide.
The company, in the midst of a digital transformation, has trusted Smile, OroCommerce and Akeneo to build a new digital and global sales channel in the form of a B2B portal with the ultimate goal of making it the leading global sales channel.
An MVP in 4 months
37 countries deployed in 18 months
- 50% time to market on product enrichment and publishing
+ 50% increase in catalog enrichment speed
With the containment in 2020 and the significant loss of turnover in the aeronautical sector, Socomore, a specialist in chemical products for surface maintenance in the aeronautical industry, had to quickly find new B2B customers for chemical products.
This is how they quickly launched the production of hydroalcoholic gel for hospitals and the general public and their marketing based on Adobe Commerce and Akeneo solutions.
An MVP store deployed in 10 days
Dunlop Footwear manufactures and distributes protective equipment for agriculture, industry, healthcare and many other sectors worldwide in over 50 countries.
Our first objective with OroCommerce was to launch a B2B and B2C platform to facilitate self-service shopping, maximize efficiency, and prepare for the addition of additional services.
MVP deployed in 4 months
After 10 years of collaboration on their Magento 1 site, “Comtesse du Barry” had to ensure their 2020 season with an aging Magento 1 in parallel with their Magento 2 / Commerce Cloud redesign.
Smile developed an Adobe Commerce MVP in case of a disaster scenario and secured and optimized their Magento 1 site to ensure the 2020 season in full Covid.
MVP deployed in less than 3 months
ICL, a multinational manufacturing company, develops, produces, and markets fertilizers, metals, and other specialty chemicals. ICL Group decided to invest in a B2B e-Commerce platform to improve the efficiency of internal processes and customer interaction. Smile and OroCommerce allowed for the rapid deployment of an MVP with a core model approach that would subsequently allow for international development.
MVP deployed in 3 months for 3 countries
The PVG group is an international company that markets air conditioning products. One of their historical brands is Zibro, and the most recent is Qlima. Its distribution network is partly based on the mass market in Europe, like Castorama in France.
As retailers expect a qualitative product with limited customer support and follow-up, PVG thought of offering services directly to consumers.
Smile partnered to build an online parts store and implement a loyalty program on Adobe Commerce.
MVP deployed in 3 months