Alternative Text Craig Melville | 07 November 2019 |

How to choose the right digital eCommerce partner

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When beginning your digital eCommerce journey, it’s so important that you choose the right technical partner.

The best choice at this stage will ensure you kick-start your journey in the strongest possible position, with the potential to achieve your key objectives.

The wrong decision will see your business struggling to grow, compete and increase profits. Crucially, spending budget on the wrong partner will do little for your ROI and will impact your bottom line.

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The need to work with the right partner

The right partner will provide your business with:

    • Expertise: to advise on the best technologies and to create a digital transformation roadmap
    • Best practise: strategic knowledge to promise agility and innovation, often resulting in a competitive advantage
    • Proof of concept: demos and case studies to illustrate their approach to digital transformation
    • Improved time-to-market: a thought-out execution strategy and the right technology for a quick implementation process
    • Close partnerships: essential relationships with technology providers to offer custom solutions for your business and cost-reduction opportunities


It’s crucial for you to make the right decision for your business. These are our essential tips to do exactly that:

  1. Look for detailed platform experience

A digital partner should become a trusted advisor. The more experience an eCommerce solutions partner has in different technologies, the better advice they can give you to help resolve the individual business obstacles you face.

Illustrating an understanding of your business and your core demands is fundamental. It’s too easy for a potential partner to roll out off-the-shelf options, but the right partner will provide tailored solutions that fit with your current business need and enable you to build out a business-specific roadmap for the future.

The first stage is to validate your potential partners’ credibility by looking for accreditations across a range of technology solutions. They must possess deep technical and commercial knowledge of multiple platforms, their functionality, limitations, and the other technologies they interoperate with. An understanding of any challenges and the best practice approaches associated with them is also invaluable to an eCommerce solutions partnership.

Secondly, it’s key to push them to illustrate exactly how these solutions can be bespoke to the specific needs of your business and the benefits it will bring operationally and commercially.


  1. Dig into their history

The eCommerce industry throws up daily challenges. The acid test of a viable partner is how they deal with obstacles. A service partner with experience in handling tough problems head on and with success will have confidence in their ability to resolve issues, especially those they have faced before.

Remember, it’s easy for a potential partner to talk about their awards, relationships and client successes. You need to really get to grips with their capacity to be agile and solutions-focused in the face of potential adversity.

Don’t be afraid to go beyond the testimonials on their website and in their pitch deck and ask for multiple references from previous relationships. Where possible ask for introductions to existing clients for confidential and unbiased feedback.


  1. Never forget the importance of chemistry

Good chemistry can mean great governance.

Too often, a friendly sales journey during the selection process can fade when the real work begins. Remember that it isn’t the pre-sales team you’ll be working with for the length of the partnership. You’ll be interacting with service teams, project managers, and technical support, as well as legal and finance for example.

Interactions with these teams must be part of the selection process. If it isn’t forthcoming on the side of your potential partner, push for it. To make the right decision for your business you’ll need to dig deep into the areas of their business that will impact you.

Insist that the individuals you’ll actually be working with run demos. At this stage you don’t want a quick demo from the sales team, you need a deep dive and an illustration of exactly how it will work for you.

You can also test out the chemistry. If you can build a good relationship with the teams and people you’ll be interacting with ahead of making your final decision, it will help confirm with confidence that you have found your perfect eCommerce partner.


  1. Understand if they are simply a “yes” team

The reason why you’re selecting a digital eCommerce partner is that you require expertise to guide your business to success in line with your objectives and the KPIs built into your roadmap.

If you could do everything yourself then you would. Fundamentally, a partner has to bring strategic insight to the table. That means that they need to push back on you when they feel you’re making the wrong decision and they shouldn’t always follow your suggested approach to the letter.

As part of their role as a trusted advisor, they must know when to turn down additional project activity and revenue for work they don’t believe is the best course of action for your business.  Keeping this in mind during your design proposal stage will enable you to understand the ethics of your potential partner.


  1. Evaluate their capacity for true partnership

Collaboration has to be central to any partnership. It’s the very essence of how it should work. Your partner will care about the success of your business as much as you do when their success is dependent on yours, therefore arguments over price or timeframes can be counterproductive.

One of the most valuable traits to look for in a good partner is arguably not commercial.  It’s when they work with you as a trusted sounding board to help make key decisions and provide industry knowledge when resolving problems.

To do this, you’ll need to find a partner that covers all of the above points. They need to have the right experience and industry awareness coupled with an understanding of your business. The rapport needs to be right and they must have the confidence to push back when needed.

Find that and it’s your recipe for success.


At DeeperThanBlue we collaborate with our clients to understand the key challenges they face, turning them into revenue generating opportunities and building a solid foundation for business growth.

We have years of high profile success delivering both bespoke and large-scale eCommerce solutions to brands with complex and demanding infrastructures. To learn more about our approach and client successes get in touch with us today.


by Craig Melville – check out my LinkedIn page here and say hello 👋
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