Build Strategy: our classroom e-commerce approach

How we will do it:

This is not the recommended method:

  • Technical restrictions (customization, backend process integration,...)
  • Unwanted publicity, publicity revenue stream
  • Ownership of shop (renting)
  • Costly if successful ?
  • This can easily become a false start


For the “experimenting” we want to do in this course, we will go for one of the free e-commerce webshops. This is purely done to prevent any “cash out” for the students, but you should not confuse this with the real life way of approaching this!

Actually, free is not free: In the free versions you will often have to pay a transaction fee which funds the website hosting. Many vendors offer an upgrade program to a paid version with more features, and a lower or removed transaction fee. This might be ok for you, except if after some time you realize that you could work more efficiently with the integration and interfacing to a number of background processes, e.g. in your ERP system. This could then become a false start, as you realize the solution selected can not be integrated with what you want, and you will have to start over, e.g. using a more customized solution, running and managed by your it or outsourced to a local company providing e-commerce custom services.

Other typical obstacles you can run into is unwanted publicity, or publicity for which you get no revenue shown on your e-webshop. (the cloud provider gets the revenue).

It might also be an issue that the technical solution is owned by the cloud provider. You will never be able to “own” the e-commerce webshop. So you might be stuck with the service and functionality the cloud provider is offering without many leverage to influence that.

As transaction volume grows, a big pain-point might be the amount of money (e.g. transaction fees) going to the cloud provider. If you maintain yourself the e-webshop solution, your cost will not increase a lot with a growing number of transactions (you might need a server more or so, but not a linear cost increase). So there is a break-even point where a privately managed (or out-tasked) solution will be cheaper then a cloud solution.

The right way of doing things is to follow a solution cycle from analysis over design, implementation, testing, operating, maintaining, and, if change is required, start the process over again.

Doing the analysis and design phase properly, you prevent a false start.