If you are looking to grow your eCommerce website, getting financial investment to make it happen requires building a convincing business case. But if you’ve never done this before, that can be a daunting challenge.
What do you need to include? How do you present the information in a way that will get you the budget you need? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to build a business case for your website.
What is a business case?
This is usually a document that focuses on the benefits or value that a new project (for example a new website or redevelopment of a website) could bring to your business.
As a rough guide, it should include reasons why this project is needed as well as information about what will be involved. For the purpose of a business case, the focus should be on information that will convince stakeholders or investors that the results make the investment worthwhile.
Why do you need a business case?
A business case is more likely to be used by existing companies that are looking to invest in either a new website or enhancements of a current one. After all, websites can’t stand still due to the pace technology changes. The biggest and most successful sites out there are constantly evolving to meet the needs of customers, improve their SEO, work better on mobiles or to match a corporate rebrand. As websites grow, even making sure they continue to work well, load quickly and have a structure that makes sense can be a project in itself.
These projects cost money, so whether you’re trying to convince internal stakeholders or external investors, a business case is a powerful tool to answer typical questions like:
- Why is this needed?
- How does it meet our goals and objectives?
- How will success be measured?
- How much will it cost?
- When will it be completed?
- Who will do the work?
How to build a business case for your website
1) Explain why the project is needed
This is the core of the business case. Why does this website project need to happen? If you can’t explain it clearly and convincingly, your stakeholders will justifiably question whether it really is needed.
You have to be able to confidently explain:
- Who your users are
- What they need
- What you want to achieve
- What challenges are preventing this
- What the priorities are for resolving this
- Who needs to be involved
It may be the case that you can answer some but not all of these questions. For example, you may be aware of the problems but not clear on the solutions. In this case, an agency can help you with research and discovery workshops to pin down what could make a difference for you.
Whether you are working with Adobe Commerce or BigCommerce, Pinpoint holds the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process. During this time, we’ll consider stakeholder expectations, the wider market and what your visitors want and need.
After completing extensive research, user behaviour analysis, competitor research and scrutinising data, you’ll be able to answer those questions with no problem.
2) Manage expectations
The importance of the research and discovery workshops is that they can actually shift your thinking on what you think your website needs versus what is actually needed. You may have gone into project planning thinking that a redesign would solve your issues but discovered that a full rebuild is needed instead. Or vice versa, which would of course save a lot of time and money.
Understanding what needs to be done can help you manage stakeholder expectations. With the information in hand, you’ll be able to gather indicative budgets and suggest priorities. We often use a must-have and nice-to-have approach for this:
- Must-have: This is the MVP (minimum viable product) needed to ensure the site performs to the bare minimum of expectations.
- Nice-to-have: With the right budget in place, this is the version that can really deliver the results you want.
Giving options allows your stakeholders a chance to compare costs and expectations and make informed decisions. If they opt for the MVP, you have at least made some progress and can potentially work through the rest of the changes through a retainer plan to spread the costs.
3) Choosing the right platform
If you’re starting with a new eCommerce website or looking for an overhaul, your business case needs to detail which platform(s) you recommend to help you achieve your objectives. Providing this information helps make it easier for stakeholders to make their decision.
Here are some areas you should consider when choosing an eCommerce platform:
- What you want to achieve: You need to think about the present and the future when looking at objectives. Picking a platform with flexibility and scalability means you won’t fall subject to complications when wanting to add a new currency or if you suddenly experience a large increase in traffic.
- What your customers want: An eCommerce site that isn’t built around the customers’ needs will inevitably fall short.
- What support you’ll need: Of course, things can and will go wrong, so you also need to plan for these events. Will you support your website in-house or require external agency support for the platform? What kind of support is available – phone, email, live chat and is it 24/7?
- How secure is it? Security is essential for eCommerce platforms and most platforms offer comprehensive solutions. These need looking into to understand which is the right one for you and make sure you are fully covered.
- How can people pay? Payment gateways can make a huge difference in whether a customer chooses to shop with you today. It’s important to choose the right one, including making sure it offers the flexibility that customers want in terms of how and when they pay.
Getting help with your business case
We’ve given you an indication of what you need to think about with your business case to give it the best chance of being successful. However, it’s better to engage with an agency when drafting your business case, rather than leaving it until after you have gained stakeholder approval.
Even if you feel confident about how to make the case for your project or website, it makes sense to collaborate with experienced voices to give you the best chance of buy-in. Whatever you are looking to achieve with your website, get in touch with us today to find out how we can support you.