Putting Together Enterprise Ecommerce SuccessWhen I’m not blogging about ecommerce best practices or helping you cut costs from your enterprise shipping function, like so many corporate bloggers, I have an alternate identity–the “non-business” me. The “non-business” me is a mosaic artist and it recently occurred to me while I was working on a piece of art in my studio that every enterprise ecommerce site is like a piece of mosaic art.

Stick with me for a minute and hear me out.

Mosaic is the ancient art of taking bits of cut stone or glass and creating a picture or design. Regardless of what the mosaic is made of, the process of making a mosaic and the steps in the process are fairly formulaic, with a lot of room for creative expression after the basics are covered.

Ecommerce is the same way. There are a series of basics that have to be addressed and once those are taken care of, the rest is up to the ecommerce team to finalize. There are also a series of steps in the process that, when followed, provide the most successful ecommerce site possible.

All mosaic consists of:

  • A base or substrate that supports the art and allows the piece to exist although you rarely see it.
  • Chunks of glass, tile, bits and baubles known as tesserae. This is the pretty stuff that you see and makes up the “picture” of the mosaic.
  • Adhesive to hold the tesserae to the base, allowing it to take form.
  • Grout to fill in the gaps between the chunks of tile and glass, giving the piece a smooth and seamless surface

In a successful ecommerce site, you have the following components, regardless of the size or scope of the project:

  • An ecommerce platform that allows you to build the site. This is your base—you rarely see it, but you couldn’t build the site without it.
  • Site design elements that create your site’s visual look and feel and site functionality that allow the user to navigate the site and directs them to the next step of the buying process. These two elements make up the visual “picture” of your site and how it functions. These are your tesserae.
  • Content is the adhesive for your ecommerce site. Without quality content, a beautiful site is meaningless and won’t hold up to the day-to-day rigors of ecommerce. Content is also what engages your audience and causes them to “stick” with your site throughout the buying process.
  • Integration with back-end systems. This is the grout that pulls all of the pieces together to create a seamless whole. Without integration, an ecommerce site’s potential isn’t fully realized as you find yourself getting stuck in the cracks between stand alone systems.

Much like in mosaic art, how the elements of ecommerce are put together on your site is up to you. The key is to make sure that each element is included in your ecommerce site to ensure the most successful site possible. Skipping or skimping on any of the elements will result in a less-than-optimum final result.

Learn more about how to maximize the success of your ecommerce site by downloading the white paper, B2B Ecommerce SuccessSeven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.

P.S. The image used in this blog post is not of my work, but of a light post in New York City that some one mosaic’d. Thought I would give a shout out to another rogue artist!

Photo credit: spojeni via Flickr