Launching a new or redesigned ecommerce site is a powerful way to revitalize and grow your B2B business. However, launching a site at the wrong time can quickly squelch the potential of an ecommerce site and even have the exact opposite effect. Here are three scenarios that you should consider when choosing when to launch a new ecommerce site:
Business seasonality. Is your business seasonally driven? For example, if your organization supplies graduation gowns to high schools and colleges, it would be foolish to launch a new ecommerce site in May. For the most success, you would want to launch the new site before your busy season hits, allowing you to test the site and work out any kinks before your customers arrive and demand rush service. Likewise, if you supply corporate holiday gifts to businesses over the winter holidays, you probably shouldn’t think about launching a new site in November–unless you are absolutely positive that your site A) works, B) can handle the demand, and C) won’t disappoint your customers.
Supplier business seasonality. If you are a distributor of goods and do not actually make the products you sell, it would be a good idea to consider any seasonal, cultural, or local constraints that might affect your suppliers. For example, if you purchase electrical components from China, you would want to ensure that you either had a large enough stock of these components on hand when the Chinese New Year hits (as most Chinese factories shut down entirely for two to three weeks during this time) or you would want to consider launching your site when your suppliers are sure to be able to meet increased demand.
Customer seasonality. This consideration is a little bit different in that it considers when your customer might more or less engaged with your new site. If you are hoping to launch with a big splash and engage your customer right away to ensure immediate return on your investment, make sure you aren’t launching when your customer is unlikely to be paying attention. For example, I live in Minnesota. If you happen to target companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Iowa for snow removal equipment in July, you need to know that Minnesotans are outside enjoying the only nice weather we have all year. We aren’t thinking about snow. We don’t want to think about snow. This is the ideal time to “soft launch” your site, make sure its working and then hit us square between the eyes with marketing about snow come the first of October. (Yes, it snows that early here sometimes.)
Launching an ecommerce site is a big deal–doing so is time and resource intensive as well as prone to technology glitches you can’t predict. Make sure your ecommerce initiative is successful and plan the timing of your launch to ensure your site is up and running before peak busy seasons–for you, your suppliers, and your customers.
To learn more about how to maximize the success of your B2B ecommerce initiative, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.