When Not to Launch an E Commerce SiteDesigning and launching an ecommerce site or moving an existing site to a new ecommerce platform, also known as replatforming, is a complicated process that takes weeks or, more likely, months to complete. Before going live for public use, a new ecommerce site will need to go through a period of testing by your internal ecommerce team as well as through a beta testing period completed by a select group of your customers. None of these steps can be rushed without compromising the integrity of the design and functionality of the site.

Assuming that you are an established enterprise organization expanding into the world of ecommerce, the size and scope of such a project begs the following question: How should you time the launch of your new site to maximize its effectiveness and minimize the chance of disrupting your organization’s established business? This is a major consideration that is often given only the most cursory of consideration.

Here are some times you should consider avoiding for your ecommerce launch:

  • Avoid seasonal busy periods. If your business is seasonal in nature, it’s probably pretty obvious that you will want to avoid a new site launch in the thick of your busiest time of the year. For B2C organizations this might mean avoiding a launch around the winter holidays. For B2B organizations, busy seasons will be dictated by your specific industry.
  • Steer clear of the end of the month. While June 30th might seem like a benign enough launch date, the end of the month can be hairy for various departments within your organization such as shipping and fulfillment as they attempt to get as many orders as possible out the door and accounting as they try to bill for those shipped orders and close the books on the month.
  • Avoid your key customers’ busy periods. If you know your key customers are going to experience a big push for product, avoid launching a site during these times. While these pushes might coincide with your busy times of the year, it’s possible that they might not and you want to make sure you aren’t leaving a critical customer hanging in their time of need.
  • Watch out for company-wide or industry events. Before choosing a launch date, examine the calendar for organization-specific or industry events that require “all hands on deck” and will limit the availability of your internal and external resources. For example, if your organization hosts an annual distributor sales event where the key players are likely to be out of town, approvals are going to be hard to secure. Likewise, if your best customers are the attendees at such an event, you are likely to limit your pool of potential beta testers.
  • Don’t go live at a tradeshow. It’s tempting to go live at an industry tradeshow to make a huge splash with your new ecommerce site. Don’t flip the switch and hope it works from the general session main stage. While it could be a great media draw, it could also leave you on stage alone with crickets chirping if something doesn’t work out as planned. Instead, quietly launch the site before the event, make sure it works and then make a huge splash by announcing the go-live at the show.

The timing of a site launch can make or break your ecommerce initiative. Careful consideration of when to launch your site will ensure that you maximize the success of your initiative and fully leverage the power of ecommerce.

To learn more about how to maximize the success of your ecommerce launch, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.