7 Reasons E-Commerce Projects Fail – And How to Succeed Instead

Visit Website View Our Posts

Today, on average 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail. And with e-commerce playing a huge role in organizations’ overall digital transformation strategies, it’s important to hone in on how the e-commerce piece of this equation can mean big success (or catastrophic failure) for your business’ digitization efforts.

Despite an evolution of digital experiences and expectations over the years, businesses (large and small, local and global, and B2B or B2C) all still struggle with the same kinds of issues: the ones that ultimately lead to a failed, abandoned, or ultimately ineffective e-commerce project.

This blog will guide you through some of the most prevalent problem areas and offer tips on how to mitigate these issues before they arise.

Why E-Commerce Projects (Still) Fail, Most of the Time

While e-commerce projects can be complex, it’s much less complicated to identify the primary risk factors. There are aspects of an e-commerce project that tend to trip brands up more often than others, so we’ve compiled a list of the top reasons e-commerce projects don’t go according to plan. Here’s why most organizations believe their e-commerce projects fell flat:


  1. We did not have the right strategy, or our strategy was not clearly defined
  2. We were not communicating strategies, plans, and goals internally
  3. Our executive team was disconnected from the project
  4. We picked the wrong technology or partner to support our initiative
  5. We lacked back-office integration and/or our data was a mess
  6. Our project scope and/or budget did not match our plan
  7. We launched a web store, but the on-site experience was poor


Now that we’ve covered the challenges, let’s dive into some ways to solve them.

Avoiding E-Commerce Project Failure: 7 Key Tips

Whether you’re implementing your first e-commerce website or starting a re-platforming project for your current online store, you need to approach your efforts in the right way. This means keeping in mind (and planning for) potential pitfalls and being clear and transparent across your organization to ensure alignment from beginning to end.

Here’s how:

1. Start with the right strategy

Define your e-commerce goals and align them closely with the demands of your customers. While you may be worried about driving online revenue, your buyers expect an experience that makes purchasing simple enough to get you to that point. Think about both sides of the equation, in that same way, when you build your strategy around your overall goals and your customers’ needs.

2. Form (and collaborate with) a winning, cross-functional e-commerce project team

Getting the right people involved in your e-commerce project is one of the most crucial ways to set a strong and stable foundation. Your e-commerce team should include peers across departments (so all needs internally are met) and be aligned on processes and goals before your project kicks off.

Once your team is formed, communicate your e-commerce plans, and specify your e-commerce product requirements so that the scope of your project can come more clearly into view.

3. Get sign off and active support from your executive team

We often find that our most successful customers at Sana Commerce are those whose senior management team are supportive of, informed about, and actively involved in making their organization’s e-commerce project a success. Let that enthusiasm trickle in from the top down, so that your project avoids delays, and remains aligned with broader corporate initiatives.

4. Choose the right technology and the right partners

Selecting the most cost-effective option when it comes to your e-commerce project is a common mistake, especially for small and midsized businesses with limited budget and resources. However, cutting upfront implementation costs doesn’t guarantee a low total cost of ownership (TCO) – and certainly doesn’t ensure the best quality option for your business. Your choice of e-commerce technology (and any other partners involved) should be, first and foremost, centered around the fit for your business, your existing IT infrastructure, and your buyers’ needs — not about getting the job done for the lowest price.

Here are some tips on how to make the right choice.

5. Consider a Dynamics-ERP integrated solution

Cleaning up your ERP data in order to use that data in your web store is enough of a (necessary) preparatory hassle. Now, imagine having that data replicated (and needing to then be maintained) to make that data-rich and feature-rich web store you want a reality.

Without an ERP-integrated e-commerce solution, that replication and maintenance is unavoidable.

On the other hand, a solution like Sana’s that uses real-time Dynamics data in our web stores boasts tight back-office integration and ultimately makes running a web store simple for your internal teams. Going into an e-commerce project, consider what your data and maintenance workload look like before it’s too late.

6. Specify your product requirements

When planning for your e-commerce project, avoid daydreaming about (and getting hung up on the idea of) your ideal web store experience.

For many businesses, going beyond their basic requirements or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) also means going well beyond budget or well beyond the intended project timeline. Define your MVP; understand your must-have requirements. Then, list out your nice-to-have additions, and make calls on what you will actually execute on as you get a sense of the level of effort, cost, customization requirements, and time needed to make your web store a reality.

7. Push live, and don’t forget about the e-commerce experience

E-commerce isn’t just a “set it and forget it” kind of project, and it’s not just a race to get a web store up and running faster than your competitors.

A web store, once it’s online, is also a direct point of contact for you and your customers and a channel via which to create new revenue streams. But this can only happen if the user experience is up-to-par.

When you think about your e-commerce project, think end-to-end: from strategy to go live, to what the experience will be like for your customers once your web store is online. Otherwise, you risk falling among the businesses who wasted an investment on a web store because they assumed that if they simply offered an online web store, the business would flow in with no added effort.

Ready to Get Started? Here’s Some Guidance.

If you found these tips handy so far, you may benefit from diving a bit deeper into best practices for e-commerce project execution. To help, we’ve created a resource that can offer some clarity and direction — The Ultimate Guide to E-Commerce: From Planning to Going Live.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons