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As innovations emerge, we gain tools to develop new technologies easier and faster. Such improvements include the Agile methodology, which is now essential for business owners to develop and optimize online retail sites and applications.
Do you want to create a perfect storefront that will suit the changing customer needs? Do you want to cope with the unpredictability without costing you much time and money to modify the used solution? That’s where the Agile approach comes in handy.
What can an online retail business get with the Agile strategy? First, it can help you improve your company’s internal procedures, team communication, and employee speed and flexibility.
The Agile principle works well with eCommerce projects, building a website from scratch, dealing with the Magento headless commerce architecture, or ensuring overall outstanding performance. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the Agile principle for eCommerce.
What Stands Behind Agile Development
Agile development appeared as a substitute for established approaches (such as the Waterfall model).
Specifically, Agile is a project management technique with an emphasis on:
- adaptive planning;
- flexible development;
- iterative development;
- early delivery.
Thanks to it, teams operate under tighter (and multiple) deadlines. Along the process, they get more end-user feedback and deliver a working solution sooner, even if it isn’t the final result. This approach allows for faster results, and time is always a critical factor when an eCommerce project is being developed (be it delivering a new storefront or implementing new features).
To provide you with an example, the Agile principle is similar to the following scenario:
- Let’s assume you need to create furniture for a customer. You can ask what a client wants, make up a furniture model, and manufacture it without negotiations. Then you present the completed product and wait for approval or rejection. Isn’t it too risky?
- Alternatively, you can give them an outline or a brief description of what you’re going to create. It takes less time, and you’ll get the direction to proceed with the model, what to add, and what to change.
- You and the customer move together to the final product. Customers receive a valuable product and the opportunity to submit feedback to improve the future work beyond what you discussed earlier.
As for eCommerce projects, these can, for instance, be launching a native app. Developers collect your suggestions and present the layout to you to design and app creation.
Breaking Down the Process into Sprints
Notably, the Agile principle involves breaking down a large project into smaller tasks, known as “sprints.”
What are sprints? Sprints are a common aspect of Agile approaches. These are small tasks inside a larger project broken into two to four-week increments.
When finishing the sprint, you:
- reflect on what you accomplished or didn’t accomplish;
- gather feedback from the product owner/online store owner;
- and adjust to the next sprint and website or mobile app release.
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5 Advantages of Using Agile Methodology for eCommerce Project Development
1. Increased Speed
It would be best to consider the Agile methodology because of its higher speed and flexibility. In addition, it streamlines the process from the early steps to the final deployment stages.
However, there’s an Agile drawback. There is no explicit guarantee of what a completed storefront (or other project peculiarities) should be like, so developers can’t give a firm quote for specific deliveries.
The good news is that a company benefits from a faster and more efficient version of the digital development works with fundamental features. And developers tweak the eCommerce solution based on the collected feedback even after the website or app launch.
What can go wrong with an eCommerce website? There are various issues, such as:
- some pages or images are missing;
- tangled and unclear categories;
- broken checkouts;
- poor SEO optimization.
This approach enables you to watch how users operate it, what they want, what they don’t like, and how the app behaves in real life.
You will almost certainly need to change the issued storefront or changes, so why not avoid mistakes at earlier stages?
And how can you test it? Right, by launching your eCommerce store (or changes to it) as soon as possible to discover and address all of these difficulties before wasting time and money attempting to get everything perfect on the first go.
2. Getting the Idea of Market Interest
An Agile production process allows you to see market changes and create buzz around the project. The bottom line is the ongoing reiteration and upgrades, which helps identify what elements you don’t need and remove them from the project.
How does it help eCommerce teams? With Agile, you can provide a well-designed eCommerce storefront and the greatest possible service to clients.
Modern customers change their preferences and trends as time goes. So there’s no way to keep the platform as it was designed, for example, five years ago. Instead, you need to alter and enhance the eCommerce solution regularly to meet the expectations of emerging generations.
3. Quality Improvements
Any Agile methodology implies extending the eCommerce development process beyond the deployment phase. The team repeats the quality assurance and maintenance stage to ensure that a higher-quality solution reaches the end-user.
How can developers improve product quality and ensure the correctly built software? First, they can use automated testing tools and sprint retrospectives.
Each sprint focuses on creating the application’s core components or other project deliverables and provides a new or improved working feature. With each increment, developers can re-evaluate the storefront optimization state.
4. Reduced Risks
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Another benefit of the Agile methodology is transparency during development and implementation. The team responds to the client’s needs and incorporates the eCommerce solution provided the initial design is successful.
It decreases the risk of failure due to faster delivery and customer feedback.
What is the key to reducing risks? First, provide a separate task to each department to fulfill independently. They should cover all stages of eCommerce storefront optimization, starting with solution conception, development, deployment, and final analysis.
5. Satisfied Customers
What constitutes customer satisfaction? There’re various factors combined, such as:
- a high-quality product;
- quick upgrades;
- good product demos;
- faster delivery.
And that’s what Agile is all about. It combines incremental methods to construct an eCommerce project with the features above. It emphasizes the eCommerce project’s commercial value rather than focusing on the project itself.
What will make the solution user-friendly? How do customers respond to the introduction of new features? Agile outperforms other business strategies because it allows you to provide the values step by step while lowering the chance of project failure. As a result, customers are happier and more satisfied with the online store they browse.
The Agile approach is a project management style that has gained much traction in recent years. This practice is prevalent among software companies. However, it’s not limited to software firms and teams alone.
It can have various applications, such as project management, marketing, etc. And eCommerce companies can also benefit from such an adaptable model.
About the author
Alex Husar, chief technology officer at Onilab. For over eight years, he’s been working on Magento migration and development projects and building progressive web apps (PWAs). Alex is an expert in full-stack development who shares his expertise and in-depth knowledge on modern technologies and Computer Software Engineering.