Strategy Centre

The IRP Deployment Process

  
12 May 2015 16:54
  

The IRP Deployment Process


Table of Contents

Introduction

The IRP Deployment Process

Project Management Tools

1. Project Preparation

1. IRP World Account Creation and Company Setup

2. Appointment of your Ecommerce Manager

3. Digital Strategy Creation

4. Design Brief Completion

5. Website Content Pages Creation

6. Product Data Provision

7. Setup Fee

2. Training, Education and Alignment

IRP Training — How to Use the IRP to its Full Potential

Ecommerce Education — How to Grow in Digital Commerce

Alignment — Be Rewarded for your Success

3. IRP Software Setup — Your Technology for Growth

IRP Instance Creation

Required Accounts Creation

Design and Content

Data Import and Configuration

Technical Configurations

Integrations

Marketing Preparation

GO LIVE and Consulting

Conclusion


Introduction

The IRP Deployment Process

At IRP Commerce we believe that compound digital sales growth depends equally as much on project momentum, training, education and alignment as it does on finding the correct technology package.

Successful deployment of an IRP therefore involves three main steps:

  1. PROJECT PREPARATION
    After contract signature, the IRP Deployment team will require the completion of a number of preparation steps to ensure that the project can be carried out successfully and on schedule. These are highlighted below:
    1. IRP World Account Creation and Company Setup
    2. Appointment of your Ecommerce Manager
    3. Digital Strategy Creation
    4. Design Brief Completion
    5. Website Content Pages Creation
    6. Product Data Provision
    At this stage you will also be invoiced the first 50% of your setup fee.
    Once these prerequisites have been fulfilled then the project proper can be timetabled into the deployment schedule and an effective start and completion date set.

  2. TRAINING, EDUCATION AND ALIGNMENT
    As part of the deployment process, we will aim to provide you with the network and knowledge you need to grow online sales. This includes:
    1. IRP Training
    2. Ecommerce Education
    3. Alignment of Goals

  3. IRP SOFTWARE SETUP
    This is where we put the digital technology in place to generate and process online sales.

For every IRP deployment we carry out, the key goal is to get our clients launched on time, up-to-speed, and with immediate operational efficiency and growing sales. The deployment process outlined above and in this document contains all the elements that we see as necessary for the completion of that goal.

Project Management Tools

In order to manage our deployment projects effectively, we use an online project/task management tool called Asana (www.asana.com) for all inter-team communications. This allows complete transparency and visibility at all stages of the deployment process, letting all stakeholders know who is responsible for which task and on what timetable.

If Asana is used effectively it should replace the need for email (Asana works best if all questions and queries are asked via the comments in the relevant task). This provides all parties with a central place to view all project tasks and progress, making sure that milestones and targets are met.


1. Project Preparation

Momentum is essential when gearing up for launch. For this reason we require a number of pre-deployment actions to be fulfilled before we start the deployment project. This allows us to hit the ground running, have every aspect of the project clearly defined right from the start, and ensures that the energy and focus of the project is maintained both pre and post launch.

These prerequisites are outlined below.

1. IRP World Account Creation and Company Setup

As a key part of the IRP deployment process, all Ecommerce professionals and new companies setting up on the IRP are required to sign up to IRP World:

https://www.irpcommerce.com/MyIRPWorld/Login.aspx

The IRP World is our central repository for all information and resources and is your gateway to strategy articles and news, Ecommerce education, IRP training and accreditations, as well as an ever-growing network of experts and service providers. It’s a place where you can learn about the IRP and digital commerce and where you can build the relationships you need to succeed online.

2. Appointment of your Ecommerce Manager

To identify, appoint and confirm an Ecommerce Manager is one of the most important steps that a pure play or multichannel online business can make.

Experience has shown us that for an ecommerce business to function successfully it is essential to have someone within your company who is solely responsible for the growth and success of your ecommerce site. This is your Ecommerce Manager. For us, it is crucial that we have this main point of contact within your organisation, just as you will have an assigned Deployment Manager during the deployment phase and an assigned IRP Consultant within our company once you go live.

The Ecommerce Manager role should be separate from other roles within the business.

While it is important to liaise with all channels and to have a joined-up strategy, the role of Ecommerce Manager should not be adopted by the same person who performs the shop manager function or any other function in the business.

They will complete IRP exams and will be able to measure their performance and that of your website against others in the same industry. This in turn allows us, and you, to reward them based on the achievement of goals and growth.

Please see the relevant article on the IRP World for more information and an example job description:

http://www.irpcommerce.com/en/gb/IRPStrategyCenter/ReadArticle.aspx?TopicID=57

3. Digital Strategy Creation

You will find a Digital Strategy template file in the ‘Consulting’ folder of your Google Drive.

This helps both parties determine the key opportunities for growth.

We believe that it is essential to have a digital strategy in place before taking the plunge into online commerce. We’ll provide you with a digital strategy template and work through it and review it with you before deployment starts. Your strategy should cover a number of key areas, for example: your business, team, market, competition, pricing and traffic channels. You should prioritise the steps needed to grow your sales, describe your objectives, how you intend to reach them and in what time parameters.

Planning is one of the most overlooked but vital parts of succeeding online. In helping you create your digital strategy, we’ll be pushing you to plan to ensure that you are in control (as much as possible) of events and the direction in which your business moves.

4. Design Brief Completion

You will find a Design Brief template file in the ‘Design’ folder of your Google Drive.

This gives our design team a clear idea of the work they will be required to carry out during the project and ensures all resources are in place from the outset.

You will also find a ‘Value Proposition Banners’ template file in the same folder. This is where you will fill in the key sales messaging you would like to use for the main banner locations across your store. This messaging is key for the localisation of your website and the growth of both domestic and international sales.

5. Website Content Pages Creation

At the same time as preparing your website strategy, it is important to think carefully about your (country specific) About Us, Contact Us, Shipping, Returns, Site T&Cs and Privacy pages, as well as any special promotional pages you feel might be appropriate to increase trust, loyalty and boost your SEO.

These should be based on the template files located in the ‘Design/Website Content’ folder of your Google Drive.

If you wish you can also create specific custom content pages for the mobile version of your website.

6. Product Data Provision

You will find a ‘Product Data Template’ and a ‘Product Data Guide’ in the ‘Product Data’ folder of your Google Drive.

Product data requirements can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. In the case of a new Ecommerce website, all product data must be provided in our Excel template format before the project can begin. This template includes web optimised product names, images, descriptions, categories and specific stock attributes such as size and colour. This is to ensure that delays on data sourcing and updating do not occur during deployment.
  2. In the case of a migration to the IRP from a previous provider, an example Excel data export from the current provider must be provided. We can then format this together into our Excel template. It is understood that this data may have to be updated again much closer to launch, but it is important to confirm that the process to export up-to-date data in the correct format is in place before project start.
  3. In the case of product integration with third-party Stock/Till systems, a fully detailed outline of the type of integration required, the names of the third party providers and the processes required must be established. This is to enable us to accurately quote for the integration work as part of deployment and to foresee any potential issues. A template CSV product file from the external system must also be provided before project start.

The ‘Product Data Guide’ goes into a lot more detail on the correct way to format ecommerce data. However, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any questions you may have during this data preparation phase.

Correctly formatted data is essential for a successful launch and subsequent growth.

7. Setup Fee

Payment of 50% of initial setup fee is required before project start as per our standard contract terms.

Once the above prerequisites have been fulfilled then the project proper can be timetabled into the deployment schedule and an effective start and completion date set.


2. Training, Education and Alignment

To run and grow successful digital commerce businesses it is vital to understand the differences between offline and online retail. Specific Ecommerce teams need to be put in place and these teams need to study and understand the digital commerce marketplace — where to source traffic, how to measure success, how to test, iterate and persuade the customer to buy from you as opposed to others. The same principles as regular retail apply, but it’s a faster, more reactive marketplace which offers an amazing scope to measure, track and improve on almost every action.

IRP Training — How to Use the IRP to its Full Potential

The IRP World Knowledge Base contains step-by-step guides and training for all aspects of the IRP. From creating admin accounts, to importing product data, to stock control, to order processing or creating email campaigns, this is where you’ll find all the information you need to make the most out of the wide range of services included in the IRP package. Your deployment manager will ensure you have access to all these resources as well as online and face-to-face training sessions throughout the project launch phase and thereafter.

Your team will be encouraged to take control of their IRP from a very early stage so that by the time you are ready to launch you have a full grasp of all the key functionalities at your disposal.

As a member of IRP World, you will also be able to take our IRP exam modules, enabling you to gain full accreditation in all things IRP.

This training is vital to the success of your business.

Ecommerce Education — How to Grow in Digital Commerce

The IRP World Strategy Centre is your resource for digital commerce articles, strategy documents, and up-to-date industry news, opinion and knowledge. We fully encourage all our clients and service providers to participate in this ever-growing online resource network.

As part of your Ecommerce Education, we’ll be hosting workshop sessions on the digital transformation required to succeed online, multichannel marketing and the instant importance of your value proposition.

Operational efficiency is also key here. During deployment we will analyse your current processes and provide recommendations so that your business operations can be readied for the logistical challenges that accompany rapid sales growth.

Foundation courses in Ecommerce strategy will be included as part of the deployment process and we’ll work with you to help you refine your strategy going forward.

Alignment — Be Rewarded for your Success

We believe it is very important to award initiative and success. Our goal is to work in partnership with your business to achieve record growth and profitability. To do this we feel it is important to reward our partners. Your company and your Ecommerce Manager will be rewarded for hitting targets — be that completing our accreditation programs and training workshops, writing strategy documents, hitting launch dates or breaking sales predictions.

Our success is intrinsically linked to that of our clients and that’s why a key part of the deployment process is focused around the alignment of all stakeholders’ goals and objectives.

Please contact our commercial team for more information on how we can align project goals.


3. IRP Software Setup — Your Technology for Growth

Outlined below are the key steps involved in the technical deployment and launch of your IRP website. Your deployment manager will be working with you throughout this process to make sure that your site is launched on time and with maximum operational efficiency.

IRP Instance Creation

Step one of your deployment, the Export Technologies development team will build a test environment for your future website. This will be hosted and maintained by us, as will your live store. This removes the headaches of setup and server maintenance and lets you get on with the important task of growing sales.

Essentially, we will set up your site on our servers on a password and IP protected test domain name. Admin access will be created for your teams and all members will be able to access the IRP frontend and backend throughout the deployment process. Once all parties are satisfied that the website is ready to go live we will open access to your IRP and make it accessible on the domain name of your choice to the outside world.

Required Accounts Creation

To be able to sell, ship and process payments online you will require a number of third-party accounts. The first step of the IRP setup process is the creation of these accounts. We will guide you through this and put you in touch with the third parties you may require. This includes:

  • Shipping — Royal Mail, Parcelforce, DPD, An Post, etc.
  • Payment Processing — RealEx, Paypal, Merchant Bank accounts.
  • Payment Financing — V12 Finance.

Design and Content

Our in house design team will advise and create the optimal look and feel required to fit your brand/market and to promote sales. As part of the project-planning phase you will already have provided your design input and team will take these ideas and work them together with IRP features to create your unique website template. We will transfer the design to your IRP once approved.

Custom content and copy are vital to the success of your IRP. The main goal here is to optimise and customise the content pages of your website for your key visitors. You will require specific messaging for your UK customers, who are different to your Irish customers, who again are different from your European and North American customers. The IRP allows for drilldown to specific countries and languages and we recommend you take advantage of these functions as much as possible in order to tailor your content and messaging to every key user group and market in which you believe you are competitive. This is a key area and will be covered in more detail in your ‘Value Proposition’ education workshop.

Data Import and Configuration

Vital to your success, your product data needs to be as close to perfection as possible and this is one of the key areas we will work with you on right through the deployment process.

The IRP allows for bulk imports and updates of data. With your completed data template files from the project preparation phase, your teams will be able to progress with data preparation and cleaning right from project start. We will train you how to manipulate the data so that your team is comfortable adding and optimising all product data for online sales.

Once your product data is in, it is important to correctly categorise it so that it is as easy as possible for your users to find what they are looking for. Again, in this respect the IRP is extremely flexible and allows for changes from the administration area of your account or via bulk changes to Excel or flat file spreadsheets.

The same applies here for customer data. If you already hold customer addresses and emails, these can be imported and formatted just before launch so that the data is as up-to-date as possible.

Technical Configurations

Once you have all the necessary 3rd party accounts created (shipping, card processors, finance providers, etc.), it is necessary to configure your IRP with all the account details and access parameters so that it can interact with them. The main task here is shipping — and requires you to map out your shipping zones, methods and rules so that you can display appropriate shipping options to customers depending on their location, value and/or weight of their order. Inputting these into the system is relatively simple, but it is the preparation of these rules that is important in advance so that you have a clear idea of exactly how much you need to charge for each shipping variation. The deployment team will guide you through this process.

Integrations

The IRP is fully equipped with Stock Control, EPOS, Labelling, Order Management etc. but has also been developed to easily allow third-party provisions of such software.

Your deployment manager will help you work out which integrations you require and build these into your deployment plan.

Marketing Preparation

Each site on the IRP is allocated an IRP World Consultant who will be responsible for helping you develop your IRP sales growth task list.

Aside from this, as one of the final parts of the technical setup of your IRP, your consultant will be responsible for getting your email and PPC campaigns set up for launch. This requires content creation for emails and paid search adverts, and working together with you to make sure that this content is correctly targeted to generate maximum clicks and conversions.

As part of your sales growth task list, your consultant will also give you advice and guidance on the other channels you need to target from the offset.

GO LIVE and Consulting

Once all the above tasks have been completed you are ready to go live. The ‘Go Live’ process is relatively simple once everything has been prepared and just requires our development team making all final checks and changing security settings to allow external traffic to access your domain. Your deployment manager and consulting team will then work closely with you over the following days and weeks to make sure everything is on target and that campaigns, conversions and sales are optimised. Once we are satisfied that the site is underway correctly and that you have everything required to succeed, your deployment manager will hand over responsibility to the consulting team who will be your main point of call for advice from then on in. You will also have full access to our dedicated support team for any technical queries you have in the future.


Conclusion

IRP deployment requires a successful blend of technology and knowledge.

  • Project Preparation — IRP World Signup, Digital Strategy, Design and Data Preparation.
  • IRP Training, Ecommerce Education and the Alignment of Goals.
  • IRP Software Setup — Technical Setup and Configuration.

Your deployment project manager is responsible for guiding you through this process and will ensure that you have both the proven technology and methodology required for a successful launch in international digital commerce.

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IRP Commerce is a Trading Name of Export Technologies Limited, a Deloitte Fast 50 Company five times: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014   Deloitte.