Architecture. A word often associated with the art and science behind designing buildings and physical structures. Today, it also features heavily in the tech world and more specifically, eCommerce space.
But what does an eCommerce Architect really do?
Do they build out every single tech plan for an eCommerce brand?
Or is it something completely different?
On the latest episode of The eCommerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives podcast, host Kailin Noivo is joined by Jim Parris, an eCommerce Architect, to discuss the ins and outs of eCommerce architecture as well as how he approaches bugs and instability.
Approaching Technology Decisions
In any organization, your decisions impact your customers, no matter your industry. This includes everything from who you partner with to the tech solutions you scale out. Jim explains that even if you back up every decision with solid data, it’s likely to become outdated within only a couple of years. After all, people change, so their expectations change.
For this reason, Jim approaches every decision with the notion that it will benefit people now, knowing that, in just two years, that might not be the case.
He even builds exit strategies into every plan. This way, even if he leaves the company, any changes can be reversed and altered as and when necessary without too much hassle or panic for any team members.
Monitoring Bugs and Instability
Bugs and instability are par for the course when it comes to eCommerce operations, with the likes of Alizée Dard Belmont and Kelli Reeves even recommending professionals stop neglecting bugs on their sites.
Jim’s philosophy is that you must know exactly why you are monitoring what you are monitoring. For example, in the case of a blog, you likely want customers to read about a product, buy the product, and then come back the next time they need something. That is their customer journey. So, if there are logs and logs full of errors, yet your add-to-cart ratio is still the same, do you really need to solve those bugs? According to Jim, not necessarily.
Instead of digging into why these errors are cropping up, inspect why they are not affecting your customers. One way to do this is to roll your business metrics into your technology metrics, i.e., include your revenue stream in your analysis of errors, so you can easily observe whether instability and errors affect your business’s true performance.
Influencing Cross-Functional Decision Making
As an eCommerce Architect, Jim does not have the final say on any cross-functional decisions. Instead, he maps out the route for other teams, explaining how different decisions will impact the company’s future.
To help this process, Jim keeps in conversation with various team members across different departments, asking about the culture and tools they use so he has a heads up on where they are already heading. This also helps him constructively contribute towards collective decision-making that proves to ultimately benefit the customer as well as the company.
It’s Time to Look Ahead
Jim’s one piece of advice for eCommerce brands is to stop short-term planning. Specifically, he advises eCommerce teams to stop over-indexing on being competitive with their pricing. That’s not a sustainable long-term strategy and will likely just kill your business. After all, a sustainable business is one that makes money, and the cost-benefit ratio of competitive pricing doesn’t always work out.
Instead, he advises brands to find their differentiators from other sites offering the same thing and play that into their strategy. If you’re not a big retailer in your space, you will always fight a losing pricing battle.
Listen to the Full Episode Below!
Tune in to this episode of The eCommerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives with Jim Parris to find out more about what being an eCommerce architect is really like.
Jim Parris is an enterprise IT and eCommerce Operations and Architecture professional with over fifteen years of experience. He currently serves as eCommerce Architect at an eCommerce platform dedicated to simplifying how customers shop for everything they need to make their businesses grow. Prior to this, he was a Technology Consultant for Ticketmaster Resale, creating a middle layer of support between customer service and developers.