Ah… The little things! (Part II)

In my previous post about “the little things“, I pointed out the difficulties of scoping requirements for eCommerce sites, specifically, because of the many features and possibilities that these systems provide. That, in turn, makes it difficult to create an educated estimate and it’s not uncommon to get quotes ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 for an eCommerce site. And even when we have all the specifics and requirements and client needs spelled out, there is ALWAYS something that comes up, preferably right before launch :-)

A client recently asked me “What could possibly come up that makes it so difficult?” so I thought I’d come up with a list of things that I have encountered which, in the end, might just be good reference for myself, but hopefully other developers as well:

  1. Adding a membership feature to an existing site
  2. Adding a “gift membership” to the already added membership feature
  3. Product add-ons which, in turn, have their own product add-ons (example cookie store: ‘add a bottle of milk’ which then allows you to ‘add a cooling bag’)
  4. Adding customer pick-up option to the “shipping options”. By itself pretty easy (they may even be plugins for some systems) but then allowing customers to specify times of pick-up – which depend on hours of operation which may differ at individual store locations. Add to that the feature request of mixing ‘pick-up’ orders as well as ‘regularly shipped’ items within one shopping cart and you can see where this can get complicated.

This is just a start list to illustrate possible pit-falls. As much as we try to warn about them and prepare the client and ourselves, keep in mind that complex systems are difficult to estimate and always cause surprises, no matter how specific our requirements are at the beginning.

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