I’m changing my commerce platform. It’s going to be painstaking and slow.

I made a guestimate at the beginning of the year about how long this would take. It was, of course, completely wrong. And that’s okay.

Here’s what happened:

First I listed all of my requirements (all the things I need my shop to do). Then I started narrowing down the list of online shops that offered the features I need.

Some of my key requirements are that the shop must be multi-language and multi-currency and I also wanted a hosted solution.

I soon fell in love with Shopify. It’s hosted, they’ve got gorgeous themes and a back end that is beyond intuitive. I test drove and came this close to pulling the trigger.

BUT

They don’t really offer a multi-lingual/multi-currency solution. There’s a  plug-in (or app as they call it) that kinda sorta does it, but it’s limited. In the end I concluded that relying on a third party solution for such a key feature is a bad idea.

So I shelved the project. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘There isn’t any other product out there that can do what I need’ (except Magento which I wasn’t about to touch with a ten foot pole) ‘I’ll just have to wait until Shopify internationalizes’.

This was February and my original goal was to get the new store launched by end of March (ha!)

Then I discovered Prestashop. It isn’t hosted, but they offer a support package  and could otherwise do what I need. I got it set up and started to play with it.

As I got familiar with how it works I came up with a high level plan and a target launch date. This plan and launch date changes by the day. The reason is, the more I learn about the platform, the more I understand how I’ll have to organize my shop information, or shoot products or even how I’ll offer services. I also learn more about what I’ll be able to do myself and what I’ll need to get help with.

The point of all this is that it is very difficult to plan for something you’ve never done before. This situation is a perfect example of the phrase ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’.

It’s important to take a (very generous) stab at an estimate, but more importantly it’s good to get your hands dirty with the task – creating a proof of concept (or a ‘spike’ if you’re familiar with agile processes) – and make adjustments to your plan as you learn.

Stay tuned!

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