Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Curotec is a technology services company founded in 2010 just outside of Philadelphia along the Main Line. We’re a global, award-winning company with technology services spanning the range from application and web development to system integration and cloud services. As founder and CEO, I’m honored to lead the team and strategic direction of the organization alongside my managing partner and COO, Pam Long.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing an ecommerce app.
Some of the biggest factors in determining a timeline for an ecommerce application are the required features for launch and the systems that need to be integrated with, and of course, the number of products that the site will launch with. An implementation for a company with 2000 products that must all be available on day one, with full CRM and ERP integration and a multitude of front and back end features, will obviously take more time to stand up than an implementation of 10 or so products with only payment integrations. Having said that, that doesn’t mean the more complicated implementation isn’t necessary. For some companies, the most important thing is that their ecommerce implementation can fit smoothly into their business operations.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of an ecommerce app?
I hope this doesn’t sound like a cop-out, but it really depends. A straightforward design and out of the box implementation can be done quickly in just a few weeks. On the other hand, custom features and an intricate design and information architecture could take several months or need to be developed in phases over a longer period of time.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/outsourcing?
We have a very talented in-house team that we leverage for development. We do take advantage of modern advancements in communication to be a remote-friendly company, however.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Because we combine local talent with remote team members, we’re able to pull together the best talent from all over while still having representatives that can represent the company here in the main offices. It’s a surprisingly effective model, and thanks to things like Slack and other collaboration tools, it doesn’t feel like we’re dispersed. We have a very vibrant company culture and a highly communicative team.
What industries do you cater to? Are your clients repetitive?
We’ve been lucky enough to be able to work across a number of verticals, from non-profits and healthcare companies to consumer products and logistics operators. They also span the size spectrum, from startups to Fortune 100s. The one thing that they all do have in common is a desire to be unique and innovative and to use digital solutions to improve their organizations and their customer’s experiences.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for an ecommerce application?
We’re past the point where cost is the biggest factor since some of the truly amazing platforms out there are not cost-prohibitive. Instead, I think the biggest thing to consider when choosing a platform is scalability and growth. When you’re considering a solution, you should be thinking, “What happens if my business explodes and I need someone else to handle shipping and logistics? How do I continue to provide a high level of customer service I do today when my customer base has doubled or tripled?” You don’t need to choose a platform that has every feature out of the box on day one. But you should consider if that platform can grow with you as you expand. If not, you’ll be faced with the same challenges in just a few years as you are today.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce etc) and why?
We do like to apply the right solution to the customer’s need, without “pre-selecting” a platform for them. However, we’re big fans of the flexibility and scalability of the Magento platform, and we have Magento certified developers in-house. It’s easy to start with a stripped-down Magento implementation and then add additional features as needed without having to up-end your entire ecommerce platform at a later date.
Which Content Management System do you prefer to use (Wordpress, Jumla, Drupal etc)?
Again, we try to do what is best for the customer, and always start with listening to their business needs. We do find that, more often than not, Wordpress works well for many organizations. Security, performance, and maintenance can be easily handled with the right hosting, and the backend tools are intuitive and user-friendly. Plus, there are a ton of options for add ons to the platform, thanks to the developer community. We can also create custom widgets if there isn’t a good alternative available.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of an ecommerce application?
Everything we do stems from the client’s business needs. We’re somewhat unique in that we spend a lot of time listening to the client upfront and make a solid discovery. The cost, of course, stems from the amount of time and customization needed to do what the client needs their ecommerce platform to do, and how much they would like Curotec to manage versus having their team manage some of the lift. For instance, if a client wants us to develop their ecommerce application and load in all of their products, that’s clearly going to be more costly than training them to import their products and letting their team do it. The key here, however, is understanding what the client actually needs. If they are worried about cost containment, we can work with them to define their list of items they must have at launch and then work to add more features and functionality across future phases.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We follow a number of different payment models with our clients, which include fixed priced proposals, retainer services, full time contracted workforce, and time and materials.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
We don’t measure clients or projects based on their project dollar size. We are more concerned about whether the client is a good fit for us and we are a good fit for them. From there, it’s all about building relationships and being a true technology partner for that client. Ultimately that leads to more business.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
As mentioned in the question above, we’ve worked on very small projects, and we’ve worked on very large projects, often for the same client. Sometimes you have to do the small favor projects to make your client look good at their company, and we do those projects smiling because we know it will always come back to us in the end.
What do you think is the future of the ecommerce industry?
The future of ecommerce is expanded micro-moments and more extensive use of data. It will be critical for ecommerce companies to be present at the moment for customers, and that means offering the perfect experience no matter where they are or what device they are using. A targeted response to an in-the-moment search will increase customer satisfaction and conversions. As for data, that’s a huge potential subject and one that can be leveraged across all of ecommerce, from personalization to targeting with AI to predictive analytics that helps organizations see the next big hit or improve their warehouse and shipping operations. Data is the core of it all, and ecommerce companies that aren’t setting themselves up to leverage their data will be missing out.