Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
UKAD ltd was established in 2005 as a small garage startup and raised into a powerful software development outsourcing company with over 180 developers and representatives in Sweden, the United States, France, and Poland. Since this time, we've become Microsoft Silver partner, registered Umbraco partner, and associate Episerver partner. My role in UKAD is quite similar to the CEOs in other tech companies, but I also take part in some projects as Project Manager.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing an ecommerce app.
There are too many factors to describe in a few sentences. Commonly we use the following criteria:
- an industry in which the customer operates
- number of products, which mostly defines the used tech stack
- number of features, especially, custom features
- if any platform, eg. Episerver or Umbraco, is used or we have to build a full custom solution
- Apptus, ERP, PIM, and other integrations
- speed and uptime requirements. If we can use Microsoft Azure, which we prefer, or if the customer prefers something else.
Thus, we commonly attract several experts to prepare a correct estimation and work in win-win mode from the very beginning.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of an ecommerce app?
It's quite a good question because every project is unique. On average, an e-Commerce project requires around 2-4 month of development which consist of 200-300 hours of front-end and 300-500 hours of back-end. But it's not an exact calculation and may differ dramatically.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/outsourcing?
UKAD consists of over 180 qualified developers. So, we have quite enough resources to run most of all projects with in-house experts, including design and analysis. Otherwise, we can hire additional developers in a few days, thanks to the location of our R&D! But we gladly cooperate with marketing agencies if our customers inquire about such services.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
The benefits of our model are simple: it's easy to work with UKAD. We have every necessary specialist in-house. Our customers always personally know who works on their projects, who is responsible for quality and schedule. It's a cozy and safe approach.
What industries do you cater to? Are your clients repetitive?
We master in Healthcare, E-commerce, Finance, Travel, and Education solutions. Talking about e-Commerce, UKAD has no strict preferences. Our e-Commerce projects include one of the biggest multimedia stores in Sweden, as well as a solution for an enterprise furniture supplier operating in 19 countries. Talking about repetitive clients, most of all our clients work with us for years ordering support and updates or new projects. Even more, a huge part of them got a recommendation to work with UKAD from their partners for which we've developed something.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for an ecommerce application?
It depends on what we have at the start. If the project runs for years and has an established technology stack, it's better to follow it and do not reinvent the wheel. Otherwise, here comes the next checklist:
- what features we expect to have
- what is the budget
- who will operate the website after release, how skilled are the customer's editors
- who is the target audience
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce etc) and why?
We commonly offer Umbraco for smaller projects and Episerver for greater. There are not the only technologies we use, but most of UKAD's customers are happy with them. We use Umbraco and Episerver because they are maybe the best content management platforms developed with .NET. And both are very popular in Nordic countries with which we work.
Which Content Management System do you prefer to use (Wordpress, Jumla, Drupal etc)?
In most cases, it's Umbraco because it's an easy and cost-effective CMS. In the last several years, we've developed numerous awesome websites on Umbraco, our website built on it. There are two reasons to use it on start. At first, a project on Umbraco without numerous custom plugins requires dramatically fewer efforts than the vast majority of CMS. Then, Umbraco is easy to manage, which is quite tempting for those who want to run the content management process without a third-party.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of an ecommerce application?
We evaluate the time according to the number of features and then use it for calculation with our hourly rates. It's quite a good way for pricing, because the customer sees what he pays for and we can easily score our expectations for this project.
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 utilize Fixed Cost and Time and Materials models. We invoice monthly based on the amount of work we deliver.
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 have no minimum budget because interesting customers commonly come with small projects to test a contractor. Otherwise, we reject inquiries such as 'I have $5000, make a Uber Eats copy for me'. It's important to find a balance between building long-term relationships and having profits right now.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2019?
What do you think is the future of the ecommerce industry?
According to the last events, I believe that e-Commerce has quite a good future. The world digitizes itself rapidly, thus we face growing demand on remote and online services, and e-Commerce, of course. Here are numerous really good trends such as delivery drones and easy payments, which make online shopping safer and cozier. I also think that the threshold for beginners should be low, the e-Commerce industry has to be more inclusive to stay competitive and fair. Otherwise, it will be divided between several major players. Some steps to this way are done by Google and others with introducing new advertising tools and easy-to-start platforms, optimizing SERP for quality websites, so forth. But I'm still finding the e-Commerce industry not as beginner-friendly as I want to. Summarizing, I hope to see how more and more people benefit from e-Commerce both as customers and suppliers.