Back on track with the shop

Last Update: 21.06.2018. By Jens in Developers Life | Learning | Newsletter

So, after getting derailed a bit by my recent observation, we get back on track with building the spreadsheet shop. In the meantime, you guys did send in a couple of good questions. Great, keep coming!

I can categorize them roughly into two categories:

  1. stuff for determining features like searches, comments sections, etc.
  2. business questions like why does she want to have an online shop in the first place

Category no. 1 is what most of us devs will ask at a certain point. It is kind of important, but honestly somewhere further down the road of making a proposal. Sure, we need to know what to build. But if you discuss no. 2 before with your client and use that as the most important aspect then you are farther ahead of your dev peers (freelancers, agencies, and dev shops). So, somewhere at the beginning, I’d ask her what her goal is of running the online shop and then shut up and listen. How you phrase the question is up to you. The important part is to shut up and listen. There might be silent and it is awkward, but people often need time to think before answering any questions. Depending on her answer, you can dig deeper and ask more detailed questions. For example, she might be selling offline on markets and wants to expand by selling online. So her goal would be to extend the business and sell online. But maybe, she doesn’t want to make more money but rather be less present at the markets and have some more free time. A totally different reason and thus goal.

Another question along the lines would be “why not simply use Shopify for 29 bucks a month”. or an equivalent alternative depending on the client. Ok client, you have that problem thing, why not go with solutions a, b,c or d? It might cost a fraction of a custom solution. Here comes the pain again and the real problems to solve. It is also where you can shine with non-tech knowledge. If you ever tried to market a side-project, you gained a lot of experience. You can use that in your day-to-day work. It is also the point, where you can start making suggestions on a business level. A superb example is a question sent in by reader P, “Does she want to associate each flavour [ of the hot sauce (added for clarification) ] with a cooking recipe to go with”. It is more phrased like a feature question, but you can rephrase to make a suggestion. The suggestion could be, “hey let us add recipes to each sauce, so more people find your shop…”

Just don’t start to use SEO terms now as the client’s eyes will go blank as with tech terms…


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