Replatforming your eCommerce site is a necessary evil. No matter how well you design and develop your site, it will reach a point where it’s no longer the most optimal way to reach your customers. Even some of the largest brands in the world have had to replatform their sites in order to keep up with changing consumer behavior and expectations. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Replatforming an eCommerce site requires a lot of time and money, but luckily there are many methods you can use to limit the amount of work required while still keeping your result as user-friendly as possible.
Right from the start, we want you to know we can help you. If you’re dissatisfied with your current site or wondering whether to replatform, then get in touch with one of our eCommerce consultants for advice.
Now, let’s dig into replatforming and see what it could do for your eCommerce business.
When you replatform a site, you change the code to match the new design. Replatforming your site is no easy task. It’s time-consuming and expensive, but often necessary for an eCommerce site to continue growing. But before we talk about the migration process, let’s look at why it happens in the first place.
No matter how well you design and build your site, it will reach a point where there are flaws or limitations built into it that make it no longer the most optimal way to reach your customers. This could be due to changes in customer behavior or expectations as well as updates from Google. Search engine optimization (SEO) and page speed are two big factors for ranking on Google that may not have been considered when your site was originally coded.
There are many reasons why you should replatform your site, the most obvious being that customers expect it from you. When talking to a customer, they may not know what “replatforming” is or how it can help their shopping experience, but if you tell them that your design is outdated and you will have a new design in the future, they may be more likely to continue shopping with you.
Customers love to see progress and improvements — this is especially true for people who take advantage of new technologies. Another reason is that replatforming can help your business grow. If you have an outdated site design and are not constantly updating it with coupons or special offers, then people will stop coming back as often or at all.
This could eventually lead to a loss of revenue and growth opportunities for your company. But by replatforming your site, you will be able to update it easily without any of the work showing on the front end. You’ll also have less work to do each time there’s a change in consumer behavior or expectations because it won’t require any major alternations on your part.
Here are some of the reasons you need to replatform.
While you’re still on the rack about your product catalog, the business with the cutting-edge online features has just snatched another one of your customers.
There is no way that you could have missed the fact that the sales of your competitors are far superior to your own.
Improved customer experience is a goal of any business. Even the most loyal customers will leave if they have a poor customer experience.
If your current platform needs hours of coding to do what your competitors can achieve in a matter of minutes, it will have a long-term impact on your bounce rates.
Because they are unable to complete a transaction on their own, people tend to flood your customer service staff with calls.
As a worst-case scenario, people just exit the site after viewing only one page and never return.
In the event that your website fails to meet its primary goal of selling and attracting customers, it is time to start over with your business.
Website outages cost businesses $5,600 every minute on average.
Increased downtime and financial loss are common pitfalls in online retail stores when you have a website that cannot manage heavy traffic, especially during the busy holiday season.
You’ll spend a lot of money on even the smallest of updates.
The implementation also takes an eternity. Installing an update becomes less appealing as you begin to believe that it’s a waste of time and money.
Your website will appear like a jumble of unrelated patches and procedures if this is the case.
When you replatform, you’re not just changing your store’s look; you’re also re-creating your store and saving money on features.
The typical lifespan of an eCommerce platform is between five and seven years.
When merchants don’t keep up with the times, they die out. It’s a natural process.
Consider the possibility that the security of your platform has been breached, resulting in the exposure of customer data. Payment card information leaks can be caused by insufficient password hashing or failing to follow PCI DSS compliance.
Your IT team will have to create and install custom patches to close the security holes, but these patches will likely have little impact on the overall security of your online transactional activities and data.
Because the basic functionality is no longer suitable for your expanding demands, you have to invest in custom-made modules and capabilities that raise running expenses.
Consider your company’s total cost of ownership (TCO), and see whether it is within your means.
With replatforming, you don’t have to pay additional money on operational costs since many advanced solutions provide out-of-the-box capabilities that are included in the platform license fees.
In addition, your IT staff will have less trouble implementing and upgrading new eCommerce systems.
It’s no secret that mobile versions of websites are pulling in twice as much traffic as desktop versions, even though most consumer conversions take place on the desktop.
In addition, Google considers the speed of a mobile website when determining a site’s rating.
In other words, if you have a non-mobile-friendly website, you’ll likely continue to lose clients to your competition and become virtually inaccessible online until you replatform.
Your admin panel is a nightmare since your platform doesn’t smoothly integrate into a CRM, ERP, PIM, and other important business tools.
Editing and publishing material takes hours, there are no details on your income or taxes paid, and you can’t find any order numbers to manage consumer returns.
When admin navigation becomes a hassle and third-party business systems can no longer be integrated, you know it’s time to look into migration solutions.
Your sales staff is overflowing with innovative ideas, but they keep running against the same demoralizing statement from you: “Our website can’t do that.”
There will be no special pricing, product configurations, or matching goods, and your consumer will not receive any sign-up emails or pop-up notifications before they leave your website.
Nothing — as your platform provider doesn’t support it, and because it’s too expensive to build.
It’s natural if you’re skeptical about switching to a new platform. You may not see it right now, but a migration process will give a far greater return of investment after a while, and that can impact your conversion rates.
There are, however, a number of compelling reasons to consider eCommerce store migration to a different platform. Here are a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy.
Businesses can outgrow eCommerce systems. The more inexpensive payment plan might be excessively constricting, while the more advantageous payment plan can be too expensive in some cases. There are also situations when the platform as a whole does not satisfy your demands adequately.
Moving to a platform that can scale with your company’s growth is the best course of action in this situation. If you expect a significant increase in sales, basic features are simply not going to cut it anymore.
As an online retailer, you need to consider your online shoppers while selecting an eCommerce platform. All visitors, especially those on mobile devices, should be able to easily browse and buy on the platform you pick. There should be no need for a platform that doesn’t have a responsive design.
In addition, are the themes available on the site of any use to the end-user? Intuitive layouts are possible using this program. If you’ve received complaints about your site’s unappealing visuals and cumbersome navigation, it may be time to switch web hosts.
There are no two eCommerce platforms that are the same. There may be significant differences in efficacy, even though they claim to have the same qualities. At the same time, everyone on the internet is looking for faster download speeds. Over two seconds and you risk losing a significant portion of your website’s visitors.
Customers need to know they can trust your website and its software to protect their most private information. Your platform should allow you to ensure that your website is both speedy and secure to use.
Useful comparisons may be made by comparing lists of characteristics between systems. In an ideal world, you’d like the most features included at the lowest feasible cost. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never obtain everything you want for nothing.
Site features extend beyond the tools for creating and managing a site. Additional packages for specialized tasks like marketing and analytics may be offered by some companies. Whether or not they are different suites or part of the whole package is critical to making the ultimate selection.
Maintenance costs, security patches, feature upgrades, and license renewal fees are all a part of running any website, regardless of the underlying software. The only thing that differs across eCommerce platforms is their price.
You can probably figure out which option is more cost-effective. A new platform may offer more features than your current one, as was mentioned in the previous section. Even if you pay more for hosting on this platform than on the other, you can still save money in the long run.
Like any excellent business, it may require hard work and sacrifice. However, online retailers may benefit greatly from compatible store migrations. ECommerce replatforming projects aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution; a migration tool can’t fix every issue.
Here are some of the disadvantages and challenges of replatforming that you should be aware of.
Do you recall how long it took and how much it cost to get your internet store up and running the first time around? With migration projects, you may have to start from scratch. Additionally, you’d have to spend more time and money trying to undo any mistakes you may make during the move.
To make matters even more difficult, the migration process may cause a halt to the activities of your current store. You may have to take a break and let some of the momentum slip away just as you’re starting to make money.
You’ll have to re-learn how to use eCommerce software from scratch, along with the rest of your staff. It’s possible that this retraining will come at a cost. At the very least, you will have to spend a lot of time on it.
The SEO value of your website may be improved with the tools and resources provided by any competent eCommerce platform. You may lose all of the efforts you put into your first platform throughout the moving procedure. SEO rankings may be negatively impacted causing SEO disasters. But that won’t happen if you are careful.
Even if your position in the rankings doesn’t change, you and your team still have a lot of work to do. The old URL must be redirected to the new one. Forgetting to put up a 301 redirect is a typical eCommerce platform migration problem. Doing so can reassure your clients that you haven’t shut down.
Even the simplest internet business has a lot of information. Every bit should be successfully transferred to the new software. However, compatibility concerns may thwart the procedure, and information may be lost in the process.
It’s fair to say that this issue can be difficult to deal with, especially if you don’t have extensive backups. All of your product listings, customer accounts, and saved payment information may have to be redone.
Aside from the aforementioned problem, several functions and integrations will be lost. It’s possible that the ones you’re accustomed to using on one platform won’t be accessible on another. As for payment processors and carriers, the same may be true. All of them would have to be replaced.
When it comes to eCommerce replatforming, the process might take anywhere from eight weeks to more than a year. While the specifics and complexity of the project may vary, the general procedure does not.
It can take as little as eight to twelve weeks for a small business to be up and running on a platform using a pre-existing theme if customization and third-party integrations are minimal.
Because the pre-existing systems are more sophisticated in large organizations, the procedure necessarily demands substantial customization. This implies it might take up to a year to finish the procedure.
If you want to make the process of replatforming an eCommerce site less daunting, you need a strategy. Alternatively, use a checklist for eCommerce replatforming.
For your convenience, we’ve put up a comprehensive checklist for eCommerce replatforming.
Every replatforming initiative has a goal, as we’ve already said. Do you migrate eCommerce due to older systems? Just to be safe? Or because of the greater integration potential? Replatforming merely because everyone else is doing it isn’t a good enough excuse.
Replatforming is a difficult procedure that is connected with a range of hazards (cost overrun, reduction in SEO ranks, etc). Don’t throw away your money. Before moving to a new platform, make sure you have a list of criteria for your eCommerce site.
It’s important to address these questions before deciding on an eCommerce platform:
- What is your business model?
- What are your primary methods of acquiring new customers?
- What are the most important aspects of your eCommerce business?
- When it comes to integrations, what do you require?
In order to choose which system would best serve your company’s future needs, weigh the benefits of a new eCommerce platform against those of your current system.
A list of platforms and providers should be compiled following an evaluation of your future demands and available solutions. Consider putting out an eCommerce RFP to get bids from software providers. You can even request an eCommerce Consultant to help you out. Companies must answer a series of questions to help you choose the finest eCommerce platform for your business.
After you’ve cut down your list of possible providers, set up demonstrations to see a live presentation of the platforms, their advantages, use cases, and limits. Opt for an organization whose members are willing to share information and are open about how they do their tasks.
One of the most critical aspects of replatforming is protecting your present data. During eCommerce migrations, you need to be able to access all of your data and store it in a safe location just in case something goes wrong. Your data will be safe during the replatforming process because of this.
The following elements are included in data migration:
- Data about products, customers, and orders, as well as shop setups and promotions
- Integrations and extensions
- Custom modules and themes
- Customization of the code
- The transfer of plugins to a new platform
Make sure you move all of your business’s critical data. Incorrect product mapping, product commendations, customer data, etc. might result from any misstep.
Your SEO will suffer as a result of replatforming, and you might expect a dip in rankings. You may minimize these dangers and migrate your product data while maintaining the same search rankings that you had. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to check your website’s SEO, fix any mistakes, and add new platform functions as needed.
After moving to a new platform, don’t rush to open your online business. Your website’s performance and functionality should be thoroughly tested to guarantee that there are no bugs or mistakes. Check to see if the site is fast, responsive on mobile devices, able to process transactions, and that it offers a pleasurable buying experience.
It’s now time for the world to see your fresh new eCommerce site. To ensure that every page works as it should, we suggest increasing the number of tests as soon as the eCommerce site is live. Make sure to keep an eye on your new website’s statistics, and study user behavior as soon as feasible.
During an eCommerce site transfer, your website may encounter downtime, thus it’s best to inform your consumers. Customers will be more loyal to your brand if you do this.
After assessing the dangers, you should investigate and choose a new platform. You need a modern, future-proof solution to replace your current platform.
Choose a platform based on:
- Whether the platform contains capabilities that may (or may not) meet your company’s needs.
- Platform’s out-of-the-box features: advanced platform functionality reduces website operating costs.
- With the platform’s API-led interfaces, you can automate and streamline administrative activities while focusing on business scalability, security, marketing potential, and SEO-friendliness.
With well-defined goals and objectives, you can pick the ideal eCommerce platform for your organization. Here are some replatforming ideas for your firm.
Choose Shopify or BigCommerce if:
- You have no complex integration requirements and want an easy-to-use admin panel.
- Customizations are not your focus, and you’re fine with pre-built extensions and apps from the official marketplace.
- Security is paramount to you; you want a PCI-compliant solution and your SSL certificate activated by default.
- You’re tight on time and budget for eCommerce replatforming.
- You want a feature-rich solution and a scalable platform
- Your site needs to use headless eCommerce features
- Your storefront involves a lot of customizations, and your IT team needs access to the source code
- You have third software (ERP, CRM, etc.) to integrate
- Your business requires many B2B modules and functionality
- Tech support and a large user community are important to you
Replatforming your site is a complex process that requires a lot of work and planning. To make the process more manageable and successful, you need to invest time upfront. Start by conducting an audit of your site, identifying the features and functionalities that you want to keep.
Then, do the same for the features that you want to include in your new site. Once the design process starts, you will be more confident in the changes you’ve made, which means fewer regrets when it comes to launching your re-platformed site.
Do you still have replatforming questions? Request a FREE consultation.