Have you ever heard about ecommerce replatforming? Ofcourse, you have. It’s when you thought about giving your online store a big makeover. Great news! It’s like having the keys to a brand-new online shop.
Starting this can feel pretty overwhelming, especially when you are not sure where to start. The internet is packed with loads of info, but it’s easy to get lost.
This blog has everything you need to know when you’re getting ready to upgrade your ecommerce store.
Replatforming vs ReDesigning
- A platform is a foundational technology used to build your website’s backend infrastructure.
- Consider the CMS, the commerce engine, the translation engine, and other components you use to create, serve, and translate content and conduct sales.
- The UX, or front end, is the design. This is the user interface and the elements that allow your audience to interact with your application and render the site for them.
Replatforming can imply replacing a single component of your website’s backend tech stack or replacing all of them at once. It may or may not involve modifying your design.
Redesigning involves altering the look and feel of your website and incorporating new UX components. If you do this by shifting to a new site without re-platforming your content, this is known as a “lift and shift.”
- Previously, organizations often had to simultaneously undertake both processes, a practice referred to as “rip and replace.” This was common because they frequently coupled an outdated platform with an old design.
- However, we should note that there are valid reasons for doing one at a time. For example, perhaps your website has a fresh new look that you’d like to keep.
- Alternatively, you may wish to reduce downtime and threat by implementing a phased rollout to replatform your site in sections.
How To Replatform Your Ecommerce Store
1. Create a list of requirements for re-platforming your business.
- This list should explain why you want to change your current system and what you hope the new system will do.
- It’s essential to involve everyone who cares about this – like the IT folks, marketing, sales, and even your customers.
- Many companies think about changing their online platform when they have a bunch of problems to fix all at once. It could be because they’re growing, adding new ways to pay, expanding to new places, or selling new stuff.
- But here’s the thing: if switching to a new platform doesn’t make your website much better in terms of how it works, looks, and performs, then it might not be worth the trouble and the money.
- So, before you start the whole process, it’s good to be clear about why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve. You should make sure the new platform you’re choosing can do what you need it to do.
- And once you have this list, put the most important things at the top. It helps you make good decisions and get approval from the higher-ups and everyone else who needs to be on board. Knowing what each team needs is super important before you start this project.
Also, remember that re-platforming isn’t a quick fix. It’s a long-term investment. The platform you switch to should be able to keep up with changes in the market and grow your business as it gets bigger.
2. Choosing an ecommerce platform
Here’s a brief list of ecommerce platforms to consider.
- In a re-platforming situation, most organizations are looking beyond basic options like Shopify, and WooCommerce.
- Instead, they are exploring more advanced and versatile choices such as Magento (now known as Adobe Commerce), BigCommerce, Shopify Plus, or Kentico.
- To make the right choice, you should match your requirements with these platforms and consider factors like cost, integrations, features, and the level of service they provide.
- It is a crucial step in your decision-making process, ensuring you thoroughly investigate the platform options before making any commitments.
3. Consider Cost and Timing.
- Note that any figures you receive before the above phase are just ballpark numbers. That’s why sharing your budget is a good idea.
- It can help you decide on the right supplier, platform, or features and save time reviewing proposals that don’t fit your budget.
- Speaking of budgets, be aware that additional costs can pile up depending on your platform choice if you need third-party plugins. So, while planning, remember to account for this extra expense, as not all providers work the same way.
- Also, while the final build costs will become clearer as you go along, your annual license fee from the chosen platform should remain consistent from the start.
4. Data Migration and SEO
- Data migration can be a major headache during re-platforming, and it’s a legitimate concern. Losing essential data, especially customer information, can be a disaster.
- Plus, the time and precision needed to move customer, product, and category data can vary widely from one business to another.
- If your current system isn’t causing major issues and you have limited resources to handle data migration, you might want to consider skipping re-platforming.
- Another essential factor to think about is search engine optimization (SEO). When you replatform, your SEO rankings may take a hit.
- All the hard work your marketing and SEO teams put into driving traffic to your site could be lost during the migration.
- Be careful about redirecting all your pages, even if you can maintain your SEO rankings.
- Remember, site errors are a top reason why users abandon shopping carts. So, if you’re worried about keeping your customers happy, you might want to think twice.
- Make sure that you consider how data migration and SEO will affect your timeline if you decide to tackle this big task.
- It’s essential to keep your marketing, operations, and SEO teams in the loop while planning to migrate customer data and replatform.
Pro Tip: We suggest not re-platforming right before a big marketing campaign or during your busiest season, as it could hurt your sales and operational capacity.
5. To design or not to design
That’s the question you need to answer. Are you sticking with your current look or using this opportunity to give your brand a fresh new makeover?
- The initial design phase, with all the necessary approvals, can significantly extend your timeline and budget.
- And if you’re going for a brand revamp and a shiny new interface for your ecommerce site, remember to factor in testing.
- You’ll need to do some tests to ensure your site works well on different browsers and devices.
- Plan for the tools you’ll need – this might involve ordering hardware, buying software to simulate different browsers and devices, or even hiring a development agency for this kind of work.
6. Seamless Integrations
- Your current ecommerce setup probably has various extensions, plugins, and apps that handle essential tasks like subscription billing, marketing, CRM, and sales.
- It’s crucial to pick a new platform that can seamlessly fit into your existing system. This way, you don’t have to worry about performance issues or spending lots of time on development to make everything work together.
- For example, if you’re happy with your current Sales application, the new platform you’re moving to can easily connect with it.
- If you’re thinking about changing some of your integrations, be sure that the data transfer process is secure and automated. That way, you can keep things running smoothly during the transition.
7. Testing is Crucial
- Testing is the crucial step of re-platforming. It’s often the neglected step in the process.
- Testing isn’t the most exciting part, and it’s usually the first thing people want to skip.
- You need to thoroughly test your new platform, making sure it fits perfectly into your entire system. So, when it comes to testing, leave no stone unturned.
- Try out every piece of functionality and every system you can think of. Place orders, process returns, ship products, and even throw in some tricky scenarios and promotions.
- Find a way to test live transactions because testing in a controlled environment is one thing, but the real deal is quite different.
- Plan to interact with your live technology stack during testing.
8. The Go-Live Strategy
While the concept of launching your website might be exciting, practical considerations should govern your approach to going live.
There are crucial aspects to be meticulously planned before the go-live date. Foremost among them is your transition plan:
- How will you discontinue the old site?
- Will you maintain the parallel operation of your previous platform?
- Are all your service providers informed of the impending change?
- Failure to communicate this effectively could lead to distressing midnight calls about website downtime.
After ensuring a well-structured plan, clear role assignments, and pressing the ‘Go’ button, it’s imperative to initiate SEO checks promptly.
Verify that your URLs are redirecting correctly and extensively test the functionality of your newly implemented ecommerce platform by engaging in activities such as placing orders and exploring its full range of capabilities.
9. Post-Launch Support
The post-launch phase should not be overlooked, and it can be divided into three distinct sub-phases:
- Go-Live Support (on launch day)
- Immediate Post-Launch (the two weeks right after launch)
- Long-Term Support
Ensure each phase has its distinct set of contact procedures and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Maintain absolute clarity regarding whom to contact at various times of the day, the expected response times, and the definition of emergencies for all parties involved.
Keep in mind that your platform provider should handle hosting, upgrades, and security issues, while your development agency will take care of all other bugs or development-related matters.
Bonus: Remember To…
- Remember to schedule training sessions for your customer service team. They’ll be the ones navigating the new system, and it’s crucial for them to be confident in using it before they begin managing actual customer orders.
- It’s essential to define roles for project stages while structuring your project team.
- The involvement level of your team member may vary depending on the project phase. So, as you outline your stakeholders, create an organizational structure that accommodates this variability.
- For instance, your agency might lead the design phase but have no involvement in the data migration process.
Ecommerce Replatforming checklist
As you observe, re-platforming is a complicated, time-consuming process with numerous steps. You should follow the same procedure, completing it in the correct order. Here’s a basic ecommerce re-platforming checklist to ensure you don’t overlook anything.
- List the shortcomings of your current ecommerce platform.
- List the features and benefits you are looking for in a new ecommerce platform.
- Bring stakeholders and teams on board with the re-platforming effort.
- Evaluate budgets for all teams and the project as a whole.
- Make a shortlist of viable ecommerce platforms.
- Schedule demos with the best ecommerce platforms.
- Select an ecommerce platform that meets your requirements.
- Back up the data from the old ecommerce store.
- Use a data migration service or a data migration app.
- Design an ecommerce site using a new ecommerce platform.
- Data migration for ecommerce stores
- Connect the checkout platform and improve the checkout design
- Pair integrations, extensions, and plugins
- Audit your entire site for SEO, and configure URLs and meta tags.
- Perform performance, design, and structure tests on your entire store.
- Teach your teams how to use the new store admin system.
- Inform your current customers about the transfer.
- Launch your renewed online store.
Ecommerce Migration: How is it Different from Ecommerce Replatforming
- Ecommerce migration involves moving an ecommerce website from one platform to another without modifying the website’s code or structure.
- This process is straightforward when transitioning between similar platforms, but it can become complex when dealing with multiple platforms, referred to as “Rehost” in the 7 R’s framework.
- Ecommerce re-platforming involves making significant changes to the core structure and code of the website.
- While re-platforming may be more challenging, it offers greater opportunities for enhancements.
- If you wish to add new functionality or features, re-platforming is a more suitable option than migration.
- The choice between migration and re-platforming depends on your specific requirements.
Benefits of Ecommerce Replatforming
Below are the significant benefits of re-platforming your ecommerce business to modernize your operations, enhance user experiences, and drive growth.
Enhanced User Experience:
Modern consumers demand seamless and intuitive online shopping experiences. Replatforming allows you to update your website’s design and functionality, providing a better user experience that can lead to increased conversions and customer loyalty.
Keeping Up with New Technologies:
Ecommerce is growing with new technologies and trends emerging constantly. Replatforming enables you to adopt the latest tech innovations, such as headless solutions and mobile optimization, keeping your business competitive in the digital landscape.
Outdated platforms can suffer from slow loading times and poor performance. By migrating to a modern platform, you can ensure faster page load speeds, reducing bounce rates and improving your search engine rankings.
As your business grows, your ecommerce platform needs to keep up. Replatforming allows for scalability, accommodating increased traffic, sales, and product offerings without compromising site performance.
Legacy systems often come with high maintenance costs and operational inefficiencies. Replatforming can lead to cost savings through improved resource allocation and streamlined business processes.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for online visibility. Replatforming provides an opportunity to optimize your website structure and content, ultimately boosting your search engine rankings.
Migrating to a new platform allows for secure and accurate data transfer, ensuring that essential customer data, product information, and sales data are preserved.
Adaptability to Market Changes:
Modern ecommerce platforms are agile and can adapt to changing market dynamics and customer preferences. This flexibility is essential for staying relevant in a rapidly evolving ecommerce landscape.
Re-platforming lets you integrate seamlessly with third-party applications, improving marketing, customer relationship management, and other essential functions.
By investing in re-platforming, you future-proof your ecommerce business. You’ll be better equipped to handle new business models, marketing campaigns, and emerging technologies.
Do I need to hire a consultant? What are the risks of attempting to replatform on my own?
Replatforming an online store, whether small, medium, or large, is a complex process that necessitates technical expertise and experience.
While it can be tempting to try a do-it-yourself approach to save money, doing so may result in numerous risks and challenges that can ultimately harm your business. Some of the risks of doing a replatform on your own are as follows:
- Lack of Required Technical Knowledge: Re-platforming an ecommerce website necessitates extensive knowledge of coding languages, API integrations, and data migration. You or your team may face significant roadblocks and delays if you or your team don’t have the necessary technical expertise.
- Downtime: Your ecommerce website may experience brief outages or downtime while it is being migrated. This can lead to revenue loss and a negative customer experience. An experienced development team can assist you in minimizing downtime and mitigating the impact of any issues that may arise.
- Loss of Data: Incorrectly transferring data during the migration process can jeopardize vital customer and business data, putting your business and reputation at serious risk.
- Security: When it comes to ecommerce, security is a major concern. You may be vulnerable to identity theft, hacking, and other cyber attacks if your website is not secure. A professional development team can assist you in ensuring that your website is secure and meets industry standards.
- Integration Difficulties: Integrating third-party systems and software can be difficult, and if done incorrectly, it can lead to problems with data sync, shipment fulfillment, and other critical business operations. An experienced development team can assist you in ensuring that your systems are properly integrated and running smoothly.
Klizer has expertise in ecommerce development services for over 15 years, and it can assist you in avoiding these risks and ensuring a smooth and successful migration process, saving you far more money than attempting to execute an advanced re-platforming project on your own.
Pro Tips for a Successful Ecommerce Replatforming Project
Ecommerce replatforming can be a game-changer for online retailers looking to enhance their digital experiences, boost conversion rates, and stay competitive. Here are some pro tips to ensure your re-platforming project goes smoothly:
Assess Your Business Case:
Before diving into a new ecommerce solution, thoroughly evaluate your business case. Identify your goals, expected outcomes, and the specific areas where your current platform falls short.
Select the Right Ecommerce Solution:
Choose a new ecommerce solution that aligns with your business needs and goals. Consider factors like scalability, customization options, and the ability to support your digital experiences.
Prioritize Digital Experiences:
Today’s consumers expect seamless and engaging digital experiences. Focus on improving the overall digital experience for your customers, from browsing products to completing the purchase.
Plan the Replatforming Process:
Develop a comprehensive plan for the re-platforming process. Define milestones, and timelines, and allocate resources effectively to minimize disruptions.
Streamline Content Management:
Efficient content management is crucial. Ensure your new platform simplifies content updates and product management, making it easier for your team to keep the site fresh and engaging.
Optimize for Mobile Devices:
Mobile commerce is on the rise. Ensure your new platform is mobile-responsive and provides a seamless shopping experience across various devices.
Consider Business Impact:
Understand the potential impact on your business. Prepare for changes in operations, customer support, and marketing strategies to accommodate the new platform.
Invest in New Design:
A fresh design can revitalize your brand. Consider investing in a new design that not only looks modern but also enhances user experience and conversion rates.
Evaluate Shopping Cart Functionality:
The shopping cart is a critical part of the customer journey. Make sure your new platform offers a user-friendly and efficient shopping cart experience.
Choose the Right Starting Point:
Decide whether to start from scratch or migrate elements from your current site. The choice depends on your specific needs and constraints.
Manage Operating Costs:
Keep an eye on operating costs. Ensure that the new solution doesn’t significantly increase your ongoing expenses, affecting your bottom line.
Leverage Custom-Made Modules:
Consider custom-made modules or plugins to tailor your ecommerce solution to your unique requirements. These can add significant value to your platform.
Beware of Older Platforms:
If you’re migrating from an older platform, understand that it might require more effort and resources. Plan accordingly and ensure data migration is smooth.
Explore Open-Source Solutions:
Open-source ecommerce platforms offer flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Consider them as viable options, especially if you have specific customization needs.
Engage Your Customer Base:
Keep your customers informed about the upcoming changes. Their feedback can be valuable in making the transition smoother.
Research and select third-party add-ons or integrations that can enhance your ecommerce capabilities and provide a seamless experience.
Plan for High-Traffic Events:
If your re-platforming project coincides with events like Black Friday, plan meticulously to handle high-traffic loads without disruptions.
Assess the Right Timing:
Timing is crucial. Determine the right time for your re-platforming project to minimize disruptions and maximize its impact.
Consider Different Approaches:
Explore different approaches to re-platforming, such as gradual migration or a complete overhaul. Choose the one that suits your business needs best.
Thoroughly Test and QA:
Before going live, conduct thorough testing and quality assurance to identify and rectify any issues or bugs.
Ecommerce re-platforming is a strategic necessity and an opportunity for transformation. Let’s recap the key insights:
- Ecommerce re-platforming, and migrating to a new platform, is a vital decision driven by factors like improving user experiences and adopting modern tech.
- Recognizing the right time for re-platforming is crucial, driven by signs such as declining performance and outdated systems.
- Best practices, including meticulous planning and SEO considerations, are essential for a successful re-platforming project.
- Replatforming brings numerous benefits, from improved user experiences to scalability and cost efficiency.
- Challenges and risks, like data migration errors and SEO fluctuations, can be managed with careful planning.
- Embrace the re-platforming journey as a strategic transformation to better serve customers and secure future growth.
- Change is your compass in the dynamic ecommerce world. Embrace it, seize opportunities, and embark on your re-platforming journey with confidence and vision.
What is ecommerce replatforming, and why is it important?
Ecommerce re-platforming is the process of migrating an online store from its current platform to a new website. It’s crucial because it allows online businesses to update their technology, improve user experiences, and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving ecommerce landscape.
When is the right time to consider re-platforming our ecommerce business?
The right time varies for each business, but common triggers include a decline in performance, outdated technology, or a need for new features. Additionally, re-platforming can be strategic during periods of business growth or when your current platform no longer meets your needs.
What are the signs that our current platform needs re-platforming?
- If you’re experiencing a high bounce rate
- Dealing with slow page load times
- Encountering poor mobile responsiveness
- Finding limited customization options
- Facing difficulty integrating with other systems.
It’s time to consider re-platforming.
What are some best practices for a successful ecommerce re-platforming project?
Best practices include:
- Thoroughly planning the ecommerce platform migration
- Considering SEO implications
- Ensuring data migration accuracy
- Testing extensively, and involving all stakeholders.
It’s also crucial to choose a reliable platform that aligns with your online business needs.
How long does an ecommerce re-platforming project typically take?
The duration varies based on factors like the complexity of your site, the chosen platform, and the extent of customization required. A re-platforming project can take several months, so it’s essential to plan accordingly.
What are the key benefits of re-platforming an ecommerce business?
Re-platforming offers benefits such as enhanced user experience, improved performance, scalability, cost efficiency, better SEO, and the ability to adopt new technologies. It also future-proofs your business and supports growth.
What is the role of data migration in ecommerce replatforming?
Data migration involves transferring essential data like customer information, product details, and sales records from the old platform to the new website. Accurate data migration is crucial to ensure business continuity and preserve historical data.
How can I minimize the negative impact on SEO during re-platforming?
To minimize SEO impact, implement proper URL redirects, optimize on-page content, and submit updated sitemaps to search engines. It’s essential to monitor SEO performance post-re-platforming and make necessary adjustments.
What is the role of user training in ecommerce replatforming?
User training is essential, especially for the customer service team, to ensure they are proficient in using the new system. Training ensures a smooth transition and minimizes disruptions when handling real customer orders.
Are there specific challenges associated with re-platforming for ecommerce retailers?
Yes, ecommerce retailers often face challenges related to migrating large volumes of product data, maintaining SEO rankings, and ensuring uninterrupted online sales during the transition. Careful planning and execution are key to overcoming these challenges.
Is it possible to replatform without disrupting online sales during the transition?
Yes, with careful planning, it is possible to minimize disruptions to online sales during the transition. This may involve running both the old and new platforms in parallel for a period to ensure a seamless customer experience.
What role do modern platforms play in ecommerce re-platforming?
Modern platforms offer advanced features, mobile optimization, and scalability, making them ideal choices for re-platforming. They empower businesses to adapt to changing market dynamics and provide better user experiences.
Are there risks involved in re-platforming an ecommerce business?
Yes, there are risks, such as data migration errors, SEO ranking fluctuations, and potential disruptions to online sales. However, these risks can be mitigated with meticulous planning, testing, and expert guidance.
Can a business maintain its existing design during ecommerce replatforming?
Yes, it’s possible to maintain your existing design during re-platforming, but many businesses use this opportunity to refresh their brand identity and improve the design to align with the new platform’s capabilities.
What should I consider when choosing a new ecommerce platform for re-platforming?
Factors to consider include ease of use, available features, scalability, integration capabilities, cost, and the platform’s alignment with your business goals and growth plans. It’s essential to choose a platform that fits your specific needs.
How can I ensure a smooth post-launch phase after re-platforming?
Post-launch support should be divided into immediate, short-term, and long-term phases. Establish clear contact procedures, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and responsibilities for each phase to address any issues promptly and efficiently.