E-commerce Replatforming Essentials

by Inveon in March 3rd, 2022

Online retail is evolving. The latest technologies are being incorporated into e-commerce websites, and decision-makers are looking for cost-effective ways to improve the platform and functionality of their existing systems. Changing an e-commerce platform can be an effective way to achieve this while allowing you to get a headstart towards future innovation that is sure to come to the e-commerce world. In this post, we’ll discuss the essentials of replatforming an e-commerce site and the repercussions this will have on your business.

Replatforming can provide a business the capability to offer new and enhanced functionality, but the process of replatforming can be both exciting and scary for e-commerce owners. However, you don’t have to let it consume you. A strategic replatforming of an e-commerce platform could breathe new life into a business model and when it is necessary, it is one of the best decisions e-commerce owners can make for their business. If you own an online store to improve or plan on launching one in the near future, start to scroll for learning more!

What is replatforming?

To put it simply, replatforming is a strategic initiative that involves moving to a new software platform – whether it's a ready-to-use e-commerce platform, a mobile app platform, or an enterprise software solution. Today a successful modern business needs a solid infrastructure that will be able to adapt to changing competitive conditions and customer behavior. Replatforming can deliver significant benefits for e-commerce businesses to ensure these adaptive capacities. However, such a process can also pose a number of challenges. 

Despite the challenges, there are a few common reasons why people replatform their e-commerce systems.

Why replatforming?

There are many reasons why you might want to rebuild your e-commerce platform -- the previous platform has become unstable or out of date, there's a desire to consolidate your catalog into one location, etc. But whether you're considering rebuilding your e-commerce site due to performance issues, or because you're just ready for an updated, more modern look -- moving from one to another is a major undertaking.

Whatever the reason, replatforming can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. The following points will guide you through the key things to consider when replatforming an e-commerce site.

What to consider before replatforming?

The primary question you should ask about replatforming is, “Do I really need this change?” There are many fellow platform provider friends operating in the market that provide highly capable platforms as we are. If your current platform meets your needs and is satisfactory to you, replatforming may not be a good choice.

However, if the solutions that are suitable for others are not enough for your brand, if the infrastructure you use cannot keep up with the speed of the industry, if you spend sleepless nights during the campaign periods, then it is definitely time for replatforming.

However, it is obvious to all of us that changing platforms is a costly and complex decision. Changing platforms every few months is unlikely for enterprise companies. Thus making this decision in the most efficient way is the first and most important step you should take on the way to replatforming. So what should you consider in this process?

1. The ideal platform is not necessarily the most feature-rich. 

Have you ever heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none?” That is the problem with many e-commerce platforms. It sounds great at first: come to us for everything. But when it comes down to it, there are so many features that it gets hard to use. You end up having to pay for a bunch of things you don’t need or have time to manage.

You may want a faster site or more advanced product search functionality. You may want a better checkout process or returns management system. Or you might want more integrations with other software applications that can help manage your business and make it more efficient.

However, before embarking on an e-commerce replatforming project, heed this warning: Don’t pick the shiny new thing just because it looks cool. 

First, we have to remember that the ideal platform is not necessarily the most feature-rich. Rather, it's the one that meets your business's unique needs and goals. Is your business growing rapidly and looking for ways to expand internationally? If so, the best e-commerce platform may be the one that can offer you robust international capabilities or even native-language support.

If you're in the process of replatforming, don't get distracted by flashy features and unnecessary extras. Focus instead on what your end goals are and how certain features can help you achieve them. If a feature can't add value to your strategy, then it may not be worth considering.

2.Consider the true cost carefully. 

Replatforming can be a significant investment, so it is important to consider the true cost carefully. We have spoken to many merchants who have been burned by their previous vendors, and we have heard a wide variety of horror stories. 

Sometimes companies don’t understand the full scope of work required to complete a project on time and within budget. As a result, they may not budget enough money or dedicate enough resources to support it. This is especially true when it comes to e-commerce replatforming projects. There are many factors that go into determining the true cost – from both a capital and operational perspective – which can affect your bottom line if you don’t plan accordingly. 

While it's tempting to focus on the cost of software licensing, maintenance, and support, the total cost of ownership for an e-commerce platform is about much more than those upfront fees. In addition to the typical costs associated with implementing and operating a new e-commerce platform, retailers must consider the hidden costs and risks of selecting an inferior solution.

The additional costs can include building custom connector code to integrate with other enterprise applications, such as ERPs, order management systems, data warehouses, payment gateways, and CRMs; customizing the user interface so that it meets your needs; getting support from your software vendor when things go wrong and many more. 

This situation is quite understandable. When choosing a powerful solution, you should pay attention to what features you need, what kind of pricing model you get these needs, and whether it is compatible with your short and long-term plans.

In addition, there is another important issue to consider about the true cost. As we mentioned earlier, for an enterprise company, frequent platform changes are not a practical option. For this reason, it is very important to predict the development capacity of the platform you will choose and evaluate its adaptability. This is the most important reason why Inveon runs an R&D center that develops solutions for the e-commerce industry. Our industry is changing rapidly; thus it is important that our product can keep pace with these changes.

3. Don’t only focus on technical dimensions.

In the process of replatforming, the excitement of choosing the new e-commerce platform can cause insufficient thinking. While many online retailers have found success by focusing on the basic features, functions, and benefits of an e-commerce platform, they may be overlooking a key piece of the puzzle: a company’s ecosystem power.

Ecosystem power includes the strengths that a company has, such as its network and reputation, which can be leveraged for support before and after a sale. The partner you work with will add value to your business not only by providing technical skills, but also marketing and financial abilities, distributor relationships, and customer service.

When we launched #InveonPartners, that’s why we aimed to include various strong partners to create a powerful ecosystem that covers every need of our customers. For this purpose, we are expanding our ecosystem day by day, from personalization to logistics, from payment solutions to segmentation, with more than 100 partner companies, we are working to provide you the maximum efficiency and to unlock the potential of your e-commerce operations.

4. You’re not only deciding on technology, but also who you work with.

When it comes to e-commerce replatforming, there is no question that tech is the central concern. But the tech isn’t the only thing you should be thinking about — people are just as big a factor, and that includes customer support.

Customer support is a critical part of your e-commerce operations. It’s where your team goes when they have questions or unique needs. That’s why it’s important to make sure that customer support has a seat at the table during any e-commerce replatforming project, especially because it can have an effect on overall business strategy and growth path. 

Having an agile Customer Success team dedicated to your success through vast digital commerce know-how can make or break your success. At Inveon, our Customer Success team provides you with technical support and maintenance after your website goes live to ensure a consistent and seamless end-user experience at all times. They are here to guide you through any issues experienced, continuously improve your platform, and keep you informed regarding new technologies.

5.Do you want to take on the project in-house or want to hire experts?

There's no right answer to this question that is valid for every company. It comes down to what resources are available to your business and the level of risk you're willing to take. If you have an internal team that is sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced, then doing it yourself is a viable option. But if not, hiring experts is the best way forward.

Inadequate technical knowledge or experience can lead to increased time to market, delays in go-live, increased costs, and ultimately not achieving the results that were hoped for from the replatforming project. 

Closing remarks

If you’re not satisfied with the current platform you’re using replatforming is an essential step towards improving your store’s conversion rates, boosting customer satisfaction, and increasing your revenue from existing customers.

Replatforming an e-commerce site can seem like a daunting task. There are a lot of things to think about such as your new infrastructure, how you're going to take care of your customers, and what will happen with your web traffic after the changeover. However, if you know what needs to be done or work with experts that will guide you through the process and are careful about the subjects mentioned above it's not that bad at all. 

With the right platform and an expert team, you can easily switch to a high-performing platform where you can easily manage your operations and see the true potential of your brand. For an instructive, efficient and trouble-free process, keep your expectations realistic and be sure to prepare properly. If you have more questions in mind, our experts can clear them now, contact us today!

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