May 31, 2018 By Heather Serdoz,

If there was ever a moment to stop and ask yourself this question, that moment is now. With holidays inevitably looming it’s best to start considering whether or not a replatfrom should be in your near future. So let me ask you, is your ecommerce platform negatively affecting your business? How do you determine if the platform is the problem and when do you finally give up on the continuous improvements and just replatform already?

Great questions.

Replatforming can help a brand stay up-to-date with today’s digitally connected customer, despite what your goals are. Whether it’s the need for a better customer experience, a lift in traffic or something a little more strategic like cross-platforming, staying up to date and ahead of the game is crucial. We all know today’s consumer demands faster, more engaging shopping experiences across channels- online, mobile and in store.

One negative experience could be a huge setback. In a Google survey, data revealed that 52% of consumers are less likely to engage with a business after a single bad mobile experience. And don’t forget about that time we told you how Google informed us that “53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.” Two seconds is the threshold of ecommerce website acceptability, but to keep it real, Google recommends that you aim for under half a second. Let’s face it, if your site can’t deliver a rich, multi-channel experience, then that customer is as good as gone. And that, my friends, is a prime example of how your ecommerce platform could negatively be affecting your business.

Below we’ll take a minute and define a few prominent moments that really signal it’s time to upgrade. This by no means is a comprehensive list, there is no one size fits all; however, these are some pretty big indicators that it’s time to replatform.

When to call it quits

1) Your current platform is outdated

This can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. The good news is you’ve finally reached a point where you’ve outgrown your current platform, congratulations! Business is moving in the right direction and it’s time to get your ecommerce platform on board too. The bad news, or less than great news is technology changes fast. There will always be something better just waiting to be developed. Mark our words- buyer beware. Outdated platforms can prevent you from providing a customer with the experience they expect. Forrester states- most ecommerce stores replatform every two or three years. However, we’d like to note that this timeline will vary based on the retailer’s unique customer experience and performance goals.

Retailers may face new requirements that didn’t exist or have changed from when the platform was first built. For example, as the product catalog grows, database requirements may change. An increase in traffic influences the web server size and configuration. As you can imagine, there’s quite a bit to consider here.

Let’s not forget, with more and more companies taking a global approach, localizing content may be a new requirement that can’t be supported by your current platform. With that said there’s also the pressing matter of displaying and handling transactions in the buyer’s local currency and managing local compliance requirements. Which brings us to our next indicator- difficulty complying with industry and government compliance mandates.

2) Difficulty complying with industry and government compliance mandates

Difficulty in complying with industry and government compliance mandates could be a signal that it is time to re-platform your site. In today’s ecommerce environment and especially with the sweeping GDPR regulations on the horizon, there are more opportunities than ever to make a mistake with your data security. Fortunately, with effort and a well-designed approach to security, you can ensure the safety of your data, and most importantly your customers.

One of the best ways to ensure data security is re-platforming to an online store with enhanced security capabilities such as Magento or Shopify Plus. Moving your online business into a more secure environment is an investment in your business’ future. How can re-platforming provide my business with a secure future you ask? Here are some advanced features that every ecommerce company should be taking advantage of:

  • Increasing the security of administration via custom credentials and whitelisting IP addresses with the ability to access, to ensure you are only providing access to authorized users.
  • Ability to customize and reduce the amount of personal data that is collected and stored when customers purchase from your store. This ensures that you are only capturing the information necessary to provide your product to customers.
  • Database disk level encryption at rest and in transit.
  • Ability to require explicit opt ins during account creation for any personal data capture.
  • Plug-ins, modules and other GDPR compliance enhancements to these platforms will grow exponentially to help ensure that any store is able to find their recipe for compliance.
  • Working with a Magento or Shopify Plus partner like DO enables the opportunity for advanced GDPR compliance support.

At the end of the day, compliance is a large-scale job for any online business. Regulations, laws and opportunities for businesses to be negatively impacted will continue to grow over time. Platforms like Magento and Shopify Plus are actively approaching adjustments for new regulations and ensuring that their systems are built with compliance at the forefront of customer and merchant safety. With the threat of penalties and legal ramifications for companies that are not focused on compliance, there is no better time to work on a compliance strategy that involves a re-platforming of your ecommerce store.

3) Inability to keep up with competitors’ functionality

Today, ecommerce influences up to 56% of in-store purchases and represents almost 10% of U.S. retails sales. What’s more, is that number is growing nearly 15% annually. Digital commerce is moving beyond just buying things on websites to a series of interactions and experiences that rely primarily on technology to move product. Don’t get left behind as new technology emerges. A fully integrated digital commerce practice is imperative in order to thrive.

Digital Operative just recently wrote a post detailing seven new and exciting features coming to an ecommerce site near you. A few of the highlights include:

  • Voice search: Voice search is set to take off this year and will gain prominence in 2018 as voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant become common place.
  • Mobile checkout: As one of the most dramatic changes to the way people shop, naturally this list wouldn’t be complete without mention of mobile checkout. Specifically, mobile checkout and payment systems, and the rise of internet-connected devices.
  • Faster shipping and better delivery: Looking beyond the traditional characteristics of specific ecommerce platforms, one of the very few remaining differentiators in the space is that of shipping times and delivery logistics. Last year on-demand deliveries grew significantly and we’re sure to see more delivery options in 2018.

For the full article, click here.

4) Inadequate integration between channels

On of the reasons retailers choose to replatform is so that they can upgrade to a system that more readily integrates with their fulfillment and accounting systems. Integrating your ecommerce site to these systems helps build multi-system processes. Successful businesses often utilize more software than just an ecommerce platform, especially if they’re selling across multiple sales channels. Integration is vital to providing a better customer experience. It can improve relevant product content, real time inventory availability, and transparent order status.

If automation is the name of your game then you need to have proper integration capabilities set up. This statement leads us into a caveat of sorts, not all ecommerce platforms are created equal, and not all platforms can handle multi-channel integration the same. As stated by NChannel- “The architecture of your ecommerce platform can dictate the speed, reliability, functionality and cost of your integration to other systems. [As such] it’s not uncommon to replatform your ecommerce store in preparation for integration.”

5) Cost-prohibitive improvements needed to fix gaps in the system

Unfortunately this issue is more common than you many think. If your dev team is in a constant loop of fixing the same issues week after week you’re costing the business money and time, and a replatform may be on your horizon. While every platform will have its fair share of bugs and frustrations it shouldn’t hinder your teams already busy workload.

Then of course there is the cost associated with running an ecommerce site. Things like subscription fees, hosting fees, security, development teams and maintenance can all add up very quickly. It’s important to evaluate where you are in your budget so that you can decide on a proper course of action.

In conclusion

Time is money, experiences are important and technology will always be in a state of evolution. If you’re ready to evolve with us we’d be more than happy to assist you. Digital Operative specializes in replatforming and has a stellar track record with both Magento or Shopify Plus. Looking to get that replatforming project off the ground? Great, let’s get started.


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