With the advancement of technology, it is now easier than ever to start an e-commerce business and turn it into a steady source of income. Not to mention that there are now a handful of e-commerce platforms that allows you to start an online store.
However, each platform is different from the other, which is why it is important for businesses to think things through before choosing an e-commerce platform.
Otherwise, you might end up replatforming your online store.
What is Replatforming?
An e-commerce replatforming is the process of choosing a new technology to make your online store more functional depending on your business’ needs.
While the underlying process of switching to a new e-commerce platform is pretty much the same, it differs in terms of scope and complexity.
For some, it may mean implementing a third-party off-the-shelf solution to replace your existing platform. For the rest, it means hiring a third-party vendor and changing your operational model.
Making the Switch
Regardless of your chosen method, you may have a reason or two for switching to a new e-commerce platform:
The cost of an e-commerce platform does not end once it is up and running. Maintaining it can add up to your total cost of ownership (TCO).
If you feel like you have been investing a significant amount on your existing platform, and yet its features do not allow you to be productive, then it is time to replatform.
It is also important that your e-commerce platform can keep up with the growth of your business.
This could mean you will need a platform that allows you to add more inventory, connect additional payment gateways, or streamline your order fulfillment process.
Building an online presence for your business is no longer limited to having an e-commerce store. You should also be able to offer a great online customer experience.
But if your existing platform is not making it easy for you to do it, then you might consider making the switch.
As technology evolves, so does your customers’ demand. Thus, it is important that your current e-commerce platform can provide you the features that you might need in order to serve your customers better.
Otherwise, it is time to scout for a new and better platform.
We understand that starting an e-commerce business takes time, money, and effort. So why would you let it happen again?
E-commerce replatforming actually comes with a couple of benefits.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your business grow. However, your current platform may be unable to scale with your growth. Not to mention that the plan you are using can be restrictive.
It’s like your 15-year-old kid wearing the same shirt he used to wear when he was five.
On the other hand, opting for an upgrade from your current provider can be expensive. And what are the odds that you will get an expanded version of the current features that you are using at the moment?
For example, if your current plan allows you to upload 250 products, then the upgraded version could be 500 product uploads.
This will not make sense unless this is the only upgrade that you will need. Otherwise, the best move would be to look for a scalable but affordable platform.
Simply put, switching to a new e-commerce platform can give you the flexibility that you might need in order to grow.
2. Customer Service
Switching to a new e-commerce platform is not just meant to meet your business’ needs. It also has something to do with improving your online customer service.
For one, your online store should provide a great online experience, whether your customers are just browsing for products or buying something. Moreso if they are on mobile.
Mind you, 79% of mobile internet users have made a purchase using their devices in the past six months. Hence, the need to make the switch.
Inline with the evolution of technology is the Internet user’s shortening attention span. Hence, every website should page loading speed into consideration.
Sure, your server and web host is partly accountable with your online store’s page loading speed, there is more to it than that.
Can your current platform optimize large images? How many lines of unnecessary codes does your backend load? Does it allow you to implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
Other than that, how does your platform perform in a speed test?
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself in order to weigh whether it is time to replatform your online store.
4. Operational Cost
As mentioned earlier, payment will not stop after the initial setup. You still need to pay for maintenance, license renewal fees, and more.
To some, this is included in the payment, while some providers charge extra for this. Either way, it is not always economical. Moreso your platform seldom meets your expectations.
As such, switching to a new e-commerce platform can help you cut costs where needed.
Of course, migrating to a new platform is no easy feat and it comes with a lot of risks. Here are some of them:
1. It’s Tedious
Switching to a new e-commerce platform is nothing different from building a new one. It is tedious and the onboarding cost does not come in cheap.
Basically, replatforming means you might need to do things all over again.
And it is more expensive and cumbersome if you make a mistake during the transition.
Moreover, you may also need to stop your operations during the migration, which could have a negative impact on your business’ bottom line.
2. Requires Retraining
Since e-commerce replatforming is like starting an online store all over again, this means that you will need to retrain your team on how to use your new platform. Mind you, this can be intimidating to some of them.
After all, each platform is unique and using one can be totally different from the other.
Thus, you and your team will need to learn how to operate your new e-commerce platform. Add to that the fact that this may require spending money. If not, you will need to seriously commit some time to learn the ropes of your new platform.
3. Poses SEO Risks
Just like when re-designing a website, switching to a new platform can put your SEO efforts at risk. That’s because any optimization efforts you put on the previous backend can be lost during the migration.
The downtime alone can hurt your search engine ranking. On the other hand, your team will need to some URL redirecting if you want to salvage as much link equity as you can.
This also explains why it is important to conduct an SEO audit before you proceed with the migration. Doing so can help you figure out which links should be redirected to where. More so if it a 404 page.
4. Resetting Integrations
With a new platform comes a new set of integrations. More so if you cannot migrate your previous integration due to platform restrictions.
We are talking about payment gateways, third-party order fulfillment functionalities, web analytics, social media integrations, and more.
Thus, it is advisable that you check every e-commerce platform’s available integration before choosing where to switch.
That way, setting up old features and integrations can be worth the hassle.
Is it Time to Switch to a New Platform?
Now that we were able to discuss why you should switch to a new e-commerce platform, as well as its boons and banes, you might wonder whether you should take the leap or not.
Well, that is if you are seeing these five signs:
1. Slow Loading Speed
As mentioned earlier, your web host and the web server are partly to blame with your online store’s loading speed. However, there are other factors should look into like image optimization and code minification.
If that is the case, you can opt to optimize the on-page elements of the website and clean your code. You can also enable CDN to ensure that you can provide a good user experience regardless of your site visitor’s location.
Otherwise, slow loading speed is one good reason to consider switching to a new e-commerce platform.
2. Outdated Software
Back in 2019, it is said that a ransomware attack will hit a business every 14 seconds. The annual budget for cybersecurity is also expected to increase to $3 trillion in 2021.
Do you know how cybercrime occurs? Hackers tend to exploit the vulnerabilities of outdated software.
So if your current platform is not proactive with software updates and cybersecurity, then it is time to reconsider migrating to a new platform.
3. Lack of Integration
Starting an e-commerce business is more than just having an online store. You will need to process orders, fulfill and deliver it, accept payment, manage your inventory, make time for marketing, and more.
Therefore, you will need a platform that will enable you to automate some of the repetitive tasks, as well as streamline your process.
4. Cumbersome Maintenance
As mentioned earlier, hackers exploit vulnerabilities found in outdated software. Unfortunately, fixing bugs can take so much time and it could also be a waste of money.
If that is always the case, you will need a better-built e-commerce platform.
5. Limiting Features
Some platforms offer you tons of unlimited features, which could mean it is expensive. And there are those that set a cap, although it is affordable.
Regardless, it is best to look for an affordable platform that allows you to expand your business.
Are you thinking of switching to a new e-commerce platform? Let us know your reasons and thoughts about it in the comments!