Best Practices for Replatforming

Too many companies make the decision to replatform too late. Generally, if you’re feeling tangible pain points with regards to your current platform, it’s already too late- you should have switched long before now.

Jul 2020 - 4 minutes read

There are many reasons to make the decision to move to a new ecommerce platform. Many companies chose to replatform because they feel that their money isn’t achieving as high a return on investment as they’d like. They may also be vulnerable to slumping sales, or find that their current platform has pitfalls that they can’t seem to avoid.

However, the replatforming experience can easily stretch for months, and takes up valuable time and attention. It’s not uncommon for companies to try and stick it out as long as possible with their existing ecommerce platform. After all, why rock the boat?

Today, we’ll cover the best practices for replatforming, and how your company can make this process as easy and painless as possible.

Why Replatform?

Too many companies make the decision to replatform too late. Generally, if you’re feeling tangible pain points with regards to your current platform, it’s already too late- you should have switched long before now. The most frequent pain points that companies experience include cost, ongoing technical issues, and a lack of features helpful to marketing teams.

By replatforming, you can invest in a platform that is more in line with where your company is going, instead of where it’s been in the past. Try and think proactively, to ensure that you’re setting your company up for long-term success.

Best Practices for Painless Replatforming

Many companies are intimidated by the replatforming process, which leads them to wait for months or even years to implement positive changes. One expert recommends giving your team at least a year, but more likely closer to 15 months to get from the planning and ideation phase to launch day.

During that time, your staff will have to divide their time between planning for the replatforming, and their everyday tasks. Sticking to these best practices will help make replatforming easier, leading to a better experience for everyone involved.

Here’s what we recommend as some best practices for replatforming.

Include All Stakeholders

Ecommerce is a microcosm of the company as a whole. Most departments, from marketing to finance, are involved in making the ecommerce store a success. In the United States alone, ecommerce is expected to grow by almost 15% every single year. By next year, global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.9 trillion per year. Even multibillion-dollar global powerhouses find that their success is tied closely to the performance of their ecommerce platform.

Because of these close ties, any conversation about replatforming should involve all stakeholders. Meetings don’t need to be gigantic- one representative from each relevant departments is fine, as long as they’re empowered to speak on behalf of their team. Departments that should be consulted include:

  • Marketing and Sales
  • Operations
  • IT
  • Finance
  • Management

Set Achievable Goals

Before you can begin the exploratory process, the replatforming team should determine what their goals are. By offering each department time to voice their goals and give their opinions on new platform options, you’re ensuring that every aspect of your company’s needs will be taken into account. It’s not going to be possible for every department to have all their goals fulfilled, but having this list is a good place to start.

As you’re listing goals, come up with relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) that will give you an indication that you’re on the right track. This could be anything from a certain percentage reduction in abandoned carts to the number of new customers you want to reach by the end of year one. These metrics are a great way to see whether you’re on track for success.

Don’t Over-Engineer

There are many stories out there about companies that invested millions into a new ecommerce platform only to find that it was way more tech-heavy than their needs required. This isn’t just a waste of time- a site that’s been too intensely redesigned is hard to navigate and can alienate loyal customers.

Plus, if your new platform doesn’t integrate well with existing architecture, it isn’t just a waste of money. It’s also a gigantic waste of your company’s time. It’s better to start with a basic platform and add on integrations and apps when required, instead of trying to do everything up front. This allows you to get a better idea of user behaviour, so you can offer a more personalized solution.

Budget Accurately

As part of the initial goal setting and planning phase, you should try and set a realistic budget. This might require outreach to specialists, but before you solicit formal proposals, you should have some idea of an expected budget.

Like every development project, your ecommerce replatforming should have built-in room in the budget for potential roadblocks. You never know what may happen over the course of a year. Any delay or roadblock is stressful enough without having to worry about going over budget.

Stick to a Realistic Timeline

There are many things that can determine the timeline of an ecommerce replatforming. To minimize risks and ensure that every aspect of the new platform is able to be tested fully, the timeline should be realistic from the start. Rushing something as critical as data migration, setting up page redirects, or testing the environment is a recipe for disaster.

Your development and IT team can help you determine a realistic timeline. They’ll also be the ones responsible for ensuring the project stays on track, and should be able to provide regular progress updates.

Don’t Change Everything at Once

Whenever you switch to a new platform, your site’s SEO rankings are vulnerable. In order to ensure that your SEO doesn’t take a massive hit, it’s a good idea to hold off on changing every aspect of your ecommerce platform at once.

In the initial phase of replatforming, plan on putting your team’s efforts towards writing redirects and ensuring meta descriptions and other off-page SEO elements are moved over seamlessly.

Many SEO experts suggest waiting until you have a steady performance benchmark on your new platform before implementing changes like new content or graphics. After all, so much of SEO analysis is based on data. If you’re operating with too many variables, it’s impossible to tell when your strategy is successful.

Ready to Replatform?

Think you’re ready to replatform? By working as a team, consulting all key stakeholders, and giving yourselves a realistic budget and timeline, you can ensure your replatforming strategy works effectively for your company.

by SIMPLYPHP
Jul 2020