6 Signs It’s Time to Replatform Your Ecommerce Site
In order to frame the 6 signs that it’s time to replatform your ecommerce site, we’ll quote Command C’s Tech Lead, Tiffany Kuchta: “Technology keeps getting better, and we keep getting better.”
In other words, at Command C, we believe that we’re in a golden age of retail. Merchants who are nimble and find the precise technological tools for their business can thrive. Every aspect of the online shopping experience is improving – from how the customer moves through your site to how their purchases arrive at the front door.
The foundation of this new vision is a retailer’s ecommerce platform. Not only is the platform the interface between your store and its shoppers, it also facilitates how your company operates on the backend. In the process of optimizing your ecommerce platform, you can improve your entire business. Better systems lead to better profits.
So let’s talk about the 6 signs it’s time to replatform your ecommerce store.
1. Your site has performance lags
When a customer lands on your site, how long does it take the homepage to load? As we wrote about in our Ecommerce Trend Forecast, shoppers expect a “Ferrari fast” site experience. In fact, research shows 40% of shoppers will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
One common reason for slow site speed is insufficient hosting. To address this, many robust ecommerce platforms, like Shopify or Shopify Plus, offer hosting services right out of the box. Replatforming to a SaaS platform also gives you one less vendor to worry about. Alternatively, if you are going to leverage an open source software like Magento, working with a company like ours who specializes in hosting and development, minimizes third parties and allows for streamlined communication.
Another culprit in speed frustration is outdated or excessive third-party apps. For example, if you’re currently on Magento 1, you likely have third-party features that bolster site security. But these apps have to be continually updated. Magento 1 is approaching it’s end of life, and more and more third-party developers are abandoning the updates. But Magento 2 comes with great fraud protection embedded into the platform. No third-party app is needed for this now. By streamlining your site, it becomes a smoother, faster experience for your customers.
2. You and your team experience admin frustration
It can be super aggravating to work with a nonintuitive platform. Not to mention time consuming, too.
Ask yourself this: Is it difficult to figure out how to do what you want to do? Do you find it takes ten steps to do something that should really happen in one or two? Do your employees spend a lot of time cobbling processes together?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any (or all!) of these questions, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. As much as platforms are improving the shopper experience on the frontend, they’re also transforming retailers’ experience on the backend.
For example, in preparation for the holidays last year, Shopify came out with a suite of features to streamline the selling process. It included tools to schedule sales campaigns and automate internal tasks, among other super helpful things. All of these tools are still in full swing on Shopify, and they ease retailer admin frustration everyday.
3. You keep having to duplicate tasks
Continuing to think about the backend experience, do you have to repeat an action over and over? If so, just say no. And replatform.
Perhaps you sell both B2B and B2C products. Do you have to use separate systems for your retail customers versus your wholesale buyers? When you’re listing your prices, can you do this all in one place? Or do you have to set up prices for your retail site, log out, log into another site, and then post the prices for your wholesale customers?
If this sounds familiar, seize the opportunity to replatform. For instance, one of the many strengths of Magento 2.2 is its B2B capability. Shopify has a great Wholesale Channel as well. And both of these platforms built their B2B infrastructure to be fully integrated with B2C businesses. Now retailers can log into one platform and manage their business holistically. This is just one example of eliminating duplicated tasks, but it’s a good, familiar one.
4. Your platform doesn’t integrate with your 3PL
Again, not only does your ecommerce platform host your site, it also becomes the operations center for your business. With this in mind, does your current site sync with your 3PL (third-party logistics provider)?
Technology keeps improving 3PL software, too. A strong 3PL will facilitate supply chain management, warehousing, order fulfillment, and more. In essence, a 3PL allows you to stay focused on what you do best – making and selling your product – while professionals in logistics handle that part of your business. To help you think through all the ways a 3PL could benefit your company, check out this article from Shopify.
But even the perfect 3PL could end up being a source of frustration if it doesn’t communicate well with your ecommerce platform. You want your platform and 3PL to work together without friction. If that’s not currently the case, it may be time to replatform.
5. You’re compromising the user experience
Do you have a larger vision for your site, but keep bumping up against its limits? For example, are there features that you want to add, but your current platform can’t accommodate them?
Let’s say you want to sell a product with 300 variants. This isn’t super common, but it’s not too tough to get there. Just think of a shirt in 6 sizes, 10 color selections, and 5 different silhouettes. That gets us to 300 variants. Some platforms offer unlimited variants, while others set a cap.
Or suppose that you want to offer your shoppers the opportunity to make their own products. This would use a product configurator, but it can be expensive to implement a configurator into a site. Instead you could explore the Miva platform and all the different ways they help retailers offer product customization. (Miva has many other pluses, too.)
Another frequent quote from Tiffany comes to mind: “If you can dream it, we can do it.” There are so many exciting tools at our disposal to help retailers optimize their sites–and the platform is the launch pad for all the possibilities.
6. Your customers are complaining
If your customers are complaining, that holds some good news and bad news. The good news is they care enough to complain. Most people will just leave a site (and never return) without saying anything. But if they’re telling you that they want a problem fixed, it means you’re offering something they really want. Not all is lost.
But customers won’t be patient for long, especially in the competitive retail environment. If complaints go unheeded, they will find what they need elsewhere. It also takes effort to submit a complaint, so your customers must think the problems are so annoying to merit the effort. Complaints are red flags that retailers have to address asap. Replatforming is one sure way to do this.
In summary: the ROI of replatforming
All the problems we point to here cost time and money. By replatforming your site, you’re able to offer a much better customer experience. You’ll also provide vast improvements for your employees, as the backend operations become streamlined.
Yet replatforming isn’t something to try on a whim. It has to be done thoughtfully and prudently and at the right time. It’s an intensive endeavor; in essence, you’re upgrading your entire business. But do not fear. We have a lot of experience in leading companies through the replatforming process. And from our vantage point, we’ve seen many times that the return of investment in replatforming is worth it.