There can be plenty of reasons to re-platform your ecommerce website. And yet, most companies fear letting go of legacy systems to make way for a new platform; data loss, budget overruns, and drop in revenue are some common fears.
While some of these concerns may be valid, a smooth transition is definitely possible. Here are five keys for a successful re-platforming of your ecommerce store.
1. Develop a coherent strategy
Any activity undertaken without a definite plan will likely end up in the wrong place. When it comes to forming proper re-platforming strategies, having all-embracing knowledge of your business and its requirements is the first step. Since successful b2b ecommerce platforms have multiple departments, reach out to every stakeholder to ensure that you have each need under check, both for now and the future.
Once you have a list of your business’ needs, start searching for companies who can fulfill them. Prepare a detailed personalized Request For Proposal (RFP) that will allow you to compare vendors and choose the ones with the right approach.
2. Choose one to lead the pack
To look after your most important infrastructure, put one person in charge of the entire process. The adage “Too many cooks spoil the broth” may be true here. Carefully assess your team members and choose someone with good decision-making skills. But, remember that putting one person as a leader in no way means disregarding the feedback of other members. It is simply a way to stay more organized, up to date, and on track.
3. Figure out the re-platforming Total Cost of Ownership
You cannot re-platform successfully without first calculating costs, both in terms of money and time. Though a bit tricky at first, evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership will spare you wasted time and money. Some of the costs to keep in mind include:
Cost of hosting services
Commerce strategy cost
Maintenance and support
Initial and ongoing training
The above is not a comprehensive list and is subject to customization based on your business’s unique needs. Choose a relevant ecommerce vendor who is both honest and open about service expenses (including upgrades and training).
4. Ensure platform security
Security breaches are on the rise. Such breaches can cost you time, money, and worse, your customers’ trust. So, make sure that your new platform is safeguarded against exploitations. Perform a thorough investigation on the various platform vulnerabilities. Go for a Level 1 PCI compliant vendor with third-party verifications and rigorous testing.
5. Don’t skip the prototyping process
Don’t skip the prototyping process; create a simple demo site with, say, 10 to 15 products, and run a test cycle that will give you valuable insight into the feasibility of long-term maintenance. In other words, a prototype should take no more than a few weeks; if you find you are unable to prototype your platform in a nimble manner, this only brings to surface the hidden loopholes that will make actual implementation a problem later. Moreover, if you find that your service providers are a little too hesitant to put together a simple prototype, question yourself whether they will be any good in the long run.
In the end, the new platform must have a demonstrated track record of innovation. Re-platforming will be a breeze if you opt for an industry leader while keeping your business needs in perspective.