A Step-by-Step Guide for E-commerce Replatforming
Time to read: 25 minutes
Businesses must keep up with the times to be successful. E-commerce technologies are not new, but digital entrepreneurs should stay abreast of changes in the e-commerce industry because they are occurring faster than ever.
To ensure success, merchants must have the resiliency and flexibility to adapt their digital experiences to dynamic consumer behaviors and to provide the most suitable and modern online shopping solutions for their target audiences.
Consequently, using an omnichannel approach to provide authentic and personalized customer journeys is the trend in 2022. In fact, 83% of consumers believe that retailers should offer more authentic shopping experiences, and 75% expect a consistent experience across every channel that they use.
A plethora of opportunities exist for brands to unleash their potential and grow, but how do companies capitalize on e-commerce advancements? One method is e-commerce replatforming. What is replatforming? When is it time to take decisive action? This article explains the answers to these questions.
What Is E-Commerce Replatforming?
Simply put, replatforming is the migration from one technical system to another to improve an organization’s e-commerce performance and usability and to reduce operational expenses. There are many reasons to migrate to a new system and many aspects to consider before beginning the process. We explore some of these reasons in the next section.
Top Five Signs You Need to Replatform
An e-commerce website is the backbone of modern businesses and an effective tool for digital entrepreneurs because it supports businesses in several ways. An e-commerce website displays products online, allows customers to place orders and make payments, and facilitates delivery. Additionally, an e-commerce website is a powerful marketing engine. The current e-commerce market provides countless opportunities to create outstanding shopping experiences that result in purchases in most cases.
Obviously, e-commerce websites should align with the times. Although your current e-commerce solution may be flexible enough to meet market demands, it will eventually require additional adjustments. Depending on the scalability of the technology stack that supports your website, these adjustments may be made within a single technical system, or you may need to transfer your data to a brand-new system. How do you determine that your ongoing system is absolutely and irrevocably obsolete? The following signs highlight the need to replatform.
Costly website maintenance
As previously mentioned, decreasing website maintenance costs is a major reason for replatforming. If your current e-commerce solution requires frequent maintenance and causes excessive expenditures, it is time to consider replatforming.
Moreover, website maintenance requires manpower, so it is not only expensive but also time consuming. Instead of focusing on important business needs, you spend time repeatedly implementing solutions to the problems with your website, which is unable to meet your expectations.
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Slow website loading speed
Website speed is a key component of a satisfactory user experience. Research shows that a one-second delay in page loading reduces customer satisfaction by 16%. Consequently, a fast website is imperative for successful sales. If, despite your efforts (e.g., using a high-quality website hosting service or limiting plugins), your current e-commerce website loads slowly and lacks stable performance, especially during peak seasons, then you should consider replacing your system.
Limited admin panel capabilities
Even though the admin panel does not directly affect the user experience with your website, it still impacts your overall website performance. The admin panel is crucial to delivering a high-quality customer journey. It allows store operators to quickly evaluate a website’s condition and decide what actions must be taken.
An efficient admin panel is tailored to your specific business needs and is flexible enough to adjust to various circumstances. The admin panel should include a customer relationship management system to manage processes related to your clients, a messaging system to contact your customers with personalized marketing campaigns, analytic tools to effectively track your business data, and a clean and ergonomic interface to find relevant information within seconds. A perfect admin dashboard should also be easy to use. If your current admin dashboard does not meet all of these requirements, you should switch to another system.
Lack of scalability
Nothing is worse than the inability to expand your business because of technical limitations. The ability to move quickly is essential in the current business environment. Your e-commerce platform must be scalable, as this is important for testing new ideas and integrating additional sales channels.
Furthermore, as your business grows, your product line will also grow, so your website should be capable of adding new attributes and handling increasing traffic. If you have more to offer your clients than your website can handle, then you will find yourself in an unfortunate situation. It is better to think a few steps ahead and choose the right e-commerce platform by considering scalability. Otherwise, migrating to a new platform is the only solution.
Weak mobile commerce functionality
Mobile commerce is a primary driver of business growth. Clients of businesses of all sizes, from small to enterprise-level businesses, should be able to easily access m-commerce functionality. What is m-commerce? It is the buying and selling of products via wireless handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets. By 2023, the number of people using mobile payments in the U.S. is expected to reach 80 million people. In addition, 60% of consumers use social media to research new products and services. Considering this increase in the use of smartphones and the internet, having a website integrated with m-commerce solutions best facilitates comprehensive e-commerce business performance.
For additional information, read the article “What Is Mobile Commerce? Everything You Need to Know.”
If your e-commerce system does not provide functionality for m-commerce user experiences or if it provides only limited tools for m-commerce website design, then you risk falling behind your competition.
As an e-commerce consulting company, Dinarys conducts extensive analyses of our clients’ businesses to help them successfully implement their business strategies in a digital world. We rely on thoughtful options, such as Magento 2, that provide the required functionality for building an enjoyable shopping experience.
Pros and cons of e-commerce replatforming
E-commerce replatforming is a responsible step in the new e-commerce ecosystem. Before deciding whether to migrate, you should weigh all the pros and cons. Dinarys has improved the usability and security of more than 100 e-commerce businesses, so we understand that the migration process must be carefully considered using a comprehensive and consistent approach that evaluates all risks. Thus, we next explain the pros and cons of migrating to a new e-commerce platform.
Pros of e-commerce replatforming
If you select the right e-commerce platform for your website and choose to use the services of a reliable e-commerce business development company, such as Dinarys, to assist you with migration, then you should experience the following benefits:
- New possibilities for growth. Just as children grow out of their shoes, your online store may need space for expansion. Migrating to a more scalable platform with up-to-date functionality gives you more possibilities to grow. For example, having a new system that is more powerful will allow you to add new inventory, integrate additional payment gateways, and facilitate your e-commerce fulfillment activities.
- Ease of integration. Having mentioned additional payment gateways, we want to emphasize that it is imperative to be flexible with integration. The inability to connect additional payment systems or shipping service providers is one of the primary reasons our clients switch to new platforms. Customers greatly appreciate the many choices that online stores provide. Therefore, with a new e-commerce platform that simplifies the integration of new services and tools, you will likely increase your store’s audience and achieve higher conversion rates.
- Enjoyable customer experience. When you migrate to a more robust e-commerce platform, you will gain fast loading speed, multiple payment and shipping options, appealing web design, intuitive navigation, comprehensive search capabilities, numerous widgets for user engagement and retention, and various interactive features. This will benefit not only you but also your customers who value websites that include these characteristics.
Cons of e-commerce replatforming
As with any undertaking, replatforming presents its own risks and drawbacks, which should be considered beforehand. Some of the cons of replatforming include the following:
- Migration complexity. The process of e-commerce replatforming does not differ much from the process of developing a website from beginning to end. Furthermore, if implemented incorrectly, replatforming may involve additional risks, such as data loss. An additional difficulty is replacing the current theme or extensions. In most cases, it is more feasible to develop a new theme and integrate new modules rather than adapt the existing ones to your new e-commerce solution. Thus, as we have explained, migration is a responsible step in the new e-commerce ecosystem, but every detail must be carefully planned.
- Employee training. Training staff on new technology is also one of the possible drawbacks of migration. A revamped e-commerce website provides an entirely different look and feel, and your store operators and customer support engineers must manage a new application. Thus, adopting new IT systems may require additional time and investment, but once your staff embraces the new innovation, your website will run like clockwork.
- Search engine optimization risks. SEO optimizes your visibility online. Good website search rankings guarantee that your clients will notice your website. The more online traffic you have, the better your chances of selling your products or services to a greater number of people. Switching to a new platform jeopardizes your previous SEO efforts because they will be lost during migration. However, conducting an extensive SEO audit before the migration will make it easier to develop the SEO potential for your new website.
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Types of E-Commerce Platforms
Now that we have explained the reasons for replatforming and its pros and cons, we can tackle the practical aspects of replatforming and discuss e-commerce platforms, which include the following:
The next section outlines each of these platforms and explains their advantages and disadvantages for your business.
An on-premise (also referred to as “self-hosted”) platform is a solution hosted on the client’s internal infrastructure. Magento is one of the most popular on-premise platforms, and its Adobe Commerce Cloud edition also offers cloud hosting capabilities.
The biggest on-premise benefit is that it provides merchants with full control of their business performance to ensure customer satisfaction. All business data is stored and managed locally, and merchants can directly access the hardware that runs their applications. In addition, merchants can fully control the security of their websites and access their data even when the internet fails.
The disadvantage of on-premise platforms is that they require a large upfront investment to purchase the infrastructure required for software management and maintenance, such as servers and facilities. This investment also includes license fees because merchants who self-host their e-commerce websites must pay software licensing fees. In addition, the investment must include manpower because merchants will need at least one administrator to monitor and manage their servers.
Another challenge merchants may face using an on-premise platform is scalability. Generally, peak seasons require the scaling of hardware infrastructure to manage heavy traffic and abundant orders. Merchants may prepare beforehand to deliver the best customer service, but during the rest of the year, they probably will not need these resources.
Cloud e-commerce platforms use cloud-based technology to manage and scale data storage, hosting, and e-commerce applications. Cloud platforms operate differently from software that is installed on a local server.
Cloud platforms allow businesses to balance workloads and scale up or down depending on demand. Consequently, merchants pay only for the services they need, which significantly saves money. In fact, cloud-based solutions can save businesses up to 70% in expenses related to static environments that must scale during peak sales seasons.
Cloud-hosting platforms also have disadvantages. Merchants who rely heavily on the cloud should focus on business security because they cannot fully control this process since cloud service providers are responsible for security. Therefore, it is vital for merchants to find a solution for cloud services that guarantees a high level of security. Amazon Web Services, one of the leading names in the cloud computing industry, regulates Adobe Commerce Cloud.
SaaS is an acronym for “software as a service.” It is a software licensing and delivery method in which software is accessed online rather than installed on a device. SaaS e-commerce platforms are typically sold on a subscription basis.
The biggest advantage of SaaS solutions is that they remove the complexity of managing every aspect of websites, which is required for on-premise platforms. Simply put, SaaS solutions “rent” software to merchants. SaaS solutions also include the rental for hosting in the fee. In addition, using a SaaS platform ensures that merchants always have the latest software version and benefit from new features as soon as they are released.
However, SaaS platforms give merchants less control over their servers and code. In-house software applications provide the highest degree of control of adjustments, but the control of SaaS solutions resides with a third party. Additionally, SaaS software may run at slower speeds than on-premise applications.
Headless e-commerce platforms originated from recent e-commerce advancements. Headless technology decouples the frontend and backend of an application. Since these two environments are independent of each other, they give entrepreneurs the flexibility to repurpose content in alignment with a specific sales channel.
Headless commerce allows for highly customizable user experiences. Thus, merchants can make numerous changes to the frontend without interrupting the backend operations. Headless platforms provide the perfect opportunity to integrate an omnichannel approach into a business. Whether customers shop via computer desktops or mobile devices, they will experience a consistent e-commerce journey and access the same data from different devices.
The Dinarys experts recently researched the four best headless e-commerce platforms. Read this article to learn more about headless architecture and choose the headless platform that best suits your business needs and entrepreneurial goals.
However, the cost of multiple frontend development will be higher than the development of an all-in-one solution. Fortunately, because of the headless advantages, merchants can likely recoup their investments and quickly increase their revenue.
E-Commerce Replatforming Checklist
Once you have decided to switch to another e-commerce system and have determined your preferred platform, you may find it useful to understand the replatforming process. The following section outlines the steps involved in this process:
Determine requirements and identify the benefits of replatforming. Obviously, the first step is to evaluate the feasibility of your decision. You should identify the primary goal you wish to accomplish by migrating to a new platform. Create a list of the features you prefer for a new system and conduct a realistic assessment of what replatforming will involve, such as information related to total cost, labor, and the project deadline.
Make a list of potential e-commerce platforms. Using the information you collected during the first step, research viable options on the market.
Schedule demos with the top platforms on your list. Request a demo with three to five of the platforms that appeal most to you. The demos will help you better understand each platform’s features and benefits. To experience a demo version of Magento, follow this link.
Choose an e-commerce platform. Using the information you gathered from the demos, make a final selection for your solution.
Back up your previously stored data. Before initiating the migration process, it is crucial to back up your old e-commerce store data. Migration should go smoothly, especially if you work with a proven e-commerce software development company, such as Dinarys, but taking preventive measures will avoid unforeseen circumstances.
Transfer your stored data. This is where the actual e-commerce replatforming process begins. During this step, you should migrate all your core business data to the new platform, such as product data (product attributes, categories, ratings, reviews, and manufacturer information), customer information (login, password, and order history), order information (orders, payments, and invoices), and SEO setup (titles, descriptions, metadata, and redirects).
Set up your web store theme. Because of technical incompatibility, it is probably impossible to migrate your current website theme to the new platform in the same way you migrated product or customer information. Instead, you can either purchase a new ready-made theme or develop a custom theme from scratch.
Replace your previous store extensions. Similar to themes, it is impossible to migrate your extensions to the new system. You can replace these extensions using either the new solution’s out-of-the-box functionality or ready-made or custom extensions.
Conduct deployment and website testing. Once you deploy your e-commerce website, it is essential that you do not skip testing. You should ensure that your website performance is optimal and that there are no potential issues.
Launch your new e-commerce website. Finally, you have made it to the long-awaited step when your new website comes to life. However, your final website version may need further improvements. Generally, a few additional post-launch adjustments may be needed, depending on the actual performance of the website.
Promote your online store. Last but not least, you should market your business to attract clientele. To ensure your website’s success, explore different opportunities, such as SEO, which is an inevitable part of website promotion since it helps to improve your website’s Google search rankings. Another option is email marketing, which you can use to create engaging newsletters and drive traffic to your website.
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Why Migrate to Magento 2?
Magento has numerous advantages compared to the different options available on the market, including the following:
- Mobile centricity. Magento 2 provides a fast and affordable way to provide an immersive mobile experience.
- Seamless internationalization. Magento 2 users can develop multiple solutions for different markets and manage them from one place.
- Headless commerce. This is a buzzword in the e-commerce world. Using Magento’s API-first approach, users can reach out to various target audiences through different channels without creating a separate solution for each.
- Default B2B features. Designed with B2B in mind, Magento (particularly its Magento Commerce edition) comes with many B2B features to provide top-level service to B2B clients.
- Advanced reporting. Magento 2 enables store administrators to easily transform business data into visual reports and to create a full picture of their business performance.
Currently, Magento 2 is available via Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community), Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise), and Magento Commerce Cloud. Depending on the edition you choose, you can leverage the benefits of on-premise, cloud hosting, or headless capabilities.
For additional information, read “Magento Commerce vs. Magento Open Source.”
A reliable and scalable e-commerce website is a must for businesses that want to grow bigger or faster, but each solution may not align with your goals. Frequently, e-commerce companies outgrow their websites’ current systems and become stagnant. When this happens, what should these companies do?
E-commerce replatforming is the answer. Although store migration is a time-consuming endeavor, its benefits outweigh its challenges. You should use a comprehensive and consistent approach for this endeavor. To justify your efforts and eliminate hidden risks, you should work with a reputable company, such as Dinarys, that provides replatforming services. Contact us to make your migration quick and efficient and to unlock the full potential of your new e-commerce solution!
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