When Should You Change Your Ecommerce Platform?
It is not uncommon for businesses to go through structural changes after they’ve been in operation for a few years. In fact, it is expected that after some years of running, you are supposed to assess different aspects of your business, your brand personality, mode of service, etc, and improve what is no longer serving your customers and business generally. This doesn’t only happen in brick and mortar businesses but also in the e-commerce industry.
For e-commerce businesses, after a few years of running, some technologies will become obsolete and will have to be supported, improved, or completely replaced, else your e-commerce business will lag. Growth can also be a reason for you to revamp your e-commerce site. Some of the components on your e-commerce site that needs to be revamped after some years of running include checkout process, sales channels, payment gateway, app, etc.
While most e-commerce entrepreneurs welcome the idea of revamping and improving or replacing elements that are no longer serving their business, revamping can be costly and time-consuming. Not to mention that you’re not sure of how your efforts of revamping your e-commerce platform will pan out. There’s a possibility that you will revamp your e-commerce platform and it won’t give you the results you want, thereby making your efforts and money waste.
Despite all these, revamping your e-commerce platform will certainly support the growth of your business, especially when you are working towards expanding your reach. So if you’re still unsure whether it is time to change your e-commerce platform, here are some factors to consider.
Does The Pain Of Using Your Current Platform Outweigh The Difficult Process Of Changing?
Assess your current platform and note how difficult it is to operate. If the pain of using your current platform outweighs the difficult process of revamping then it might be the right time for you to change your e-commerce platform. And how will you know when your current platform is a total pain? Ask yourself the following questions;
• Do traffic spikes impact the speed or uptime of your platform?
• Can you launch new features, products, projects, and whatnots anytime without the fear of overloading your platform?
• Do you often have to deal with in-house restrictions before launching new products, apps, etc?
• Has your e-commerce platform security ever failed at delicate times?
• Do you often find yourself fixing minor errors on your platform?
• How often and how long does your IT/technical team spend fixing and maintaining your e-commerce platform?
Another way to know when it’s time to change your platform is to find out what your staff thinks. Being an executive may not open you to the hidden issues facing your e-commerce platform but your marketers, engineers, designers, and technical support staff will. So, ask them what are the pain points of your e-commerce platform.
What Kind Of Long-term Expenses Does Your Current platform Attract?
Of course, after spending hundreds to thousands of dollars investing in your current platform, the question of platform change in just after two to three years will be met with doubts. In this case, e- commerce entrepreneurs often go for more affordable alternatives. For example, if your e- commerce platform doesn’t support virtual reality but you have now realized that VR is a necessary feature, you can either revamp your overall platform to make it VR-compatible from scratch and that will cost a lot. On the other hand, you can pay VR-integration experts to make your platform- compatible on the surface. This will be a more affordable option, however, you may find yourself spending on VR-integration upgrades every time there’s a new version of VR technology. You will realize that cutting costs and simply paying for integration when you should have relaunched your e-commerce platform with the needed technology from scratch will cost you more long-term.
A clearer example; let’s say your platform doesn’t support Apple Pay currently. Now, instead of abandoning the platform to build in Apple Pay technology into a new platform from scratch, you go with surface integration of the current version of Apple Pay. It will be cheaper but what happens when Apple releases a new Apple Pay version? Another surface integration? So, once you realize that your e-commerce lacks essential features and technologies that might affect how your platform functions, it is better to abandon the platform to build a new one with the necessary tech and features. Remember that you don’t have to change your platform if the long- term cost of the more affordable option is less than it would be if you change your platform. Will Your ROI Increase After Changing Your platform?
For a young e-commerce business that is beginning to experience growth, the idea of changing your platform will come with some valid worries. For one, how will the change affect your return on investment? Are you guaranteed to generate good ROI? This is also a concern for established e- commerce businesses.
Instead of neglecting the idea of changing altogether, talk to your re-platform expert about your concerns. Find out what new features the change of platform will bring and their benefits. Make your demands as well, ensure that your platform provider can solve all the issues that are plaguing your current platform. More importantly, get an assurance of how the proposed platform will impact your ROI.
Bottom Line – What Ecommerce Platform Should You Migrate To?
Whether you’re an established business or a new one, the process of re-platforming can last up to 24 months depending on the platform provider you choose. So the question of when is it the right time or season to re-platform in order to save time may not be important as re-platforming will take time no matter what. Therefore, instead of focusing on how long it will take to fully migrate to a new platform, it is better to focus on choosing the right platform that will provide the features that suit your e-commerce brand. Keep in mind that re-platforming offers you an opportunity to optimize core components of your e-commerce business such as SEO, catalog management, shipping, payments, etc.
Once you find a platform provider that offers all the necessary optimization, allows your e- commerce business to resume day-to-day operations in a few days, and possibly round up the re- platforming process within a year then you can settle for that.