Imagine a scenario where you’re scaling your online store. Your brand is getting more exposure, translating into higher sales and traffic volume.

Unfortunately, you're now experiencing some performance issues. The web pages aren't loading as fast as they used to. Your current provider doesn't support the specific integrations you need to handle the increased demand.

Imagine a different scenario where your site's performance metrics are up to par, but the churn rate seems to be on the rise.

One of these scenarios describes a platform issue, while the other is a design flaw. Replatforming vs. redesign—here's everything you need to know.

What Is the Difference Between Data & Design

To understand the difference between website replatforming and website redesign, we first need to unpack their underlying concepts: Data and design.

Data refers to factual information. It is a collection of words, numbers, descriptions, metrics, and observations, all conveying information to the user. It describes the quality, quantity, and other characteristics of some given variable so that users can make rational decisions.

In the computing world, data is information converted into a form that makes it efficient for processing or movement.

Design, on the other hand, refers to an entity's aesthetic and functionality. It centers on using graphics, fonts, colors, and user interfaces to create different user experiences. Web design involves the planning and arrangement of information on a website in a form that users can access online. It is how businesses share their content with the world.


Website replatforming involves moving your site data from the current content management system (CMS) or "platform" hosting it to an entirely different provider more suited to your business's needs.

There are several ways in which businesses think of replatforming.

On the one hand, it may involve switching from one massive, rigid, monolithic platform to a different solution that’s more dynamic and offers additional features and plugins. In this case, replatforming is often accompanied by a redesign.

On the other hand, businesses may adopt a modular approach that splits the platform transition into different phases. The idea is to prevent the high upfront costs associated with the process.

Alternatively, a company can also adopt a plug-and-play approach by migrating from what would be considered a monolithic platform to stand-alone applications, each with different functionalities.

For online store owners, the term eCommerce replatforming or eCommerce migration refers to moving your website's front and/or back end from its current platform to a different provider. It involves migrating your products, associated content, customer data, order data, blog posts, and site pages.

Overview of the Replatforming Process

Replatforming an eCommerce website involves the following stages:

User Experience (UX) Redesign

If you plan to migrate your online store to a new platform, you might as well revamp your website design to optimize your customers' shopping experience. You don't have to, but it would be a good idea.

First, identify any shortcomings your existing store might have based on customer feedback and your own observations. Then, articulate what a great user experience might look like and upgrade your store design to match that vision.

It might be worthwhile to explore some of the templates eCommerce platform providers offer and see which ones align with your business needs.

Data Migration

The next step is to move your existing store data from your current platform to a new provider. The time and energy it takes to do this depends on the method you use. It also influences how accurate your data results will be.

While it is possible to do it manually by copying and pasting individual products, order details, and customer information from your old store to your new one, this method is not practical, especially if you have a ton of data to migrate. There is also a good chance that your new website will be marred with errors and inconsistencies.

Your best bet would be to use automated data migration tools like Cart2Cart. It is fast, affordable, accurate, and supports practically all eCommerce platforms. Cart2Cart works for small, medium, and large-scale enterprises.

If you're wondering: What are examples of replatform processes? Migrating from WooCommerce to Shopify or Magento to Wix qualify as website migration.

See also: BigCommerce to Shopify Migration Checklist

Search Engine Optimization

Once you migrate your store data to the new platform, you must implement SEO best practices to optimize it for search engines. The success of any eCommerce website comes down to whether or not prospective customers can find it when they search for products online.

Some good SEO practices to implement include:

  • Submitting your new store’s XML sitemap to search engines, especially if its structure has changed significantly;
  • Confirming that your website’s redirects are working properly;
  • Checking your internal/external links, metadata, and analytics tools; and
  • Getting rid of duplicate content in the title tags, headers, image attributes, metadata, etc., to avoid getting your store down-ranked by search engines.

Plugins and Integrations

By this point, you already know the various functionalities you want to implement in your new store. These functionalities come by way of plugins and integrations. Some of these may have already been in your previous store, while others may not have been supported by your old platform. Either way now is the time to install them if you want your store to run seamlessly.


At the very basic, your eCommerce website should have integrations for:

  • Email and SMS marketing automation
  • Inventory management
  • Marketing automation in the form of EPRs and CRMs
  • Order fulfillment
  • Payment processing
  • Sales and accounting

Quality Assurance

No eCommerce replatforming process would be complete without Quality Assurance (QA) or User Acceptance Testing (UAT). This aspect of replatforming involves testing your new online store across different browsers and devices to ensure it launches successfully.

Testing and monitoring is a continuous process. It analyzes different use cases based on the feedback you receive from customers, agency partners, merchants, vendors, and any other entities that use your online store.

Why Do Businesses Choose to Replatform

The decision to replatform your online store should not be taken lightly. Some common reasons businesses decide to migrate to a different eCommerce provider include:

  • High maintenance costs of their current platform
  • Implementing a new eCommerce infrastructure or business model
  • Integrating new elements to improve the customer experience
  • Lack of appropriate functionality
  • Limited integration with third-party systems and software
  • Poor site speed and performance
  • Security concerns


Redesigning your online store means changing its visual design, UX, and content without changing the underlying tech stack or migrating it to a different eCommerce platform.

It is worth noting that redesigning your website is not the same as reskinning it. A reskin simply updates the visual design of your online store. It does nothing to the UX or content.

On the other hand, a redesign completely overhauls the store's structure, layout, content, and organization. The site navigation, URLs, and user flow may change or stay the same.

If you're looking to make a few changes to your online store and freshen it up without necessarily modifying every single aspect as you would in a replatforming process, this would be the ideal option.

Overview of the Redesigning Process

Redesigning an eCommerce website involves the following:

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Audit

The first phase of a redesign process involves conducting a usability audit. If you're wondering why your online store has such low conversion and high bounce rates, there's a high chance it has something to do with your visitors' user experience once they get there.

Your SEO might be doing what it needs to do to attract prospective customers, but your site visitors won't stick around for long if you have poor UX and UI.

A usability audit allows you to uncover any bottlenecks and issues that make it difficult for users to interact with your website.

Target Audience and Competitor Analysis

Once you've identified the cause of your eCommerce website's poor performance, you need to research the market and identify what your competitors are doing right. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You'll likely find a common denominator that works for all of them, which also means it can work for you.

The same applies to your target audience. Find out what makes them tick and the kind of user experience they’re looking for, and then use this information to craft a design strategy for your online store.

This phase of the redesign process involves the following:

  • Identifying your business goals
  • Identifying your customers’ goals
  • Conducting in-depth market research
  • Creating different customer personas
  • Developing a solid strategy for monetizing your store

UX Redesign

Before redesigning your eCommerce website, ensure that your business goals are clear from the get-go. That way, you'll have identified the changes you need to make to your existing store.

The UX redesign process involves the following:

  • Gathering input from staff, customers, and stakeholders
  • Sketching design ideas
  • Developing prototypes
  • Selecting the designs that align with your business goals

See also: Top eCommerce Design Trends for 2023

UI Redesign

Once you've developed a suitable UX design, you're ready to proceed with the UI design. The most critical aspect of redesigning a website's user interface is consistency.

You must ensure that every interface element on your website uses the same style, brand colors, and font family. You want the interface to be accessible, usable, and likable and evoke an emotional response from users.

Quality Assurance

User Acceptance Testing when redesigning your online store involves exploring user behavior as they interact with the different elements of your website. You can use several software tools to track which sections of your website users interact with more, how long they spend there, how easy or difficult it is for them to navigate through your store and find the products they’re looking for, and so on.

This information will give you a deeper understanding of your customers' behavioral patterns and implement them in your online store's redesign.

Why Do Businesses Choose to Redesign

There are several reasons why an online store owner would choose to redesign their eCommerce website and revamp its overall appearance. These include the following:

  • A change in the brand or marketing strategy
  • A confusing UX
  • Audience expansion
  • Changing trends in the niche market
  • Expansion to new markets
  • Fierce market competition
  • Low conversion rates
  • Site design no longer appeals to the target audience
  • Updates to the tech stack
  • Implementing a mobile-first approach

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Replatforming vs. Redesigning

Right off the bat, it’s not an either-or type situation. You can choose to do one or both. It comes down to your overall business goals.

With that in mind, how do you decide whether to replatform or redesign your eCommerce website?

For starters, if you want to retain your information architecture and navigation structure or perhaps provide your editors with better tools to manage your online store content, replatforming your site might be a better option for your business.


On the other hand, if you want a new look and feel to your online store, expand your business reach to target a larger audience, or rewrite your existing content, you're better off redesigning your website.

If you want to implement new modules and features or enhance your website's overall functionality, you can replatform or redesign your store.

Other factors to consider when choosing between replatforming and redesigning your eCommerce website include the following:

  • Having a bad front end and good back end: If your online storefront is outdated and unresponsive, but the eCommerce platform it is built on is on point, you should redesign your website.
  • Having a bad back end and good front end: If you're satisfied with how your website looks but are not particularly crazy about the platform that hosts it, you should consider replatforming to an entirely different provider.
  • Financial considerations: If the costs of running and maintaining your online store have increased dramatically, it points to a CMS issue. Replatforming might be necessary at that point.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering: What are the advantages of replatforming over redesigning? Here are some of them:

  • It could potentially lower operational risk by addressing undetected security vulnerabilities
  • It could potentially reduce the total cost of ownership
  • It enhances automation through third-party integrations that may otherwise be incompatible with your current platform
  • It improves overall site performance, including faster loading times
  • It is less time-consuming compared to rewriting your site architecture
  • It minimizes potential downtime

If your current eCommerce platform cannot keep up with the ever-changing business landscape, customer demands, and evolving technologies, no amount of redesigning will solve the underlying issue.

What you need is an entirely different CMS that aligns with your business goals. What you need is to migrate to an entirely different platform.

Cart2Cart is a dynamic data migration tool that lets you migrate your online store in a few easy clicks. It works with over 85 popular eCommerce platforms, is fast, affordable, accurate, and saves you a tremendous amount of time and effort. That way, you can focus on what matters—taking your online business to the next level.

Cart2Cart only migrates your store data, not the design. However, once you migrate your store, you can revamp your website by choosing an entirely new template from any of the ones offered by your new eCommerce provider.

To see Cart2Cart in action, sign up today for a free demo.