Fun fact: 49% of U.S. retailers made the eCommerce switch to escape poor service, replatforming challenges and limited capabilities in 2019.
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Have you ever heard anything about business life cycle? Regardless of the source, it could be divided into five phases, that specify current progression over time: launch, intensive growth, maturity, decline and… (”drumroll please”)...reinvention or obsolescence, depending on you. Whether you’re an experienced store owner or a newbie, you don’t have to think that eCommerce is something fully automated and self-contained. It suffers all the same pains as any offline business, it’s hard to redesign, modernize and adapt as well.
How to Choose the Right-Your-Size Shopping Cart
An eCommerce platform is the lifeblood of an online retail enterprise, whether it is for B2B or B2C company. Choosing the best software for replatforming is the point where your eCommerce journey starts.
Types of eCommerce Platforms for Technical Noobs
- On-premise (Magento)
- Cloud (Magento 2)
- SaaS (Shopify), (3dcart);
- Proprietary (X-Cart);
- PaaS (Oracle Commerce, Hybris).
Modern eCommerce market is overstuffed with numerous solutions that fall into the above-mentioned categories, so if you always like to stay away from programming and development, you’ll probably feel yourself absolutely lost in this technical jungles. Here’s our tiny (hopefully successful) foray into making dark spots clearer. Fortunately, in simple words.
Whether you’re expanding a brick-and-mortar store, looking to find an enterprise-level solution, or even starting a business from scratch, your choice of ecommerce platform has an enormous impact on the profitability and stability of your website development.
On-premise solution is a classification of web hosting, involving self-hosted on your business premises. This kind of technology enables users to host their stores on an internal network. On-premise solutions’ workflow is pretty similar to open source platforms, as you should use the third-party hosting provider and perform installation and upgrades by yourself. But there’s no free access to the source code and the software license carries a cost (e.g. Shopware Enterprise).
If you opt for going with this variant, get ready to the fact, that 80% of your spendings will cover the cost of maintenance. Thus, you will have to be responsible for CDN, security, uptime, and bandwidth or hire a small army of IT staff to keep things up and running. Where else you can put that time and money? Actually, there are a lot of gaps to be fulfilled, like strategy and planning, funding marketing initiatives to grow, etc.
Unlike SaaS, cloud-based solutions offer customers a service of maintaining and hosting their servers by a third-party. What’s the drawback? The responsibility to keep up with regular updates, handle PCI compliance and security, install the software and fix bugs, get used to significant downtimes during versioning updates. Not just once. Over and over again (check out Magento Enterprise Migration).
SaaS stands for Software as a Service and removes much of the complexity from running an online business because instead of building and developing a custom solution or an open-source solution and diving into tech-related nuances, you essentially “rent” the platform, remaining focused on marketing, promotion, sales or whatever you wish. Ease of use is the high-flying feature, that makes SaaS as widely popular among successful merchants as it is. If you’re cool with the fact that these platforms are lacking the capability and do not find programming very interesting - that’s your great fit (e.g. Shopify Migration).
What Are the Key Benefits of SaaS (Hosted) eCommerce Platforms?
- Low cost (flat payment);
- No server administration;
- Customer support;
- Good server speed;
- Security and PCI compliance;
- Features and add-ons;
- Easy set-up;
- A wide range of marketing tools;
- Integration capability.
To simplify the decision-making process for you, we've covered the list of well-known and talked-about shopping cart solutions that can best correspond to your business needs and requirements.
Based on extensive experience in data transfer, we’ve compiled the most common questions, issues, and tricks for a successful migration, our customers usually face. From the current eCommerce ecosystem analysis to relaunch, we’ll carefully guide you through the rough spots.
Top Reasons for Ecommerce ReplatformingThe exact reasons for switching your shopping cart platform are twofold:
High maintenance cost. Your current platform keeps you supplied with regular bugs, tech debt, and underperformance? You cannot focus on sales or marketing - tasks that are truly important for business growth? Most of your time and spendings are used to close any gaps in daily workflow, so you don’t have even a chance to lay out a comprehensive development blueprint?
Limited funcionality. To keep up with the ever-changing times, you need to implement new functionality and improve customer experience, but your source cart is monolithic and does not provide for customizations and integrations? This keeps you from extending horizons to new channels and innovative technologies.
If one of these scenarios sounds familiar, the eCommerce replatforming is probably the most beneficial solution for you. In both cases, the maintenance cost will absorb the budget like a sponge, so you’ll start working for your business. Honestly, for keeping it afloat.
Aside from performance issues, the technical currency is one more obstacle plaguing dated eCommerce solutions. If you don’t opt for replatforming, get ready to pay off high wages for specialized workers, tech debt problems and update fees.
Non-modular, proprietary solutions eCommerce platforms necessarily create future technical problems. Or financial, if you try to change this course.
Generally, replatforming challenges can be classified due to their source: financial replatforming challenges, technical replatforming challenges, marketing replatforming challenges.
If getting stuck in a restrictive system that doesn’t allow for easy growth and adaptability down the road, leave all doubts behind and prepare for radical change.
Rewards of Ecommerce Migration
An increasing amount of online customers and growing expectations they have, make e-merchants think about changes and motivate them for store improvement. Not everyone understands what the benefits of re-platforming are or when a need to move to another shopping cart appears. However, this issue doesn't have to be undersold by e-merchants in the case if they really strive for smash success.
But still there is a question on how to know that the time to make a switch has already come. Maybe, it’s better late than never but business still requires instant decisions and courage to take the risks for not crying over spilt milk afterwards. So, let's take a deeper insight to understand what are rewards and risks of changing e-Commerce platform?
Your business will grow. Of, course, your needs as well the needs of customers increase. And the shopping cart that supports the store has to meet requirements and demands for successful web store management. Maybe, your e-Commerce solution limits the number of products for the store. Maybe, you want to create one more online shop. Maybe, there is no possibility for multi-channel sales. If you know what it means to be restricted, then be sure it is high time for getting rid of such limitations.
E-merchants have a possibility to control their business watching the measurements that show the main characteristics and the results of shopping activity. KPI’s can give a clue whether there is progress considering the satisfying needs and tastes of your customers. Site traffic, conversion, and backorder rates, net profit and visit value - new shopping cart will probably help you to improve these indicators to be sure that the way you’ve started is right.
Customer experience improvement.To satisfy customers you should think like one of them. Make the site navigation convenient or search functions appropriate. Don’t forget about URL syntax and coding, about product image quality and one-page checkout. Moreover, your landing page has to be bright and dynamic as it is the first thing seen by customers which influence their further decisions.
Security. The store has to guarantee that your information, as well as information of your customers, is safe. Actually, the current shopping cart may not solve this problem but one of the re-platforming rewards appears to be in the help to update the security level.
Price. This point includes different expenses for site hosting, hardware investments, human resources, etc. The new platform is going to shorten maintenance costs and, consequently, to increase your revenue.
Mobile devices. Customers may want to visit your store any time and an opportunity to access it is good not only for them but for you too. So, be ready to meet the demands of increasing mobile commerce.
And what now? What do you need to do? First of all, define the main goals of your business and their achievement methods. Afterward just analyze whether you have faced inconveniences, which made you ever thought about changing the solution. Also, use the possibility to talk to the owner of another platform to find out more about other shopping carts and their advantages. It will surely help to specify potential solutions accordingly to your needs and demands. And then take your time to consider all pros and cons, and make a decision about re-platforming.
Common Ecommerce Migration Risks
A proverb says “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.Therefore, what risks can be faced by e-merchants that want to change their current solution to another one? There are 4 main ventures that can constrain businessmen from re-platforming.
- Time and money. Usually, the process of switching to another solution is durable what leads to time loss and as we know ”Time is money”. Also, many services that are considered as a hand of help may rob you blind with the exorbitant prices for migration. At the same time, Cart2Cart gives a chance to re-platform just in a couple of hours going through a few steps. Furthermore, the service offers affordable prices which depend directly on transfer entities number.
- Business processes. Move always requires customization and retraining of stuff that is likely impossible to avoid when getting a new store.
- SEO. You may lose the site traffic not only because your store will be downtime, but also as the URLs will be changed probably. To decrease this risk Cart2Сart provides an opportunity to migrate product and category SEO URLs that can really make store optimization easier. After the switch, there is a need to set redirects and not to worry about traffic decrease.
- Integrations are usually are far more complex. Online businessmen have to be ready to face delays and budget overruns. However, Cart2Cart service becomes a lifeline for you again and offers a possibility to migrate with 100% uptime of source store. So that the losses can be minimized in such way.
A Basic Ecommerce Replatforming Checklist
- Run migration during the temporary decline in sales and relative market calm.
- Choose a reliable migration partner. Aside from a manual replatforming, there are two more methods to use: hiring a third-party developer or turning to an automated tool (like Cart2Cart, for instance).
- Keep only up to date content. When it comes to SEO, starting from scratch is far from being a good idea. A huge content overhaul is the best recipe to end up with SEO landslide;
- Crawl your site before migration to make sure nothing gets lost. Analyze your store before the move. Conduct comprehensive testing (performance, UX- front- and back-end, 3rd party solution integration) on all implemented elements to verify consistency with planned objectives. It makes sense to hire a company or use event-tracking tools to rethink the customer experience and define weak points, for example:
- Woopra (real-time data-driven analytics);
- Appsee (mobile app analytics);
- Keen (streamlining, analyzing and embedding rich data on your website app or device);
- Smartlook (heatmapping tool);
- Inspectlet (session recording).
As a byword, when embarking on eCommerce replatforming, think of migration as a multi-phased process. We’ll mark all the points worth focusing on to avoid the pitfalls on the verge of data transfer.
All in all, when embarking on eCommerce replatforming, think of migration as a multi-phased process. We’ve marked the points worth focusing on to avoid the pitfalls before the data transfer. Ultimately, moving to a new eCommerce platform and overcoming replatforming challenges come down to clearly defining your business goals, ensuring the requisite investments are worth it, and thoroughly vetting all platforms and prospective migration services.
Choosing the right ecommerce software solution should balance the cost of implementation, licensing and management against the benefit of instant access to the tools needed to build and grow a competitive site. Your infrastructure and implementation partners should be able to demonstrate proven experience architecting, deploying, integrating, operating, securing and optimizing your platform. They should also have the technology-specific expertise on-hand to help fill any existing internal skills gaps.
If you’re unconvinced about what platform to choose for migration, take advantage of our Preview Service. Perform Demo data transfer even without having a Target Store installed and check out how products, customers, orders and other information from your current shop are going to look on another platform. Be profound, choose reliable migration partners!