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How to Successfully Replatform Your eCommerce Store (2023 Guide)

eCommerce Replatforming Essentials

  • Replatforming an eCommerce store involves migrating from an underperforming platform to a new platform with the aim of improving any number of eCommerce elements such as performance, custom functionality, website security, integrations, and costs.
  • For businesses considering replatforming their eCommerce store it is a good idea to partner with an eCommerce agency offering eCommerce consulting services and having experience in the replatforming process.
  • The replatforming process includes selecting a new platform, migrating data, designing and developing the new website, testing, and launching.
  • Selecting a new platform requires a thoughtful review of business goals, stakeholder needs, technical requirements as well as key areas where the existing platform is failing
  • Replatforming can be costly, depending on factors such as the complexity of the online store, the size of the product catalog, and the amount of custom development required.
  • Replatforming can offer many benefits, including improved performance, enhanced features, increased security, better integrations, and lower total cost of ownership.

What is eCommerce Replatforming?

eCommerce replatforming is the process of transitioning from an existing eCommerce platform to another. For example, migrating from Shopify to Magento or from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to BigCommerce. 

Replatforming can be a complex process, involving many different stakeholders, such as developers, marketers, and management. For any eCommerce replatform, it is essential to have a skilled project team that plans, implements, and tests their work to effectively deliver the required functionality while minimizing disruption to the online business operations.


Why Replatform?

There are many reasons for replatforming:

  • Outdated technology: Your current platform may be outdated and no longer able to support your existing business needs.

  • Poor performance: Your online store may be slow, causing a negative user experience.

  • Security concerns: Your current platform may not be secure, leaving your online store vulnerable to attacks.

  • Lack of scalability: Your business may have outgrown your current platform's capabilities, and you need a more scalable solution.

  • Limited integrations: Your existing platform may not allow you to integrate other internal platforms and tools. A new eCommerce platform may provide greater operational efficiencies through sophisticated integrations.

  • Lack of customization: Your business may demand more flexibility in design, functionality, and integrations than what your existing platform can support.

  • Lower costs: Your existing eCommerce platform may be too expensive with required maintenance and support costs. Replatforming can be a cost-effective solution, as new platforms may offer more features at a lower cost.

Russell Marine Products Project Manager, Eddie Smith, says, "We were VERY limited by our old platform. There was a lot of automation we wanted to add, and our old platform did not support them. We could have had custom integrations built out, but we did not want to keep investing in a platform that wasn’t investing in itself."

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Advantages of eCommerce replatforming

Replatforming your eCommerce store can offer many advantages, including:

  1. Improved performance and scalability: A new eCommerce platform can offer improved performance, resulting in faster page load times and a better user experience. A more scalable platform can also handle increased traffic and support your business as it grows.
  2. Enhanced features and functionality: A new eCommerce platform can offer more features and functionality, such as improved search capabilities, better mobile responsiveness, and more advanced reporting and analytics.
  3. Increased security: A new eCommerce platform can offer enhanced security features, including regular security updates, secure payment gateways, and better protection against cyberattacks.
  4. Better integrations: A new eCommerce platform can offer better integrations with third-party software, allowing you to streamline your operations and improve your customer experience.
  5. Lower costs: A new eCommerce platform can offer lower costs, including hosting fees, development costs, and maintenance costs.

Steps for a successful eCommerce replatforming process

Replatforming your eCommerce store can be a complex process, but following these steps can help ensure a successful transition:

  1. Partner with a skilled eCommerce agency: eCommerce replatforming requires eCommerce expertise. For this reason, it is critical to find a partner with a broad understanding of eCommerce technologies and extensive experience with the replatforming process.

"It turned out that only Ironplane was telling the truth. We were very disappointed in our onboarding processes with varying SaaS providers. It was very much a sink-or-swim experience. The SaaS all performed as advertised, but getting it up and running was painful. The actual transition of sites managed by Ironplane was AMAZING!

Anyone that has ever gone through a major technology changeover typically has horror stories, and I can honestly say that the platform changeover was a refreshment for all employees. Ironplane was there the entire time to help with any issues we had."

  1. Define your goals: Identify why you are replatforming and what you hope to achieve. This can help guide your platform selection and ensure your new platform meets your business needs.
  2. Benchmark: Document existing site performance and key limitations of your existing platform.
  3. Select your new platform: Research and compare different eCommerce platforms to find one that meets your needs. Consider factors such as native functionality, available apps (also called modules or extensions), security, scalability, reliability, customizability, total cost of ownership, and support.
  4. Plan the migration: Create a detailed plan for the migration process, including timelines (see below for a sample timeline), roles and responsibilities, and contingency plans. Test the new platform thoroughly before launch to ensure a smooth transition.
  5. Migrate your data: Move your existing data, such as product information, customer data, and order history, to the new platform. This can be a complex process, so it is important to work with an experienced team to ensure accuracy.
  6. Launch and test: Launch your new platform and test it thoroughly to ensure it is functioning as expected. Monitor performance and make adjustments as necessary.

Image of the steps that occur when switching from one eCommerce platform to another. There are 4 main phases: Audit, Concept, Production, and Finalization

In terms of advice for companies considering an eCommerce platform, Smith says:

"Take your time. We had a couple of delays with things that were out of our control. Each time we had the option to rush or pause and re-group. We re-grouped each time, and it was the right choice. There is no need to rush. Interrogate your SaaS providers; have written communications outlining expectations."


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does eCommerce replatforming take?

As with any eCommerce development project, the duration of an eCommerce replatforming  project depends on a variety of elements including the complexity of the existing and new sites, the available migration tools for the specific platforms, the skills of your development agency and the overall project budget.

A moderately complex eCommerce replatform project will likely take between 5 to 9 months. to complete.

How do I ensure a smooth transition from my existing eCommerce platform?

Planning is key to ensuring a smooth transition. Create a detailed plan, including timelines, roles and responsibilities, and contingency plans. Test the new platform thoroughly before launch to identify and fix any issues.

Can I keep the design of my existing eCommerce website?

In many cases, it is possible to migrate your existing design to your new platform. However, this may require some custom development work to ensure a seamless transition. Generally, it is a good idea to use this as an opportunity to run a UX analysis on your site to pinpoint areas that can be updated to help improve conversion rates. ADA compliance is another significant factor to consider when designing your site.

How much does eCommerce replatforming cost?

The cost of replatforming depends on many factors, such as the:
  • Complexity of your online store
  • Complexity and quantity of 3rd party integrations
  • Amount of custom development required
  • Size and complexity of existing customer, product, and transaction databases
Typically, if you are migrating from a system like Shopify to Magento the range can anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000. 

 

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