Like any system in your business that has anything to do with technology, you are constantly trying to keep up with the latest advancements, reduce costs, and grow your business. In eCommerce, your customers are demanding better user experiences (mobile), improved search, more product information, and improved access to order history, invoices, and other eCommerce related information. Your sales team wants to know who is ordering what. Your management team wants to reduce system costs and improve order delivery times. And, your IT & development teams have too many projects and too little time to keep up with all of the requests.
You can always continue to “upgrade” your system by adding features, upgrading your hardware, or integrating with the latest tools & widgets that are out there. These alternatives may offer good options for short term fixes, but eventually your 5- or 10-year-old system is just not going to be able to keep up. At some point for your business, replatforming will be the only way to go. So, why is now the time to replatform your eCommerce system?
There are several reasons why now is the ideal time to replatform:
Market forces are driving customer demand – more and more companies are offering customers great eCommerce experiences from the consumer standpoint with Amazon and all of their features to many well-known B2B sites. In addition, eCommerce sales as a percentage of total sales continue to increase. In 2015, for the first time ever according to the National Retailer Federation, more American shoppers shopped online than in stores. And, as well know, mobile ordering is growing every month.
More companies are moving towards online ordering for their customers and self-service models than ever before. Companies are looking to reduce or eliminate call centers, reduce costs of processing orders, and provide more information to their customers. Using antiquated eCommerce systems make it difficult for companies to upgrade other internal systems, create all of the integrations necessary to provide more information to their customers, and scale their online business without incurring substantial upgrade costs to other systems software licenses, hardware resources, and other infrastructure costs.
The move to the cloud for a wide variety of technology solutions has provided great impetus for replatforming. The overall costs of licensing the most current, robust, scalable eCommerce technology, creating a custom user experience, and integrating with other, modern applications and platforms have been dramatically reduced. Many systems require no Capital Expenditure and can be licensed on a usage basis paying annual or monthly fees that are all inclusive of maintenance, support, and new releases (think about how you handle email, CRM, and perhaps even HR these days). There are many benefits to replatforming your premise-based eCommerce system to a modern, responsive, mobile-friendly, easy to integrate, cloud-based solution. Many of these systems offer easy integration options, infinite scalability, agile release schedules so you’re always using the latest features, and none of the hassles associated with “upgrading” to the next release, or adding features using 10-year-old technologies.
There are many good resources available on the web about how you should go about planning and executing a replatform project.
The main points are to create a strategy & plan, fully define your current & future requirements, define roles & responsibilities for your internal staff and vendors, and create a specific TCO & ROI for the next 5 years. Going through the process of replatforming and modernizing your eCommerce platform will allow you to scale your system along with your business, address new strategic initiatives, more easily integrate with other new systems, improve your product information, and provide your customers with a better ordering experience.