10 Signs You Need Ecommerce Replatforming Now [+a Bonus Checklist to Face It!]

Guides & Advice
March 16, 2021
Guides & Advice
10 Signs It’s Time for Ecommerce Replatforming [+Checklist!]

What can be worse than creating an online storefront from scratch? Replatforming it. If only the idea of ecommerce replatforming sends shivers down your spine, we’re here to help and clarify some migration cues for you.

Migrating to another platform is a serious step in one’s business, so it’s important to take things slow. No matter the size of your store, we always suggest our clients not to rush things: our latest replatforming project with Carbon38 involved so much customization and data migration that it took about 18 months of meticulous work. But this long journey eventually paid off with a fast-load website and satisfied customers to the brand. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This article will narrate not about the rewards of successful replatforming, which are rather obvious, but about the signs you need it. How to recognize when you need to replatform (rather than to optimize your present webstore, for instance), which platforms are best for data migration, and what an ecommerce replatforming checklist looks like — find more info in this article.

Telltale Signs for Ecommerce Replatforming

All the reasons for replatforming can be summarized in a single phrase: too much effort. To maintain your store. To reach out to the customers. To spend on upgrades. You see that you’ve already outgrown your present platform, and upscaling becomes more and more difficult. 

So if you were waiting for a sign from above to push you into ecommerce replatforming, here it is. Let’s walk through ten clear signs telling you need to change your platform provider.

Sign #1: Your Store Can’t Handle Traffic Spikes

Gartner reports that a minute of the website downtime costs a business $5,600 on average. This figure surely depends on the business size, with SMEs losing up to $427/min and large enterprises — up to $9,000/min. If your website can’t handle high-load traffic, especially during the holiday season which yields the highest sales, your downtime is increasing and you’re losing money. Now this is when the first penny drops and you know you should change platforms.

Sign #2: New Store Features and Updates Are Hard to Implement

Every tiny update sucks an unreasonable amount of money from your budget. And on top of that, it takes ages to implement. The SKUs in your product catalog are filled to the maximum, and the backlog of your project is getting unmanageable. As time goes by, you feel less enthusiastic about installing an update thinking that it’ll be a waste of money anyway.

If this is the case, your website must look like a bundle of patches and processes that can’t be optimized in such legacy architecture. Replatforming is not only about changing the general view of your storefront; it goes much deeper reconstructing your store as a LEGO puzzle and helping you save on .

Interconnected business operations -legacy architecture.
Source: ElasticPath.

Sign #3: Your TCO Grows Day by Day

A logical outcome of the sign #2. Because the default functionality is no longer enough for your growing needs, you invest in custom-made modules and functionality which increase the operating costs. When analyzing the bigger picture of your business, you realize that your total cost of ownership (TCO) is far beyond your means.

Ecommerce replatforming resolves this problem. Many advanced platforms provide out-of-the-box features that are included in the platform license fees (so you won’t have to spend extra on operational costs) and can be applied to your store as soon as you migrate. As a bonus, your IT team will also get fewer headaches trying to implement new ecommerce solutions and upgrade your store.

Sign #4: Your Store Isn’t Responsive

It’s no secret that most of the customer conversions take place on desktop. But it’s also widely known that mobile versions of the website are bringing twice more traffic. Mobile website speed is also an important ranking factor in Google. So if your online store is not responsive and it’s almost impossible to implement a mobile-friendly solution, chances are you’ll continue losing your customers to competitors and stay invisible online until you replatform.

Shre of traffic and sales by device
Source: SaleCycle.

Sign #5: Your Platform Provider Fails at Security

Not long ago, your customer information was being compromised. For the thousandth time in a sales season. Apparently, your current platform has security gaps. It might be missing out on password hashing, or vulnerability to XSS attacks, or PCI DSS compliance that makes payment card details leak. To fill in these gaps, your IT team creates and installs custom patches that have little effect on the overall security of your online transactions.

In fact, security concerns were one of the main reasons why Magento 1 reached its end-of-life and made many merchants migrate to Magento 2. Read more on this issue in our Magento security guide.
Guides & Advice
Magento Security Guide: How to Secure Your Website from Hackers

Sign #6: Your Customers Keep Complaining About Your Website Usability

Customers overwhelm your support team with calls, not being able to use their promocode or make a purchase. Or even worse: they just abandon their carts and bounce after viewing one page with no hope of return. If your website falls short of delivering positive user experiences and fails to fulfill its main function — to sell and attract clients — that’s when you have to start afresh with your business.

Sign #7: Your Admin Panel Functions Poorly

Because your platform doesn’t seamlessly connect to a CRM, ERP, PIM, and other critical business software, your admin panel is a mess. It takes hours to edit and publish content on your website, there are no reports on your revenues and paid taxes, and you can’t locate that order number with the product that your customer wants to return to your store. You also have to assign repetitive tasks to your staff (or do them yourself) that slows down their work. 

When the administrative processes become a burden and there’s no way to integrate third-party business systems, you know you should replatform.

Sign #8: You’re Compromising Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

Your sales and marketing team is blooming with creative ideas but always stumbles upon the same old disheartened phrase of yours, “Our website can’t do that”. No custom prices and catalogs; no product configurations and matching items; no sign up emails and pop-up messages before your customer leaves the website. Nothing. All because your platform provider doesn’t support such functionality and, well, because it’s too costly to implement sign #2 for that matter.

Sign #9: Your Competitors Outshine You

That big store with state-of-the-art website features has just stolen another customer of yours, while you’re still on the rack over your product catalog. And even if you haven’t noticed that, you know that your fellow competitors are performing much better on sales than you. All ecommerce businesses try to win the customers’ trust by improving user experience, and if your platform requires long hours of code to change what your competitors can do in a matter of hours, you’ll be soon out of the game.

Sign #10: Your Current Platform Is Obsolete

Alright, this is the most obvious sign. The usual lifecycle of an ecommerce platform varies from five to seven years. It’s a natural process: unless vendors evolve and catch up on the emerging trends, they just cease to exist. Magento 1 and Drupal 7 are perfect cases in point.

When the vendor of your platform stops supporting it and releasing updates, you just have no other way out but to embrace the future and replatform. 

Many of our clients migrated to Magento 2 for one of these reasons and were extremely happy with the results. Check our projects page for more info and replatform to Magento with us!

Outsource Magento development services

Give a new look and feel to your e-store!

Replatform now

Replatforming Risks: Forewarned is Forearmed

Recognized yourself in one of the abovementioned signs? Good, get ready to replatform then.

During ecommerce replatforming, you should keep your eyes wide open for data migration and web redesign issues. There’s a lot to go through, so the process involves a few risks that you need to keep in mind. 

Risk #1: Time and Budget Overrun

Be prepared if the initial project estimation timeline and budget don’t correspond to the real one. The team may always discover underlying data migration issues or some legacy software which cannot be integrated that easily. Try to set aside some budget for such unexpected pitfalls and ask your IT team (and their solution architect, in particular) how the deviation can be addressed in the shortest time possible.

But, please, don’t panic or change the vendor out of the blue: such a reaction often complicates things even more and halts the project overall.

Risk #2: Indecision

You can be flexible with unforeseen project timeline; but when it comes to decision-making, you can’t afford losing valuable time on doubts. It’s true that everyone on your team may have different views on or concerns with a particular task, which calls for a discussion. But remember that rending tasks slows down the replatforming processes. The bigger the project, the longer this delay will last, and the more money will be wasted.

Risk #3: SEO & Web Ranking

Be ready to see your store lose a few points in online ranking systems. Because you’ll be changing your website’s content and its whole architecture, your sitemap will change. Some page content might change URLs or disappear at all. To mitigate the risk, make sure to set up comprehensive 301 redirect maps, track 404 errors, and optimize the content for faster load speed.

301 redirect from Page A to Page B and a Googlebot.
301 redirects as a search engine sees them. Source: Oroinc

Quo Vadis: Where Should You Replatform To

Having assessed the risks, you might want to spend some time researching and choosing the platforms that you will replatform to. After all, you’re looking for a progressive, future-proof solution that won’t let you down like your existing platform. 

Ideally, your choice of a vendor will be guided by 

  1. your own business requirements: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, each platform has its features that may (or may not) fulfill your business needs;
  2. out-of-the-box features of the platform: the more advanced the platform’s functionality is, the less you’ll have to spend on website maintenance;
  3. third-party software integrations: with the platform offering smooth API-led integrations, you can automate and streamline administrative operations while actually focusing on running a business;
  4. scalability and security;
  5. marketing potential and SEO-friendliness.

Ecommerce replatforming is costly and complex; however, with well-defined goals and objectives, you can choose the right platform for your future business. Here are a few ideas of where to replatform depending on your business needs.

Replatform to Shopify or BigCommerce if

  • you have no complex integration requirements and wish for an intuitive, easy-to-use admin panel;
  • customizations are not your focus, and you’re totally ok with pre-built extensions and apps from the official marketplace;
  • security is paramount to you: you seek a PCI-compliant solution and want your SSL certificate activated by default;
  • you’re tight on time and budget for ecommerce replatforming.

Replatform to Magento if

  • you’re looking for a feature-rich solution with unlimited scalability options;
  • your storefront involves a lot of customizations, and your IT team requires access to the source code to fulfill your requests;
  • you have a lot of legacy software (like ERP, CRM, etc.) that should be integrated in a new platform;
  • your business requires B2B modules and functionality;
  • you want your website to be mobile-friendly;
  • tech support and a large community of users are important to you.

Replatform to Elastic Path, Oracle, Salesforce, or any other enterprise ecommerce platform if

  • your business is mature enough to try headless ecommerce;
  • you plan on implementing complex third-party integrations and creating API-oriented architecture;
  • your business is subject to thousands of transactions per hour, and your SKUs continue adding up;
  • you wish to try applying AI to your business.
Elogic proudly serves the brands trying to migrate to Magento 2 from various platforms. Take a look at our Shopify to Magento 2 guide and get in touch with us for a more detailed ecommerce replatforming consultation.
Choose Magento
Migrate Shopify to Magento: We Have All the Answers

Ecommerce Replatforming Checklist

Remember how we said that the key to successful ecommerce replatforming is to keep things cool and slow? Choosing the right platform is only the first step in this process followed by five blocks of actions:

  • create and issue a detailed RFP: document your project requirements and send your RFP to a maximum of ten ecommerce vendors to see which partner can fulfill your goals and objectives the best;
  • set your replatforming timeline and budget: allocate sufficient time and funds to migrate and set the KPIs over your schedule;
  • review your existing contracts: make sure that other vendors involved in your website are aware of your migration and create a contingency plan in case your relationship with them might be suspended (e.g., monthly subscriptions, technical support, etc.)
  • redesign, rehost, relaunch: test the migration and launch it if successful;
  • instruct your business teams: explain the functionalities of your new ecommerce architecture and explain how your staff can work with it. 

The aforementioned processes are general and can be broken down into smaller steps. If you’re a process freak like us and want to follow the migration in detail, here’s an idea for your ecommerce replatforming checklist:

Ecommerce replatforming checklist.
Download a printable version here!

Final Takeaways

Ecommerce replatforming can be daunting but will secure the prosperity of your business in the future. Approach the process with a cool head and weigh your options well.

  • Keep in mind the emerging trends, but choose the platform based on your goals and needs. If it’s the first time you hear the term “headless”, you probably shouldn’t rush into enterprise ecommerce solutions for digitally mature guys on the market.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once and rush things. You constantly repeating “We must go live in December” won’t speed up replatforming if your IT team discovered hidden pitfalls during data migration.
  • And most importantly: never do it alone. Even if you’re the best engineer in the world yourself, replatforming is never a work-alone project. Get a team with the necessary replatforming expertise for your chosen platform (consider Elogic!). Or at least hire an ecommerce replatforming consultant to guide you through the process and cheer you up if the project starts falling apart (Elogic can help you out here too!).
RFP is the first step of the migration process. Follow our guide, create an RFP of yours, and send it to us. We’ll be looking forward to becoming your technology partner and ecommerce replatforming providing ecommerce!
Guides & Advice
RFP for Ecommerce Website: Hunting Out the Best Vendor to Replatform

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Replatforming is a big task that will take time & effort. More than that, it will change your entire ecommerce site, including the design, admin navigation, functionality, performance, and much more. Replatforming needs to be done for the right reasons and at the right time for your business.

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