What can be worse than creating an online storefront from scratch? Replatforming it. Every well-established ecommerce retailer has faced this fear at least once in their business journey.
As the ecommerce competition gets fierce and consumer expectations become sky-high, 67% of retailers plan to invest in technology. More often than not, it means moving away from legacy systems into a more flexible, API-first ecommerce architecture to improve customer experience (CX), make one’s business operations more efficient, and offer better website performance.
If only the idea of replatforming ecommerce sends shivers down your spine, we’re here to clarify some migration cues for you. Having helped 200+ brands migrate over the past 13+ years, Elogic knows how to take the max out of ecommerce replatforming while mitigating the associated risks.
Read on to learn the signs when you need to migrate your ecommerce website, which platforms are best for data migration, and what should be included in an ecommerce replatforming checklist.
What Is Replatforming?
In simple words, ecommerce website replatforming is the process of selecting and changing the technology (aka ecommerce platform) powering your online store. It’s a tedious process requiring time and money, so you should have a clear goal of replatforming in mind to turn ecommerce platform migration into a successful project.
Depending on your reason for replatforming, you might face three types of ecommerce platform migration:
- Platform to platform (traditional approach). You completely change the platform powering your ecommerce store to the one that offers better integrations or functionality. For instance, you may move from a Shopify SaaS solution to Adobe Commerce Cloud in one go.
- Module by module (phased migration). You migrate your store in phases rather than all at once. For example, you may first move your content management system (CMS) while keeping the rest of your tech stack.
- Monolithic to microservices. You basically go for headless commerce development and plug third-party systems based on your business requirements and customer journey. This approach gives you more flexibility over CX but requires higher investments.
Ecommerce replatforming also differs from migration. The former is all about changing ecommerce platforms powering your ecommerce store. Meanwhile, migration may imply just upgrading the store within the same platform (e.g. Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration) to improve its functionality.
Your choice of the replatforming method and type will strictly depend on your unique business needs, budget, and ecommerce strategy. And all of them surge from the primary question you need to pose: why do you need to replatform?
When Do You Need to Replatform? 10 Telltale Signs for Ecommerce Replatforming
All the reasons for replatforming ecommerce 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.
If you were waiting for a sign from above to push you into ecommerce platform migration, 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. When the first penny drops, 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 it takes ages to implement. 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 legacy architecture. In our 14+ years of experience, this is #1 reason for B2B replatforming which reconstructs wholesaler’s stores as a LEGO puzzle and helps them save on store features.
Sign #3: Your TCO grows day by day
A logical outcome of the sign #2. Because the default functionality is no longer sufficient 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.
For example, you may spend thousands on OpenCart add-ons, which might already be available in Adobe Commerce out-of-the-box. Switching ecommerce platforms might actually save you a pretty penny in terms of operational costs. 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
Even though most customer conversions take place on desktop, mobile versions of the website are bringing twice as much traffic. Besides, mobile website speed is 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.
Sign #5: Your platform provider fails at security
Imagine if your customer information is being compromised for your platform security gaps. It might be missing out on password hashing or PCI DSS compliance that makes payment card details leak. To fill in these gaps, your IT team must create and install custom patches that will most likely have little effect on the overall security of your online transactions.
Sign #6: Your customers keep complaining about your website usability
Customers overwhelm your support team with calls, not being able to make a purchase alone. Or even worse: they just bounce after viewing one page and abandon carts 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, there are no reports on your revenues and paid taxes, and you can’t locate any order numbers to manage customer returns.
When the administrative processes become a burden and there’s no way to integrate third-party business systems, you know it’s time to undertake an ecommerce site migration project.
Sign #8: You’re compromising your sales and marketing strategies
Your sales team is blooming with creative ideas but always stumbles upon the same disheartened phrase of yours, “Our website can’t do that”. No custom prices; 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. See sign #2 for that matter.
Sign #9: Your competitors outshine you
That 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. Even if you haven’t noticed that, you know that your fellows are performing much better on sales than you. All businesses try to win the customers’ trust by improving UX. If your platform requires long hours of code to change what your competitors can do in a matter of minutes, 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 releasing updates and supporting it, 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!
Ecommerce Website Migration Process: 6 Steps to Ecommerce Replatforming
Recognize yourself in one of the abovementioned signs? Good, get ready to replatform then.
To simplify the process of replatforming an ecommerce store and make it less overwhelming, you need a plan. It will help you understand the main steps to tackle some of the most common migration issues, like SEO rankings, content, and conversion rates.
Here are six replatform migration steps you should take to make your replatforming journey smooth.
#1 List your reasons for commerce replatforming
Every replatforming project has an objective. Do you implement ecommerce migrations because of your legacy system? For security reasons? Or because of the extra integration potential? Whatever your reason, just don’t replatform because everyone’s doing it.
Replatforming is a complex process that is associated with a variety of risks (cost overrun, drop in SEO rankings, etc.). Don’t waste your resources. Before replatforming, remember to write the requirements for your eCommerce website to better understand what you aim for.
#2 Create a shortlist of platforms and vendors
Before committing to the ecommerce migration project, you need to solidify your intentions with an ecommerce RFP. That’s when you examine your current business model, sales channels, some essential features of an ecommerce store — and align it with the tech solutions available on the market.
In 14+ years of ecommerce migration experience at Elogic, we’ve seen most replatforming projects take place from SaaS platforms where the website functionality can be extended only with plugins. Growing businesses migrate to open-source platforms with flexible and free APIs for smooth integrations.
If you’re not sure how to choose an ecommerce platform, an RFP will help you find an expert ecommerce replatforming consultant. They will analyze your future needs and possible solutions and help you select the one eCommerce platform that will work best.
#3 Establish the costs and timelines
Time and budget are huge variables when it comes to replatforming ecommerce websites. The process may take 2 to 20 months, and the budget will depend on how complex your new store should be.
Still, the worst thing you can do is to let the project flow without a plan. If your project isn’t well-planned and well-documented, you will run into continuous unnecessary changes that will take time and money, lowering your ROI and increasing your website downtime.
At Elogic, we always start replatforming projects with an ecommerce migration strategy, including a raw budget and timeline estimates. The former is based on a work breakdown structure (WBS) specifying the cost of each third-party system, server, or ecommerce platform itself to be implemented. The latter is organized using a Gantt chart that maps out all the project pieces and resources at hand.
Note: Ecommerce site migration is a serious step in one’s business, so it’s important to take things slow. We always suggest our clients — especially the enterprise ones — not to rush things: our latest replatforming project with Carbon38 took about 18 months of meticulous work to migrate to Adobe Commerce (Magento 2). But this long journey eventually paid off with a fast-load website and satisfied, loyal customers.
#4 Backup and migrate your ecommerce data
Protecting your current data is one of the most important steps in replatforming. In case something goes wrong during ecommerce migrations, you need to have access to all your data and make it easily accessible to all members. This way, you will rest assured that no data will be lost during the replatforming process.
Insider tip: Your website might experience downtime during ecommerce site migration, so remember to give your customers a heads-up. You could leave a fun message to your users explaining the issue, give them alternatives or backup options (such as shopping on your social media channel), etc. This way, you’ll mitigate the risk of losing sales and increase loyalty.
Data migration includes the following components:
- Product, customer, and order data, plus store configurations and promotions.
- Extensions and existing integrations
- Themes and custom modules
- Code customization
- Plugins migration
All this data may be migrated either manually via CSV or using a third-party migration service like Cart2Cart or LitExtension.
Note: Beware of the pitfalls of different data migration methods. Manual transfer might work well for small businesses but will become a real challenge for retailers with large catalogs and complex orders.
Meanwhile, automated migrations might put at risk the accurate transfer of your data. For instance, this might take place during Shopify to Magento migration. Being a SaaS and an open-source platform respectively, they follow a different logic behind the webstore. Thus, a migration service simply won’t be able to automatically copy any custom thing you have on your Shopify store and move it to Magento.
That’s why we always recommend turning to a certified ecommerce development agency that will handle the ecommerce data migration with extreme precision and accuracy. After all, you wouldn’t want to accidentally lose your customer data that your team collected so hard to a poor data transfer.
#5 UI/UX design, checkout, and SEO optimization
You’re past the most difficult part of ecommerce replatforming — data migration — but not the most time-consuming. Now, it’s time to re-evaluate your customer experience (CX) and implement all the requirements you’ve issued in your RFP.
Here are a few considerations with some ecommerce replatforming examples:
- You may of course migrate your theme preserving your brand identity. However, in most cases, platforms are so different that UI/UX is built from scratch anyway. At Elogic, we usually use this opportunity to come up with a new design based on the customer journey map and one’s business model. Check out how it worked for our Middle Eastern client, Saudi Coffee Roasters.
- You don’t need to clone your store exactly, including integrations. After all, you’re replatforming because your current platform has some shortcomings, so why migrate them? Use this process to install new, more effective third-party systems, revamp your checkout, and implement the features your customers expect. For instance, our Swiss client, Helvetiq, added B2B functionality and streamlined order delivery for wholesalers.
- Replatforming will impact your SEO and will lead to a drop in rankings. However, it’s only a temporary stumbling block. Your new platform should offer more advanced SEO features that might actually improve your rankings in the long run and make your store more visible. For example, our Norwegian client, Benum, has improved its product relevance in SERP and boosted the speed of the search process after B2B ecommerce replatforming.
For better understanding, read our Magento 2 SEO guide to take your SEO to a completely new, high level.
#6 Test and launch
After replatforming, don’t rush to set your ecommerce store live. Spare enough time to test the functionality of your website and check the performance of each webpage to ensure that there are no bugs or errors. Verify that the site performs well in terms of loading time, mobile responsiveness, transactions operability, etc. and that it provides a user-friendly shopping experience.
As soon as you launch your website, engage your marketing teams to restore that traffic to your new storefront. Track your website’s basic metrics and analyze the user behavior to find any errors and bottlenecks as soon as possible. Sign up for ongoing maintenance and support to keep improving your website even more.
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 process in detail, here’s an idea for your ecommerce migration checklist:
Ecommerce Platforms: Compare Where You Should Replatform To
Researching and choosing your go-to ecommerce platform will be crucial for the future of your business. 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
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- scalability and security;
- 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.
Shopify / BigCommerce / other SaaS solutions
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.
- 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.
Need help with Adobe Commerce? Elogic is an official Adobe Solution Partner with 14+ years of experience in ecommerce development. Partner with us for any Magento development services.
Replatform to commercetools, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC), 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.
Need help with Salesforce Commerce Cloud? Partner with a certified SFCC implementation agency and ensure a smooth launch on a new platform.
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 ecommerce migrations.
- 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!).
Why is ecommerce platform migration important?
Replatforming is more than just changing the platform for the sake of better performance. Many ecommerce brands have noticed a significant increase in conversion rates and revenue after switching to a new platform. Here are the primary benefits of ecommerce replatforming.
- Increased site speed and performance. Poor store performance always leads to high bounce rates, and, as a result, loss of customers. Ecommerce replatforming will provide your website with better speed, richer UI, and faster-loading pages.
- Ease of integrations. The functionality of your ecommerce store influences your customer experience (CX). The richer your website functionality is, the higher the chances to increase your conversions and improve customer loyalty.
- Cost-effective maintenance. Obsolete platforms render your store too expensive to maintain. Just consider all plugins you need to buy to extend your functionality, custom security patches, and performance optimization tricks. Replatforming will certainly save you a pretty penny.
- Better UX for your customers. A more robust ecommerce platform will allow you to personalize customer experience, speed up check out, and load faster, among others. Better UX = more orders and customer = higher ROI.
How long does ecommerce replatforming take?
Consider that replatforming is like building a new store from scratch while preserving your order and customer info. The project timeline will depend on your store’s complexity, its ecommerce architecture, and your plans for future scalability.
For example, if you need complex integrations and full customization of the platform, the replatforming process may take at least 6 months. And if you want to use a fully managed cloud SaaS solution like Shopify with an existing theme without any customizations or integrations, the process can take around 8-12 weeks.
Will I lose my customer and order data during replatforming?
Not if you partner with an experienced ecommerce development company. Ecommerce data migration is indeed a delicate process that requires extra precision and diligence. You won’t lose any product, customer, or order data if they’re backed up and securely transferred to a new platform using an assisted migration process.