Retailers switch eCommerce platforms for a wide range of reasons, shifting to new technology for more scalability, security, flexibility, and (of course) new functionality. About 18% of retailers surveyed by Digital Commerce 360 said they wanted to switch eCommerce Platforms in 2021. Just under 30% said they’ve budgeted between $100K and $500K to migrate to a new platform.
One of the top reasons retailers replatform is to migrate from legacy systems to cloud-based systems. Cloud architecture provides some key benefits in terms of scalability and security that are often superior to on-premises eCommerce solutions.
Per McKinsey, most enterprise businesses are expected to contribute 80% of their IT hosting budget to cloud-supported infrastructure including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS environments. That’s because the cloud offers many advantages for eCommerce, such as:
- Reduced hosting and operating costs
- Increased scalability and flexibility
- Improved security and compliance
- Enhanced customer experiences
Despite the benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering a move from a legacy eCommerce platform to a cloud eCommerce solution. Understanding the pitfalls inherent in replatforming and cloud migration is the best way to prevent missteps.
Doing it right equals success. According to McKinsey, the benefits of cloud-based eCommerce architecture is nothing short of transformational for businesses who do it right. That requires incorporating a few key approaches including getting your CEO on board with your replatforming efforts and compensating for internal skill gaps that can delay your migration efforts.
Replatforming is a big decision—and a big expense—so it’s important to consider some of the most common pitfalls companies face when eCommerce replatforming.
8 pitfalls to consider when eCommerce replatforming
Below, we list eight common replatforming challenges with the goal of helping you navigate a successful eCommerce replatforming project.
Pitfall #1: Not defining a clear replatforming business use case
The first step in any eCommerce replatforming project is understanding why you’re replatforming in the first place. What are your goals? What problem do you want to solve? Do you want to offer new functionality or enter new markets? Are you looking for better eCommerce tools or integrations?
Taking the time to answer these questions will help you set measurable goals for your replatforming project—and ultimately, choose the right eCommerce vendor to meet your requirements.
Here are some of the most common use cases that retailers replatform:
- Improve eCommerce website performance across multiple touchpoints (mobile, desktop, app, etc.)
- Integrate with new eCommerce tools or ERP systems
- Enhance the customer omnichannel experiences
- Streamline your order management system/offer more fulfillment options
- Enhance security and work with a vendor that meets Level 1 PCI DSS compliance
- Scale your business more easily (e.g., future proofing)
Pitfall #2: You fail to get CEO/executive buy-in
Replatforming is a big undertaking requiring a large investment in time and money. It’s crucial to get your CEO and other decision-makers on board with your plans from the outset. After all, they’re the ones who will need to sign off on the project—and the budget.
A McKinsey survey of 450 CIOs revealed that high performers (when it comes to cloud migration) were 32% more likely to have active CEO sponsors. These are the companies that achieved their replatforming goals within their specified time frame.
The best way to get executive buy-in is to present a clear, concise business case for replatforming that outlines the costs, benefits, and risks associated with the project. You should also have a plan in place for how you’ll execute the replatforming project and manage any disruptions to your business during the migration.
Pitfall #3: You don’t fully consider the business impact of replatforming
Replatforming can have a significant impact on your business—not just on the eCommerce operation but also on other departments, such as IT, marketing, and order fulfillment. It’s important to understand how a replatforming project will affect every team in your company before making the decision to move forward.
To this end, it’s helpful to put together a multidisciplinary team to help plan the replatforming project. This team should include representatives from every department that will be affected by the switch. Make sure you understand how the platform supports the end-to-end customer experience.
Pitfall #4: You haven’t fully outlined your company’s needs and requirements
Before you can start planning your replatforming project, you need to have a clear understanding of your current eCommerce capabilities. This means conducting a full audit of your website, including its architecture, codebase, integrations, and dependencies.
You also need to understand your company’s eCommerce needs and requirements. What features and functionality do you need from your eCommerce platform? What are your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers?
Answering these questions will help you create a replatforming personalized RFP that you can use to submit to vendors and can also help you evaluate each tool and how it does (or doesn’t) meet your needs.
Pitfall #5: You don’t create a data migration plan
One of the most challenging aspects of replatforming is migrating your data from your old eCommerce platform to your new one. This process can be time-consuming and complex, especially if you have a large amount of data.
To avoid any disruptions to your business, it’s important to plan for data migration before you start your replatforming project. This means identifying which data needs to be migrated, setting up a data migration plan, and testing the process to ensure that all data is transferred successfully.
Data planning should incorporate steps to properly map things like product descriptions, images, and features. You’ll also need to plan for backups in the event of data loss or unavailability as you migrate from the old system to the new.
Pitfall #6: You encounter skill gaps that require external resources
Replatforming can be a complex process, and it’s not unusual for companies to encounter skill gaps during the project. These gaps can often be filled by hiring external experts or consultants.
Per McKinsey’s CIO survey, companies allocated about 46% of their annual IT budget on third-party “cloud talent” in 2021, a number projected to increase to 57% by 2024.
While outsourcing can help you get the job done, it can also add to the cost of replatforming. To account for these additional costs, be sure to assess your team’s skill set before you start the replatforming process. This will help you identify any gaps so that you can either fill them internally or factor them into your budget.
Pitfall #7: You don’t vet the platform’s third-party community
Adding new technology and features to your eCommerce ecosystem is a primary reason for replatforming. But before you add any new solutions, it’s important to understand how the platform enforces quality with its partners.
How are partners vetted? What type of due diligence is done? What processes and tools are in place to ensure that only high-quality solutions are made available to customers?
Asking these questions will help you assess the risk of working with a given platform and its partners. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that the solutions you’re adding to your eCommerce platform are high quality and will meet your needs.
Pitfall #8: You don’t plan for the long term
Replatforming should have short- and long-term goals. Build some long-term strategies into your eCommerce replatforming process that supports your business for years to come (e.g., “future proofing”). This can involve anything from switching to a headless eCommerce platform to investing in eCommerce personalization.
When replatforming, it’s important to consider future-proofing strategies that will protect your investment and ensure that your eCommerce platform can scale with your business.
One way to do this is by choosing a composable commerce platform that can be easily customized and adapted to meet your changing needs. Another option is to select a platform that offers built-in features for scalability, speed, and performance. When creating a replatforming roadmap, consider what your needs will be in the next 5 to 7 years.
eCommerce replatforming with Kibo
At Kibo, our focus is on simplifying the eCommerce replatforming process by working with retailers to create a roadmap that minimizes risk, eases the transition, and delivers maximum value.
Our team of eCommerce experts will partner with you to assess your current eCommerce platform, define your business goals, and create a plan that meets your needs—now and in the future.
When evaluating eCommerce platforms, we recommend keeping the following key factors in mind:
- Ease of use: Can your team use the platform easily? Does it require extensive training?
- Functionality: Does the platform have the features and tools you need to run your business effectively?
- Security: Is the platform secure? Does it offer features like fraud detection and data encryption?
- Support: Does the platform offer 24/7 customer support? What kind of help is available if you run into problems?
- Timing: Can the platform be implemented quickly? Does it offer a smooth transition from your old platform?
- Pricing: What costs are associated with the platform? Does it fit within your budget? Are there any hidden costs (e.g., outsourcing expertise/consultants)?
Kibo Headless eCommerce is a leading B2C commerce platform passing Forrester’s 27-criterion evaluation of B2C commerce solutions providers. We offer composable commerce architecture, open APIs, and microservices that give you the flexibility to create a personalized eCommerce experience for your customers.
With Kibo, you can quickly replatform your eCommerce site without compromising quality or features. Our platform is designed for scalability, so you can easily add new features and functionality as your business grows. And our team of eCommerce experts can help you every step of the way, from planning to execution.
If you’re ready to replatform your eCommerce site, request a demo today.