4 Insights to Remember When Facing eCommerce Replatforming

September 26, 2017

Replatforming horror stories abound. It takes too long, it’s too much money, sites crash, sales plummet; it’s an eCommerce bloodbath. While these failures may make a homegrown solution look tempting, before you give up on all ready-made platforms because of bad experiences, look to your vetting process instead. A solid, thorough vetting process will help you make an informed and successful replatforming decision.

Whether you are considering replatforming with your current vendor, or selecting a more modern eCommerce provider, here are some ideas to help you make the best replatforming decision for your business. Get to the next level of eCommerce with these four key insights:

Gain a Comprehensive Understanding of Your Business:
Understand your needs and requirements for a new platform, and gain a complete understanding by looking at the whole business. Don’t leave a stone unturned. Successful eCommerce programs traditionally involve multiple departments. Be sure to reach out to all stakeholders in your company to ensure you have captured every necessary requirement. Finally, don’t only make a list of your necessities required today. Also create a list of features you might need in the future.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge and understanding of what your company needs to succeed, begin looking for and vetting companies that will meet and surpass those needs. Create a personalized request for proposal (RFP) that allows you to make an apples-to-apples comparison between your short-listed vendors. And don’t forget to research vendors who have a forward-focused roadmap that will take you into the future of commerce in a stable, powerful, and lucrative partnership.

Understand the True Replatforming Total Cost of Ownership:
The next deep understanding that is imperative to your replatforming decision is the true total cost of ownership of this project. Cost can’t just be looked at from an immediate output point of view; cost over time should also be considered.

The true total cost of ownership can be a little difficult to obtain at first, but once you do, it will illuminate your path forward. Some costs to keep in mind are:

  • Platform/subscription pricing
  • Implementation cost
  • Hosting and managed services cost
  • Commerce strategy cost
  • Upgrade path and cost
  • Support and maintenance
  • Initial and ongoing training

These are only a selection of costs to take into consideration. Good eCommerce vendors should be upfront and open about services expenses, including support, upgrades and training, when working with you to form a partnership. When evaluating whether to replatform with your current vendor or move to a new one, look at the entire picture before making a decision.

Research Historical Security and Platform Stability Issues:
There have been an unprecedented amount of security breaches in the recent months. These security breaches not only cost a lot of money and time to recover from, but they cost a loss of customer trust. As you vet a new platform, look to it’s platform security and compliance. What platform vulnerabilities have been exploited in the past? Are they level 1 PCI compliant? Level 1, with more rigorous testing and third party verifications, offers the highest level of account security throughout the credit card transaction process.

Security is an important part of the vetting process, but so is the speed, performance, and scalability of the platform. A certain platform may meet your needs right now, but by the time the platform is implemented (depending on implementation time) you may have outgrown it entirely. Essentially: make certain the platform will surpass expectations no matter how your business performs day to day or grows over time. Along those lines, evaluate the vendor’s hosting solution and if they have plans to change hosting anytime soon. Whatever their hosting solution, evaluate it against your uptime objectives, if it will scale based on your needs, and if they have a disaster recovery plan.

Consider the Depth of the Partner Ecosystem:
A great platform also has a great third-party community associated with it. But not all partner ecosystems are created equal. Great eCommerce vendors care about their partner relationships and how they relate to you and your business. Great eCommerce vendors have vetted their software vendors. Great eCommerce vendors take responsibility for the quality of their partner integrations.

The responsibility then lies to you to vet the vetting. What qualifications did the eCommerce vendor use? Additionally, what kind of access will you have to third-party vendors, and how does the platform manage them? If a platform’s third-party community is certified and endorsed, you can confidently move forward knowing that only high quality vendors work with your platform, which in turn bring value to the solution.

As you think about the future of your business, it becomes apparent that the platform you choose must help your business thrive no matter what the future may hold. Your omnichannel future is only as bright as the capabilities and forward-focus of your order management and eCommerce platform(s). In today’s competitive retail space, your software can’t simply conquer your current problems, it has to conquer what you will need in two to five years.

In summary, replatforming is a huge undertaking, with many different points to consider. A successful replatforming can depend heavily on the quality of your vetting process. These tips have hopefully helped reframe how you think about replatforming and set you up for success. For more information and additional tips, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce.