“We need a new eCommerce platform. Now!”
This is a common refrain we hear from retailers this time of year. The call to re-platform may come from anybody in the C-Suite. According to Forrester, 72% of e-commerce businesses plan to change their platform technology solution within the next three years. Their reasons vary — the current system is too costly to maintain, too lightweight to handle expected scale, not flexible, upgradable, user friendly, etc. Whatever their reasons, most executives agree a new eCommerce platform should help increase conversion rate, average order value, customer acquisition and retention, and decrease total cost-of-ownership as well as provide technology to “future proof” the business enabling their company to keep up with the pace of innovation.
But we say, hold on! Re-platforming is without doubt, a major business decision.
In today’s omnichannel world, this may be a central and strategic decision that will impact all areas of your business, and if done correctly, a long-term partnership commitment. Not only does it drastically impact your IT department, but it also has a significant effect on operations, brick- and-mortar stores, merchandising, customer service, HR, marketing and sales. In other words, everybody.
Look carefully at why you want to re-platform. And instead of focusing solely on specific features think about “a day in the life” of your customer and your business. Ask yourself questions such as:
- How do you sell?
- How do you fulfill?
- How do your customers buy from you?
- Which technology fits your business needs?
Your answers will help you match up your business with the right eCommerce platform provider. We call this scenario-based planning and it will help you match technology with real use cases.
Think long term and think big. The shopping experience is no longer just about your eCommerce site. You have to be where the customer is today and will be tomorrow—and your platform has to be flexible, innovative and user-friendly enough to take you there and lead your innovation.
There’s nothing wrong with coming up with a laundry list of everything you may need in an eCommerce platform solution. But then make sure to prioritize for your business, because everyone’s priorities are not the same. In a survey, Forrester Research found that a majority of respondents said that migration of new and existing features onto the new platform was prioritized based on perceived ROI impact and based on executive wish lists. A much smaller number of respondents prioritized migration based on complexity and resources required to maintain the functionality.
Translation: often a lot of effort is put into executing a lot of scope without laying out a clear understanding of how to deliver on the business and customer experience goals on a day-to-day basis.
So before putting together a RFP, consider all of the factors that will go into replatforming. For more advice on how to get yourself ready for re-platforming, check out our Getting Started Guide for Omnichannel eCommerce Platforming.