Industry Roundtable: Building New Sites & Re-platforming

If your current e-commerce platform can’t keep up with demand, isn’t secure, doesn’t help you scale, and/or doesn’t provide a seamless user experience, it might be time to switch. In fact, 88% of online shoppers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. You don’t want your store to be one of them.

But, re-platforming or building a new e-commerce site is a massive challenge for any organization. First, the cost to correctly (and quickly!) re-platform your site while maintaining SEO and store data can induce sticker shock. However, a successful re-platforming project can retain customers and help save you money in the long term.

We recently spoke with a few of our partners who have undergone successful re-platforming projects to learn what advice they have to offer to other merchants. See their answers below.

What are some best practices for brands and retailers that are putting a new site together?

“There is no true best practice when it comes to helping a brand re-platform. A certain tactic might not be the right choice for that particular merchant. Every re-platform and new site should be tailored to fit each specific brand.” – Eric Yonge, CEO & Creative Director of EYStudios

“We like to keep sight of the bigger picture by focusing on the wider objectives of the re-platform project. We believe that backlog decisions should be made based on their business benefit. Pay attention to high-value, critical items, and allow lower-value items to move further down the roadmap. This results in more meaningful progress toward real outputs” – Andrew Hill, Solution Architect at Ampersand

What are some key signs that a company may need a re-platform?

“If every time you want to make a small change, you find yourself paying a developer big bucks, that’s a red flag that you’ve outgrown your current platform. Adding products, product pages, and promotions should be easy and intuitive. If they’re not, it may be time to look elsewhere. Adding functionality should also be easy. If your platform is lacking features and requires heavy development or integrations with expensive third-party extensions, that’s another tell-tale sign you may need a re-platform to a more robust, feature-rich solution.” – Ben Chafetz, CEO at 121eCommerce

“What feedback are you getting from your team and customers? Look out for complaints about site usability or errors. Also, can your site scale with your growth? A platform should facilitate growing businesses. Say a product goes viral on social media or you see a big response to a flash sale. You want your site to handle the influx of traffic without any impact on performance or uptime. At the end of the day, your e-commerce platform should be your best business partner. Ensure that it performs in a way that works with you, not against you.” – Shannon Sherry, Director of Marketing at The Taproom

What are some things to be aware of before re-platforming your site?

“Make sure you are thinking about every aspect of your website outside of just the platform piece. Planning is essential in making a re-platform successful. What’s your plan to migrate your data? Do you have an SEO plan established to make sure your rankings don’t drop? Is your content going to match your new site or is it time to start rewriting? How is your team planning on marketing the website after everything has launched?” – Eric Yonge, CEO & Creative Director of EYStudios

“Your site will have some downtime during the migration process, and your customers will need to create new passwords. Communicate with them well in advance. Let them know that the migration is happening and what that means for them. This will ensure you don’t lose any sales, and it will reduce the number of support tickets you get once the migration is complete.

Second, communicate with your team. Work with them to develop new processes for the new systems and tools you may be implementing, and give them time to learn. Arrange training and learning sessions so that they can become better accustomed to the platform itself.” – Shannon Sherry, Director of Marketing at The Taproom

How do merchants choose the right website platform for their e-commerce business?

“You need to ask yourself four key questions:

  • Will I need B2B functionality? If so, you must choose a platform that has solid, native B2B capabilities, like Adobe Commerce.
  • Can I edit content easily? If you need a developer to make changes, that’s not the platform for you.
  • Is the platform scalable and flexible? A robust catalog that can handle a large and varied SKU count is a must. Multi-site and multi-country functionality is also important.
  • What about the price? E-commerce pricing ranges drastically. Don’t choose a platform based solely on price. It’s an investment. Determine your ROI and go from there.”

Ben Chafetz, CEO at 121eCommerce

“Catalog complexity and style can play a large part in choosing the right components for your e-commerce platform. From your e-commerce engine and product management to your ERP and warehouse systems, the breadth and depth of your catalog can have a real impact on product architecture (like taxonomy, attributes, variants, and bundles). Aligning the right components to match the target architecture and how you merchandise the catalog are key factors for success. Get advice on this early so the catalog is in shape at the start of the process.” – Andrew Hill, Solution Architect at Ampersand

Are you ready to re-platform?

There’s a lot of work that goes into re-platforming your site, but it will be worth it—especially with more consumers shopping online today than ever. In a recent Brightpearl survey, 77% of consumers told us that they’ll be shopping online more in 2021, and 39% expect to only shop online within the next 5 years.

This means experience is everything. Your e-commerce site is competing with giants like Amazon that make shopping easy and quick for customers. If it’s difficult to navigate your site or find the products they’re looking for, shoppers won’t make it to check out, and your business can’t afford that.

Brightpearl is by your side to support your re-platforming project, along with our amazing partner network of agencies to make the transition as smooth as possible! Explore our partner network here.