How To Plan For A New E-Commerce Platform

How To Plan For A New E-Commerce Platform

The E-Commerce replatform process…

A E-Commerce Replatform is much like painting the interior of a house. The new color is the splashy result that immediately springs to mind, most of the effort is actually devoted to preparation — covering furniture and floors, taping borders, priming walls, and testing different paint shades. Similarly, merchants should have assess vendors carefully. They should thoroughly assess their current capabilities and identify performance gaps and opportunities.

The scope of this e-commerce replatform may seem daunting, but it’s essential. The role of the Web is poised to keep growing for shoppers, regardless of how they end up making purchases. Forrester estimates that nearly 60% of B2C purchases of any type will be influenced by the Web by 2018.

The assessment itself needn’t take undue resources or time. While the specifics may vary, the following checklist will help guide merchants as they begin to shape their vision for the perfect technology for their business.

1. Look to the right sources for guidance.

Merchants must resist the impulse to add trendy features just because competitors are doing it. Instead, merchants should focus on understanding their customers and how best to serve them, both online and offline. Potential sources to inform their assessment include:

  • Analytics data: Site usage data can be a goldmine of actionable information on what shoppers seek and where sites need further improvement to resonate.
  • Store associates: Merchants should find the means to tap these valuable front-line information sources and act on their recommendations when it comes to gaps in brand offerings.
  • Visitor and customer surveys: Asking shoppers directly what features of the site resonate and what expectations are going unmet can be a valuable input in advance of replatforming.

2. Articulate a plan for mobile.

Mobile shopping accounted for 25% of revenues during the fourth quarter of 2014, a year over year growth rate of 44%, according to the MPI. Regarding shopping research, mobile is now shoppers’ primary point of contact with brands. According to measurement firm comScore, close to two-thirds of all minutes spent with retail brands now occur on mobile devices.

Consequently, even small to mid-sized merchants must prioritize mobile. Before re-platforming, merchants should carefully consider mobile site options and develop a roadmap for development. Deciding whether to undertake responsive design is a key decision point.  With a mobile development plan in hand, merchants can develop a list of mobile-focused criteria potential vendors must meet.

3. Identify integrations organization-wide and how to improve them.

Merchants should understand how the platform interacts with and identify existing and new opportunities for integrations.

For brick-and-mortar retailers, the top priority in this category must be in-store inventory integration.According to Forrester, 56% of consumers say they expect products to be priced consistently, whether in-store or online.

Furthermore, universal inventory transparency supports “endless aisle” capabilities that can save sales and drive up average order value, and unlocks a host of fulfillment options as well.

4. Audit existing content and plan new development.

The old mantra “content is king” has lately seen a resurgence. The reasons for prioritizing content are numerous, but foremost among them is the imperative to differentiate the brand by communicating what’s uniquely valuable. Along with product selection and pricing, content forms the third component of a potentially compelling brand story.

Merchants contemplating re-platforming should develop a detailed content strategy to inform their criteria for potential vendors. They should also audit the content they have and identify opportunities for growth, efficiency, content imports and exports.

5. Build measurement into the technology foundations.

It’s easy for merchants to struggle to put it all together to create a complete picture of customer behavior. Fewer than a third of merchants believe they have strong or even average capabilities when it comes creating a unified view of customer behavior.

To avoid further issues, merchants should examine how potential solutions interact with their existing measurement tools. See what data is provided and how it can be knit together with other sources.

E-Commerce Replatform is a potentially daunting project. But by analyzing existing and desired capabilities before adding vendors to the mix, merchants can ensure that they serve their customers better.

Related Sources:

E-Commerce Migration Checklist

How to assess an E-Commerce Platform Vendor

 

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