Today, competition is fiercer than ever, and technology is advancing rapidly, so as an eCommerce retailer, you need to keep up with the exceptions of your customers. Because over time, your eCommerce platform will begin to slow down, lack vital features, and offer limited functionality. And to improve the customer experience and your team’s operations, you must do eCommerce replatforming for scalable and robust performance of your business.
What is eCommerce replatforming?
eCommerce replatforming is shifting your online store to a new platform and architecture from legacy systems to improve customer experience, scalability, stability, and security of your eCommerce site and stay ahead of industry benchmarks.
In general, it’s data, assets, and content migration from one online store to another. For most businesses, this process includes comparing platforms, installing the new system, transferring data, and setting up the new eCommerce site.
Top 10 non-technical advice for eCommerce replatforming
Tip 1: Do not compromise on the best practices
It’s not uncommon to witness companies invest too much in unwarranted custom-built features whilst neglecting common best practices. At this juncture, you must remember that a significant portion of customer expectations are related to implementing industry best practices for higher results.
TIP 2: Empower your team. Teach them how to deliver on the roadmap.
eCommerce website replatforming is much more than changing platforms. It requires new training, new processes, often new partners, and in most cases, a degree of a cultural shift within your internal team. Like any change, your team will need time to accept it and come to terms with it. So, as an eCommerce business, you must ensure your team is at least consulted before moving. Once the new platform has been defined, take some time to build your roadmap. This roadmap needs to include what you as a company expect from your implementation partner and your team and how you will be supporting your team in becoming/remaining a successful bunch.
Tip 3: Mutual trust between client and provider
Usually, we refer to trust between client and provider as a passive attitude, which empowers either of the two parties to do things without being questioned too much. Given that we don’t live in a perfect world, the above kind of trust easily leads to issues of all sorts, like delays, misunderstandings, etc.
A project to replatform a transactional eCommerce website can be defined as a project to replatform a eCommerce business, therefore, the dependencies are many, and the complexity is high.
Tip 4: Expectations
It is only natural to have expectations that are not technical. Although some may think that these should be addressed, they play a considerable role in terms of customer satisfaction and in designing a solution that is not only technically correct but also built in a way that people will like using it. Furthermore, in most cases, the partner that designs and develops the solution is also responsible for supporting the client on an ongoing basis. Understanding these non-technical expectations will help the tech partner design a functional and sustainable support plan.
Tip 5: People
Teams and companies are made of people, no matter how big a company is, the relationship with the people you work with will always have a direct impact on the outcome of the project and the overall satisfaction of the client and the partner.
Tip 6: Ask to be challenged
First of all, the challenge is not about proving people wrong or demonstrating that one has a better idea. It’s a method to validate a decision is being made for the right reasons based on sufficiently reliable information. It’s about providing a different perspective with the hope that this will add value to the conversation.
Many companies perform retrospective/post-mortem meetings once projects have failed and fail to do the same when projects succeed. So, organize a pre-mortem workshop before you kick off your project. In short, this workshop mainly encourages team members to come up with all possible reasons why the project could fail.
Tip 7: Don’t start with why!
Start with WHY means: starting by understanding the reasons behind a choice. Starting with HOW means allowing the person to explain the reasoning that led him/ her to that choice. If the goal is to understand, then start by putting that person at ease.
When you seek to understand why your clients have requested a given feature or defined a process, we need them to discuss their choice openly. Especially during meetings with multiple people, how you go about doing this can make a substantial difference. The same goes for clients seeking, for example, to understand the current status of a project or the reasons that led the developers to act. In many cases, starting with WHY can create undesired pressures that were not even intended.
Tip 8: Phase that builds
Sometimes projects can be very complex and lengthy in nature. To avoid seeing the performance of the teams decrease over time, it is important to phase the project appropriately. Regardless of the project size, it is good practice to face it in a manner that will allow both teams to work efficiently without feeling too pressured at each delivery point.
However, this approach causes projects to be longer and groups together all possible fail points right at the final stage, when in fact, one would hope to avoid having any. So it’s not ideal. Instead, we need to think of the project as a group of modules that come together to deliver a unified set of tools.
How to phase a eCommerce replatforming project:
- Define the project’s goal and explain the reasons to your internal team
- Consult with the team, collect all wishes and preferences, and prioritize them
- Share the vision and the “wish list” with the chosen partner
- Together, review these and collaboratively build a more defined set of requirements
- Organize a pre-mortem workshop with the partner and collaborate on mitigating risks
- Enter a Discovery Phase, where you need to validate assumptions, define data flows, integrations, design, etc
- Design a roadmap that delineates milestones
- Define the tasks that will need to be performed to achieve each milestone
- Define which milestones must be completed before the solution can go live
- Celebrate each milestone to keep your team’s attention levels high
- Data migration phase 1
- MVP Pre-go-live UAT
- MVP Pre-go-live training to make the best use of the set of tools rather than each standalone module
- Migrating live data and the final push to production servers should be a swift operation
- Hand-holding should then be provided during the first period after the launch
- Carry on with a continuous integration method to deliver the new features one at a time
Tip 9: UAT – Unbelievably Arduous Task
While approaching the final stages of the project both teams will be under pressure from their respective companies. This is a phase during which the teams need to work even more supportably, helping each other understand how to test appropriately and efficiently. Bugs and other things that neither party considered must be addressed swiftly, and communication takes on a critical role.
Tip 10: Stop, assess, go-live
Before you flick the switch, you need to remember that your team has been working on the eCommerce migration and on the existing solution, so they will be tired, and you, as a company, need them to be fresh, focused, and ready to take on the usual workload, but on a whole new platform. Furthermore, it’s virtually impossible to test all possible scenarios and edge cases, so do expect that after go-live, there will be situations for which your team will need additional support and won’t be as efficient as you may hope. It’s natural and unavoidable; you need to prepare them for it.
- Motivate. Make sure they see that you, as a company, understand the effort that has gone into the project up to that point
- Collect their opinions and understand where they feel strong and where there are gaps to bridge in their readiness
- Organize more training if necessary, or get additional support ready from the partner to assist if necessary
- Do a test run. Before launch, ask your team to solve some scenarios
- Make sure you’re not going live just before your biggest peak
- Ease your team by choosing the right timing or phase go-live across segments, like, for example, territories if separate teams manage these
- Celebrate go-live with your team after the successful launch
- Do a retro meeting even if it was a total success and learn from it to make communication easier
Leverage eCommerce replatforming with a trusted partner
Although eCommerce replatforming is a tedious undertaking, along with a trusted digital commerce partner with experience across Adobe Commerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify Plus, and commercetools, you can build a roadmap for eCommerce site development. Our certified experts carefully understand your business requirements to provide a sustainable online store development roadmap. Connect with us for eCommerce replatforming services.