Sometimes, switching eCommerce platform can make perfect business sense for your eCommerce store. Whether you’re looking to gain access to more modern technologies, or want to switch as part of a re-brand, re-platforming can sometimes be a valuable exercise.
However, when a re-platforming exercise is not carried out correctly, the process can quickly become inefficient and overly complicated. When you’re relying on your eCommerce store for the core of your business, this just isn’t an option.
With poor planning and execution, deadlines can easily be missed, costs can spiral and your perfect re-platforming project can become a nightmare. To make sure that your eCommerce re-platforming stays viable, on budget and delivers a great end product, just follow this guide:
Before embarking upon anything else, you need to set achievable and realistic goals for your project.
Think about the aim of your new website. Where does your current site fall down, and what are your motivations for re-platforming? You may wish to consider if your existing site could be adapted, and if this would be a simpler solution.
If re-platforming is the best option for achieving your goals, set clear KPIs for the success of your project that will allow you to measure progress, and decide whether your new site meets the goals you have set out.
Once you know what you want to achieve, set a realistic timeline for completing your re-platforming.
The expert advice of a developer may be of use here, allowing you to set out timescales for your project from a technical and business perspective. Define deadlines for key aspects of your re-platforming such as transferring products and testing your new site. This will allow you to ensure that important tasks are completed efficiently and professionally.
You should also consider including a contingency in your timescales to allow for unforeseen circumstances. This will help protect your business and revenues if anything unexpected should occur.
Next, it’s time to assign responsibilities for each aspect of your re-platforming.
Knowing clearly who is responsible for key tasks will help ensure that nothing is overlooked and that your re-platforming project stays on schedule. You need to define who will be responsible for technical aspects of the re-platforming, as well as things like content, media and design.
Knowing where responsibilities lie will help with the management of your project and make sure that each task is completed professionally and to a high standard.
Picking the right developer for your project can be the difference between a successful and ineffective re-platforming.
You’ll want to choose a developer with past experience of working with both your existing and new eCommerce platform. Ideally, they will have migrated sites between the two platforms in the past and will have an understanding of potential issues that could derail your project.
The right developer will be able to tell you honestly what is achievable and what isn’t. They should be able to identify the best way of switching to your new platform and will be able to guide you through the process with valuable insight and advice at each stage.
For example, we at Statement are Shopify Experts, so our knowledge of the Shopify platform allows us to effectively navigate the re-platforming process and drive projects forward in this particular sphere.
Before adding anything to your new site, it’s a good idea to review the content of your existing site and decide what you’ll transfer, and what you’ll leave behind.
Some content on your old site may no longer be suitable or relevant, so you’ll want to think about how customers will use your new eCommerce store and how this differs from your existing store. You’ll most likely need to write some new content for your pages, so consider what you’ll use from your existing site and what will be new copy.
A key point in your re-platforming project is transferring all of your products from your existing store, to your new platform.
Getting this wrong can cause huge headaches for your project, so you should be aiming to transfer your catalogue as efficiently and cleanly as possible. If you’ve chosen Shopify as your new eCommerce platform, there are some great apps like Magento Importer that can help with transferring product listings.
Formulate a plan for transferring products and import them logically and methodically - you will also want to avoid duplicate listings, bad formatting or missing information.
A vital part of any re-platforming project is maintaining your customer experience as far as possible through the process.
This means keeping your store downtime to a minimum and notifying customers when your store may be unavailable. It also means transitioning smoothly from your old to new platform so that customers only see a great new store, not a half finished project.
You’ll want to set up page re-directs for legacy pages so that old links find your new site. Ensuring that your customers can find your new site is essential; you don’t want to see a drop in traffic or lose long term customers.
Before launching your site, be sure to test thoroughly to ensure that all aspects of your re-platforming have been completed effectively.
You’ll want to pay attention to any new features or key aspects of your site and make sure that the customer experience is as good as possible. Your new site should give a great first impression to customers and be of benefit to your eCommerce business. You don’t want them to be turned away by poor work.
Usability should also be tested, particularly if your eCommerce site has changed significantly from your old platform. This means testing things like advanced search and product filtering to iron out any issues and ensure that the experience is smooth.
Re-platforming is a big undertaking for any eCommerce business. It may be born out of dissatisfaction with your site, or the growth of your business, and choosing to move your store forward by re-platforming is a big decision.
However, if you follow the points in this article, you should be able to plan and execute your re-platforming effectively. Choosing a modern, progressive platform like Shopify will certainly make the process simpler, allowing your new store to be built and content to be transitioned quickly.
Interested in finding out more about how Statement can help you with your re-platforming project? Just get in touch and we’d be happy to help.
Start your planning now with our free, comprehensive 2019 eCommerce Calendar.