Technology is moving incredibly quickly. And within the eCommerce world, retailers are finding new and improved ways to enhance their online shopping experiences for customers. From implementing video integration to automation and AI technologies, fresh trends are continuously emerging that seamlessly mesh the online and offline retail experience.
Successful retailers are those with the agility and flexibility to respond to new opportunities quickly and easily. They are businesses that are prepared to take risks and understand that time is of the essence when it comes to business growth.
2020: The year that online shopping changed
Last year saw an enormous change for retailers, both online and in-store.
While you may have been used to buying gifts from the likes of Amazon or ordering your weekly food shop from your preferred supermarket, it was clear that there was still enormous demand for physical retail outlets. However, the closure of non-essential retailers meant that many household retail names (such as ScS, the sofa and carpet specialist) had to adapt to an online-only model of business frantically.
In our view, many retailers struggled to adapt because they didn't have the proper infrastructure to cope with shoppers' demands. Some businesses relied heavily on their in-store footfall because they needed the additional ability to upsell additional items or offer financing opportunities upon checkout. Others had previously never required (or wanted) an online shop. Clothing giant Primark expects to have lost approximately £1.5bn in the last year due to having no online presence.
With so much at stake, it's clear that now more than ever, retailers need to understand why it's so important to get new systems and services to the marketplace as quickly as possible.
Understanding when it's the right time to move to a new platform
When it comes to eCommerce platforms, retailers often know when it is time to replatform.
Still, they are reluctant to commit to any investment, fearing that migration could be complicated, lengthy, and expensive. Instead, they accrue more significant technical debt by focusing on fixing and maintaining minor bugs and glitches rather than considering how an entirely new platform could be more cost-effective and far more efficient.
Migrations are indeed complex.
Moving to a new platform should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. After all, your choice of platform should ensure that you have built the lasting foundations to aid your potential business growth for many years to come.
However, it is also true that moving to a new platform can be a lot quicker and easier than you may think.
"Done is better than perfect…. initially"
The traditional method of migrating to a new eCommerce platform is to scope out what you want your website to look like, how you want it to behave, what you think your customers would need, and identify how it meets your future business strategy.
Often launch dates are delayed because time is spent focusing on the overall design, UX testing, conversion rate strategies, etc. Retailers want to have everything in place (customer-facing and behind the scenes) before the launch date so that they can move onto the next stage of their eCommerce plans.
However, launching a 'perfect' website is almost impossible.
When it takes a long time to set up everything as you feel it could be, technology may have changed, consumer shopping habits may have changed, and your business model may have evolved.
This is why we advocate for a newer way of migrating to new eCommerce platforms.
One where "done is better than perfect."
We believe that retailers could see better benefits if they bring their launch dates forward – especially when working in a fast-paced retail environment. You may be trying to improve the customer shopping experiences, or you may want to improve your internal efficiencies. The reality is that as long as you are continuing to work through your outdated or legacy system, it will take you far longer to see any improvements on your bottom line.
Therefore, perhaps we should consider a migration shift.
What if we suggested launching a new platform as soon as possible and then focusing on the more minor details?
The benefits of getting to market as fast as possible
It may feel risky to launch your new platform before you're entirely ready. After all, you want any new infrastructure to be perfect before releasing it to your customers.
But often, new platforms are about improving the behind-the-scenes activity as much as it is front-facing for customers. It can be far better to improve your internal efficiencies by speeding up your migration to a new eCommerce platform in these scenarios.
Recently, Shopify released a case study of how chocolatier Lindt Canada developed a new online offering within just five days. This is an excellent example of how a retailer was responsive to setting up something new and understanding that time was of the essence. Rather than remaining focused on the details, they understood what they needed to do and how to do it. The result was that they were able to set up something simple and easy to use. It meant that they could respond to online demand for chocolate ahead of the Easter holidays – their second-largest sales season.
We take a lean and agile approach to our replatforming services.
We believe that there can be specific scenarios where clients should move their migrations forward as we know that they will see immediate business benefits. For example, suppose you're working with a legacy platform. In that case, your systems may be slow and unreliable, or you may need to implement new features to react to consumer demand. We can quickly install your upgraded infrastructure, allowing you to see the immediate benefits before we start to explore any cosmetic changes.
It's easy to make changes to a live system, whether graphic design, acquisition strategies, conversion planning, UX testing, etc. This approach means that you can start to experience a return on your investment much faster, and you do not have the challenges (or costs) of maintaining two websites simultaneously.
You may be concerned that re-platforming in such a short space of time could be highly stressful.
However, as a digital agency, we can manage that stress on your behalf. We work closely with all key stakeholders (up to board level) to identify what you need your eCommerce replatforming project to do. We can offer a frictionless end-to-end migration to your new eCommerce platform from initial consultancy to complete project management. What's more, we can continue your journey beyond the re-platforming, helping you explore how you can continually improve your customer experience and maximise all revenue opportunities.
To find out more about how we can offer you a lean, agile replatforming in as little as six weeks, please get in touch.