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The Pitfalls of Switching to a New eCommerce Platform

eCommerce platforms are the most important aspect of any retail site. If you have a webstore, it was made using one of the eCommerce platforms. There are a few competing ones on the market, and each comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

No matter what platform you’re using, moving to a different one can be a very daunting task. That’s why it’s generally recommended that you stick with the one you chose in the beginning. That said, unexpected things in business happen, and reasons for moving on to a new eCommerce platform do exist. Here’s what to prepare for in that case.

Can Turn out a Complete Disaster

Although it is probably unlikely, a complete disaster is a possible outcome of changing eCommerce platforms. When switching to a new platform, your goal should always be major sales and profit improvement. That’s one of the main reasons that drive people to move on to a new platform.

Regardless of what your goal is, a disaster may occur. Switching platforms may cause sales to stagnate or even decline after the move. With considerable amounts of money spent on the actual migration, this is not the way you’ll want it to go.

Another less-than-favorable outcome is experiencing a minor impact. You may get a tiny profit spike, or you may not experience any change. In either case, the money that you’d have invested in the migration is worth much more than that.

The only scenario that will benefit you is a major profit influx. If you’re looking to boost your sales slightly, changing an eCommerce platform is not a good way to do it.

Takes a Lot of Adjustment

As a business, retail is likely one of the most important aspects for you, if not the most important. At least 50% of your business’s retail focus lies online. That means that you likely have processes set in place that deal with all the nooks and crannies of online sales.

Expect all of these processes to change upon switching to another eCommerce platform. Things will likely not only turn upside down, but you’ll have to set up completely different processes. Make no mistake, if you don’t plan it properly, this might turn out overwhelming for you, and you may even end up losing customers.

So, planning is crucial here. You should be aware of all the changes that will occur. These changes will disrupt other aspects, so be prepared for that, too.

Prediction is essential here because it’s the only way to prepare your team for the upcoming change timely. Before the processes change, the team members need to know what to expect and how to tackle this.

So, how to predict the necessary adjustments? Go through every process manually and do your best to spot the future changes. You will make mistakes, you won’t predict everything correctly, but it’s the best you can do. Oh, and use Google to prepare.

The Big Bang Switchover

It isn’t so much a pitfall as it is an example of what you should avoid doing. As mentioned, a migration will set you back quite a lot. You will be inclined, tempted even, to cut your losses by moving from one platform to another one instantly. It may somehow go well, but it can also go very wrong.

Keep in mind that the predictions mentioned above won’t be 100% correct. You will most likely miss something; it’s only a question of how detrimental it will turn out to be. If you go full “Big Bang,” you’ll most likely end up regretting it.

So, how should you approach it? Well, a longer transition is almost always a better idea. It will mitigate the risks and help minimize the disruption that all the hiccups and bugs may cause.

The best way to go, instead of making an instant switch, is rolling it out for select customers. For instance, you can choose people with specific geographies. You can go with specific products or sets of products. Some go with large customers, and others go with small ones. In any case, rolling out the new eCommerce platform with certain limits will allow you to adjust to it with more ease.

Then, over time, slowly start extending the rollout. A gradual switchover is the best way to go.

Moving to the Wrong Platform

There are two main types of eCommerce platforms: SaaS and PaaS. SaaS platforms are cloud-based, while the PaaS platforms are open-source. The main difference between the two eCommerce platform types is that SaaS platforms are more tweakable than the other.

As open-source platforms, PaaS platforms are open to third-party user updates and upgrades, meaning advanced customization options. That comes at the price of being more complex and requiring deeper IT knowledge and experience to use.

On the other hand, SaaS or cloud-based eCommerce platforms are template-based. They are easy to use and fairly straightforward. However, they aren’t nearly as customizable as PaaS platforms.

Some companies opt for SaaS, while the others go with PaaS. It depends on their preference, the size of their business, their business goals, etc.

Moving to the “wrong” eCommerce platform type is one of the worst things you can do for your business. It essentially means that you’d have to do another migration further down the line, which can be hugely detrimental for the entire company.

First and foremost, you should make sure that you’ve picked the right platform from the get-go. For this, you’re going to have to plan and know what you want to make out of your company.

Secondly, you need to be fully aware of what your “new” platform will bring to the table. Fail to prepare, and you may end up with one of the worst headaches in online retail.

Be Certain

You need to be 100% sure that you need to make a switch to the new platform. Make sure that you are aware that the switch won’t be without hiccups and do it gradually. If you switch to a new platform and it turns out less than favorable, you’re going to have to go through the entire process again at some point.

The key to making a good eCommerce platform switch is anticipating as many changes as possible. The best possible solution in eCommerce platforms is not to have to change to a new one in the first place.

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By interactivated • on December 15, 2019

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