In the dynamic world of digital commerce, a robust and high-performance technology stack is the cornerstone of success. Regardless of size or prominence, technology issues can incur substantial costs, making it necessary for businesses to reassess digital infrastructures regularly. From website outages to slowdowns, data breaches, and search issues, online retailers experience various disruptions and are estimated to potentially lose as much as $13.8 billion during the much anticipated holiday shopping period alone.
Replatforming involves transforming your existing ecommerce platform into a new one that ideally adapts better to your evolving needs. For enterprise ecommerce, replatforming can take on many forms from a full platform migration to a component swap or in-house customizations. As we approach a new year with infinite possibilities, we compiled a list of the most common issues voiced by our customers before embarking on their digital transformation journey with us.
If any of these resonate with your experiences, it could be a signal that it's time for a change. Here are the 5 telltale signs you could be missing out on better customer experiences and improved efficiencies because of your technology:
- New projects are challenging: Implementing novel ideas is always slow and difficult
- Crisis management at peak times: Problem-solving is overwhelming during busy periods
- Data doesn't drive decisions: Limited access to real-time data when and where it is needed
- Tech Integration Issues: Your stack is incompatible with new technologies
- Declining engagement and conversions: Issues start impacting your business KPIs
When Do You Need to Replatform?
The myriad of reasons to replatform your ecommerce business can be boiled down to one simple truth: it's getting harder and harder to operate. Over time, your existing ecommerce platform may become less efficient, missing key features and offering limited functionality. Whether it's maintaining your store, engaging with customers, or investing in constant upgrades, it gradually becomes less and less feasible to meet your growing needs.
Deciding when to replatform an enterprise ecommerce technology stack is a strategic undertaking that involves careful evaluation of various factors. The ideal time should have minimal disruption on your business, but putting it off for too long signifies an ever-increasing opportunity cost.
The business case for replatforming should have a comprehensive view of costs associated with maintaining your legacy stack as well as all the upside a new platform can help you unlock.
For a successful technology transformation, you need to define what your ideal platform should look like, set clear objectives, and involve all key stakeholders to collaboratively work towards those common goals. And, as a starting point, you can review the following five common issues.
1. Any new initiative is super slow or difficult.
As your business grows, the limitations of your existing ecommerce platform may become more apparent. In its simplest form, you may be growing out of your platform with increased order volumes, an expanding customer base, and greater operational complexity. Beyond that, you may be hitting a brick wall every time you try to implement a novel campaign idea or a cool feature.
Introducing new initiatives within the confines of legacy platforms often proves to be a formidable challenge, hampering the agility necessary for timely innovation.
Legacy platforms, rooted in outdated architectures, typically lack the flexibility required for a seamless integration of modern features. For instance, implementing a dynamic user interface or incorporating in-house machine learning algorithms for personalized recommendations can be a lengthy process on a rigid legacy system. Over time, your enthusiasm for innovation may diminish seeing new projects as a never-ending battle. This applies to new functionality as well as business model changes such as adding new product lines, entering new markets, or adopting new sales strategies.
The intricate nature of legacy systems can lead to a cascade of dependencies, making even minor changes a complex undertaking. Additionally, legacy platforms may struggle to adapt to evolving security standards, potentially exposing your channels to vulnerabilities. Consequently, these hurdles not only impede the swift execution of new ideas but also compromise the overall competitiveness and adaptability of your business in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
2. Even planned peak periods are spent putting out fires.
Rigid ecommerce technologies often demand a considerable amount of upkeep, creating an ongoing challenge for technology teams. Frequent activities such as maintaining a product catalog or swiftly updating pricing models can take up an unnecessarily long time, especially during critical sales periods. Combined with the difficulty in scaling operations, the strain on the infrastructure can result in slower response times, hindering the overall efficiency of the ecommerce platform and potentially leading to frustrated customers experiencing delays and disruptions.
Such systems also require a lot of manual intervention where you end up diverting valuable resources to operational tasks rather than strategic improvements or innovative developments.
While you spend months planning for major sales events and getting all your promotions ready, issues may hold your technical team hostage trying to find workarounds for things that should not be happening in the first place. In addition to the obvious impact on total cost of ownership (TCO), these limitations disrupt customer experiences across different channels. If a legacy system struggles to synchronize inventory levels accurately between the online store and physical locations, it can result in discrepancies that lead to out-of-stock items and customer dissatisfaction.
The lack of real-time updates and seamless integration across various touchpoints, from mobile apps to social media platforms, further compromises the overall customer journey. Slow reaction times in addressing these issues not only impact immediate customer satisfaction but also erode brand loyalty over time, as consumers increasingly expect seamless and responsive interactions across all facets of their shopping experience.
3. You can’t use your data to inform process flows or decisions.
An outdated ecommerce platform can impede the effective utilization of data in several ways. It may lack the necessary infrastructure to handle large volumes of data efficiently, leading to delays and hindered access. Similarly, it may not support seamless integration with modern analytics tools and technologies, limiting the depth of insights that can be extracted. Also, it may use outdated data models and structures that are incompatible with all of your business needs.
The challenges in data extraction and transformation can result in inconsistencies and delays in making critical information available for informed decisions and smart automation.
This limitation extends to the realm of personalization, where a platform's rigidity hampers the ability to tailor offerings based on individual preferences and behaviors. Consequently, the overall quality of customer experiences is compromised taking away from critical business targets. The ideal platform not only enhances the customer experience but also increases the effectiveness of your marketing strategies by ensuring that every customer interaction is timely, relevant, and impactful.
4. Your stack is an introvert when it comes to new technologies.
Limitations in an ecommerce platform's integration capabilities can profoundly impact a company's overall performance. The seamless integration of various tools and systems is crucial for streamlined operations, and when a platform falls short in this aspect, it creates silos of information. This fragmentation hampers real-time data flow between different departments, hindering efficient collaboration and decision-making. For instance, if the ecommerce platform struggles to integrate smoothly with inventory management (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems, it can result in discrepancies in stock levels or customer data. Such inconsistencies can lead to fulfillment delays, order errors, and diminished customer satisfaction.
The inability to integrate with emerging technologies or third-party services can limit a company's ability to adapt to market trends swiftly.
Integrating with emerging technologies and third-party services is paramount for ecommerce platforms to stay competitive, adapt to evolving market trends, and enhance overall functionality. For example, integration with advanced analytics tools allows platforms to leverage big data for more accurate insights into customer behaviors and preferences. This enables personalized recommendations, targeted marketing strategies, and improved customer experiences. Integration with secure payment gateways ensures a smooth and trustworthy checkout process, boosting customer trust.
Moreover, integrating with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or augmented reality can provide innovative features like virtual try-ons or intelligent chatbots, elevating the platform's appeal and user engagement. Overall, these integrations not only enhance the ecommerce platform's capabilities but also contribute significantly to its ability to provide a cutting-edge and competitive offering in the dynamic landscape of online retail.
5. On-site engagement and conversion are down.
Online shopping volume continues to grow along with an exponential increase in customer expectations. From 45% of shoppers expecting superfast error-free page loads to 79% requiring flawless mobile experiences, they are ready to switch to better alternatives when faced with a performance issue. That is why a decrease in on-site engagement and conversions should prompt an audit of underlying technology issues.
If your website experiences slow loading times or frequent downtime, users may become frustrated and disengaged, leading to a decline in on-site interactions.
Similarly, if the checkout process is cumbersome due to technical glitches, it can deter shoppers from completing their purchases, resulting in a decrease in conversion rates. Issues with mobile responsiveness, security concerns, or difficulties in accessing product information can also contribute to a negative user experience, subsequently impacting engagement and conversions.
Monitoring key performance indicators, such as bounce rates, time spent on site, and conversion rates, provides valuable insights into the health of the ecommerce technology infrastructure. A decline in these metrics signals the need for a thorough assessment of the technology stack to identify and address any issues affecting the overall user experience and, consequently, business performance.
Taking the First Step
If any of these problems seem way too close to home, it would be beneficial for you to start considering a technology refresh. And you wouldn’t be alone in this according to a recent report by Digital Commerce 360 where 30% of retailers said their biggest technology priority for 2024 is their ecommerce platform followed by content management, product management, and web analytics.
Recognizing the signs is the first step toward unlocking a more efficient and competitive future. The next steps involve collaboration, foresight, and a commitment to meeting both current and future business needs. Here are a few practical recommendations to consider on how to approach enterprise ecommerce replatforming:
- Conduct a comprehensive audit to create a thorough documentation of pain points
- Align on transformation goals to set a clear vision and direction for the initiative
- Get key stakeholders on board for shared ownership and collaboration from the start
- Evaluate your options in action through custom POCs that showcase what you are looking for
- Build with the user in mind creating intuitive and personal flows for customers and users
- Divide and conquer the workload with a flexible and agile approach to development and testing
- Monitor and optimize performance continuously incorporating user feedback
By following these practical steps, you can easily navigate your technology replatforming journey with a strategic and well-informed approach, setting the stage for long-term success and growth.
Replatforming with Rierino
At Rierino, our vision is to simplify and significantly accelerate enterprise ecommerce replatforming initiatives, transforming what is often perceived as a daunting task into a seamless and efficient process. Whether it is one-click integrations through our API-first approach or smart real-time decisions powered by embedded ML/AI, the platform is designed to augment and future-proof your technology capabilities.
Unlike traditional approaches that necessitate an all-at-once shift, Rierino supports gradual or isolated changes to your tech stack, providing the flexibility to adapt at your own pace. With the power of low-code/no-code, it immediately empowers end users through intuitive interfaces, eliminating the steep learning curve associated with many replatforming initiatives. Thanks to its hyper-composable architecture, the platform has the capacity to customize practically anything and ensures lightning-fast turnarounds for any proof-of-concept scope.
Get in touch with our experts today if you are considering a change and would like our take on your unique challenges.
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