Making the decision to replatform is never easy for ecommerce merchants.
After all, countless hours and a lot of money is spent on developing an online store, which can make the decision of moving inventory over to a new platform a daunting task (to say the least).
There comes a time, however, when every merchant must decide whether their current platform still fits the virtual bill or if an upgrade is needed. To help merchants make this decision, Website Magazine has put together a list of three signs it's time to replatform.
1. Your store is not mobile friendly.
An ecommerce store that is not optimized for mobile is definitely in need of a replatform if its current technology does not support this important switch, as mobile commerce (m-commerce) is quickly becoming the norm for online shoppers.
In fact, IBM data reveals that mobile traffic accounted for 45 percent of all online traffic for the 2014 holiday, which was an increase of 25.5 percent when compared to the previous year. That said, merchants who are not delivering pleasant mobile experiences are undoubtedly missing revenue opportunities.
Fortunately, many of the top ecommerce platforms are taking a mobile approach. Magento Enterprise, for example, is a good option for merchants looking for a flexible platform that is customizable, scalable and mobile-ready. Merchants can create a responsive site with Magento's Enterprise Edition responsive design reference theme and email templates. By implementing responsive design, merchants obtain SEO benefits (responsive is Google's preferred method), reduce long-term maintenance costs associated with having separate mobile sites and ease the site updating process.
It is also worth noting that Magento offers support for native applications on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, which means that merchants leveraging the Magento platform will also be able to offer mobile apps to their customers. This is a great option to have, as data from Flurry Analytics reveals that the shopping category for mobile apps saw the greatest growth when compared to other categories in 2014.
2. Customization is becoming costly.
Merchants take the monthly cost of their ecommerce platform into consideration when starting out. As time goes on, however, merchants may find themselves implementing third-party add-ons and plug-ins to improve the performance of their stores (e.g. product recommendations, on-site search, etc.). The problem is that the cost of customization can get out of hand quickly.
That said, merchants need to keep in mind that the cost associated with customization doesn't only refer to money, but also time spent on implementation and the impact add-ons can have on the store's performance, including the site's loading time. In fact, it can be easy to overlook the impact that add-ons have on a site's loading time, despite the fact that loading time can influence important metrics like abandonment rates and even search rankings.
Merchants that feel like their customizations are getting out of hand may want to find a more scalable platform that offers better features and/or its own add-on directory. Shopify, for instance, enables merchants to customize their store with more than 100 professional themes and full access to the HTML and CSS of their store. The platform also comes with blogging capabilities (great for SEO initiatives), 70 payment gateways, product reviews, gift card functionality, the ability to sell on Facebook and more. Plus, merchants who want even more features can visit Shopify's App Store, which enables users to leverage a variety of features, services and plugins created to work specifically for Shopify storefronts.
3. Expansion is not an option.
Merchants don't always take international expansion into consideration when initially creating their online storefront, but as time goes on expansion oftentimes becomes more of a priority because it brings merchants an opportunity to increase sales and grow their business.
Unfortunately, expanding an online business across borders isn't an easy task - even for veteran merchants. When expansion is the clear next step, however, merchants should consider leveraging a platform that specializes in international ecommerce. Take NetSuite as an example. The company offers a solution called OneWorld that enables merchants to sell across the globe. With OneWorld, merchants can create country-specific Web stores that can be managed from a single NetSuite account. Plus, the solution offers global customer relationship features, global commerce management capabilities and dashboards that enable merchants to monitor analytics across countries. That's not all...
It is important to keep in mind that although the three aforementioned signs are good clues that it is time to replatform, they are not the only signs. Share what sign you think is the best indication it is time to replatform in the Comments Section below.
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