5 Psychological Barriers Stopping You From Upgrading Your Ecommerce Platform

5 Psychological Barriers Stopping You From Upgrading Your Ecommerce Platform

“It won’t work.”

“Let’s just stay the course.”

“We only have one major issue.”

As your business grows, you’re faced with the dilemma of whether to move your store to another platform or not.

These phrases represent the negative self-talk keeping your company stuck in neutral. This struggle is real. And you’re not alone.

Ecommerce managers across all sectors wrestle with similar mental hurdles. It stems from our fears as human beings. Making us stall projects and stunt company growth.

It’s time to move past these irrational emotions, and recognize the next logical step for your business.

Let’s explore five psychological barriers preventing you from upgrading your ecommerce platform.

1. Conformity

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?

This parental riddle has been debunking children’s reasonings in favor of popular opinion for centuries. And it can be applied to business, too.

For example, most bootstrap ecommerce stores follow the same website template. Here’s a site mocking the widely-recognized design.


When you conform, it means you’re saying and doing things based on other people’s norms. You’re aligning your behavior with current conditions, not facts.

But, why do we conform?

“In some instances, we conform to the expectations of the group in order to avoid looking foolish. This tendency can become particularly strong in situations where we are not quite sure how to act or where the expectations are ambiguous,” writes Kendra Cherry, author of the Everything Psychology Book.

Being different is also often seen as a threat to company culture. So, we do what’s accepted, instead of what’s right.

That’s dangerous. You need logic to make important business decisions. Critical thinking questions fallacies and forces us not to follow the herd.

Therefore, just because all the industry leaders are sticking with their ecommerce platform doesn’t mean your business should follow suit.

Replatforming involves evaluating your company’s needs. And learning what works for your team.

That’s exactly what Mike Brown, owner of Death Wish Coffee did. After rapid growth, the coffee maker switched to Shopify Plus to support their new customer base.


No one is advocating that you become the office radical. But you should make big decisions without the groupthink mentality.

Start by assessing your brand’s needs. Are you seeking more customization? Less developer support?

During meetings about the upgrade, share your original ideas, along with research. Present the projected outcomes with and without replatforming.

Being honest and upfront with your team is the best strategy. And realize that you don’t have to conform to be successful. Besides, over 1,000 companies are on Shopify Plus now, so you're in very good company. 

2. Fear of Failure

It’s understandable. You don’t want to look stupid in front of your colleagues.

If you fear being judged for your failures, your mind is constantly saying: “If I do X, they will..." or “I don’t do this, then…”

Moreover, making a decision may result in dire consequences. You don't want to lose that opportunity to receive a promotion or build your reputation in the industry.

But being afraid can increase the risk of something bad happening.

“Sometimes when we’re afraid of something even if our fears are irrational, that can lead us to make choices that will actually cause the thing that we are avoiding,” says Christopher Bader, a Chapman University sociology professor.

A fear of failure translates into a fear of shame. Surprisingly, people can handle the disappointment, anger, and frustration that comes along with a big mistake.

However, it’s shame-feeling bad for who we are-that strikes an attack on our identities and self-worth. To avoid the shame, we find unconscious ways to mitigate the circumstances.

For example, you focus on unnecessary tasks instead of completing that past due inventory report. This allows you to use the excuse: “I just didn’t have time to finish it."

Joshua Weber at eLuxury Supply, a speciality linen provider, faced the fear of moving platforms head on.

“I knew if this failed it was all on me,” Weber says. “But Shopify gives me a chance to easily do so much more with our site and immediately after we launched it was great.”


Recognize that failure is unavoidable. They key is to focus on how you can overcome the fear.


Shift your mindset toward achieving the desired goal, rather than avoiding failure. That starts with taking action.

Conduct research about ecommerce platforms. Ask your colleagues for their opinions. If possible, develop a quick risk assessment listing the pros and cons.

Spend your valuable time on the solution, not the problem.

3. Narcissism

The current platform solution makes you look good to the team. And everyone considers you the resident expert.

You’re thinking: “If my expertise won’t be valued after the upgrade, then, there should be no upgrade.”


Narcissism can hinder your judgement. You’ll disregard what’s good for the team, just to sustain credibility. That includes hiding vital information, stretching the truth, or even projecting a false image of the circumstances.

Making decisions is complicated enough. Research suggests that “we are often at the mercy of psychological, emotional, social, and situational influences when we make decisions.”

Cognitive biases cloud our judgment. So, we start drawing conclusions based on our self-interests and limited knowledge. This leads to unreasonable decisions.

“When you are too self absorbed, you may not be getting the appropriate feedback about your business,” says Dr. Brett Denkin, psychologist, consultant, and coach.
“In order to be successful, you need to be flexible and make changes along the way. If everything is about you, you will end up alienating a lot of people.”

When you exhibit this type of behavior, you may benefit from taking a step away from the situation.


The business is bigger than you.

In the decision-making process, consider your team member’s perspectives about ecommerce platforms. Listening to your colleagues trains you to understand their reasoning for upgrading or replatforming.

When team members disagree with your beliefs, steer clear from close-minded remarks. Accept the criticism and use it as an opportunity to grow professionally.

Concentrate on the overarching problem and take yourself out of the equation.

Think: How will the new platform affect sales? How will my actions (or inactions) damage the business?

4. Fear of Change

Humans are creatures of habit. Our routine gives us comfort.

So, if we’ve been doing something for a long time, we will resist the changes. Maybe not kicking and screaming, like a toddler. But possibly, demeaning ideas for a system change or expressing apathy about different business operations.

Research shows that our brains are hardwired to resist unfamiliar concepts. Our prefrontal cortexes must work overtime to new learn things.

“Change is hard, it's costly, it disrupts the norm, and it requires us to do things differently. Everything in us would rather stick with the status quo. That's why most changes in business are unsuccessful and don't meet the expectations laid out for them,” states, David Jones, change consultant.

And for companies, innovation is predicated on leaders releasing control. Fear may keep your team stagnant in a competitive marketplace.


Dan Black, co-founder of black + blum, had reservations about switching platforms. He was apprehensive about not being able to control his company’s international shops from one place.

To combat his fear, he made incremental steps toward another solution.

“I tried [Shopify Plus] out first and built a trial site,” said Black. “I was really impressed and it gave me the confidence to tell the team let’s build this!”


Relationship and family therapist Roger S. Gil recommends that we look at our lives like an operating system that needs updates. As the world changes, our operating systems will evolve.

Change is sometimes necessary. So, work with your team members to create strategies to cope with the new expectations. Develop tasks with clear explanations and reasonable timeframes. Conducting a SWOT analysis can be beneficial, too.

“Look at your decisions from many perspectives: The more information you have, the more you will engage your pre-frontal cortex and the more reasoned your decisions will be,” writes Jim Taylor, Ph.D., an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco.

5. Perfectionism

You’re never quite “done.”

It’s a nagging feeling that your decision isn’t ironclad.

Perfectionists create an environment where nobody can win. Improvement is an ongoing task on the to-do list. Coupled with unrealistic expectations and standards, it can create a great deal of stress.

However, perfection is a double-edged sword. It can drive you by both a desire to do well and a fear of not being good enough.

“Perfectionism tends to have two components: a positive side, including things like setting high standards for themselves; and a negative side, which involves more deleterious factors, such as having doubts and concerns over mistakes and feeling pressure from others to be perfect,” states Rachael Rettner, senior writer at Live Science.

Perfectionists are more focused on how they look, rather than how they’re doing. For instance, you might worry about how replatforming may initially be perceived by your partners or competition.


Stop expecting perfection. Shift your thoughts toward optimism. Plus, it’s how you handle the imperfections that will build your character.


Try comparing your business to your business. Monitoring the competition can foster inferior feelings and leave you running a never-ending rat race.

And if the ecommerce upgrade isn’t exactly perfect. Laugh at yourself. Remember, no one’s perfect. So, don’t dwell on tiny details that can be fixed in the future.

Letting Go of Fear

Changing platforms is a big deal for your business. But it shouldn’t be based on irrational human behavior. Push past your inner thoughts.

Avoid conforming to norms that don’t benefit the company. Take your ego out of the decision-making process. And recognize that change leads to innovation.

Knock down your psychological barriers. Upgrade your ecommerce platform.

About the Author

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice.