I’m Nervous About Replatforming: Isn’t the Workload Overwhelming?

I’m Nervous About Replatforming: Isn’t the Workload Overwhelming?

Picture this: You’re an online retailer who’s doing pretty well, but you know you could be doing better.

Maybe your platform has limited capabilities. Perhaps you deal with some unnecessary hassles or fees, or you’re unhappy that your provider hasn’t quite delivered on all the promises they’ve made.

You’ve dabbled in the thought of switching to a new ecommerce platform. But you’re frankly overwhelmed when you think about all the work it would entail and potential lost profits during the process.

Is this just a fictitious scenario, or are you finding some similarities in your experience?

Taking the Plunge

Often, good brands will limit themselves from greatness when they hesitate to make important decisions like replatforming. You may ask yourself:

  • How long would it take to move everything?
  • Will I have the flexibility and functionality to suit the unique needs of my business?
  • What are the odds that something will get screwed up in the process?
  • Will I lose all my hard-won SEO rankings?

It’s entirely natural – savvy, even – to be protective of your pride and joy. But rest assured in knowing that there are providers who understand and platforms that can deliver what you want in a slick and streamlined package, tied together with a shiny digital bow.

Assessing the Workload

Replatforming is a serious undertaking with a lot of moving parts. So online retailers are justified in their expectations of a significant workload. It’s non-negotiable for the project to be comprehensively planned and mindfully executed.

Before diving in, you should examine elements like your current product and order management systems, user experience, customer service, and mobile-friendliness to see if you’re up-to-par with your website and business goals. From there, you can identify which areas may need some extra resource allocation during the replatforming process.

For many retailers, data migration and integration are particularly attention-heavy aspects of the process that can cause some anxiety. Let’s examine what’s involved.

Data Migration

Migration is the crux of the operation – making sure that all customer-facing and enterprise-facing aspects of your current site are accounted for and running as smooth as butter in their new home. If you’re in the legacy market, you’ve perhaps heard tales of long, arduous, and downright painful migration processes.

You’ll be relieved to know that this doesn’t have to be the case, especially when you replatform with software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms offering tools and support for streamlining the process. For example, Shopify Plus now partners with nChannel to help migrate your Magento data for free - Until September 30th. (Music to your ears, we know.)

Back-office and External App Integration

An ecommerce website is an intricate machine that uses third-party and enterprise tools to manage its many facets of its daily operation. These systems and applications are woven into the site’s fabric, accessing and managing product, customer, order, and analytics data. Vendors like Google, Adobe, SAP, and Oracle (just to name a few), play a heavy hand in helping to optimize a brand’s performance.

It’s critical that each gear of the machine is correctly placed, fastened, and well-oiled. In the days where legacy systems ruled the land, integrations could be described using melodramatic words like “nightmare” or “disaster” – and with good reason. A single misstep in integrating a module could (and still can) interfere with separate modules, potentially causing a full crash and some severe losses for the company.

Shopify’s app ecosystem exists explicitly to solve problems like this. Our apps are designed with full compatibility. One-touch integration is no longer a distant fantasy. You’ll also find apps created to streamline the integrations workload for “bulk orders,” like our NetSuite integration tool that can help with roughly 80% of a retailer’s system integrations.

Beyond that, the Shopify Plus launch management team works with your internal developers and agencies to ensure your teams are comfortable with the Shopify backend each and every part of your machine is working smoothly to avoid any catastrophic launch day disasters associated with a misguided migration.  

“Pre-platforming” Questions

When you’re exploring the idea of replatforming, ask yourself the right questions.

The answers will bring you a step closer to determining whether it’s right for you and how you should go about it, including getting a grasp on how much work it will truly require and to what degree you might want to consider relying on a pro to help.

Some of these important questions include – but are certainly not limited to:

  • Are you switching from an on-premise platform to SaaS?
  • Does your internal team have the availability and prowess needed to manage your current platform as efficiently as possible?
  • If you have new functionalities or systems in mind, is your team equipped to implement them?
  • How much replatforming work can your internal team handle, and how much should you outsource to a third party?
  • Does your current platform have any significant issues/risks that a new platform must remedy? (Think: incompatible or outdated software, “Band-Aids” like add-ons for short-term solutions, hastily-implemented integration of new channels like social media – the list goes on)

What Shopify Plus Customers Have to Say

If we have one bit of wisdom to impart, it’s that not all replatforms are created equal. The team at Shopify Plus has kept our ears to the ground for years, developing and honing tools, systems, and resources to help our new clients avoid the migration headaches of the past.

Take a look at our personal favorite replatforming case studies of customers who can vouch for our dedication to the craft. Not only did they have a seamless migration process, but they also found a cure for their varying ecommerce ailments after switching to a platform that catered to their unique business needs.

From Shopify Plus’s diverse app ecosystem to our dedicated merchant success managers, growing brands can take confidence in an ecommerce platform that gets them.

About the Author

Dan Virgillito is a storytelling specialist, blogger and writer who helps digital startups get more engagement and business through online content.