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eCommerce Replatforming: Best Practices, Tips & Tricks

There are several key technology “ingredients” used in any retail business:

  • The customer management system that stores information about shoppers and their behavior,
  • The inventory management system that keeps track of product stock and locations,
  • The fulfillment system that gets the products shipped out to customers, and
  • The ecommerce storefront that holds it all together and makes the shopping experience presentable to customers.

While ecommerce technology is often seen as the “face” of a store, a lot more actually goes into it. Not only do you need to meet customers’ growing expectations as they shop for items — you also need to account for any adjustments or customization you want to make in the future as your business grows.

Over time, your company’s needs may change — and with that, you may find yourself contemplating a switch from one ecommerce platform to another. Replatforming is often seen as a daunting and expensive procedure, but with the right processes in place, it can actually be relatively easy.

Why Businesses Replatform

More often than not, replatforming isn’t something companies proactively plan. Most often, there’s some driving issue — or a number of them — forcing a company to migrate:

  1. Financial issues: High maintenance costs, recent merger/acquisition forcing consolidation of funds, need more cost-effective solutions in order to innovate.
  2. Technical issues: Unstable site during peak traffic, too many SKUs, limited attributes/descriptions, too long to develop new features.
    Marketing issues: No or limited site search, lacking mobile responsiveness, not compatible with video or GIFs.
  3. If your business suffers from one or more of the above issues, you’ll need to explore replatforming.

While smaller platforms like Wix are a great option for businesses who are just starting out, sooner rather than later, issues with scalability arise. One of the greatest pitfalls with these platforms is inventory management: the onus is put on the merchant to keep track of inventory levels and fulfillment, whereas with more sophisticated platforms, the inventory management is conducted by the platform itself (and for more complicated use-cases, a partner solution is brought in to help).

Your Replatforming Journey

There are two main decisions when it comes to ecommerce platforming:

  1. The choice between SaaS (software-as-a-service) or on-premise, and
  2. The choice between actual platforms.

The pros of implementing a SaaS platform are primarily based on cost and ease of management. With SaaS, the vendor is developing features for multiple customers and so the expense is amortized across the entire customer base, which keeps costs down for everyone.

The SaaS platform’s roadmap is also typically driven by demand from their customers, which makes it more in line with current marketing demands. This leads to a robust product feature roadmap, which meets and often exceeds the requirements of most innovative businesses.

When it comes down to the actual decision between SaaS platforms, there are two main choices:

  1. BigCommerce, or
  2. Shopify.

Let’s explore the differences between these two.

The Differences Between BigCommerce and Shopify

With similar products, marketing, and user bases, it may be difficult to understand how BigCommerce and Shopify differ. Each has its own use case for merchants, and either would be a significant upgrade from templated builders like Yahoo! Small Business.

Below are some of the key differentiators between BigCommerce and Shopify.

In tandem with a constantly evolving marketplace full of different partner solutions, BigCommerce delivers features and customization options previously only available with custom-built, on-premise solutions like Magento. In addition, BigCommerce focuses solely on the product roadmap for ecommerce, without diversifying into other solutions like payments and fulfillments, so you know you’re getting the best technology available.

With BigCommerce, you’ll get more features out-of-the-box, without relying on third-party applications or developers to address the core functionality (and future functionality) your growing business will require.

On BigCommerce, merchants don’t have to worry about hitting a ceiling in platform capabilities, because the BigCommerce team is constantly pushing out updates to their product. You won’t run the potential risk of being forced to migrate to another platform down the road once BigCommerce stops meeting your needs, because the technology is always changing to keep up with demand.

Why Does BigCommerce Offer More?

BigCommerce has only one core product: its ecommerce platform. While Shopify focuses on building out ancillary products like payments, fulfillment, and lending services, BigCommerce allocates all engineering and service resources to maintaining the best cloud-based, multi-channel solution in the industry.

BigCommerce relies on the expertise of industry-leading partners in payments, shipping, POS, and lending — because they deliver far better solutions than any ecommerce platform could.

Shopify focuses on adjacent services, like payments, shipping, point-of-sale, and lending. These services generate more than 60% of Shopify’s revenue and consume a disproportionate amount of Shopify engineering, support, and strategic resources.

The BigCommerce Roadmap: Geared to Your Success

One of the largest demands of small businesses today is flexibility: flexibility to sell online, offline, and across borders.

One of the largest BigCommerce announcements in 2020 was the introduction of more features that allow customers to sell internationally.

With new multi-currency capabilities, shoppers on BigCommerce websites can now see and buy in their local currency. Also, the BigCommerce payments API allows the platform to partner with the best global payment providers, giving merchants the freedom to choose the gateway they are familiar with. This improves the experience for international customers and ultimately improves conversion rates. BigCommerce also offers a wealth of shipping options to further simplify selling cross-border.

In the months to come, expect BigCommerce to continue releasing product enhancements that help growing ecommerce brands meet the needs of the market and customers.

To learn more about making the switch to BigCommerce, check out our website.

Author note: This blog post was written and provided to us by our partner, BigCommerce.  As a BigCommerce Preferred Agency Partner, Your Store Wizards is ready to assist you with your replatforming journey.  Please feel free to contact us at support@yourstorewizards.com to schedule a time to discuss any of your eCommerce needs.  

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