Replatforming your eCommerce website


Replatforming a website involves

Migrating your current website to a new platform can be a complex process requiring careful planning and execution. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for the project is just as important as choosing the right partner to help put your new site live.

Having supported many clients over the years with some of the more complex elements of replatforming an eCommerce website, here are some of our key considerations to keep in mind when considering this project.

Define Goals and Objectives

Re-platforming an eCommerce website is a big decision. Clearly defining the goals and objectives for replatforming will put you in good stead both with the project and your stakeholders. Whether it's improving user experience, enhancing performance, increasing scalability, or adding new features, having clear goals will guide the replatforming process and help measure success. Never forget to use whatever data metrics you to help develop SMART objectives for ongoing ROI measurement.

Evaluate Platform Options

Research and evaluate different platform options based on your requirements, budget, scalability, customisation needs, and future growth plans. Ideally, start with a pro and con list about your current platform – what works for you and what doesn’t, and this will help to highlight gaps in which to investigate.

Additional functionality to consider is ease of use for both the platform admin as well as the end users, available integrations needed both now and, in the future, support packages on offer, security features, and scalability.

Understand your Data

Plan and execute the migration of data from your existing platform to the new one. This includes product data, customer information, orders, content, and other relevant data. Ensure data integrity and accuracy throughout the migration process to avoid any disruptions or data loss.

Know your SEO Considerations

Replatforming a website will possibly influence your website's search engine optimisation (SEO). This is your chance to review all the URLs you have on your existing site and audit them. Make sure you review the URLs in your analytics platform to ensure you know high volume traffic pages on your existing website.

Redirect old URLs to corresponding new URLs to maintain SEO rankings and ensure that metadata, sitemaps, and other SEO elements are properly configured on the new platform. Ensure that you implementation can advise you, as this will be critical to any launch.

Design and Customisation

Determine the level of design customisation and branding requirements that you will need for the new website. Start with what you like about your old platform in terms of design elements and then find examples of other websites you like to give your implementation partner a steer.

Ensure that the new platform supports the design elements and features needed to achieve your desired look, feel and brand guidelines.

Functionality and Features

Evaluate the functionality and features of your existing platform and compare with what is being offered by the new platform, ensuring that your replacement meets your business needs. Make sure you keep an open mind when reviewing all the options available.

Consider features such as inventory management, order processing, payment gateways, shipping options, and third-party integrations.

User Experience (UX) and Customer Journey Mapping

Mapping out the customer journey throughout the website as part of the design will highlight any areas that may not work on closer inspection. Compare what customers experience with the current platform vs how they will travel through the new website and make sure you are clear in what experience your customer will have when shopping with you.

Prioritise user experience and conduct thorough testing of the new website before launch, using the map you have created as a benchmark.

Testing

Before you press the GO button, conducting a thorough test of the platform is crucial. Test usability, navigation, page load times, checkout process, and other critical elements to minimise problems and profit loss at launch.

Ideally, include users from across the business to run the tests, however, be clear on the role they are playing. At this stage, it is not to make design or infrastructure changes, but to make sure the platform is working as expected.

Security and Compliance

Regardless of which platform you use, ensuring the right security measures are in place to protect customer data, payment information, and sensitive business data – for both the migration and post go live.

Ensure that the new platform complies with relevant industry standards and regulations, such as PCI DSS for payment processing and GDPR for data protection. Your implementation partner should be able to advise you on these throughout the process, however it is the responsibility of each business to protect their own data.

Backup and Contingency Plans

Before the migration starts, make sure that you have backup and contingency plans to mitigate risks during the replatforming process. Knowing that you have a robust rollback plan in case of unforeseen issues or complications will be a great peace of mind, as will putting in systems to regularly back up data to prevent data loss moving forward.

Training and Documentation

The key to a new platforms' success will be the team using it. Providing training and documentation for staff members who will be managing and using the new platform will ensure a smoother transition experience for all involved. Ensure that your team are familiar with the platform's features, functionality, and best practices through training sessions, creating platform superusers and creating a visible space on an intranet (or similar) so that the information is easily accessible.

Stakeholder Management

Communicate regularly with stakeholders to keep them feeling included in the project. Including internal teams, external partners, and customers, throughout the replatforming process so that every person keeps the key objectives for doing the project clearly in their minds.

Keep them informed about the timeline, progress, and any potential impacts on their operations or user experience.

Having a deeper understanding of these vital stages has ensured that we support our clients not only in the migration process but also in their future growth plans.

Knowing what you must consider internally will help you brief your implementation partner and arm them with all the right information to help you make the right platform, design and infrastructure decisions needed for your business to be successful.

And if you are considering a project, on a small or large scale, make sure you use a partner that can not only do the delivery but also support you through each of these stages.

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