In these times of rapid technological change, re-platforming an eCommerce site is not only smart but inevitable. However, the enormously disruptive nature of a re-platforming effort can leave many merchants understandably reluctant. Here’s a great read before taking the plunge: Avoiding the Marketing Pitfalls When Re-platforming Your Website, by industry leader ROI Revolution.
From SEO and social media impact to technical issues related to product feed accuracy, load times and URLs, this paper focuses on practical, real-world resolutions to a checklist of common potential problems.
A Helpful Re-Platforming Checklist
“This paper is a solid checklist of items to think about both during and after a re-platforming,” says Brian Beck, Guidance’s SVP, eCommerce and Omni-channel Strategy. “It highlights a lot of things that a lot of companies get wrong or just plain miss when they move over to a new platform.”
In terms of prioritizing, there are two areas that Mr. Beck feels most strongly about: SEO and site speed. “The number one area where we see companies making mistakes is around the SEO transition from an old site to a new platform,” he says. “If you don’t do this right, you will lose valuable search engine rankings; it takes a long time to get these positions back. This is one of the largest risk areas if you aren’t following best practice. Likewise, site speed is critical – both for user experience and SEO. Google takes speed into consideration in its keyword rankings, so this is another key area to get right.”
Is this a comprehensive list of considerations for re-platforming? No, but it is a useful one nonetheless. “This paper really focuses on factors that influence how your web site ‘lives’ in the web universe, particularly if you’re a company that’s had a site for a long time. The longer your site has existed on the internet, the more people and companies are linking to it. This is a guide to make sure that all the recognition you’ve achieved over the years is maintained through the re-launch process,” says Mr. Beck. “It’s an extremely important component of re-platforming,” but it’s not everything, as there are plenty of other considerations to take at the starting point as well.
Knowledge Is Half the Battle: The Other Half is Experienced Development
A capable partner, of course, is tantamount to success. As far as determining the right re-platforming strategy for each client, Guidance has it down to a three-step science. “Our process includes first defining objectives; understanding why you’re doing the re-platforming in the first place. The second part is about defining and documenting both business and functional requirements – we have a very thorough process for this step, and then third is carefully selecting the right technology.” This initial investment of time is invaluable. “We always advise companies to take the 2-4 months up front to conduct a thorough requirements and selection process before they jump into implementing a new system. It results in an eCommerce system that more quickly generates ROI and that you can live with for a longer time.”
Yes, re-platforming is hugely disruptive at its core, but when it’s the perfect fit and executed well, you can expect to reap the benefits and remain with the same platform for years, making it a worthy investment of time, energy, and resources.