Ecommerce Replatforming 101: Your Guide

Ecommerce Replatforming 101: Your Guide

Ecommerce Replatforming 101: Your Guide

Regardless of your current platform, over time it will begin to slow down, become limited in functionality or lack capabilities. Replatforming is the process of migrating from one commerce platform to another. Most of the time retailers do this to improve performance through enhancing capabilities, usability or cost. Onsite technologies and capabilities have become a catalyst for success within ecommerce – to remain competitive investing in your tech-stack and more specifically your commerce platform is an inevitable step.

Do we really need to replatform?

With many online stores boasting a range of functionalities that delight users, a platform with limited capabilities could be impeding performance.

8 common signs that it is time to replatform include:

  • Features and updates are hard to implement
  • Your store can’t handle a traffic increase or traffic peaks
  • Tech debt and maintenance costs
  • Limited features
  • Poor site speed and performance
  • Challenging integrations
  • Limited personalisation
  • Poor UX

While replatforming may be the only way to effectively overhaul your existing offering, unless there are significant technical burdens, organisations may be met with some resistance from tech staff. The project doesn’t come without its challenges, and there are risks associated with such comprehensive changes.

It may be that after performing an audit, you realise the long and complex process of replatforming isn’t necessary. If there are a few fundamental pain points you or your customers are experiencing, it may be possible to rebuild your tech stack by selecting relevant third-party vendors that address your needs.

Perform an audit

Before committing to a replatforming project, you’ll need to evaluate your existing setup and determine the pains you’re looking to resolve. As we previously mentioned, there are a number of reasons retailers look to replatform.

When performing an audit, it is often more logical to break up requirements into four categories: A technical audit, an SEO audit, a logistical audit and a customer experience audit.

From a technical perspective, it is useful to create a map of technologies that you already use. This enables a full evaluation of whether a new platform will be able to support these technologies, or if your day-to-day processes will require a review.

Beyond this, key considerations should include:

  • What are the must-have functionalities?
  • What technical requirements are there? Think about hosting, security and access
  • Which integrations does the platform need to support?
  • Can the platform support spikes in traffic and is it scalable?

Make sure to also consider logistical concerns within this audit. Including currency offerings, routing capabilities and supported channels.

An SEO audit is a comprehensive process consisting of thorough crawls, benchmarking activities and a URL structure and redirection plan. The SEO audit is critical to minimise damage to rankings when a new store is launched. By drilling into your site SEO, retailers can determine what they’re doing well, but also what areas will need improvement during the replatforming process. As mentioned above, migrating platform doesn’t come without its risks and an SEO audit can mitigate SEO lows by:

  • Prioritising pages for migration
  • Identifying underperforming pages to delete or update
  • Identifying duplicate content

Finally, looking into customer experiences, targeting customer interactions onsite as well as brand perception enables you to map a journey and identify areas that require improvement.

During this process, it might make sense to measure pain point severity to prioritise business actions. This is important because while an issue might affect a high amount of people it doesn’t take into account context. Perhaps 100 people are affected by an issue, however, this issue is minor, and will not cause any of those individuals to abandon your website.

Meanwhile, 2 people may be experiencing a very severe issue. So severe that they abandon your website and never return.

Selecting the right solutions(s)

Once an audit has been completed and core requirements have been defined, you can begin to research which providers fulfil your needs. A primary driver for replatforming is the need for additional functionality, however, besides all the bells and whistles, it is also important to consider viability and ease of integration.

Some key questions you should be asking vendors when you’re doing your research include:

  • Will the product, customer and order information be migrated safely to my new store?
  • Will the new platform plug into my existing and future third-party vendors seamlessly?
  • How customisable is it?

When performing your due diligence, it is also the ideal time to consider complementary third-party solutions.

Most retailers rely on best-of-breed technologies to fully optimise specific areas onsite. While a new commerce platform underpins a successful online store, individual, niche extensions have the ability to take performance to the next level and enable retailers to hit the ground running when they launch.

It is also the perfect opportunity to engage your preferred shopping platforms, understand their experiences with your considered third-party providers and benefit from their expertise and technical support when integrating with additional plugins.

Plan your Migration

There is no shortage of steps to consider when replatforming, but a majority of the most critical areas fall under one of these three pillars. Data migration, integration and UI/UX.

Data migration

Typically, data migration focuses on three areas: Product data, customer data and order data.

The first step in data migration is to identify the data you need to migrate. Consolidating and cleansing this data to ensure that it is relevant and then migrating the data in stages is preferred as it enables you to iron out any issues that may be necessary.

Integration

Navigating a number of integrations can be a burden. By dividing them up into categories based on their level of importance and complexity, setup and testing can be prioritised and a road map can be planned more effectively.

UI/UX

Once the background work that underpins the entire replatforming process has been planned, it is time to create the website interface. Within this stage, it is important to leverage buy personas and map out journeys in the context of your business. By combining this information with the perceived pain points you identified in your audit, you will be able to frame a UI and UX strategy with the customer front of mind.

Having the correct team top drive migration makes all the difference. It is a large project with a high-risk, high-reward process. There are a number of different expertise and multidisciplinary inputs required to ensure success, so defining responsibilities and having a clear roadmap is essential. Once a team has been assembled, create a detailed roadmap with defined tasks and timelines.

Prepare for launch

Following on from a detailed roadmap, preparing for launch should include a checklist to ensure that you’ve completed the necessary legwork and are ready for the transition.

In addition, upon launch, some key functionalities will need to be tested such as checkout, notifications and reporting.

By following these steps retailers can mitigate risk and hit the ground running when they launch on their new platform. It is an intimidating process but done correctly and alongside the right vendors has the power to supercharge your business.

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

Implementing Conversational Commerce

Implementing Conversational Commerce

Implementing Conversational Commerce

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Connecting with your shoppers through interactive, personalised and dynamic experiences makes for a far more conversational and simple journey.

In-store, a shopper would simply ask an assistant a question, so not having that guidance online can make shopping isolating and frustrating.

Conversational commerce enables dialogue between a user and the online shop, and while it might not be verbal, there is certainly a back and forth feed of data that provides shoppers with all important information in real-time.

Let’s take a look at some examples of conversational commerce that are present and various stages throughout the customer journey and create an intuitive path to purchase…

Rachel King

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders for a range of marketing initiatives.

3 Strategic Projects for your 2022 E-commerce Agenda

3 Strategic Projects for your 2022 E-commerce Agenda

3 Strategic Projects for your 2022 E-commerce Agenda

The success of e-commerce in 2021 doesn’t mean that retailers can rest easy and rely on consistent growth. In 2022, favoured online shops will be those who re-engineer eCommerce strategies towards tech and behavioural focussed operations, investing in their digital offerings rather than seeing it as an unnecessary expense due to a successful previous year. Setting yourself up for success by focussing on milestone projects such as those set out in this article offers guidance. After deciding on milestone projects, retailers can begin looking at the company roadmap on a more granular level.

Let’s look at three robust strategies that should form the basis of 2022’s agenda.

  1. Create an Ecosystem of Tech Partners

Leveraging technology vendors to build an ecosystem is critical. With 83% of shoppers reporting a “mediocre” overall user experience, there is a window of opportunity to stand out that can only be achieved by supercharging existing operations, most commonly and easily done though third-party providers.

Best-of-breed platforms allow retailers to achieve a gold-standard CX, which they wouldn’t have otherwise had the time, money or resources to create or implement within niche areas. Preferably this should be done through APIs – decoupling the front and back end and having them talk to one another via APIs gives retailers more flexibility to create unique experiences for their visitors and eliminate boundaries. As part of a network, transferred information isn’t met with roadblocks and can instead seamlessly travel back and forth for superfast performance.

From onsite optimisations, to acquisition and supply chain management, both internal and customer facing operations can be improved for operational excellence.

Whether you already have a fully operational headless architecture, or are looking to develop one, there are critical areas that play an essential role in any e-commerce’s tech stack. The enormous pool of plugins and optimisations leave many organisations with a dilemma – which ones are essential and which are nice to have?  

Moving forward, a headless architecture is clearly favourable and has assisted thousands of merchants in successfully scaling and delivering cutting-edge, and agile experiences, so researching where you need to deploy third party technologies and level up performance in 2022 should be on the corporate agenda.

  1. Think Omnichannel 

When it comes to brand visibility, widening the net in which shoppers can discover your brand is critical and forming a robust omnichannel strategy in 2022 will be instrumental to success. Channels like product reviews or Instagram advertising are just the beginning and expanding coverage on a now more than ever, digitally mature society is a catalyst for growth.

Drilling into data and analysing how behaviours change should be the protocol when looking to deliver end-to-end digital experiences. Wherever your customers buy, expanding your reach to include not only your online store or social channels but also integrating channels such as fulfilment or management tools will help to create a flexible buying model. Harnessing technologies to help manage the complexities that come with an omnichannel strategy and look at the whole strategy more holistically is a consideration. This is particularly important when you consider that every touchpoint and channel must be connected and form a cohesive journey – this is the main distinction between an omnichannel strategy and a multichannel strategy.

While we consider onsite experience a requisite, this must be delivered across all channels for a consistently good experience throughout the customer journey.

To get the most out of omnichannel, retailers need to focus on the following:

  • Existing valuable channels
  • What their buyer journey looks like
  • Personalising experiences
  • Utilising all of their data
  • Increasing brand awareness

Creating an omnichannel experience can help bridge the gaps between existing channels, as well as benefiting from new ones. But referring back to ‘Creating an Ecosystem of Partners’, it is important to recognise the power of third party tools when navigating more complex strategies.

  1. Identify and Prioritise your Pain Points

E-commerce is fast-paced and there seems to be endless optimisations promising to improve customer experience and boost revenue. Prioritising areas for improvement when looking to supercharge end-to-end activities is essential when looking for high-impact solutions.

A go to methodology that allows you to maximise on the decisions you make as an organisation should be pinned down for use throughout 2022. By assessing which areas are the most high-severity and impeding performance, there is more overall transparency about what value optimisations will drive.

While metrics such as pain point frequency may sit at the epicentre of analysis, they should not be taken at face value. 

For example, perhaps your shoppers don’t receive relevant recommendations on your website and this affects every visitor – yes it is annoying but it doesn’t stop shoppers from discovering products. Meanwhile, 10% of your visitors experience a deadend when they misspell a search query and abort your website.

Instinctively, transformational leaders may look to prioritise the deployment of recommendations as it affects more people; however, the 10% who experienced a deadend incurred a higher consequence as the chance of conversion was lost.

Leaders can begin to shape prioritisation framework by:

  • Defining users and customer journeys
  • Deciding which metrics they want to measure
  • Proposing a scoring system to measure pain points
  • Measuring impact
  • Comparing this against internal thresholds

Retailers can understand more about how to action each framework stage here.

There is no silver bullet when looking to prioritise business processes, their unique requirements or perceived pain points. That said, standardising a scoring system that can be applied across the organisation enables more informed decision making and higher returns on investment. And, when looking to justify activities to gain organisational buy-in, internal decision-makers can quantify the potential uplift thanks to a more streamlined and effective process.

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

FINDOLOGIC Welcome Huboo Their Partner Network

FINDOLOGIC Welcome Huboo Their Partner Network

FINDOLOGIC Welcome Huboo Their Partner Network

Product Discovery Platform, FINDOLOGIC and Order Fulfillment Platform, Huboo have announced their strategic partnership as they continue to build their ecosystem of best-of-breed partners. 

Establishing an ecosystem of partners who address challenges end to end enables both vendors to connect retailers with the resources they need to ensure e-commerce success. The two tech leaders will be able to:

  • Offer retailers new and innovative ways to power online customer experiences that drive sales and build long-term customer loyalty and ultimately deliver in terms of efficient and effective fulfilment operations
  • Provide retailers with an intuitive and efficient backend that allows for full control and management of product discovery and fulfilment

Findologic’s solution helps supercharge e-commerce conversions by allowing retailers to optimise every element of a user’s path to purchase. By optimising the onsite experience and deploying a range of features underwritten by A.I., retailers can streamline a shopper’s journey, improve CX and increase conversion rates. These include search, navigation, merchandising, mobile UX and personalisation.

While on-site optimisations are essential, ensuring that you’re able to meet demands and deliver on experiences until the very end of the customer journey, is critical.

Huboo are a multichannel eCommerce fulfilment provider, helping online businesses grow by taking care of all their order fulfilment needs. They offer a simple pricing model with no goods in or stock management fees, 2 months free ‘hub’ storage and a comprehensive yet easy to use dashboard from which you can see listings, stock levels, expected billing and sales across all your channels. With a network of warehouses across the UK and EU and integrations with all major platforms and marketplaces, they are ideally placed to fulfil orders quickly and accurately worldwide, for sellers of all sizes.

With the strategic alliance, the two leading tech solutions will extend their reach in the e-commerce space, make informed recommendations to clients regarding 360-degree optimisations and add value as part of a wider ecosystem of partners.

 

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

The 3 Smartest Decisions You Can Make This Peak Season

The 3 Smartest Decisions You Can Make This Peak Season

The 3 Smartest Decisions You Can Make This Peak Season

It’s an all too familiar story. For peak season, retailers often rely on the fact that their current on-site setup will allow them to achieve a significant uplift in KPIs compared to quieter seasons. Of course, due to increased demand, this is the case, but it is certainly not a reflection of the retailer’s customer experience. This has only been reinforced during the pandemic, where many retailers have pushed on-site optimisation down their corporate agenda, as they’ve been able to excel without. 

Reliance on peak season to generate sales without having a sound on-site experience diminishes the potential to meet and exceed organisational goals. Non-existent, outdated or underperforming tech stacks or solutions directly affect sales and loyalty throughout the year, but this is only exacerbated in periods where demand spikes and the relative abandonment or conversion rates represent a huge chunk of your revenue. To caveat this, while we frequently reference investment in your tech stack as a requisite for uplift, some third-party providers may pose a threat to operations if they are not resilient to increased requests, so consider this before peak season mania to avoid any downfalls.

Products often overwhelm online shoppers. If they struggle to find a needle in a haystack – aka, their desired products, shoppers will abandon their search and your chances of conversion are ruined. In fact, during search usability testing, 19 of the world’s leading e-commerce sites’ search support was so weak that 31% of all product finding tasks ended in vain. This reinforces the requirement for retailers to prioritise search and navigation capabilities if they want to connect shoppers with relevant products.

There is a wide range of features and optimisation options that can be deployed at various touchpoints, from the very first interaction with the search bar to the refinement of a search query, mobile UX and personalisation. Here are our top 5:

1. Search and Navigation

Based on the fact that so many users can’t even find their desired products, it is a retailer’s responsibility to make their journey fail-proof. Search is at the epicentre of a shopper’s path to purchase, so it is essential that it is made as seamless as possible. There is a plethora of features and predefined logic that you can implement that optimise search and navigation, but some callouts include:

  • Comprehensive Assisted Suggest: as soon as a user interacts with your search bar, you should begin to guide shoppers. Recommendations, previewed products and query suggestions all contribute towards a streamlined path to purchase.
  • Synonyms: synonyms allow for wider search coverage. For example, if a user searches for ‘blow dryer’ rather than ‘hair dryer’, they will always be presented with the full range of results. The same goes for typos – you should automatically handle typos and show relevant results and eliminate dead ends.
  • Filter Navigation: Universal, one-size-fits-all filters are frustrating, for example, if you sell trousers you can’t just apply the same filters as you would for a pair of earrings. Configure relevant filters for products so that shoppers can refine their search more intentionally.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and it is important to analyse your pain points to determine where your resource will be best spent.

2. Mobile UX

Replicating the desktop experience on mobile is bad practice, yet again and again, retailers cram all of the same elements into a screen that is a fraction of the size. The result? A cumbersome, difficult to navigate shopping experience. By deploying mobile-specific features, retailers are able to dramatically increase mobile sales – with UK mobile sales expected to generate £79.81B in 2022, it’s all to fight for. Recommended mobile features include:

  • Everpresent filters, that are conveniently accessible as the user scrolls
  • Collapsible overlays, which maximise the screen space and remain hidden when not in use
  • Simplified assisted suggests, reducing the tension between elements such as images and text and background layers
  • Voice search for intuitive, easy use

Another mobile strategy well worth consideration is replicating the familiar interface used by Google, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to create a more subconscious experience. By deploying this, retailers are able to:

  • Minimise discrepancies between the channels users interact with every day
  • Provide a more instinctive and unconscious path to purchase
  • Deploy instant touchpoints
  • Engage dynamic and conversational navigation based on unique user requirements

3. Merchandising

The ability to optimise product hierarchy or create campaigns that increase the visibility of a product or deal throughout the customer journey has the power to control sales on a more granular level. It isn’t just a matter of converting or not converting, but also what is converting. For example, if you have a particular product that has a high profit margin or a surplus of inventory you’d like to sell, you can display adverts at multiple touchpoints and move them up the product listings. So whether your business goal is to increase average order value or boost profit margins, you’ll be able to underpin these objectives when you leverage merchandising. The easiest way to do this is via a 360-degree campaign manager, which you can learn more about here.

Not just for Christmas

It is safe to assume that a bulk of the benefits will be seen from these optimisations during peak season, which is why it is so crucial retailers put processes in place before it is too late.

However, while these improvements will boost peak season performance, improved KPIs will not be an isolated occurrence. Positive experiences during the peak season will not only foster loyalty moving forward into quieter months, but also see a continued increase in usability and conversion and revenue.

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

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