Are You Outgrowing Your Ecommerce Platform? Part 1: Growing Pains
We’d like to talk today about growth – the beautiful, ugly, awkward side of growth that doesn’t get enough lip service. It’s the point when you’re celebrating your business’s success. You’ve worked day and night, maximized your eCommerce platform’s potential, taken it’s design capabilities to their limits, and have customized everything you’re able to until your platform fit your needs like a fine-tailored suit. But something’s not quite right. You’ve hit a sales plateau. This is when you start to feel it: your trusty platform’s pulling at its seams. It’s got nothing more to give than it already has, and while it’s done right by you, it’s holding you back.
You’ve grown and grown, and now, inevitably, you’ve hit it: the growth ceiling.
And with eCommerce, this can be a tricky stage to suss out. How do you know for certain whether or not an eCommerce platform that’s been working for you…still is? And if the problem is with your platform and not you, how do you catch it before your eCommerce architecture breaks under the strain?
The best eCommerce merchants are successful because they’ve developed a sixth sense for this sort of thing. They can tell when circumstances require a change – and they act on it. Many merchants have detailed, thoughtful plans in place for when growth starts leveling-out. But the merchants who come out ahead are those who understand the industry’s new eCommerce dynamics, the platforms and power that are out there waiting to be tapped. Those who don’t, see their plans slowed to a halt or derailed completely.
We want you to get back to growing.
That’s why we’re taking you step-by-step through how to identify, assess, and address the problems that come with a platform that’s holding you back – even if you can’t tell yet that it is. We’re starting out with the growing pains of the business, Part 1 in a series that aims to get you back on track.
If you’re experiencing these pain points below, it’s probably time for a new platform.
Look for these Pain Points
You may already know some or even most of these. To help break it down, let’s divvy things up – so you can divide, conquer, and hone in on what’s getting in your way. The two primary sides to the problems and growing pains you’ll run into if your platform’s holding you back: Differentiation & Scalability.
When you’re unable to differentiate your brand
You need more robust features. You’re left wanting more control.
You’ll know when you’re not getting enough ways to customize your eCommerce back- or front ends. And maybe it’s not similar-but-more-robust features that you need – maybe you just need more features, point-blank. But when you need more options under your hood, you’ll know it.
If your starter-tier platform isn’t giving you the features like order management, complex product catalogs, and subsite functionality, it’s time for an upgrade. If you’re unable to provide diverse, niche experiences, you’re not reaching diverse, niche markets. Simple as that.
Innovation reaches a standstill
It doesn’t matter that you have the most creative, driven, and able-minded development team in the entire industry – if they can think it but not do it because of an inflexible infrastructure, there’s a problem. A big one.
You want to deliver your customers lasting and powerful purchasing experiences, to turn heads and keep them turned. In our overstimulating world, achieving that “surprise & delight” factor that makes conversions is possible only through concerted innovation. Anyone can create fleeting novelty. To inspire requires an unfettered imagination – and today, that takes some seriously flexible, powerful equipment.
When scalability hits a ceiling
You’re looking to grow internationally…but can’t. Yet.
There are plenty of factors that can limit growth. Don’t let geography be one of them. Whether it’s limited currency conversion options, or too-narrow order shipping capacities, maintaining a stable international operation presents a number of complications for both B2B and B2C businesses. The bottom line here: If you can point to it on a map, there’s a market there. That’s the power of eCommerce. When your platform isn’t powerful enough, you’re missing out on your global share.
You’re not getting the Third-Party Integration you need.
You find a plugin online that’d really smooth your productivity’s rough edges, but it’s not playing nice with the platform you started your business with – or worse, isn’t supported at all. A vetted back-library of add-ons and plugins, a history of proven third-party support is an advantage that younger and/or lower-budget eCommerce platforms just don’t have. And if you’re trying to daisy-chain plugins onto other plugins onto other…you’re addressing only the symptoms of a deeper, endemic cause. Don’t salve. Solve.
Solutions to all of these pain points already exist. That means when you’re aware of these problems, you’re able to fix them. How? Stay tuned: We’ll be bringing you the features and functions you need to find and lock down as soon as possible to make the pain points we talked about today totally disappear. It’s Part 2 of our series on what to do when you’re outgrowing your eCommerce platform.