Are You Outgrowing Your eCommerce Platform? Part 3: Implementation
We’ve made it to part three of our ‘Are You Outgrowing Your eCommerce Platform?’ series. If you haven’t read part one or part two, we highly recommend checking them out – they work together to paint a larger picture of how to identify whether your eCommerce platform is the right fit for you.
Here in part three, we’re talking how best to approach that great white whale: Integration.
First, we’re looking at grounded, tangible steps you can take immediately if you’re considering an upgrade. Seriously, you can do these right now.
Action items you can take to grow your business. Today.
Perform a site audit
These look at how sites are built, what extensions they’re using, and create a total picture from which problem-points can be immediately identified. First, figure out where your site’s bottlenecks are—these could range from performance issues (like slow page loading), to creative design issues (like poor mobile site performance). Also, consider issues regarding scalability and functionality for your site, so as you grow, so does your platform. When you know what issues you’re facing, you can address them right at the code-level source.
Whip Up Some Roadmaps
Putting together strategic roadmaps and month-by-month plans (basically just textual or graphical representations of an optimized order of operations) for migration and implementation can be key. Not only are they inexpensive, but they can save you time, money, and manpower down the road. Even if you deviate from the plan – at least you’ve put one in place to draw from.
A solid implementation roadmap combines these key components:
- Pays special attention to the strengths and needs of each department, team, or group involved in the scope of the entire implementation process
- Boils down complex systems into subsystems and, ultimately, into individual elements or action items; in other words, it supplies a flow of detail from general to specific
- Facilitates communication within and between teams, and streamlines decision-making overall; i.e., it should (1) spark conversation and inspire collaboration, (2) anticipate and provide answers to questions your teams will have, especially in terms of workflow, and (3) allow your teams to effectively articulate their roles within the context of the overarching company or project goal
- Covers the timeline between setting your goals and seeing those goals come to fruition with the big day, your Go Live
Requirements-gathering and assessment plans keep you abreast of the best that’s out there as defined by your needs. It’s frustrating to know what you need, but not where to find it. Beyond the platforms themselves, look for eCommerce developers, partners, and extensions that are innovating within those platform frameworks. You can learn a lot about a platform by the company it keeps.
Integration & Implementation.
By now, you should be equipped to make the best decision for integrating the eCommerce platform that works for you. Maybe you’ve made the decision already. So when the time comes for integration, what’s the best way to go about it? We know we’re a little biased here, but trust us: When it’s time to integrate, call in the pros.
If this is your first foray into integrated eCommerce platforms entirely, this should be a no-brainer. But even if you’re upgrading from an old platform to a new, different one, don’t leave a single thing up to chance. There’s a big difference between web development and platform development and integration, so even if your company or business has a dedicated website team, eCommerce integration is going to be its own beast.
Consult an Integration Partner
An integration partner helps improve your cloud eCommerce platform. When you look for a partner, it’s important to look at their migration process. They should start with a discovery process, where they evaluate your store’s needs to help bring in desired elements, then you eventually “go live,” where the full migration happens. Of course, there’s 14 meticulous steps in between to give you the best migration possible. That’s the kind of thing you want from an integration partner – someone who evaluates, plans, then executes, all the while keeping things transparent for you.
And that concludes our blog series about outgrowing your eCommerce platform. Your business stands to benefit immensely with the right eCommerce platform. Ensuring your platform is able to grow with you can be daunting when it requires a switch – but if you’re ever feeling lost just remember these three steps:
- Look for pain points in your business. What’s slowing you down and causing headaches? Are you having trouble differentiating your brand? Need more robust features? Inflexible platform holding back innovation? There’s a good chance a bigger, better eCommerce platform could fix these issues.
- Know what B2B features to look for in an eCommerce platform. Each business has varied needs, but features like international payment options, a search engine that allows customers to find products fast, and strong third party support should be expected.
- Implement action items. Deploy site audits, run demo schedules for migration, and find good partners for integration.
Tackle all of the above and the only thing you’ll be outgrowing is your wallet.