When starting an e-commerce business, one of the biggest challenges can be setting up your arsenal of platforms, plugins and services.
It’s virtually impossible to run your business without a well-functioning tech stack, and you can save yourself a surprising amount of time, money, and stress by carefully considering which e-commerce platforms you do use — and when it might be time to move on to a better one.
But like any technology implementation project, it’s not one to rush into, and there are a few key things you need to consider when making the switch.
Things to consider before switching e-commerce platforms
Is it the platform — or is it something else?
What might seem like a software problem may actually be a crease in your business operations that could be smoothed out.
Before jumping into blaming the tool, it could be useful to take a look at how you’re using your current e-commerce platform, and how you could use it more effectively.
What are you happy with about your current setup?
Realistically, most e-commerce platforms come with a fairly similar set of features. However, depending on your individual needs, certain features may make your busy work life easier, or simply suit your business best.
Whatever the features are that you couldn’t run your business without, keep those top of the list when considering replatforming.
What frustrates you about your current platform?
In the same way, small things that frustrate you about a piece of software can add up in the long run. Things like:
- poor customer service,
- lack of flexibility or scalability,
- high price,
- difficulty of updating content, and
- database management
How much is your business growing?
It’s common to start an e-commerce business with a DIY setup, no developer help and simple, pre-built templates. The thing is, though, is that it gets pretty complicated when you grow — and fast.
The performance of your business relies heavily on the performance of your website, and often replatforming is unavoidable as you grow.
Overall, the decision on whether to switch comes down to whether replatforming will save you time, money, or reduce inventory. If your new platform ticks at least one of those boxes, then it’s probably worth making the switch.
How to evaluate a new platform
Look to the future
As you’ve hopefully realised by now, the best e-commerce platform for your business now might not be the best for you in a few years time.
That’s why it’s super important to consider your 3-5 or even longer-term year business goals when choosing a new platform.
For example, do you have plans to sell to other markets? Expand your product offering outside of your current sector? If so, it’s critical you make sure the potential new platform supports these goals.
Be transparent and honest with your vendor
Replatforming can be a mammoth job — particularly if your site is older and more complex. Being honest, transparent and developing a strong working relationship with your development vendor (if you choose to use one) is key to a successful project.
Choice of vendor is important too, as some may specialise in a particular platform. So if you choose Magento, find a vendor who’s all over Magento. Same goes with the rest of the big-name e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce or PrestaShop.
How to make it happen
Plan, plan, and plan some more
Switching platforms is essentially a full business overhaul — so planning down to the smallest detail can be helpful in keeping the project running smoothly, on-time and on-budget.
Pay particular attention to things like:
- The site structure of the new platform, compared to your current one
- Mapping your current URLs to the new ones, and putting redirects in place where necessary (keeping your backlinks alive and well is super important!)
- Storing a backup of your current software, just in case
- Preparing for a loss in site traffic (usually short-term)
You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll do it yourself (a very brave decision) or work with a partner. And as a general rule, however long you or your vendor think it’ll take, double it.
Keep both stores running while you’re in limbo
What’s worse than a suboptimal online store is no store at all.
While you’re ironing out the creases in your new site, it’s smart (and safe) to keep your old store running. You can even include a CTA for customers to check out the new store before it’s officially launched.
How does OGOship make switching e-commerce platforms simple?
Now, this is the part where we talk about OGOship, because it really is insanely easy to switch e-commerce platforms with us.
With myOGO, you can connect multiple stores to one inventory. That means you can have both the old and new stores running simultaneously, with orders and shipments running without a hitch.
Better yet, you can even go a little wild and test different channels. Maybe you want to sell your goods on Amazon, or dabble in a bit of Etsy. With myOGO and OGOship as your 3PL partner, you can use the same stock for both your own online store and third-party retailer and optimize your logistics to the max.
You can use our warehouse network and have multiple warehouse locations for your store. This way, the warehouse closest to your customer fulfills the order. Without a service like this, it’d be almost impossible to integrate two warehouses to one store. Or if it were possible, you’d need all sorts of additional (and sometimes costly) plugins to the shop.
The whole reason why OGOship and it’s Order Management System exist is that you can basically forget about logistics. It sounds crazy, but hear us out.
The orders, shipments and stock values are automatically updated to your online store. This means that if you don’t want to, you don’t have to step foot (or finger) inside myOGO at all.
With myOGO and OGOship you’re not tied down to one e-commerce platform. Changing to a new platform is still a hassle, but, with a seamless logistics process working away in the background, there’s just one less thing to worry about.
If you’re in the process of switching platforms and would like to learn more (or just forget about logistics once and for all) get in touch with our e-commerce specialists here.