Have you ever owned a comfortable pair of shoes that you just loved to wear?
A pair of shoes so great that your feet would scream to wear them, each time you entered into a shoe-choosing situation?
A pair that looked spectacular with whatever your wardrobe selection and a pair that would easily go toe-to-toe (no pun intended) with any other foot-apparel in your closet?
I had a pair of awesome shoes just like that. I say ‘had‘ as past tense, because I recently had to part with my favorite pair of chompers.
Here is a few places these kick-ass casual’s took me.
- Internet Retailer Conference – twice!
- Boston and Los Angeles
- Minneapolis, St. Paul and Chicago
- Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Philadelphia
- Little Rock, Arkansas, Duluth, (Minnesota not Georgia) Atlantic City and Atlanta
After about 9 years of owning them, my shoes started to wear. (Yes, 9 years overdue) While I loved them and they looked great, they were literally falling apart.
The bottoms started to develop holes in them and these holes were letting in rain and moisture on my feet.
I even had them repaired by a shoe shop and even purchased inserts to make them more comfortable, but the fact remained: my old pair of dogs, would have to be replaced.
So…what does my shoe metaphor have to do with the notion of re-platforming your E-Commerce site?
All things are not created equal
And all of them are not created equal. Some E-Commerce platforms are low cost, some are expensive, while some are easy to use and some platforms make the process of changing a coma in a sentence appear like an act of congress.
Most E-Comm platforms have features like built-in analytics so you can review buying data from customers, on-page SEO services to increase traffic to specific products, and email marketing tools so your business can communicate regularly with your customers and those who share their email address with you.
Other E-Comm platforms will have mobile-ready responsive themes, features to attract new customers through coupons, free-shipping and other features that improve shopping cart conversions.
The bottom line: with the invent of all these E-Commerce shopping cart solutions, your current platform may be behind the eight ball.
And in being behind the eight ball, your E-Comm software platform may be failing to help you grow by not using current buying trends and tactics.
I’m no Rockefeller, but I don’t think it’s wise from a business perspective to embrace a technology partner that is missing the mark of helping me gain sales online because their platform, like my shoes, became old, broken, and irrelevant.
Infrastructure like a boss
Another reason to re-platform is because your current E-Comm provider is giving you nothing but hassle because of an older E-Commerce infrastructure, which in the end limits your growth.
Older E-Commerce infrastructure may require many updates and can be more and more difficult to support, from an IT perspective.
Aging E-Commerce software framework can be problematic as some can limit your customer acquisition options, while not allowing for customization.
Examples of this would be software that is hard-coded, rather than open source. (open source being much easier to scale)
Certain infrastructure also limits control by your IT department and marketing. (limiting your technical team and putting your ability to market your SKU’s and products in handcuffs is never something to aspire to)
Some other things to ponder, when considering changing for the better: if aspects of your current framework are causing issues, issues like making changes to CSS files, SKU-related data, and customer data, then it’s time to spend the money and move to an open source platform. WooCommerce is an excellent open source platform that we recommend.
You need to own an efficient and convenient infrastructure like a boss.
The boring part of project management is the exciting part of making money
Project management is not necessarily a reason to re-platform your E-Commerce efforts, but it is a critically important part of the process.
And yes, it is frightfully boring.
When done well, however, it can save you time, stress and money.
When considering an E-Commerce re-platform, you need to have a leader on your team to take charge and get the internal tasks done, so the project goes off without a hitch.
Their title doesn’t necessarily need to be “Awesome Project Manager” but they do need to know and understand project management and have a process in place, so things don’t fall through the cracks.
Or you can also outsource this piece to a web development firm, like BNG Design, to compete for your business.
Let’s touch on the steps for a minute.
The first step in any E-Comm project should be a requirements document.
In project management terms, a requirements document is a written project plan that defines all the pieces of your project.
It covers things like the following:
- Purpose of the project: both technical and business perspective
- Stakeholders involved, like Marketing, Director of E-Commerce, IT
- Functional requirements (e.g. what the product should do)
- Workflow plans, timelines and milestones
- Evaluation plan and metrics
- Test and launch established
- Post-launch fixes and training (if necessary)
Once the requirements document is completed, the second logical step is what’s called a scope creep. A scope creep, also known as a feature creep, identifies features and additions to be evaluated for their impact to budgets and timelines.
For example, an 11th hour User-Interface (UI) enhancement may sound like a good idea, but it may offer your consumer little value, all the while kill site performance and disrupt your E-Commerce budget.
Having a strong requirements document and scope-creep done may seem boring, but it will save you expenses and keep your cash-in-hand.
The final step is to put all this into a formal project plan, or project management document.
Putting a premium on increasing conversions
One of the most important reasons to re-platform your E-Commerce solution needs to be centered around increasing shopping cart conversions.
I understand that creating believable and persuasive content brings customers, increases traffic and influences purchases, but one of the most important metrics to measure should be raising the bar of the check-out process.
So…how can you increase conversions?
Mobile, and email functionality, that’s how.
To offer your consumer the convenience of buying with a smartphone is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. This is a HUGE piece of the rationale to re-platform, and this coupled with email can directly impact conversions.
And let’s not forget email. It’s definitely not dead and here are some email E-Commerce stats that will blow your mind.
- Good email marketing = ROI of around 4,300% (Internet Retailer)
- 80% of E-Comm consumers say they are influenced by marketing messages received daily. (Internet Retailer)
- 70% of consumers say they are influenced to check-out using promotions and coupons from email.
- 60% of consumers indicate that special offers, which motivate buyers to buy on your site, is why they subscribe to email promotions.
Email functionality inside your E-Commerce SaaS needs to be top of mind.
Companies like Scottevest.com have exploded their growth utilizing email marketing to engage and capture sales. Email is one of the best drip campaign tools to attract traffic and customers. And email allows you to stay top-of-mind to your audience, communicate promotions and increase customer service.
The E-Commerce platform that your small to medium sized company chooses, should have a robust email marketing tool built in or at the very least be able to integrate into your existing one.
Another tidbit to consider: using marketing automation tools can help you grow online.
Simply put, E-Commerce is all about enticing customers to convert by hitting the submit button. This is the last step of an online sale and the ultimate goal of the person managing your E-Commerce shop should be to improve this process.
Just a quick recap. Follow these steps, for a successful E-Comm re-platform result.
- Consider your infrastructure.
- Have a rock-solid project management plan in place or hire a project manager, if necessary.
- Consider critical conversion and sales impacting functions like email, and mobile.
Could you use some help with this?
Contact BNG Design today so we can discuss all of the benefits of re-platforming your site.
And by the way, if you’re in the market for a new pair of casual shoes, like I was, I recommend getting a pair here.