You have options: 4 types of eCommerce replatforming projects

February 03, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce

The early months of every new year offer up opportunities to reflect on the past to improve in the future. For eCommerce companies, the future looks particularly bright. No matter the retail sector, forecast after forecast calls for double-digit growth in the online sales arena. According to a forecast from eMarketer, a research firm focused on digital marketing, media and commerce, worldwide B2C eCommerce sales will hit $1.5 trillion in 2014, a rise of more than 20 percent.

But the big predictions don’t necessarily have e-retailers resting on their laurels. The healthy market is instead motivating online sellers to optimize their store assets to reap more revenue from the forecasts than their competitors. For many, optimization means the ushering in of more website features and functionality. The challenge then is to ensure current eCommerce platforms can support those additions.

If an eCommerce solution can’t support added functionality, an online store owner will have to consider a replatforming project. That in itself could come in various forms, including:

  1. A re-implementation because of a botched job. Some companies may believe that it’s the software to blame if certain features can’t be installed when in reality, the software’s not at fault. If an eCommerce platform isn’t delivering on the functionality that it was originally billed for, a full rewrite might not be necessary. Instead, a re-implementation may be the solution. To determine the proper course of action, it will be helpful to get an assessment from an outside firm that didn’t do the initial implementation.
  2. An upgrade to a newer software version. As new versions become available, more features and functionality become available, as well. Therefore, business owners should determine what version they’re currently running on and then check to see what’s available with an upgrade. More often than not, versions upgrades were created to answer the demands of users and will, in turn, come with the desired bells and whistles.   
  3. A move from one hardware environment to a new hardware environment. As a business grows, its hardware hosting requirements will inevitably grow with it. Shared, off-site hosting can be a great place for an eCommerce site to start, but at some point, it might make more sense to host it in-house. Whether it be the need for higher capacity servers or more control over when and how changes to the site take place, a big change in a hosting environment can fall under the replatforming umbrella. After all, it is typically the same set of business drivers that steer this type of decision-making process.
  4. A total software replacement. When all other options can be ruled out, a full replatform may be in order. As with the hardware, as a company grows, the technology requirements grow with it. Graduating from entry-level software can be seen as a milemarker in an online business’s journey toward success. Part of that journey, however, will be evaluating what needs aren’t being met with the current software and then determining which replacement software can fill the bill.

Regardless of the type of replatforming, when a project has come to a close, a company should find itself in the position to add the features and functionality that its customers have been looking for. Company executives, too, will be able to reap the satisfaction of increased revenue and a loyal customer base – all thanks to stable technology as the business’s foundation.

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.