eCommerce Replatforming and Migration Explained. How to Migrate Your Online Project in 2023
Many businesses are thinking of changing their ecommerce platform vendor today. In this article, we are going to discuss why it happens, the importance of replatforming, and the drawbacks of such a migration.
Here, you will find out the difference between replatforming and refactoring, examples of successful ecommerce replatforming, and free tips on how to do it smoothly and with a guarantee of a great result.
- What Does Replatforming Mean
- What Does Replatforming Mean in eCommerce
- What Is eCommerce Migration
- eCommerce Replatform and Migration Statistics
- Why Should a Business Replatform?
- The Types of eCommerce Platforms to Consider Before Migration
- Why Replatforming Can Be a Bad Idea?
- eCommerce Migration Step by Step Guide
- What Else Would You Need to Replatform Successfully
- Successful Migration Examples
- How We Helped De Klok Dranken to Replatform from SAP
- Wrapping It Up
What Does Replatforming Mean
Replatforming definition means migrating from one software platform to another. This can be moving from a legacy to a cloud-based solution or from one vendor to another. Most companies replatform to improve the performance, scalability, reliability, or cost-effectiveness of the existing system. Sometimes, it is needed to address technical debt, keep up with industry standards, or meet changing business requirements.
Replatforming vs. refactoring: the difference
These are two different approaches to improving software systems. The main difference is how much the system changes.
Replatforming migrates the system to another platform saving its underlying code. Typically, this is moving the system from a legacy technology stack to a modern one (mostly cloud-based). The main replatforming goal is improving the performance, getting greater scalability, enhancing reliability, or cost-effectiveness of the existing system. Sometimes, it requires changing other parts of the system, such as hardware or networks.
Refactoring, in turn, involves working with code: an existing code is improved to enhance system’s design, structure, and maintainability. Programmers rewrite code, restructure the codebase, and optimize performance. Refactoring may involve adding new functionality or removing outdated features. This means the main goal of refactoring is to improve the code, making it easier to maintain and configure.
What Does Replatforming Mean in eCommerce
Replatforming ecommerce refers to the process of migrating an existing ecommerce platform to a new one. It is either moving to a different technology stack or completely changing ecommerce platforms. The goal most ecommerce businesses pursue is to improve the performance and scalability of the ecommerce website or application and provide faster time-to-value.
Replatforming for ecommerce can be difficult and intricate, encompassing planning, data migration, configuration, testing, and launch. It involves choosing an appropriate ecommerce platform and establishing project timelines and resource needs. Yet, by investing in a more capable and adaptable platform, businesses can remain competitive in the dynamic ecommerce sector while avoiding the disruption caused by those who prioritize quick results over long-term sustainability.
What Is eCommerce Migration
eCommerce migration involves transferring an online store from one platform to another, including all data, settings, and functionality, while minimizing the impact on business operations and end-users. This includes migrating product information, categories, customer accounts, and orders from the old platform to the new one. The process is typically split into three main stages.
At this step, we set up a new ecommerce platform, ensuring it meets the specific business needs, covers needed customization and design, works with payment gateways, and offers relevant shipping options.
This one is a critical aspect of migration. You have to check the platform works correctly and provides a needed level of user experience. You can use user acceptance testing, load testing, and functional testing.
At this step, you deploy the new ecommerce platform on your servers or in the cloud, verify that everything is working correctly, and provide support when needed.
eCommerce Replatform and Migration Statistics
The ecommerce software app market is expected to reach $7.4 billion in 2023, which means it’s a perfect moment to replatform now and forever (it is possible if you choose the platform that can grow with you!). According to Digital Commerce 360, 27% of ecommerce companies are thinking about migration already. And 61% of them plan to do it in 2023
Digital Commerce 360 claims that most businesses (35%) want to migrate as they need adaptable, externally hosted, and fast ecommerce software; 31% of the respondents want to have control over internal development. However, only 8% of them think about going headless or embracing microservices.
However, these new capabilities of modern solutions can bring you even more benefits than it may seem. Headless solutions make your back end and front end independent: now, it’s the perfect moment to upgrade whatever you need without affecting another side. Microservices, in turn, provide more agility and greater capabilities for developing whatever you need.
The price of migration most businesses expect is $25,001 and $500,000. Most possibly, the highest expected $500,000 are considered by the companies thinking about moving to giant platforms like SAP or Salesforce. Although, according to The Total Economic Impact™ Of SAP Commerce Cloud And SAP Customer Data Cloud by Forrester, the price of such platforms is way higher and sometimes reaches $900,000 for everyone offering many outdated or unneeded features in the box, while most modern platforms offer order-based or GMV-based pricing approach, so the price is really affordable and covers only what you really need.
Why Should a Business Replatform?
As an ecommerce business owner, replatforming ecommerce solutions can be a crucial step toward achieving your business goals. By replatforming, you can reach functional, technical, and marketing superiority over competitors and avoid disruption by other businesses. Here are some reasons why ecommerce businesses should consider replatforming:
Functional reasons to replatform
- Customization and scalability
As your ecommerce business grows, you need a platform that can keep up with increasing market demands, sales volume, and growing competition. Replatforming is your chance to choose a solution that can scale with your business, and offer robust features such as automatic scaling, caching, and load balancing.
- User experience
If your current platform is slow, difficult to navigate, or lacks essential features, your customers may become frustrated and look for alternatives. Replatforming can help you create a seamless user experience that encourages visitors to stay on your website, engage with your content, and make purchases.
- Fast time-to-value
Choosing a modern modular platform that is easily adaptable is always a better idea. Thinking that “nobody gets fired for purchasing IBM”, many people do not realize that legacy platform would require even more money for less capabilities, will not provide any future-proof guarantees, and may potentially kill the business in the future. Instead of thinking about getting praised here and now, the better strategy is to choose something that provides fast time-to-value now, and guarantees it in the future due to high adaptability.
Technical reasons to replatform
Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, and ecommerce businesses are prime targets for cybercriminals. Migrating, you choose a platform that offers enhanced security features.
Slow-loading pages can affect your SEO and CX, the conversion rates become low, and less people get attracted. By replatforming, you can choose a platform with faster load times, faster checkout processes, and more efficient performance.
Marketing reasons to replatform
A platform that is not optimized for SEO can make it difficult for your website to rank well in search engine results, limiting your visibility and reducing traffic. Replatforming can help you choose a platform that offers SEO-friendly features such as meta tags, sitemaps, and mobile optimization.
Your website's design and branding are crucial to building a strong online presence and creating a memorable customer experience.
Common pains of ecommerce migration and how to avoid them
Migrating an ecommerce website to a new platform can be daunting. However, it can also be a necessary one to keep up with the latest technology and features that your business needs to grow. Here are some common pains of ecommerce migrations and how to avoid them:
1. Data loss or corruption
One of the biggest risks associated with ecommerce migration is the loss or corruption of data. This can lead to unhappy customers, lost sales, and a damaged reputation. To avoid this, ensure that you back up all of your data before the migration process begins.
2. Possible downtimes
Getting offline can be incredibly frustrating for your customers; it can lead to lost sales and a negative user experience. A great tip is to plan your migration during a low traffic time, or let your customers know in advance, so they are aware of any potential access issues.
3. Technical difficulties
Migrating your ecommerce solution can be challenging. These can be incompatible extensions and coding errors. To mitigate the risks, engage an experienced development team who can identify potential issues and provide solutions to avoid any potential issues.
4. SEO impact
ecommerce migration can also have a significant impact on your website's SEO. During the replatforming, ensure that all URLs are redirected properly to the new platform, conduct a SEO audit to ensure that all metadata and content are properly transferred to the new site.
5. Customer experience
ecommerce migrations can impact your CX as well. Before you decide on replatforming to any particular system, ensure that the new platform is easy to use and provides a seamless checkout experience.
The Types of eCommerce Platforms to Consider Before Migration
Replatforming with a changing vendor only and replatforming to a brand new system are two different approaches to migrating an ecommerce website to a new platform. Let’s dive into both and a bit deeper.
Changing a vendor only
This approach involves migrating to a new platform provided by the same vendor you currently use. This could be a new version of your existing platform or another platform offered by the same vendor.
Replatforming to a brand new platform
Choosing this approach, you move to a completely new ecommerce platform, from a different vendor or custom-built.
Ultimately, what you choose fully depends on your specific needs and business goals. If you are happy with your current vendor but want more features or an upgraded version of the same platform, replatforming to another solution from the same vendor may be the best option. However, if you want more customization options, flexibility, and increased functionality, migrating to a brand new customizable system may be the better choice.
Choosing a type of an ecommerce platform
Monolithic architecture is a standard approach where all components of a webstore are interconnected, causing any back-end modifications to impact the entire solution. As a result, rebuilding the entire ecommerce system becomes the only way to implement any small changes.
SaaS solutions are cloud-based software licensed through subscriptions and fully controlled by providers, requiring their confirmation for any changes. This is ideal for smaller businesses with slow growth and basic feature needs.
Modular architecture and open-source
Modular architecture and open-source technology, such as Virto, offer the flexibility to build websites according to individual specifications without disrupting existing storefront features.
Why Replatforming Can Be a Bad Idea?
Replatforming can offer significant benefits to ecommerce businesses, however, it may not always be the best decision. The decision to replatform should be carefully considered, taking into account the potential costs, disruptions, and risks involved, as well as the benefits that a new platform can offer.
The trap of constant replatforming
Once you decide to replatform, choose wisely: replatforming to the legacy systems can lead to the opposite result. You may spend many resources, time and money to replatform only to realize that the features you were waiting for so long cannot compete with the latest ones anymore. Once you realize it, the best solution to this issue is replatforming again. Many choose migration to another well-known, large and proud platform. However, with a time passing, the solution comes to the same result: outdated capabilities and long and expensive upgrade. Replatfroming again? Choose wisely next time, and select the future-proof modern modular system that would not require another replatforming.
eCommerce Migration Step by Step Guide
Building a migration plan is crucial for success. It includes identifying the reasons why you need to migrate, selecting a platform, defining the scope and timing of the migration, and considering the timeline and resource. Here are the main steps to go while starting your website replatforming:
1. Initial audit
The first step is to audit your existing platform and evaluate any issues. It's also essential to interview internal stakeholders and ensure everyone understands the real reasons behind the migration. Defining your needs, expected platform requirements, and long-term goals is important.
2. Building a plan
Planning your migration and creating a pre-launch plan involves considering data and content migration, data organization, page building and generation of content, aligning site navigation, setting up front- and back-end design. Do not forget to plan integrations, staff training, SEO plan.
3. Finding a perfect vendor
Look for experienced vendors that can offer success stories, demos, and many learning materials. Ensure you can have the platform overview, continuous support, and maybe some personnel training. Consult on the guarantees and capabilities. Ensure that the pricing model fits you and you will be able to afford the initial implementation and all the additional payments, if any.
4. Launch and testing
Check and test all website functionality, links, and checkout experience before launch. To ensure the website will guarantee a perfect CX, determine the exact launch time, how you are going to troubleshoot issues, and forecast your time-to-value.
Essentially, you will never stop monitoring and testing checkout functionality, emailing capabilities, and reporting. You will always take care of technical SEO audits and the proper functioning of analytics and tracking codes. To do this, you will probably need somebody to help you out — an experienced vendor or technical and marketing team.
Why ecommerce consultant can be helpful in the migration process
Having an ecommerce replatform consultant or a trusted partner can be important for several reasons. Here are a few:
An ecommerce replatforming consultant has expertise in the ecommerce industry and understands the various platforms available. If your team doesn’t have enough experience on building strong and complex systems, consulting some expert can help a lot.
2. Saving time and money
Replatforming is a significant investment. An expert in ecommerce replatforming can help you find out and identify potential costs and savings in the migration process, provide recommendations and help you meet your business requirements while saving time and minimizing disruption to your business.
3. Risk Mitigation
During the replatforming, unexpected issues can potentially arise. An ecommerce replatform consultant can identify potential issues and provide solutions to avoid them.
Was my migration successful?
To understand if your ecommerce replatforming was successful from a technical standpoint, you should evaluate the following aspects:
Technical signs of a successful replatforming
Improved site performance is a primary indicator of a successful replatforming. Evaluate metrics such as page load times, server response times, and overall site speed. If they have improved — you are on your way to success.
A stable website free of errors and downtime is a great indicator. If your website works correctly, the CX and loyalty will grow, and you will not have to spend time conducting constant maintenance.
After the replatforming, ensure all the needed functionalities work correctly. Ensure all the previous features are available, and any new functionalities are working as expected.
Check the correctness of security measures to protect your website against potential security threats. The website must be compliant with industry standards and regulations and guarantee that all sensitive customer data is secure.
Business signs the replatforming was successful
To understand if your ecommerce replatforming was successful from a business point of view, you should evaluate the following aspects:
1. Increased sales
One of the primary indicators of a successful ecommerce replatforming is increased sales. You should monitor your website traffic and sales data before and after the replatforming to evaluate the impact on your business. An increase in sales is a positive sign that the replatforming was successful.
2. Improved customer experience
A successful ecommerce replatforming should result in an improved customer experience. Check out customer feedback and reviews to evaluate customer satisfaction. The best indicators of successful replatforming are positive feedback and improved customer retention rates.
3. Cost savings
A successful replatforming should result in cost savings in the long run: monitor and analyze your operating costs to ensure that the new platform is more cost-effective than the previous one.
4. Improved operations
Ensure your internal processes work on productivity and efficiency. A successful replatforming always leads to more streamlined processes and improved productivity.
5. Flexibility and scalability
The upgraded website should be able to handle increased traffic and orders. Ensure your platform provides the necessary flexibility to support your business's changing needs.
6. Improved brand image
A successful ecommerce replatforming should result in an improved brand image. You should monitor customer feedback and reviews to evaluate the impact on brand reputation. Positive feedback and increased brand recognition are indicators of successful replatforming.
ecommerce migrations require all hands on deck to be successful, especially at the enterprise level. This Virto Commerce white paper provides insight into how to avoid and overcome typical ecommerce platform migration problems and steps to achieving migration success.
What Else Would You Need to Replatform Successfully
Besides the vendor that can guarantee you will have a long-run good solution that will cover all your needs, you should also take care of the additional tools (either you can reach them by yourself or gain from your vendor). Here is the list of tools you might need:
1. eCommerce platform evaluation tools
These tools can help you choose the right platform for your business. They provide a comprehensive evaluation of different ecommerce platforms based on your business needs, helping you make an informed decision.
2. Project management tools
eCommerce replatforming can be a complex process involving multiple stakeholders and tasks. Project management tools such as Asana, Trello, or Jira can help you streamline the process and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
3. Data migration tools
Data migration is a critical component of ecommerce replatforming. Data migration tools can help you transfer your data from your old platform to the new one, ensuring that no data is lost or corrupted during the process.
4. Design and development tools
eCommerce replatforming often involves redesigning and developing the website. Design and development tools such as Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, and Figma can help you create an attractive and functional website that meets your business needs.
5. Testing and quality assurance tools
Testing and quality assurance are essential components of ecommerce replatforming. Testing and quality assurance tools such as Selenium, BrowserStack, or Sauce Labs can help you test your website on different devices and browsers, ensuring that it is functional and user-friendly.
6. Analytics and tracking tools
Analytics and tracking tools such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, or Mixpanel can help you track your website's performance and identify areas for improvement, helping you optimize your website for increased sales and improved customer experience.
Successful Migration Examples
Most modern companies aim for simpler architecture and more capabilities. So, many businesses have moved from monolithic platforms to modern solutions. Depending on the business needs, here can be some options. Here, we provide examples of successful replatforming.
Moving from monolith to SaaS
As known, a big jewelry provider Astrid & Miyu moved to Shopify Plus from a monolithic solution. Another ecommerce business, The Upside, moved to BigCommerce. The USA building materials supplier Concrete Pump Supply moved to WooCommerce as they needed more connections with WordPress. All of these companies realized at one moment that the old monolithic solutions do not work anymore.
Compared to using monolithic solutions, the businesses in our example increased in revenue pretty quickly, saved money on constant long upgrades, and got modern features.
Sounds great, however, SaaS platforms can also bring some challenges in the future:
- When out-of-the-box features are not enough, you can hardly add them with the help of your vendor.
- Businesses totally depend on the vendor.
- Many additional features are paid and take a long run to become available.
Anyway, there is a definitely better solution: moving from monolith straight to the modular open-source solution like Virto.
Moving from monolith to Modular, API-based and Open-Source
Moving from a monolithic architecture to a modular, API-based, and open-source one can offer several benefits:
- A modular architecture enables developers to break down an application into smaller, more manageable modules, which can be developed, tested, and deployed independently.
- An API-based architecture allows for the creation of well-defined interfaces that enable different components to communicate with each other seamlessly.
- Open-source software provides greater flexibility, scalability, and security, as it allows developers to leverage existing code and collaborate with others in the community.
- Overall, this shift can result in faster development, greater flexibility, reduced complexity, improved scalability, and better integration with third-party systems.
Here in Virto, we can provide several examples on how the replatforming worked successfully in other projects:
- Lavazza which is now fully configurable, works with B2B and B2C, and offers many capabilities to its clients.
- De Klok that could disrupt their competitors and win the market game by integrating partners and vendors into the new platform
- Hengdeli who improved their inventory, ordering and could save more while getting bigger sales.
How We Helped De Klok Dranken to Replatform from SAP
De Klok Dranken is a major wholesaler of beverages and food for hospitality businesses in the Netherlands. The company needed a replatfroming from the heavy SAP solution to leverage the adoption rate, improve CX and disrupt the growing competitors.
From the variety of platforms, the customer has chosen the Virto Commerce platform and Innovadis technology integrator. A headless and modular solution from Virto was the perfect option as it could easily integrate with the existing tools and functions of De Klok, provide seamless data import and export, and enabled many innovations, now and in the future.
In a few weeks, the solution was deployed, and for several years as of now, it serves products from 80% of De Klok vendors. During this time, De Klok has integrated with other solutions, added new functionalities, and reached the fastest time-to-value possible. Now, it is the leading beverage distributor with 80% of general adoption rate and great perspectives.
Read the full De Klok Dranken success story on our website.
Wrapping It Up
Replatforming is not always easy, but it can resolve many of your existing issues and lead your company to success. The most important thing is to realize that “buying an IBM” cannot guarantee a bright future for your company while will probably push you into continuous replatforming cycle. To learn more about the capabilities modern solutions like Virto can offer, reach out to our expert team and get a full consultation about the capabilities Virto can offer for your business needs exactly.