What to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform

Industry News

There are many reasons why a retailer may need to switch to a new eCommerce platform. As the front-end management tool for a retailer’s website, the eCommerce platform may need a design update or total overhaul. But more often than not, retailers end up choosing a new eCommerce platform because of operational reasons. Whether it be outgrowing their current solution, the need for integration and collaboration between systems, or requiring advanced tools and functionality to support changing business needs – retailers should consider ALL components of an eCommerce platform to determine the best fit:

1. Scalability

Retail solutions need to be flexible, allowing for expansion in times of aggressive growth. Many retailers, particularly seasonal sellers, discover that they have outgrown their eCommerce platforms over the holiday season, when the volume of incoming orders increases dramatically. This influx of orders can cause delays in order processing time, a clear sign that it might be time for a change. Other lag time issues are caused by large product catalogs with many attributes. Problems with scalability can affect the front-end shopping experience, including slow site speed and long delivery times, making shoppers well aware that you are unable to keep up.

2. Integrating your eCommerce platform and other systems

Retailers are always looking to improve operational efficiency, and one of the ways of doing this is by deploying new software and systems, such as content management, customer management and order management solutions. However, making all of these different tools play nice with each other is a complex task, particularly when retailers are using old and outdated eCommerce platforms.

Instead of burning time, money and energy trying to integrate all of these solutions with each other, retailers already adopting new technology may want to reconsider an eCommerce platform that is more open and customizable, such as Magento or Bigcommerce Enterprise. Contrary to outdated or custom-built solutions, these eCommerce platforms allow sellers to quickly and easily implement new front-end solutions and integrate them with back-end management solutions, minimizing any downtime along the way.

The key is to analyze current strengths and weaknesses, finding the platform that makes sense for current and future demands and setting a timeline to complete the implementation.

3. Improved functionality

With customers expecting a seamless and quick shopping experience, retailers may want to upgrade their eCommerce platform to be able to optimize checkout and merchandising display options, such as bundles, kits, virtual product, up-sell and cross-sell options. The key is to analyze current strengths and weaknesses, finding the platform that makes sense for current and future demands and setting a timeline to complete the implementation.

As Practical eCommerce contributor Dale Traxler noted, if retailers do indeed decide they need to upgrade or deploy a new eCommerce platform, it is critical they have a clear strategy beforehand. They need to know where they are right now, where they want to be after initial integration, and what they want to accomplish in the years to come.

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