Search

Replatforming your online retail site: You need to remember this

replatforming-online-retail-site-top-bnr-jpg

By: Tal Ofer

If you’ve ever replatformed your online retail site, you may have found it costly, difficult, or even risky.

Fortunately, ecommerce platforms have evolved and can help online retailers to provide a unified shopping experience across all channels, without having to spend significant technical or financial resources.

This article will explain what you need to remember when you’re replatforming, and how to approach it.

The challenges of replatforming

In a fast paced and competitive global market, one of the urgent needs for many retailers is to transform the business in order to provide seamless shopping experience that can help converting existing customers and reaching new prospects. To put things into context, the world digital retail sales amounted to $1.86tn in 2017 and is forecasted to reach up to $4.48tn by 2021.

The ecommerce platform has a major role to play in this -  it is the digital face of the company and part of the eco-system of the business connecting to warehouse management system, ERP, Order Management System and other technologies including the ones used in-store.

Getting the right ecommerce platform is essential in removing operational constraints and boost sales scalability. It could be a challenge for example to transfer data from legacy systems into databases as it can take many working days of uploading and checking individual datapoints.

Therefore, by choosing for example a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, a business can reduce friction by avoiding time lost by administrating installations and platform incompatibilities. Interestingly, 20 % of costs occur from implementing the platform, while only 5% are caused from buying the actual platform.

Retailers and brands usually consider re-platforming when they face some pains or issues on the site. Whether it’s the need to launch new international markets or new products, the high maintenance costs, slow performance, limited catalogue functionality or lack of marketing capabilities, the retailer would look to upgrade if it wants to provide a fantastic customer experience, deliver growth and being able to compete against other retailers in the market.

replatforming-online-retail-site-progress-jpg

But remember:

In order not to lose potential revenue, retailers need to develop strategies to cover today’s shoppers’ customer journey and provide them with a seamless offline and online experience.

Your Order Management System (OMS) can help managing multiple warehouses inventory, fulfill orders from stores or other fulfillment setups, track client’s order actions. In the case of cross-border online retail, it is essential to be tax compliant with all countries around the globe, have the option to interface with leading marketplaces, providing your customers with localised payment options and having the option of multi-catalogues and different assortment per country.

Moreover, having unlimited localisation options can help make the difference. Supporting localised languages, prices, banners, promotions, shipment and order tracking will help fulfill customers’ needs and are essential for success in a ruthless online retail world, where lack of functionality means less revenue and not an ideal customer experience overall.

replatforming-online-retail-site-map-jpg

Image source: IntelligenTranslations

The customer, wherever he is on the globe, expects a localised experience that includes menus, product pages and checkout translated to his local language, pricing in his local currency, the ability to pay with familiar payment methods (not just the dominant debit and credit cards but also bank transfers, pay later, cash on delivery and different e-wallets) and the flexibility in terms of choosing the right delivery option.

What to remember when you re-platform

Providing a safe, reliable shopping experience and guaranteeing customers’ data privacy at all touchpoints is a priority for every digital business (57% of customers in 2016 were concerned that their personal information could be stolen).

Marketers are looking at ways to best monetise their customers’ data and grow the lifetime value of each customer. Achieving it can be done by a platform that provides you the capabilities to build up loyalty programmes, provide personalisation, product recommendation and predictive search.

Moreover, ensuring customer-centric experiences in stores, on mobile, social media and the website is the foundation for omnichannel marketing. By using the collected data, retailers can improve their existing strategy, organising insights, design relevant and creative experiences that span across the various touchpoints and reach their audiences with tailored content and measure the impact of these campaigns

When coming to choose a platform, marketers need to look at what services and functionality is available and whether it could drive long term success aligned with the business objectives.

Conclusion

Staying at the top of the game requires retailers and brands to examine their platforms and whether they are fit for purpose. Evaluating re-platforming whether influenced in-house or by having existing relationship with a system integrator, can help explore the options available in the market – an extensive research and strategy phase before deciding on a platform is a must.

Bearing in mind that only 39% of digital transformation efforts deliver performance results above expectations, and 59% of change management missed at least one objective or failed completely. it is important to consider as part of this process how long and frictionless will implementation will be.

Can the platform integrate with existing IT systems including ERP and WMS? Will you or your SI have direct access to engineers of the platform? Is it a ‘one-size fits all’ or is it fully customized platform? And of course how much it will cost and what’s the potential ROI of re-platforming?

These are in a nutshell the important considerations brands and retailers need to make when thinking about their growth strategies, digital transformation and the omnichannel experience they want to provide their customers with.

 

By: Tal Ofer, UK Country Manager - Keros

Join thousands of other Online Retail professionals

Get unique insights straight to your inbox for free, and improve your understanding of online retail. Subscribe to Online Retail Weekly now.

Fashion Connect 2020 scroll banner