Many companies realize that their eCommerce platforms aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, whether it’s a maturing startup facing the challenges of ‘growing pains’ or a seasoned business ‘trapped’ in a platform that’s limiting their ability to meet new challenges and capture emerging opportunities.
Identifying the red flags and admitting that a problem exists is the first step toward a solution, even if you aren’t quite ready to contact an eCommerce provider just yet.
Once it’s determined that your current eCommerce platform is inadequate to your current and future needs and it’s time to make a switch, you might be wondering what the next steps are. But before we can talk turkey about the selection of a new platform, you’ll need to take a closer look at the specific needs of your organization and the challenges inherent to your business.
We’ve made this step easy for you. Below, we’ve listed a series of categories that, in our experience, most eCommerce businesses fall into. Take a look at each of these and see which one best describes you. From there, it’ll be simple to determine the key challenges preventing your eCommerce growth.
As the Graduate, you started off with a small online presence that offered limited eCommerce functionality. It was a simple system that worked well for the time—but it didn’t take long for you to outgrow it. Maybe your business developed faster than you expected, or maybe your growth projections were a bit too conservative, but either way, you’ve come to realize that your current system is no longer adequate.
Really, this is a good thing. Your business has grown, and your online presence has grown alongside it. That’s something to be proud of. Not every business makes it to this point, particularly in competitive eCommerce. But on the flip side, the eCommerce platform you chose for its speed to launch and its simplicity is now the very thing holding you back from future growth.
But that’s not all it’s doing. It’s preventing your growth, and it’s also preventing you from differentiating yourself from the competition. Without robust platform features that let you customize the eCommerce experience and stand out from your biggest competitors, you’re stuck fighting a battle you can’t win.
We’ve seen this happen most often with off-the-shelf solutions, such as Shopify, Volusion, or Magento. They’re great for small businesses just starting out, but when your company matures to a certain point, their charm quickly wears off, and the limitations of the platform start to show through.
Nevertheless, we’ve seen companies show some crazy loyalty to these platforms, even as they outgrow their capabilities. Heck, Shopify and Magento alone encompass nearly a third (31 percent) of total eCommerce market share, so it’s clear they have no shortage of customers. But how many of these customers are compromising on their eCommerce experience just for the sake of sticking to what’s familiar?
This, above all, is the Graduate’s defining feature. You recognize the opportunities you’re leaving on the table, and you’re ready to uplevel your platform to better suit your customers’ needs.
In other words, you’re ready to “graduate” to a new platform.
Next, we have the trapped enterprise.
This is a larger company that’s been running its own eCommerce platform for awhile. The system works fine, but the company’s growth is quickly outpacing the platform’s capabilities. In fact, most companies of a similar size have invested in modern eCommerce platforms that include headless commerce functionality.
Sure, the systems work fine—but since when did “fine” become the standard you’re striving for? You’re well aware that your web store experience is showing diminishing returns from when you first got it, and you’re beginning to see some serious limitations pop up in terms of what you can do. You may be leaving sales opportunities on the table, or you might be lagging behind your peers in the customer experience you provide.
And worst of all, your existing eCommerce platform is fully integrated into your accounting, finance, and CMS systems, making a platform migration sound daunting. You fear you can’t afford the downtime and expense of a full migration, so you’re stuck with a platform that’s functional but prevents you from creating a truly competitive eCommerce experience.
In a sense, you’re “trapped” by your platform.
At this point, you’re interested in upgrading to a more robust eCommerce platform that allows you to build out your eCommerce presence while being flexible enough to be retrofitted into your existing ecosystem. In other words, you’re ready to move to a best-of-breed eCommerce solution that’s better suited to your advanced needs.
You were an early innovator in your niche. As one of the first companies of your kind, you didn’t have the luxury of choosing among numerous eCommerce suites. You had to bootstrap a solution on your own. And it worked! Your platform did its job and helped you achieve respectable growth.
But then some time passed. New competitors entered your space and were able to build their businesses on the latest and greatest platforms available on the market. These systems feature extensive functionality and modern components that just weren’t possible when you developed your own proprietary system. And now that your competitors are thinning the consumer herds, you find yourself impeded by your platform.
You’ve always been an innovator—but now you’re stuck playing “catch-up” with your younger competitors.
Catch-up innovators need to move beyond outdated systems that are costly to maintain and progress into the modern era with new, better-supported eCommerce platforms. But despite the name, the goal here isn’t just to catch up with others. It’s to surpass others and enable the same type of innovations that got you here in the first place.
Of course, this is easier said than done. As a larger company, you have a larger IT footprint—meaning that, just like the trapped enterprises, migrating platforms is no small feat. Every piece of your IT infrastructure is closely linked, with accounting, shipping, warehousing, and other functions all tied directly to your sluggish eCommerce platform. We’re willing to bet that you’ve been aware of this problem for a while and are just now ready to take action.
And now, it’s time for the good news: Action is possible. Regardless of which of the above personas you fall into, your action plan begins with outlining your goals and establishing guidelines for the migration.
If you’re still unsure of how to begin, it may be time to consult with an expert team. Slatwall Commerce specializes in helping businesses break through their biggest platform challenges. From understanding your biggest time and money sinks, to developing comprehensive strategies, we’ll walk you through each step of the process . Set up your free consultation with our team today.