With so many failing ecommerce projects how can you mitigate the risks for successful re-platforming?

04th June 2019

Ensuring a trouble-free transition for your customers

Retailers are losing faith in their ecommerce projects

Retailers are losing faith in the efficacy of their ecommerce projects, with expectations of success often surprisingly low – according to a recent study by digital and ecommerce specialist Greenlight. The study – Ecommerce: the cost of missing metrics – reports that most UK-based retailers (68 percent) fully expect to encounter project failures and accept that around a third of their ecommerce initiatives will deliver no value, despite the increasing challenges and rising levels of investment involved in this aspect of their business.

Here at thinkTRIBE, our experience shows that one of the biggest challenges ecommerce heads face is ensuring their platforms are meeting increasingly high customer experience (CX) standards against a backdrop of rapid and relentless changes in technology. Re-platforming is the logical way to resolve sluggish legacy systems that are resistant to performance improvements and impossible to scale – but in light of so many ecommerce projects missing the mark how can you ensure your re-platforming is a resounding success?

Put your customer front and centre

With customer retention and CX rated among retailers biggest concerns (ranked at 39 and 33 percent respectively in the study), migrating to a new platform makes sense – it creates a more customer-centric ecommerce experience that delivers increased opportunities for personalisation and closer engagement. However, it’s all too easy to miss the mark during a re-platforming project with potentially disastrous outcomes.

One of the more worrying take-outs from the Greenlight research was the low level of focus on key metrics – almost half of the study’s respondents weren’t measuring either customer retention or the bottom-line impact of their projects. Any migration represents a massive undertaking for the project team, which means it’s essential not only to begin the process with clear objectives, but also to have agreed metrics in place for effectively measuring delivery. If a transition is botched, there’s the real potential for damage – reduced conversions and lost revenue in the short term, as well as the longer-term erosion of customer loyalty as a result of a poor CX and adverse PR.

Partnering with a testing and monitoring expert is key

Implementing an intelligent testing and monitoring schedule with a proactive partner is essential to the success of any re-platforming exercise. Conducting a realistic load testing and web monitoring programme throughout the development cycle will not only ensure that the CX is flawless but will also enable the development team to measure the impact of migration on performance.

The Greenlight research highlighted the problems that stem from projects that are rushed, underfunded or under-resourced – all factors that will adversely impact a platform migration. Which is why partnering with a specialist like thinkTRIBE makes sense. We’ve helped clients to implement every type of platform migration – from a platform upgrade, re-platforming to a cloud solution like SAP Commerce or Salesforce Commerce Cloud to the launch of a new in-house platform – and are happy to share our expertise.

Re-platforming mistakes

  • Failing to prioritise CX. Make sure that your customer is front and centre when mapping out your migration plan.
  • Viewing performance testing as an end-of-project process. Factor web testing into your re-platforming budget from the start so you don’t run into problems later down the line.
  • Regarding migration as a purely IT project. The only way to achieve a successful outcome is by uniting internal and external teams as part of a collaborative approach.

Re-platforming can transform businesses – but only if it delivers the kind of experience customers demand. thinkTRIBE’s managed load testing and synthetic website monitoring services instantly extend your team with proactive, experienced performance experts – freeing your technical team to focus on your re-platforming project. We work with a network of trusted partners to support your migration needs and paving the way for a smooth transition.

If you’d like the inside track on 15 years-worth of experience gained working with the UK’s largest brands, download our new ebook.

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Meanwhile, you can read more about how to avoid platform migration mistakes and browse our platform migration checklist at the thinkTRIBE website. Visit our load testing pages to discover more about how we use real customer journeys to improve the CX.