Rolling out new eCommerce infrastructure isn’t easy, particularly when it comes to deciding exactly what you need to implement and defining a system architecture that is fit for the long term. Replatforming isn’t just a significant investment of money and resources, it is also the crucial backbone that supports a healthy chunk of revenue for the future. Selecting the eCommerce platform that fulfills the specific needs of your business is paramount.
What are the most important challenges that companies are seeking to overcome when selecting a new digital commerce platform? Do these differ depending on the sales channels that you operate in, whether B2B, retail, D2C, wholesale, or a mix of all of the above?
We recently conducted in-depth research into some of the most important pain points companies face when deciding on how best to implement a new eCommerce platform. Let’s take a look at what we found out.
Challenges of replatforming for B2B eCommerce
For businesses operating in the B2B space, lacking development resources, ERP integration issues and missing connectivity between systems stood out as the recurring pain points of replatforming in our research. This reflects the skills gap facing many companies when it comes to deployment, integration and support, as well as perhaps the impact of monolithic legacy business systems that don’t always integrate easily with new eCommerce platforms. Rather than the chance to work on value-add projects for the business, development resources are often used up simply trying to keep up with disruptive system updates forced by the monolith provider, only for the new version to break your custom integration.
How can B2B businesses overcome these replatforming challenges? Choosing a composable commerce platform can help as the migration from the current system can be done step-by-step. Moreover, API-first eCommerce software is easier to integrate with the existing IT infrastructure and will ensure future compatibility with software platforms. Read our guide about migrating from monolith to composable commerce.
Challenges of replatforming for B2C retailers
Retail is by some distance the most mature market for eCommerce having been leading the online revolution for some time. This means it has comparatively few pressing issues compared to later entrants to the game. This might explain why cookie use and data privacy ranks as the sector’s number one concern for upgrading the eCommerce platform. The introduction of GDPR and related data privacy acts have put this issue front and center, requiring both diligence at the backend and an interrupted user experience at the same time. Headless commerce approach can help mitigate this and provide a seamless experience without compromising data protection.
D2C Brands and Manufacturing —challenges in choosing the right eCommerce Platform to support both B2B and D2C sales
Manufacturers’ main problem with replatforming is how to choose the right eCommerce platform to support their business model. Needless to say, manufacturers have a different set of priorities, reflected in their pain points – scalability and internationalization, specifically trouble with VAT management, pricing, frontend-, checkout- and catalog-adaption. The need to operate cross-border – and to sell direct to consumer while cutting out the middleman – requires the ability to both flex your platform and adhere to local regulatory requirements. Not all eCommerce systems come with that capability baked in and the idea of having to navigate red tape and bureaucracy in new territories, as well as operate in more languages, can be off-putting for businesses that want to expand their D2C offering globally. While B2C channels can tap into a network of multiple distributors, resellers and partners, D2C channels need their very own platform. And it needs to scale effortlessly in full compliance wherever the business and its consumers might be. Of course, D2C eCommerce channels are not mutually exclusive with B2B and B2C. Rather, increasing numbers of manufacturers are looking to diversify their offering with complementary new D2C channels, so a platform is needed that can be adapted to cater for both, B2B and B2C.
Wholesalers — difficulties with choosing the right eCommerce platform
Much like the B2B Commerce sector, wholesalers are preoccupied by integration and connectivity with existing systems, as well as building up internal development resources. By migrating to an agile, flexible and futureproof composable ecommerce platform, these businesses can break free from traditional vendor lock-in and monolithic legacy systems that are difficult to integrate. Bringing a B2C approach to a wholesale distribution model can pay off huge dividends while customizing the experience for customers, partners and suppliers.
How to replatform successfully considering all these pain points?
There can be little doubt that embarking on a new eCommerce platform journey can appear fraught with obstacles, regardless of which type of business you operate. Taking all contributors to our survey together, it was clear that number one concern with replatforming was the scalability of the new eCommerce solution, followed by the availability of development resources to perform the initial migration.
What we recommend to overcome the above pain points is to replatform for the final time to a versatile, composable commerce solution, where components can be continuously improved without affecting the user experience, while at the same time scaling effortlessly and without intensive use of developer resources. Rather than being locked into one extensive, inflexible, single-vendor platform, where change requires huge amounts of planning, cost, resources and disruption, businesses of all stripes can enjoy an agile, highly adaptable and development-light platform with predictable costs.
In terms of replatforming, we are used to think in “no pain, no gain” terms. If you do not go through the pain of migrating to another monolithic platform, you won’t get the perks of it. With composable commerce, you can get plenty of eCommerce gains while migrating painlessly.