Do you remember when you were first researching what platform you were going to use for your store? You likely did a lot of research before picking the platform your eCommerce site is running on now. But what happens when you start experiencing problems? Imagine being told that when you start doing well with your business that you need to add more costs without fully understanding why? Or imagine realizing that you are losing sales because your platform doesn’t scale.
That’s a scary thought. I’m sure you don’t want to be in those situations. And thankfully you don’t have to be. Because before you get into that place, you can upgrade your eCommerce platform.
Here’s 5 reasons you should start thinking about upgrading your eCommerce platform before it’s too late.
1) Your website and store are on separate systems
When you are first getting started, you have limited funds and are trying to make them last for as long a possible. It’s likely that your website is built on one platform while your eCommerce store is built on another.
Fast-forward a bit and when you started your eCommerce side of your business you likely didn’t think about how to needed to hook into your website. You could have presented with a different set of challenges. A lot of decisions in business, especially growing a business can be minimum-viable. Minimum-viable is a concept that helps you try something out and see if it works. The idea is figuring out what is the least things you can do when building something new, like your eCommerce site, and seeing if the idea catches on.
2) Your current platform is a hosted platform
When you are first starting out, you are often looking for the easiest way to get started. There’s a lot of great platforms our there that you can build a website on. Squarespace, Wix, even WordPress.com are all platforms you can host your site on. But when it comes time to build an eCommerce component to your site, you are often hit with the realization that it is going to cost you more, your platform doesn’t support eCommerce, or if it does, it doesn’t include the type of eCommerce feature set you are looking for.
That’s when it hits you. You are left evaluating your options. You are now having to consider running your site on two separate platforms, or you are looking at a major website redesign project. And it doesn’t have to be a redesign. It could just be porting your site over from the platform it’s currently on, into an all-in-one platform that you can run both your site and your eCommerce store on. This could be something like WordPress and WooCommerce. But it doesn’t have to be.
3) Manual processes that kill productivity and resources
Another reason to consider a new eCommerce platform is if you are doing anything manually. When you first started out, you likely had a different list of requirements for your eCommerce solution. You were probably willing to sacrifice some of your requirements in return for a cheaper price. And as your business grows, you likely found yourself doing more and more manual processes. Those same tasks that were likely included in another eCommerce solution.
What if I told you that those manual processes you’ve been doing for weeks, months, maybe even a year or two, were killing your productivity and prohibiting you from growing your business.
Let me break it down for you. If your eCommerce solution doesn’t hook up to your preferred shipping vendor and you spend 15 minutes per package logging into a new system, inputting customer information, getting a label printed for the package, getting a tracking number, putting the tracking number into your eCommerce system that tells the customer the package is being sent. Now add that up for every package you send out. If you were to ship just 30 packages a day, that’s one person’s full-time job! If you aren’t ready to grow your company’s shipping department, you might want to consider automating some of those steps.
4) Issues to hinder growth and expansion
Looking at upgrading your eCommerce solution to include better features and integrations to other systems you use are very helpful and likely the top of mind considerations. But there are other potential issues that can hinder your growth and expansion.
Consider your employees. What would help to make their lives easier? Would integrating your shipping vendor with your eCommerce solution help to make their jobs just a little easier? What about your accounting team? Or your support team? Knowing and understanding how other job functions interact with your eCommerce solution to help your customers will help you grow and expand because you’ll have a better idea of what you should be looking for in your eCommerce solution.
5) Reporting and Metrics
Hosted eCommerce solutions and out of the box eCommerce solutions all have one thing in common. Basic Reporting. When you get to a point that you start getting successful with your eCommerce store you are going to want to understand more aspects. You are going to want to know things like abandoned cart rate, cart success rate, ideal user flow.
All of these reports and metrics are important to your overall success.
Unfortunately, though most hosted eCommerce solutions are going to want you to pay more for your monthly subscription because you want better reports. And if you are using a self-hosted solution that was just out of the box, you likely are going to need to add a plugin of some sort or find a SaaS that will provide you with better insight into your eCommerce store. So what should you do?
When you are looking to scale and grow your eCommerce site, you want to consider what type of reporting is available. And not just what’s available immediately, but what is available down the road. As your scale and grow your business, your eCommerce solution should be able to grow and scale with you.
Realizing the eCommerce solution you selected can’t scale with your business is a scary thing. Just when you start doing well and you are seeing success, you are slapped with the realization that you need a new solution. I get it. I’m right there with you.
No matter what the reason, it is important to take time to think through what you see your business doing in the next 3 to 5 years. If you can imagine yourself growing even more than you have previously, it’s worth the investment now to upgrade your store, instead of waiting until you scale again and run into a more painful process of upgrading your eCommerce platform.