How do you know if your e-commerce platform might need replacement? We've talked to our customers and identified five 'red flags' indicating that it is time for an e-commerce replatforming.
When B2B buyers experience a poor online experience, they stop searching for information in that store 81 percent of the time. If these cases accumulate, B2B manufacturers and retailers must consider whether the current store system is really the right one.
But it's not just the customer experience you need to be aware of. Take the following five questions into account when you're considering to put an e-commerce replatforming project on your digitalization agenda!
- Does your website enable your customers to do business with you easily?
Personalized search, dynamic navigation, MyAccount section, self-services...
To grow online sales and customer satisfaction, you need a solution that gives your customers access to order history, invoices, order capability, information and more, from any channel and at any time. All of this, of course, highly relevant, tailored to the installed base, ordering behavior or master agreements.
- Is your growth limited by low scalability?
In B2B, the digital sales channels are getting bigger, faster, and of course growing in numbers. An outdated e-commerce system can't easily handle the increase in the number of products, visitors, orders and transactions. But also adding new touchpoints, countries or brands needs to be covered without extra development projects or upfront investment. If you plan to scale, invest in a system that grows as you grow.
- Can you easily integrate your complete tech stack, processes or data?
Your e-commerce platform needs data from other systems, such as ERP, PIM and CRM systems. If this is not running smoothly, you increase the risk of errors in order and customer data, product descriptions and inventory information – or you may lose important information completely. Automatic synchronization is therefore an important factor that an e-commerce platform must cover.
- Is your e-commerce website slow when traffic is high?
There are two preconditions you have to meet to offer a good digital user experience: continuous accessibility of the website and short loading times. If the page load exceeds 3 seconds, web shop visitors will drop out. Not only the e-commerce platform itself but also the way it is hosted has a lot of influence on this. Cloud-based services are ideal to handle traffic peaks and boost in power (only) when needed.
- Do you consider the REAL cost of ownership of your legacy e-commerce platform?
The total cost of ownership of a new platform can be way lower than that of your old system. For example, do you have to pay each time a system from another provider calls your e-commerce solution via APIs? Do you need software engineers to create new channels, or adaptations? Do you have a separate support agreement? How high is the investment in keeping the system up-to-date and secure? Do you regularly train your employees to be able to keep it that way? Are you aware of the bus factor? These are all aspects that increase the total costs and therefore make it interesting to look at a new platform.
B2B replatforming example: Alpheios
As a perfect example for taking the step to e-commerce, let’s take a good look at Alpheios. The company started out as a wholesaler of cleaning products and materials. These are still being sold, but gradually Alpheios also developed into consultancy – thanks to their new e-commerce platform.
For Alpheios, the decision to implement a new commerce platform was prompted by the changing market, says Leon Hermse, business development manager at Alpheios.
"We see that our customers have become used to talking, choosing and buying through every available channel. We firmly believe in advice, but we also see that transactions are increasingly taking place online. And customers also want to be able to orientate themselves online for advice and training.”
The lesson they learned from their prior, very basic online shop is that offering products and services digitally ads value, both in actual sales and customer satisfaction. They analyzed their customer behavior in the phase of their orientation as well as which items sold well under which conditions.
Starting from that, they specified what a perfect e-commerce platform really for their customer needs. With a focused approach they already went live after a project time of six months. Gradually they now will add functionality according to customer demand and business growth.