To say that A LOT of planning goes into an eCommerce re-platform is an understatement. The process is extensive complex, and you need to invest into roadmap development and planning!
What most retailers fail to realize from that start, is that WHEN you change or upgrade platforms matters, significantly.
The Best Time for Your eCommerce Re-platform…
eCommerce is 24/7 in that people can shop and buy online whenever they want, but your business moves with a season or consumption trend. Any changes made to your business, should be in alignment with your goals and when you stand to make the most sales.
Ask yourself this – When am I busy?
The majority of the brand and retailers we’ve worked with fall within the Clothing and Apparel verticals. These businesses generate most of their revenue between late Q3 to the end of Q4. Aside from the peak holiday season, you’ll also want to consider any other major holidays or shopping trends, throughout the year in your target market.
What if I don’t have a sales season?
Easy. Look at your traffic and sales data. There’s a story there that will reveal itself to you.
It’s crucial to know when you’ll be busy and set your deployment date around that, then work backwards from there. If you sell most of your product between “Back-to-School” and “Cyber Monday”, you should plan to go-live in advance of these dates. The biggest mistake we see merchants make is misusing time-to-market, rushing to complete projects for a certain date.
Software System Upgrades
Upgrading Integrations, like your ERP, can be almost as (if not more) complex and challenging as an eCommerce re-platform. This isn’t to scare you. Trust me, you don’t want to put off upgrading the most important components of your eCommerce business because it will take a while.
It’s worth the time-investment for the upgrade process.
Making the decision to not upgrade your software systems at the same time as your eCommerce platform will only defer the costs further and increase the risk of instabilities. This doesn’t mean that you have to unnecessarily upgrade your eComm software. We always suggest going around legacy technology, and removing any dependency on outdated systems and process.
To protect ALL your technology investments, you need to schedule regular maintenance windows, and execute around upgrades.
Sales and Promotions
If you want to re-platform the right way, then we wouldn’t suggest launching right before a huge sale or promotion on your site.
“But you just told me to workback back from my busy period!?”
Yes, and no. Yes, you should plan to launch on your new commerce platform before your busy season. No, you should not launch without giving your team enough time to ensure everything is adequately tested, QA’ed, and stable. It’s for this very same reason that we implement code freezes for our retailers during the holidays. Launching a new site right before a major event will only increase risk.
It won’t help your business to ignore the risks involved, or be too risk adverse, but plan around technical problems.
Work with Your Agency/Technology Partner
We have busy seasons too! Whoever is involved in the re-platforming project – you should align your schedules. Plan the build knowing that your partners will likely be handling concurrent projects during the busy season.
There’s lots of WHYs and HOWs to consider before you re-platform, but don’t forget the importance of WHEN you do it too. Depending on what your business is, there could be more factors to consider when setting your re-platforming schedule. Remember, creating a culture that welcomes change is critical in today’s commerce game – prepare your business accordingly.