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Growing pains can be, well, a pain. Especially when it comes to your e-commerce platform. As your business grows more complex, with higher order volumes, different shipping, inventory and fulfillment partners, and additional marketing channels, the platform you started with may have trouble keeping pace. Oftentimes, a new partner platform may require upgraded data sets or different APIs than what your system is capable of, thus cutting off that avenue of expansion. Or you may be pondering the developer costs of going with an open-source platform like Netsuite or WooCommerce.
When the pain outweighs the fear — it’s time.
Once you recognize that you need something more robust than you’ve got now, that’s when the fear can take over. It’s not all that bad – increasing order volumes is what you want, of course. But it also means you need to look at increasing the bandwidth in your store with an upgraded e-commerce platform, or an overhaul of your tech stack. And that’s a really daunting prospect, to migrate all that data while avoiding errors, and then train yourself and your staff on a whole new platform. It’s not a process that can take place overnight. In some cases, it may take up to a year to research, select, test and deploy a new e-commerce platform.
You know it’s time to re-platform when the pain of living with too many limits and workarounds outweighs the fear of adapting to something new.
How to recognize the signs when it’s time to upgrade your e-commerce platform
Investigate the answers to these questions by pulling reports and talking with your team.
- Are there traffic spikes that can cause downtimes or slowdowns in service?
- Have you seen your platform’s security fail at times?
- Do you often hear yourself or others saying, “We can’t do that”?
- Are you using more and more DIY patches and workarounds?
- Are people around you spending more time maintaining, or innovating?
- Are you unable to use new features and apps due to internal or agency constraints?
- Are functionality questions or complaints beginning to dominate your help desk, social media, or email?
E-commerce platforms offering tiered plans for different size businesses
With the increasingly popular deployment of headless architecture, your actual e-commerce platform can be agnostic with regard to the content “head” portion. There are multiple native solutions available. Your e-commerce platform will only play a small but significant part in that overall landscape.
Out-of-the box solutions
Shopify, the most popular of the “basic” e-commerce platforms because of its user-friendliness, has Shopify Plus. SP offers many more robust features for growing enterprises like international and omnichannel selling options, more sophisticated marketing tools, and a headless architecture option. If you’re already using the standard Shopify platform, migrating to Shopify Plus can be relatively quick – approximately 90 days.
BigCommerce also has an enterprise tier. If you run multiple stores, it offers an elegantly scalable solution that can be tailored specifically to sales volumes of the overall enterprise.
Open Source platforms
Many businesses start with the Magento free “Community” plan, but when your volumes exceed capacity you can opt to upgrade to their “Enterprise” plan for larger businesses. You can download a full features list here.
WooCommerce is another popular open source e-commerce platform with an Enterprise upgrade option.
Netsuite’s open-source platform is capable of handling SKU’s in the hundreds of thousands, with nearly infinite scalability.
If you already use one of the open source platforms, you can develop as many new features as you wish. Go headless if you want. But you’ll have to budget for the development costs vs the relative ease of migrating to an out-of-the-box solution like Shopify or BigCommerce.
At Shoppingfeed, we work with thousands of e-merchants around the world. We integrate easily with any e-commerce platform you may be using already, or considering for an upgrade. Based on our long experience with all of the e-commerce platforms used by our clients, we’d also be happy to answer any upgrade questions you may have, and offer some free advice.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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