It’s time to take a serious look at graduating to an updated system capable of growing with your business.
A purpose-built, cloud-based commerce platform is essential to maintaining a competitive eCommerce presence. Once you’ve reached the limitations of your current solution, it’s time to graduate to an updated system capable of growing with your business.
Choosing a new eCommerce platform is a significant investment in your future requiring careful allocation of time and resources. If the platform experience isn’t living up to your expectations, the quality of content and services on your front end will reflect it. Conversely, the right platform option will seamlessly synch with your existing systems, deliver superior customer experiences, and expand your digital presence.
You may be ready to transition to a stronger commerce platform, but have you taken the time to answer some key questions? Take charge of your selection process and make an informed decision with our list of Critical Questions to Ask When Evaluating an eCommerce Platform.
01: Have you outlined your business direction for the short and long term?
ESTABLISH A SENSE OF BUSINESS DIRECTION BEFORE MAKING YOUR MOVE FORWARD.
Focusing on your business direction will help you determine the level of functionality a new platform should provide. Are you rolling out ecommerce in phases? Will your webstore play a minor role or are you planning to centralize your business around it? Is your business scope limited to a specific region or do you have plans to expand globally?
As you take in the bigger picture, you’ll work back to smaller objectives in support of your long-term goals. For example, are you offering a growing range of merchandise or will your focus be on a narrower range of products? Will your existing inventory and fulfillment systems be equipped to cope with spikes in growth? How frequently will you update the site theme and functionality in support of marketing and promotional campaigns
FOCUSING ON YOUR BUSINESS DIRECTION WILL HELP YOU DETERMINE THE LEVEL OF FUNCTIONALITY A NEW PLATFORM SHOULD PROVIDE.
02: Is your platform agile enough to support changing market conditions and growth in your business?
A SOLUTION SHOULD OFFER A MARKETPLACE OF ADD-ON FUNCTIONALITIES TO KEEP PACE WITH DIGITAL CONSUMER TRENDS.
Your customers service expectations will shift over time, sometimes slowly, other times without warning. If you want to keep pace, you’ll need a platform which can quickly implement and deploy site updates with minimal effort. Competitive businesses utilize developer-driven sources of “one-click” plugins and extensions to boost their platform performance on both the front and back end. Magento Commerce Marketplace is an example of a listed source offering 1000’s of pre-built, downloadable extensions, plugins, and applications which can immediately enhance a webstore’s functionality. This allows brands to react quicker to purchasing trends and shifting service expectations with minimal IT involvement.
03: Can your platform efficiently manage multiple sites and guide expansion into new sales channels?
MULTI-CHANNEL MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS PROVIDE COORDINATED CONTROL OVER YOUR ONLINE ASSETS.
As your business grows, you may expand your number of branded websites to enter new markets quickly and capitalize on emerging revenue opportunities. But the task of maintaining multiple standalone sites – each with their own content management needs – is likely to monopolize your workday.
Take the headache out of managing several sites at once and find a platform offering multi-channel management capabilities via a centralized hub. Also ensure a visually oriented dashboard is in place, allowing quick reference of key site statistics and other important information at a glance. Magento Commerce 2 features a streamlined administrative dashboard, allowing users to quickly share themes, settings, updated product inventories, and
more without having to jump from one site to the next.
The same multichannel management solutions can save time and effort as businesses expand their competitive space by selling through online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Walmart. For example, Magento Commerce 2 offers seamless integration with Amazon Marketplace, extending your sales initiatives across alternative channels.
WHATEVER THE STAGE OF THE BUYER’S JOURNEY, IF THERE’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A CUSTOMER SMILE, YOUR PLATFORM SHOULD ALLOW YOU TO ACT ON IT
04: How does the platform help you own the customer experience during and after the sale?
DELIVERING A SEAMLESS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE DOESN’T STOP AT CHECKOUT
Sustaining customer satisfaction during and after checkout is key to transforming casual shoppers into loyal brand advocates. You’ll want to look for flexible customization options to create a memorable end-to-end customer experience both during and after the transaction. Whatever the stage of the buyer’s journey, if there’s an opportunity to make a customer smile, your platform should allow you to act on it.
The high level of site customization offered by Magento 2 lets users adjust every element of the digital storefront, from swapping site themes to streamlining the checkout experience. The platform can also deliver a rewarding post-purchase experience by leveraging distributed order management, automated order fulfillment, and centralized logistics ensure fast, accurate delivery.
05: Does the platform provide tools to gather, measure and analyze user data to drive your business strategies?
STREAMLINE YOUR BUSINESS DECISIONS BY UTILIZING TOOLS WHICH SIMPLIFY DATA INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION.
Uncovering the story behind customer purchasing decisions lets you develop new ways to deliver memorable experiences at just the right time. A platform should offer granular insights into your business intelligence which can help develop meaningful site content.
Platform solutions with strong analytic functions will enable strategies to help you acquire, convert, and retain more shoppers. Magento Business Intelligence Pro is a fully customizable data tool which consolidates a merchant’s information sources —from Salesforce to Facebook Ads—into a single cloud-based data repository. Users can quickly access a centralized information source to guide critical business decisions.
PLATFORM SOLUTIONS WITH STRONG ANALYTIC FUNCTIONS WILL ENABLE STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU ACQUIRE, CONVERT, AND RETAIN MORE SHOPPERS.
06: Does your platform enable you to easily expand internationally?
CLOUD-BASED PLATFORMS AND COMMUNICATIONS PROVIDE THE BASIS FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
Expanding to the international stage requires you adopt a platform is capable of delivering consistent service to a global audience. Any platform being considered for a role in global growth must be connected to a reliable, global cloud infrastructure to ensure peak system uptime and scalability. With Magento 2, the platforms cloud connection ensures international customers can quickly and reliably access their webstores. Uninterrupted access translates into happier customers and higher conversions from New Jersey to New Zealand.
UNINTERRUPTED ACCESS TRANSLATES INTO HAPPIER CUSTOMERS AND HIGHER CONVERSIONS FROM NEW JERSEY TO NEW ZEALAND.
07: How will your new commerce platform interact with your existing systems to ensure an uninterrupted customer experience?
TAKE YOUR NEW COMMERCE PLATFORM FOR A TEST DRIVE BEFORE MAKING A COMMITTMENT.
Your satisfaction with a new eCommerce platform will be reflected in the quality of content customers experience on the front end. A credible commerce platform will offer a demo version so users can thoroughly explore the administrative interface and other back end functionality. Get a feel for a potential platform by walking through common workday tasks such as processing orders, uploading/ publishing content, and adding/editing inventory.
Imagine committing to a new platform and discovering your old systems are incompatible with it. Have your IT team conduct a systems audit to determine the compatibility a platform has with your existing technical infrastructure. It’s recommended to connect with an experienced solutions partner who can contribute their skills and experience to this evaluation phase. After all, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
IMAGINE COMMITTING TO A NEW PLATFORM AND DISCOVERING YOUR OLD SYSTEMS ARE INCOMPATIBLE.
08: Is your platform supported by an ecosystem which fosters innovation and helps you achieve your vision of delivering great customer experiences?
THE HEALTHIER A PLATFORM, THE MORE DEVELOPERS YOU’LL FIND SUPPORTING IT.
Behind any thriving platform solution, you will find the support of an active developer ecosystem. Developers are the human element behind the add-ons, extensions, plugins, and professional support which enable a platform to grow with its users.
A developer ecosystem allows access to individuals certified in a wide range of technical aptitudes, programming capabilities, and creative disciplines. Magento actually maintains one of the largest communities of implementation partners and developers in the world. In the Magento ecosystem, teams share innovative ideas, help each other solve problems, and collaborate to advance the platforms capabilities.
DEVELOPERS ARE THE HUMAN ELEMENT BEHIND THE ADD-ONS, EXTENSIONS, PLUGINS, AND PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT WHICH ENABLE A PLATFORM’S CONTINUED MOMENTUM.
09: Have you considered not just licensing cost but also total cost of ownership and return on investment?
KEEP YOUR COSTS REASONABLE BY COLLABORATING WITH A SOLUTIONS PARTNER
The cost to implement and deploy a new eCommerce solution can vary considerably depending on your operational needs. Factors such as the complexity of the platform and licensing costs can vary dramatically depending on the level of functionality you require. Even after deployment, ongoing investment will be necessary to ensure continued peak functionality as well as evolving the customer experience.
Many businesses pair with a solutions partner to better quantify the total cost of ownership. From site design and custom development, to licensing costs and configuration, these individuals can advise you on a course of action within your operating budget. If you’re a Magento user, you can access a large network of vetted solutions partners who have helped many successful mid-market business responsibly grow their operations.
MANY BUSINESSES PAIR WITH A SOLUTIONS PARTNER TO BETTER QUANTIFY THE TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP.