Understanding the need to replatform

Industry Insight

Retailers are no strangers to leveraging new technology. Whether it’s the POS system, mobile devices or some new back-end technology, merchants have always had the tools at their disposal to improve retail operations and drive greater revenue.

However, companies don’t act as quickly as they would like to due to a variety of reasons. With how fast today’s technology is changing, this puts retailers into an awkward spot. They often develop entire ecosystems of eCommerce solutions that depend on each other, so replacing one can have a network-wide effect. At the same time, if software is outdated, it can impede efficiency and hinder the growth of a online business.

Replatforming in the retail business
As a recent infographic from Multichannel Merchant and Monetate noted, replacing back-end systems is a challenge for companies across sectors. For retailers, however, the process is even more time-consuming because of how many different systems are in place.

Retailers need to constantly leverage new technology to improve retail operations and drive greater revenue.

Yet, Retailers need to replatform in order to stay competitive and react to consumer demands.

Because replatforming affects so many different areas, many eCommerce businesses take the opportunity to completely rework their operations, with website design, metrics/analytics, segmentation, order management and mobile optimization often modified as well. However, these additional complications can affect the replatforming process and cause delays of up to 6, 12 even 18 months or more. In fact, it’s not unusual to see the learning curve represented in performance, with 95 percent of companies observing negative impacts on key performance indicators (KPIs) as a result of the process, according to the infographic.

The key to successfully replatforming lies in flexibility. Retailers must set a plan, divide the replatforming up into manageable iterations, separate replatforming from redesign, and then carefully test all features, technology and business tools relentlessly until they achieve the outcome they desire. They should focus on the technology integration aspect upfront as well and leave as little as possible to chance.

Finally, firms shouldn’t be afraid to consult their solutions providers to gain a better understanding of the process. Solutions providers play an important role in the replatforming process, so it’s crucial that retailers don’t simply look at the system they are integrating but also the provider behind the solution.

In a fast-moving world such as retail, new technology is critical to keeping up with competition. However, retailers must also stay relevant with their systems and ensure they’re all working together in a way that helps them accomplish business objectives.