Many of today’s e-commerce businesses face a classic double-edged sword scenario. On one hand, they play in a market that is exploding, affording them ample opportunity to grow their companies rapidly. In the U.S., for instance, the online retail market is projected to grow from $294 billion in 2015 to $414 billion in 2018, according to recent research from Forrester.
At the same time, these companies may face significant challenges as they try to scale their e-commerce sites, forcing them to consider replatforming their database in an effort to keep up with growth. Some of the specific circumstances that drive e-commerce businesses to consider this complicated and costly step include:
Outdated, overly complex platforms: Many organizations are still running their e-commerce sites on either homegrown solutions or outdated versions of licensed commercial applications. In many cases, through the years these platforms have become so tightly integrated with the business and so complex that they simply cannot scale at the growth rates these companies are experiencing. As these sites attempt to support larger traffic loads, they require IT to spend more time on maintenance and often experience slower performance and even crashes. Consequently, 58 percent of organizations are either already in the midst of a replatforming project or are planning to start one sometime in the next three years, according to Forrester’s 2014 Global eBusiness and Channel Strategy Online Survey.
Current platforms lack sufficient data analytics capabilities: As e-commerce traffic increases, so does the need for businesses to have advanced, real-time data capabilities built into a platform. For example, many e-commerce firms are struggling to keep inventory information current, which can really negatively impact a customer’s experience (i.e. the consumer attempts to purchase an item that is listed as “in stock” only to receive a message that it is not available at checkout time) and ultimately the business’s bottom line.
Other issues, like the need to support omnichannel environments, are also driving businesses to replatform. Regardless the reason behind the move to replatform, e-commerce organizations should consider all of their options before undergoing such a massive, costly and time-consuming project. If your e-commerce firm is looking for alternatives to replatforming take a look at what other options you have.