At the end of the year many retail brands may be reassessing their current eCommerce platform. Perhaps brands are struggling to reach certain business goals, or issues with site performance are causing a decrease in conversions. How do retailers know when it is time to replatform? They should look out for the following signs.
1. Poor Site Performance
With Q3 in full swing, most businesses are reviewing their performance and comparing against certain key performance indicators. Metrics such as site downtimes or number of bounces on a certain page on the site, all play a role in assessing the overall health of the business. Uptime–the percentage of time a website is available to customers–is dictated by a site’s foundation. For a retail site, using the correct eCommerce platform and infrastructure is critical. For example, with marketAgility, clients experience a 99.99% site uptime, one of the highest in the industry. Site speed also greatly affects the customer experience. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Because marketAgility is built in house and hosted on Microsoft Azure, the Virid team controls each aspect of the back-end, allowing for optimal site speeds both on desktop and mobile.
2. Cost/Not Enough Features
If a platform requires heavy modifications to provide basic functionality, or if the cost of upkeep on the platform is surpassing an allotted annual budget, it may be time to replatform. Additionally, if the cost of adding plug-ins to create the desired site is rising, it may be more cost-effective to replatform and partner with a tech provider that can offer more features. An eCommerce site should also accurately reflect the retailer’s brand, both aesthetically and in the UX design. When customers interact with a site, they are experiencing the brand–the site design and navigation should reflect that. When considering an eCommerce platform, brands should be sure to know exactly what comes out of the box and what requires additional vendors or plug-ins.
3. Too Much Maintenance Required Internally
Regular site maintenance is essential for reaching peak performance. The platform a site is built on should evolve with the business and come with a team that provides ongoing technical support and guidance. The eCommerce site is not a build it and forget it product, but an ongoing project with shifting pieces. When choosing a platform, brands are also choosing the team that comes with it. At Virid, the team provides ongoing technological support and consulting, because an eCommerce site requires constant upkeep and adaptations to meet new challenges. Often retailers will choose an eCommerce platform and then be required to find their own implementer to build on that platform. This requires additional time and money from the brand, and can often push back start dates on a replatforming project.
Integration support should be a part of the eCommerce platform package. Integrating with email service providers, a warehouse management system, payment processors, and other vendors poses its own challenges. The team retailers hire should have a working knowledge of how to build those integrations into the site. Virid has dozens of partners and has built several custom integrations to suit the unique needs of their clients. Virid also has a team of developers focused on the integration, client managers focused on assisting throughout the implementation process, and a partner management team that stays in touch with the solution provider to assure all the client’s needs are met.
4. Security Issues
Data security and PCI compliance are incredibly important pieces of the eCommerce puzzle. With the implementation of the GDPR, retailers are under increased scrutiny when it comes to how they handle customer data. The data that was once used by marketers to target specific customers and aid in campaigns is now protected information that consumers have to opt-in to providing.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. PCI compliance is critical, because customers need to be able to trust retailers with their payment card information in order to make a purchase securely. Virid prioritizes data security, and is PCI Level 1 Certified to ensure the data security of our clients. Many other eCommerce platforms are PCI compliant until brands need to build in another integration or add customizations to the “out-of-the-box” software, which increases security risks for the retailer. With marketAgility, security is built in to each integration and each customization.
5. Poor Customer Experience
Customer experience on an eCommerce site is one of the most critical pieces of a retail business. If customers do not enjoy interacting with a brand’s site, or are unable to find the products and information they are looking for, they are likely to bounce. There are a few different ways to measure customer experience. In a recent Mid-Year Health Assessment whitepaper, Virid discussed the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and the Customer Effort Score (CES). These three together can provide brands with a snapshot of the quality of their customer experience.
If customers are bouncing when they reach a site, or are having a difficult time navigating to what they need, it is likely due to a poor site experience. A confusing navigation, slow site speeds, or lack of mobile optimization are easy ways to lose customers. If brands are seeing a decrease in conversions, they might consider A/B testing different pages on their website, and reassess the different aspects of their site that are in their control or the responsibility of an eCommerce partner.
Brick and mortar is an experience that inspires the customer and enables product discovery, where the online experience has become the enabler that has helped the customer find what they are looking for fast. Virid focuses not only on speeding up clients’ online funnels, but also on delivering the complete experience between online and brick and mortar stores.
6. Managing Inventory in Separate Systems
Working with data in multiple systems is an operational headache–a potential source of inefficiency and inaccuracy in the supply chain. Managing inventory in both content management and warehouse management systems complicates logistics and limits order visibility. With marketAgility, users can choose one place to manage their web inventor–directly in the platform or in their existing inventory management system. marketAgility also tracksinventory from multiple locations, allowing sales and fulfillment from alternate warehouses, or even direct from stores. The flexibility of the platform allows for controlled over-selling/pre-sales via an administrable threshold, and setting SKU-level back-order dates to better communicate product status to customers.
Additionally, if merchandising is still a manual process for retailers, they are wasting valuable time and resources. The marketAgility platform offers merchandising automation, to create a seamless process for brands.
7. Issues with Site During Peak Times
During holidays like Cyber Monday or special sales, eCommerce sites should be able to handle large order volume without reduced site speeds or checkout glitches. A surefire sign that a brand has outgrown their platform is site issues during peak times. During Black Friday, for example, marketAgility processed 1.7 orders per second and handled 15 times the normal amount of site traffic–and our clients experienced zero downtime, queues, or bumps. Service during these heavy shopping days is crucial to the overall performance of any eCommerce business.
8. Inability to Enter Marketplaces
When growing a retail business, it is essential to get products in front of as many consumers as possible. Everyone is selling on Amazon, eBay, or another third-party marketplace. Retailer’s eCommerce partners should be able to support this functionality and allow brands to sell their products where their customers are already shopping.
For retail brands experiencing any of these signs, reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how they can help overcome these challenges and start growing your business.