Many brands are evaluating ecommerce platforms at this time. COVID has also accelerated the process and prompted retailers to conduct in-depth reviews of their commerce technologies, customer experiences, and overall capabilities.
CQL has become a consultative player in helping our clients evaluate their current platform.
Why is there so much interested in eCommerce re-platforming? There is a long list of reasons:
- Technical Debt – some brands are struggling with outdated technologies and platforms. They may be so far behind getting their technology up to speed, replatforming might be a cost-effective approach to consider rather than climbing out of years of technical debt.
- Modern Feature Sets – not all commerce platforms are evolving at the same pace, challenging some businesses to add new features to stay competitive and match today’s shopper expectations. The platforms we work with, including Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify Plus, Big Commerce, commercetools, and Adobe Commerce, offer robust feature sets and strong roadmaps that will ensure market leadership for years to come.
- Platform Mergers & Acquisitions – the industry is seeing big changes in platform mergers and acquisitions, including Magento with Adobe Commerce, Workarea with Vtex, Frontastic with commercetools, and EpiServer with Optimizely. Platform providers changing ownership is often a key trigger for brands to explore their options and assess which solution is the best fit for their organization.
- Platform Affordability – retail is an ultra-competitive environment. In some cases, brands may experience market changes that require them to look for more affordable platform options. Luckily, there are some great platform solutions in today’s landscape to support businesses that require strong feature sets without a high price tag.
- Retailer Acquisitions/Venture Capital/Private Equity – as brands are acquired or merged, businesses are often faced with multiple platforms to manage for each brand. A replatform can help migrate all brands to one platform, and allow for scalability and efficiency as new brands are acquired.
- Going Direct to Consumer (DTC) – not all brands offer commerce today. Businesses who specialize in marketplaces or wholesale, for example, have additional opportunities to grow their brand and revenues with a DTC presence. While this isn’t a true “replatform,” adding a DTC channel requires businesses to implement a new commerce platform to begin direct-to-consumer sales.
“Brands looking to adopt modern commerce technologies and innovations are taking a close look at whether their ecommerce platform is the right fit to take them into the future. At the same time, platform providers are also rapidly evolving their own services, feature sets, and product roadmaps, creating a unique moment for businesses to determine how they will engage in the ‘commerce everywhere’ world we are all heading toward.”Sue Hunter, CQL VP Strategy
When clients come to CQL looking for our ecommerce platform evaluation services, we take them through an unbiased, evaluation-focused process to determine the best platform fit and ensure long-term growth and scalability to meet their company vision and goals. CQL monitors the platform landscape, partners with many platform providers, and also specializes in custom development to design, build, deploy, and support a personalized system truly tailored to your business.
So, what happens in a platform evaluation? Our team of cross-disciplined experts take clients through the following 5 exercises:
- Digital Vision Workshops
Together, we define the opportunities, business objectives, and requirements for success with the new platform. We work through short and long-term business goals, objectives, and KPIs, and ensure stakeholder alignment.
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Evaluation
We help assess how different pricing and growth models affect your platform costs, taking into account 3rd party systems that may be needed to augment the core platform solution.
- Conversion Rate Analysis and Revenue Impact Projections
How a replatform impacts the bottom line usually speaks the loudest. One client we reviewed had 80% of their traffic coming from mobile, but their current platform had major mobile UX issues. By running an analysis of just improving mobile with the new platform, we could prove the value of the replatform to the client.
- Feature Requirements & Platform Consideration
We evaluate feature requirements and capabilities across different providers to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison. We also consider other factors for various providers, such as infrastructure, security, and environments, as well as training, professional services, and overall account support.
- Organizational Fit
Platform suitability also encompasses non-technical factors across the business. We look at team size & expertise (for example, is the team makeup marketing focused or do they have a strong development practice), business roadmap and direction, unique business rules & requirements (times where business cannot use a platform due to requirements – promotions, configurations, etc.), and a client’s culture and willingness to adapt to a platform change.
By engaging with CQL on a platform evaluation, we can help guide your brand discover the best solution for your business by assessing a variety of factors beyond just price and features.
Are you looking at a replatform? Contact us for a personalized evaluation of your commerce solution!