Driving Sales Without Re-Platforming

By Shaun Tinney
3 minute read | Last Updated: April 30, 2016

Brands may see a boost in sales after updating their e-commerce platform, but is the technology upgrade really responsible for the increase?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that technology (specifically re-platforming your e-commerce website) will boost your online sales. A new platform with more features can only be a good thing, right?

Wrong.

More features often get in the way of the very simple request a customer is making when they come to your e-commerce site: help me find the right product for my needs (and maybe even buy it).

It’s not the platform, it’s the process

Re-platforming an e-commerce website almost always includes rethinking the navigation, structure, content, and features of a site. In reality, those things can be done at any time, regardless of the e-commerce platform or a redesign schedule. Improving your site’s experience and increasing conversions is about doing these things regularly, not just buying new features.

It is the effort made to simplify navigation and improve content that helps move the needle

Upgrading technology can have a positive effect on sales, but unless your old platform was absolutely awful, it was the effort you made to simplify navigation and improve content that moved the needle. And if you played your cards right, a boost in traffic from your post-launch marketing buzz.

Technology is a prerequisite

If your customers notice which platform your site is running on, odds are it is because they have run into a problem. If they don’t, it is because you’ve invested in an acceptable baseline of technology (whether SaaS—Software as a Service—or self-hosted) that runs quickly and isn’t a huge pain to navigate or buy from. This puts you on par with every other mildly competitive brand out there.

Upgrading your technology is not a reliable way to boost sales. Time and again, our experience in helping clients drive sales online has shown that the real problem is not the platform, it’s the site’s content and complex navigation structure.

Blame the content strategy, not the platform

Most brands are so concerned with growing the number of people they can speak to, they lose sight of the purpose of the site: provide value to and an easy shopping experience for their potential customer.

As a brand, you might want a platform with more features. Customers of your brand are just hoping for an intuitive site that is packed with great content.

Great content is difficult to create. It requires a lot of effort, energy, attention, and investment. It’s much easier to blame the e-commerce platform and shop around to buy new technology than it is to admit your online catalog lacks compelling images, differentiated descriptions, and helpful customer reviews—and that is just the beginning.

Try before you buy

Re-platforming to get new features in the hopes of increasing online sales is a misguided effort.

Looking at what’s working well on your site, which pages are most popular (and understanding why), where people are dropping off or getting stuck—and then plugging the leaks—are the foundation of driving sales online.

Before investing in a new platform to save your sales, try testing a few things on your current platform.

If you don’t know how to do that, we can help. Sign up below to look at ways your existing site can improve sales without the huge cost of replatforming.