Woman at laptop shocked about ecommerce statisticsEcommerce replatforming is the launch of a new ecommerce site via a new ecommerce platform or software, quite often in tandem with the release of a host of new, advanced ecommerce features. As replatforming is no small undertaking, it’s essential to have goals for the project to ensure that you can measure the success of the launch and determine next steps to keep the project moving forward.

A 2012 Forrester Research study conducted on behalf of Monetate asked survey participants, “What goals did you have for your replatforming project?” Surve participants listed the following as the key drivers behind the replatforming effort:

  • Improved conversion: 20%
  • Improved average order size: 19%
  • Improved site performance: 17%
  • Improved [customer] time on the site: 15%
  • Reduced customer contacts for service needed: 7%
  • Reduced marketing costs: 7%
  • Improved cross-channel interactions such as trafic to stores or in-store order pick up: 12%
  • Improved site up-time: 3%

As you read through the list above, I’m guessing you are thinking to yourself that all of these goals seem quite reasonable for an organization that is launching a new and improved ecommerce site–and they are. Each of these expectations ARE reasonable and are good reasons to launch a new ecommerce site. But there’s a catch.

What most organizations in the midst of replatforming or relaunching don’t know is that replatforming may actually cause their site to perform worse than it did originally, at least for awhile. Just a little bit horrifying, isn’t it? All that time and money and your site performs WORSE than it did before? Yup.

Take the top two reasons that organizations sign up for the time and expense of launching their ecommerce site on a new platform:

  • Improved conversion: 20%
  • Improved average order size: 19%

What most people don’t realize is that for the first three to six months, redesigning and/or replatforming a site can cause conversion rates and average order size to DROP rather than rise (Source: Forrester Research, 2012). 39% of the organizations polled indicated that conversion rates went down following relaunch and 25% reported that their average order value decreased. It could happen to your organization and if you aren’t ready for it, a drop in your ecommerce site’s performance can be quite a shock, considering all the time and money that you spent to launch your new and improved site.

So, what should a B2B organization do? Am I suggesting that you refuse to redesign or replatform, staying on the same site and platform for the forseeable future? Of course not. But I am suggesting that you need to be aware of the risks to your site’s performance post-launch and take critical steps to mitigate those risks.

In order to avoid the dreaded drop in ecommerce site performance, you must consider why site performance drops in the first place. I’ll give you a hint: human beings. Yes, your customers.

As human beings, your customers are averse to change–even when that change is positive and will make their lives easier in the long run. A new fangled site with all of its bells and whistles looks like a lot of work to your busy customer and if you don’t take the time to help that customer make the jump to using your new ecommerce site, you will see a drop in site conversion, average customer time spent on the site, average order value and revenue per online shopping session. A comprehensive customer on-boarding strategy will limit your exposure to a decline in the performance of your new ecommerce site.