What to Expect After B2B E Commerce Redesign ReplatformingWhat should you expect to happen after redesigning and replatforming your B2B ecommerce site? Good question. If you aren’t sure what to expect after your website goes live, you aren’t alone. Most organizations get through the design and replatforming process; wipe their collective brows and think, “WHEW! Glad that’s done! Let’s get back to business as usual!”

What most ecommerce companies won’t tell you–often because they don’t know themselves or they are focused on launching sites, not making sure that the sites they launch are successful–is that it isn’t simply business as usual once you go live with a new ecommerce site. Redesigning or replatforming your ecommerce site will drastically affect the key performance indicators (KPIs) you use to evaluate the success of your efforts.

In May 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. conducted a study in conjunction with Monetate. This information was presented at a forum last fall. In this survey, Forrester discovered that after the launch of a redesigned website, site conversion, page load times, new customer acquisition, visitor time on the site, the average order value, and revenue per website session were all negatively affected. Here’s the breakdown for each KPI.

  • Conversion: 39% of respondents indicated a lower conversion rate.
  • Load time: 44% of respondents reported a slower page load time.
  • New customer acquisition: 31% of respondents reported a decrease in new customer acquisition post-launch.
  • Time on site: 22% of respondents stated that they experienced a decline in the amount of time each visitor spent on the site.
  • Average order value: 25% of respondents noticed a decline in the average order value for their site.
  • Revenue per session: 20% of respondents indicated that their revenue per session went down after the new site went live.

Most organizations launching a redesigned site are caught completely unawares when the key performance indicators that they have always used to measure the success of their site drop—sometimes quite significantly—after they launch what they know and feel to be a “better” ecommerce experience. KPIs drop after the launch of an ecommerce site for a number of reasons. The good news is that you can mitigate your site’s risk by undertaking some critical steps just after the launch of your new site.

On-board your customers. The first and most important step you can take to minimize the chance that your website’s KPIs bottom out is to create and implement a comprehensive on-boarding strategy. Given the option to try something new or stay with the familiar, human beings will almost always choose the familiar over the new—even if the familiar is sub-par. Ecommerce is no exception. Learn more about creating a successful on-boarding strategy in the article, Improving B2B Ecommerce Adoption.

Ensure your site has clear calls to action. Your new site might be easy on the eyes, but if your customer can’t find the “add to cart” button or doesn’t immediately recognize what his next step should be, you need to reconsider your calls to action. Succcesful calls to action

Optimize each page for minimal page load times. Seems like a no-brainer, but given the impatience of today’s web buyer, it is essential that your web pages load as quickly as possible. Speedy page response times are essential if you wish to rank highly in the search engine results pages as well. Make sure your code is easily recognized in all browsers and built to load quickly every time. Minimize the file sizes of images as well.

Offer new content. If you need to engage your customer and encourage them to spend more time on your site, the easiest way to do so is by offering them new, relevant content that they cannot find elsewhere on the web. Consider creating new product videos, interactive product comparisons, offering ground-breaking white papers and research results to drive traffic to your site and get them to stay there.

Update search engine optimization for each public-facing web page. Public-facing web pages on a B2B ecommerce site will drive new traffic to your site and help you find new customers—but only if they are properly search engine optimized.

Submit a new site map to each major search engine. The site map for your ecommerce site is one way that you communicate with the crawlers from search engines like Google. A site map tells the crawler exactly what pages are included on your site and helps guide them to the pages that need to be indexed. Whether you are completely replatforming your site or simply adding new pages, submitting a new site map to the major search engines will help get your site indexed faster.

The launch of a new ecommerce site is exciting, but your work is not finished when the site goes live. Managing the roll-out of a new site and the strategic on-boarding of customers will help limit your organization’s exposure to a decline in your site’s key performance indicators.

To learn more about how to position your B2B ecommerce website for success in 2013 and beyond, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.