Open
Menu
IRP Ecommerce Fundamentals (7)
Open
IRP Ecommerce Financial Secrets (5)
Open
Build, Manage & Grow (4)
Open
Marketing & Acquisition (36)
Open
Conversion & Retention (17)
Open
IRP Analytics & Reporting (2)
Open
IRP Research (20)
Open
IRP White Papers (2)
Close
Inspiration & Opinion (20)
Open
The IRP Platform (2)
Open
What to expect during an IRP platform migration

IRP White Paper on Replatforming to the IRP

An ecommerce platform migration is a major decision that affects both a company and its customers. Once the decision is made, it's important to mitigate risk and ensure that a detailed and well-constructed plan is in place so that the replatforming project runs smoothly.
Author
10 min read

Introduction

An ecommerce platform migration is a major decision that affects both a company and its customers. The decision to switch usually arises when the company needs to improve its operation and grow online revenues. It may be limited by its current technology or have no access to the right ecommerce experts.

Once the decision is made, it's important to mitigate risk and ensure that a detailed and well-constructed plan is in place so that the replatforming project runs smoothly.

Issues to consider when replatforming

There are many things you need to consider to ensure a smooth migration. Some of the key areas include website traffic, team alignment, security and access rights, operational efficiency, training, reporting, analytics and integrations.

Website traffic

You need to reduce the amount of disruption to your traffic during the switchover. Traffic will be coming from many sources, including search engines, social media, marketing emails, system emails, PPC and video advertising.

  • 301 redirects – 301 redirects are used when pages have permanently moved to new locations. This occurs often during a platform migration due to each platform varying in site structure. All pages that are being mapped to a new location will require a 301 redirect. Key pages include your content, brand, category and product pages. Start with pages that receive most traffic and crawl your own site to identify your current URLs. This ensures a good user experience for customers accessing your site.
  • SEO – You should optimise all content and ensure that titles, meta descriptions and keywords follow best practices. This is a great opportunity to add content, fine-tune page titles and generally make improvements. Also re-examine your keyword strategy to see if there are any keywords from which your site could be gaining traffic.
  • PPC – Make sure your PPC team are aware of your site migration plans. 301 redirects will ensure customers are directed to the correct pages when they click on PPC ads. When optimising and testing your ads, you should update your destination URLs using the AdWords editor. Depending on your current account structure and quality score, this will determine best practice for updating PPC campaigns during the migration.
  • Customer data and email marketing – You can use several methods to ensure that your customer data is migrated successfully to your new platform. You could create customer accounts based on their current account information and then ask the customers to set new passwords. Alternatively you could import your mailing list and set up an email campaign to prompt your customers to set up new accounts. (However, only import your mailing list late in the deployment process to ensure no emails between the import and go-live – your mailing list is one method of generating traffic to your site.)
  • 404 error page – Creating an effective 404 error page is important as it's the page your customers see when they click on a broken link, a deleted page or if they have entered an incorrect URL. The messaging you use is important. Also ensure that the look and feel of the page is consistent with the rest of the site.
  • Internal links – If your site content and blog articles contain internal links, update these to reflect the new URLs. This ensures that your site looks professional and that your content is consistent across the site.

Team alignment

It's vital to have a qualified team of competent staff who are working together in alignment towards the same goals.

  • Your team will be connecting with customers every day, through customer service, picking & packing, live chat, stock inquiries, email marketing, reporting, analytics and many other tasks.
  • If your team is working towards the primary goal of growing your ecommerce revenues, it will be evident in the high quality of the work they carry out each day.

Reporting and analytics

You should regularly monitor your website analytics and ensure that you're familiar with your website's core metrics.

  • Key statistics include your visitor numbers, sales figures and traffic channel metrics.
  • You'll need to know this information to compare the previous days, weeks and months so that you can set your expectations correctly and compare like-for-like figures.

Integrations

You should document all the integrations that are running on your current platform. By having this information you'll have a clear understanding of the different pieces of software you're using that are feeding data into or out of your ecommerce system.

  • Integrations can be complex, so it's important to work with the deployment team to ensure that your other business software is integrated following best practices and in time for the launch of your new site.
  • Integrations need to be planned and scheduled during deployment for testing to occur and to ensure that the correct data is being passed between all systems.

Platform training

Your ecommerce team needs to be fully trained on your new platform before the site goes live.

  • It can't be assumed that staff who are trained on your previous platform are adequately knowledgeable about your new platform – and how this knowledge combines with ecommerce best practices.
  • Training needs to be flexible and offered in a variety of formats to suit the abilities and requirements of all members of staff.

IRP Commerce Cloud

The best lifetime value ecommerce platform in the market

The IRP Commerce Cloud addresses the many considerations that you need to take into account when choosing an ecommerce platform.

Comprehensive features

From shopping, analytics, remarketing and marketplace access, the IRP Commerce Platform has everything you need in one place.

  • It incorporates extensive core functionality including EPOS software, telesales, stock control, email marketing, search functionality, basket abandonment & recovery, CRM, finance, reporting and analytics
  • There are many other features that your team will use on a daily basis to maximise your profits. See the IRP Commerce Cloud Overview.

Leading technology

The IRP Commerce Cloud is built on the latest Microsoft technologies and is continually being evolved by the IRP Commerce team to ensure it's the market-leading platform.

  • With each road map release, your system will receive upgrades and refinements to current features.

Full scalability

Scalability is critical and becomes ever more important as your company grows. It's essential that the back-end software and internal systems are fast and responsive so that staff can use the software effectively. But it's also important that the front end has fast loading times to ensure that your customers enjoy an excellent browsing experience and can complete purchases without having to wait for the web site to load.

  • Slow page loading times may not be noticeable at first when you move to a new platform but, as you expand your product catalogue, the number of orders increase and when traffic peaks occur during the year you need to be confident that your platform will be able to handle the traffic.
  • The IRP Commerce Cloud mitigates all of these risks — as proven by our current clients.

Extensive product catalogue

The IRP Commerce Cloud allows for an extensive product catalogue. This is an important area of an ecommerce platform as it's the area that stores all of the products that you want to sell online or instore.

  • It's important to understand how the product catalogue works in relation to category structure, the search functionality on the back end, how bundles and promotions are handled and the import and export of products.
  • This will be important when moving from your existing platform, to ensure that current products can be migrated in bulk without losing any quality information such as product descriptions, pricing and product names.

Business user control

It's vital that your ecommerce platform is user friendly and usable by all members of your company with the relevant training. Each person must be able to use the software effectively without having to request the IT team to complete the task for them. This could include any number of tasks, such as:

  • The email marketing team being able to segment email lists and send targeted emails per country.
  • Stock managers being able to use the stock control reporting functionality to plan inventory orders and run inventory reports.
  • Merchandisers being able to set up discounts and promotions correctly.
  • Site managers being able to run existing reports and create new reports.

The IRP Commerce Cloud has an excellent, continually-improving user interface and provides administrators with all the information they require.

Search functionality

The IRP Commerce Cloud has extensive built-in search functionality.

  • Search capability is one of the most important aspects of an ecommerce system as your customers must be able to find exactly what they are looking for.
  • The IRP Commerce Cloud allows businesses to learn from what their customers are searching for and what search terms customers are using that are not returning results.

Real-time agility

The IRP Commerce Cloud can easily handle business requests to monitor users interacting with the website. For example:

  • Being able to see what actions users are taking on particular product pages and being able to send emails if a customer has spent a certain amount of time looking at a specific brand.
  • Implementing onsite reviews from customers via third-party customer review software. The IRP Commerce Cloud is able to manage this and has integrations with third parties such as Trustpilot and Feefo.

Reporting and analytics

This is a huge area for any ecommerce platform and must be taken into consideration as you can't control what you can't measure. It's important to understand how the ecommerce application stores the data and if the data is visually displayed for easy viewing through dashboards and reports.

  • Reports also need to be created on an ad-hoc basis if there is a specific piece of information that is required.
  • External analytics programs need to capable of being implemented accurately to ensure information in the ecommerce platform matches the information in the analytics software.
  • The IRP Insights Terminal exploits and benchmarks your data to boost profits. By applying statistics and machine learning, ecommerce revenues and team efficiencies can be solved in a way that has never been achieved before.

Integrations

Ecommerce platforms are mission-critical to your business, however they might be only one part of the software you use. Other systems such as accounting, stock control, retail software, marketplaces and payment processing must be integrated with your ecommerce platform. This ensures you can manage your business from one single platform and that accuracy is maintained across all systems.

  • The IRP Commerce Cloud is integrated with multiple companies as standard, including Global Payments (Realex), PayPal, Google, Bing, AWIN, Trustpilot, Finch, Patchworks, Worldpay and Sage.
  • Depending on your requirements and current systems, other integration options are available. See IRP Technical Partners.

Security and access rights

The IRP Commerce Cloud allows for significant control over website security and staff accounts.

  • You can implement a tiered-hierarchy system, with managers having access to high-level areas and access rights being reduced or limited depending on the role your staff are carrying out.
  • This is fully customisable, allowing you to ensure that access rights for departments and individuals are set up optimally and that staff can access only the information they need.

Operational efficiency and training

Your ecommerce manager should be fully up-to-speed with the IRP during the deployment phase. This allows them to be the main point of contact for IRP-related issues within your organisation.

  • During deployment, your ecommerce manager and key staff will be trained on IRP and ecommerce best practices.
  • Training can take place through a variety of methods, including face-to-face, video conference or video tutorials. IRP World also includes an extensive knowledge base and IRP accreditation exams.

Migrating to the IRP Commerce Cloud

I have worked with various companies over the years on website replatforming projects and the team at IRP Commerce have been the best team by far.

Luke Fox, Ecommerce Manager, Ann’s Cottage

Your Deployment Service Provider will work with you to create a migration plan to suit your requirements. The full migration cycle is scheduled to last for three months – this ensures that everything is in place for a successful migration that allows your business to grow once live on the IRP.

Having a structured migration plan in place will reduce the potential drop in sales when changing platforms and will also mitigate risk. Key areas in the deployment plan are as follows:

Appointing an ecommerce manager

It's important to appoint an ecommerce manager who is solely focused on the growth and success of your site.

  • This ensures that they can focus on driving the growth of the site without having to look after other parts of the business that are not related to ecommerce.
  • Your ecommerce manager will be able to work towards IRP accreditation and receive training to get them up to speed with the IRP.

Creating a digital strategy

Your digital strategy is one of most important areas to complete when planning your site.

  • By creating a digital strategy, all key members of your ecommerce team will be aligned and working towards the same goals.
  • You need to detail your market, business, team, competition, pricing, traffic channels, expectations and revenue targets.
  • All of these details will allow key opportunities for growth to be mapped out.

Completing the design brief

The design brief gives your Design Service Provider a clear idea of the work they will be required to carry out during the project and ensures that all resources are in place from the outset.

  • The design brief gives you the opportunity to put your thoughts down on paper, detailing your current branding and how you would like your new site to look.
  • Visual impressions are very important in ecommerce but a clean interface that's easy to navigate is essential for providing an excellent customer shopping experience.

Creating content pages

It takes time to craft your content, not only to be engaging, but to get across your brand message, your unique selling points and to be geared towards selling to your customers.

  • Some of the key content pages include: About Us, Contact Us, Shipping Policy, Returns Policy, Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You may also have a Store Finder page, How To Guides and specific pages for holiday promotions and key brands.
  • Once you have the basis of the standard content pages created, you'll need to consider your content strategy. This content will be used to provide useful information to your customers and to provide answers to questions they have.
  • Content allows you to increase the number of customers in your funnel. It's important to provide a personalised experience for your customers, to ensure that the message you are providing matches where they currently are in the shopping funnel.

Providing product data

A website migration is the perfect time to ensure that:

  • Product descriptions are optimised and unique
  • Product data and pricing are correct
  • Product images are high quality and include viewpoints from several angles
  • Category structures are correct
  • Attributes are completed and accurate
  • Model names are optimised
  • EAN codes are complete for all products

Having accurate product data with unique descriptions aimed towards selling is important for:

  • Feeds going to search engines such as Google and Bing. Having incorrect information will result in your products not being shown.
  • Ensuring that your site has a strong foundation on which to grow and increase revenue.

Website migration objectives

Before starting a website migration it's important to set specific objectives that you want to achieve. Some examples from an owner’s perspective might be:

  • Improve operational efficiencies
  • Increase sales
  • Increase profits
  • Reduce dip in sales and minimise risk

Once specific objectives are defined, the results of the migration can be analysed against the objectives.

Case study 1

Platform migration date: October 30th 2019

Case Study One - Daily Ecommerce Sales

Revenue – daily

Sales increased after an efficient switchover. Improved branding and user experience will have positively impacted revenues.

  • On the day of the switchover, revenue dropped by 3% from the previous day.
  • On the day after the switchover, revenue grew 36% from the previous day.
Case Study One - Monthly Ecommerce Sales
Blue line = monthly revenue in 2019
Red line = monthly revenue in 2020

Revenue – monthly

An increase in sales occurred straight away. The subsequent run into the holiday season saw the client achieving their biggest holiday season to date. The IRP Commerce Cloud was able to handle the increased number of visitors and huge increase in conversions.

  • The month after the migration, sales increased by 65%.
  • The second full month after the migration, sales increased by 54%.
  • The immediate impact was seen as the website went live right at the end of October and the first two months got off to a very strong start.
Case Study One - Daily Ecommerce Sessions

Sessions – daily

A small dip in site visitors occurred during the switchover for a short period of time. The website went live at the very end of October and it was given a few days to bed in to allow all staff get up to speed and operating efficiently before a full launch in November.

  • On the day of the switchover, sessions dropped 37% from the previous day.
  • On the day after the switchover, sessions dropped 38% from the previous day.
  • It was day 4 after the switchover that an increase in traffic occurred with a 20% increase.
Case Study One - Monthly Ecommerce Sessions
Blue line = monthly sessions in 2019
Red line = monthly sessions in 2020

Sessions – monthly

There was no major loss of traffic during the migration and there was a steady increase of traffic in the run into the holiday season.

  • During the month of the switchover, sessions dropped 13%.
  • In the month after the switchover, sessions increased 12%.
  • In the second full month of trading, sessions increased 42%.
Case Study One - Daily Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Conversion rate – daily

The website conversion rate did not suffer from any significant drop. This was due to the company's proactive approach to keeping their customers informed about the progress of the new site. The conversion rate improved over the next few days which could be down to several reasons, including the improved site speed, user experience, branding and customer perception.

  • On the day of the switchover, the conversion rate increased 12% from the previous day.
  • On the day after the switchover, the conversion rate increased 47% from the previous day.
Case Study One - Monthly Ecommerce Conversion Rate
Blue line = monthly conversion rate in 2019
Red line = monthly conversion rate in 2020

Conversion rate – monthly

There was a significant increase in conversion rate which continued to increase year-on-year.

  • During the month of the switchover, the conversion rate grew 4%.
  • The month after the migration, the conversion rate grew 58%.

Planning and mitigation of risk

Having an experienced deployment team and a detailed, goal-driven deployment plan reduces the risks that are involved in large-scale ecommerce deployments. Key points for success include the following:

  • Analytics
    Use analytics to examine all areas of your website, including traffic volumes, drop-out rates in checkout, content usage, user interaction and site navigation. This helps your deployment team have a better understanding of your customers.
  • Redirects
    On switchover day, it's important that the DNS is switched, traffic is directed to the correct domain and 301 redirects are in place so that your customers experience as little disruption as possible.
  • Marketing emails
    You can prepare emails during deployment to tie in with your ongoing online and offline marketing.
  • Seasonal home pages and landing pages
    These can also be designed during the deployment stage.
  • Access to IRP
    Having access to your new IRP during deployment is important. This enables all staff to get a feel for the system and training can take place to improve operational efficiencies.
  • Bed-in time
    During the first 72 hours, don't use up resources acquiring new traffic. The new system needs to 'bed in' and all users need to become competent using the system to complete their daily tasks.
  • Monitoring key stats
    Once the migration is complete, you need to monitor revenue, traffic, conversion rate and other major areas to ensure that you're on top of any issues that may arise.
  • Go-live plans
    After the first 72 hours, your IRP Agency and Service Providers will work through your go-live plans to get all marketing channels up to speed and ensure that everything is aligned with your marketing department.

Case study 2

Platform migration date: June 11th 2020

Case Study Two - Daily Ecommerce Sales

Revenue – daily

In the days following the migration there was a small drop in sales – part of the drop was expected and part of it was due to allowing time for a settling-in period during which marketing activities were reduced to allow additional training for staff. Sales quickly returned to expected figures after 48 hours.

  • On the day of the switchover, revenue decreased 283% from the previous day.
  • On the day after the switchover, revenue grew 53% from the previous day.
Case Study Two - Monthly Ecommerce Sales
Blue line = monthly revenue in 2019
Red line = monthly revenue in 2020

Revenue – monthly

The platform switch had a clear impact on revenue almost immediately.

  • During the month of the switchover, sales increased 14%.
  • The month after the migration, sales grew 14%.
Case Study Two - Daily Ecommerce Sessions

Sessions – daily

During the website switchover there was a small dip in traffic during the next few days due to the transition period and a business decision to ensure all staff were happy with the new processes.

  • On the day of the switchover, sessions dropped 132% from the previous day.
  • On the day after the switchover, sessions dropped 17% from the previous day which brought the number of sessions back to the expected number.
Case Study Two - Monthly Ecommerce Sessions
Blue line = monthly sessions in 2019
Red line = monthly sessions in 2020

Sessions – monthly

Traffic levels stayed very consistent year-on-year. Due to the increased number of consumers shopping online, marketing budgets were reduced allowing the business to be more profitable. This was possible because of the detailed migration path that was set out with clear goals from the beginning.

  • During the month of the switchover, sessions dropped 2%.
  • In the month after the switchover, sessions decreased 15%.
  • In the second month after switchover sessions increased 9%.
Case Study Two - Daily Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Conversion rate – daily

The conversion rate grew significantly during the switchover. This was due to the reduced number of visitors and an improved user experience causing an increase in conversion rate.

  • On the day of the switchover, the conversion rate decreased 12% from the previous day.
  • On the day after the switchover, the conversion rate increased 40% from the previous day.
Case Study Two - Monthly Ecommerce Conversion Rate
Blue line = monthly conversion rate in 2019
Red line = monthly conversion rate in 2020

Conversion rate – monthly

A successful migration to the IRP ensured that there was no significant decrease in conversion rate.

  • During the month of the switchover, the conversion rate increased 14%.
  • The month after the migration, the conversion rate increased 19%.

FAQs – before and during deployment

What will happen to my organic traffic?
A temporary small drop in traffic is to be expected but normal levels will return quickly. By optimising your SEO, content and user experience during deployment, you'll have increased organic traffic to your site.

Will our SEO be maintained from our current site?
The deployment process includes matching your current architecture to the correct pages on your new site. This is the perfect time to optimise all content and ensure your SEO is following best practices.

How will the site perform in the search engines?
IRP technology provides excellent user experience and high ranking in search engines. Your Account Manager will work with you on an ongoing basis to improve your site and increase organic traffic.

What will happen to my orders?
During switchover it's important to have access to your previous system and the IRP so that orders can be fulfilled. After switchover, customers will access your new site and all orders will be processed through the IRP.

Will email delivery be affected with changing platforms?
Your email delivery is based on your IP address, so changing ecommerce platform will not affect any current trust that your current email marketing has built up over time.

Will customers be able to access the new site during switchover?
There may be a very short period of time when customers cannot access your site. From our case studies you'll see that this has no long-term effects and sales and traffic returns to previous levels quickly.

FAQs – during and post deployment

Will we lose customers due to changing site?
Make sure you keep your customers informed so that they understand the reason for any temporary issues during switchover. Once your new site is live, they will enjoy great user experience and site speed and you'll see increased conversions.

How long will it take my staff to learn the new system?
Your staff will have hands-on IRP training during deployment. The deployment schedule lasts for three months, during which your team will become competent and confident using the IRP.

What training is given during and after deployment?
Full training sessions are scheduled during deployment, both IRP training and ecommerce best practice training. Your team will also have access to the IRP Knowledge Base.

Will I have a main point of contact for ecommerce help?
Yes, your Account Manager will be your main point of contact for all ecommerce information and strategy and will help ensure that you're making best use of the IRP Commerce Cloud.

How will I know if there are any issues with my new site?
Your Account Manager will monitor traffic levels and site indexing. 404 errors will also be highlighted if they are returned.

What happens if there is an issue with the system?
Your first point of contact will be the IRP Support Team. You can report an issue via phone or by opening a support ticket.

- COMMENTS
Anonymous - Read article, 20.04.20 MB
20 Apr 2020 08:52
Anonymous - Very interesting article - we should refine and bring this up to date.
09 Sep 2018 12:16
Anonymous - Very informative piece of research. Will form the basis of the risk mitigation strategy for replatforming to IRP
20 Jan 2016 18:02
You must be logged in to comment on this article. Click here to Login to the IRP World
- MORE ARTICLES

Copyright © 2020 IRP Commerce. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the IRP World Terms of Use, IRP Reporting and Data Agreement, IRP Privacy Policy and IRP Cookie Policy

IRP Commerce Limited, Concourse 3, Catalyst, BT3 9DT, UK. Company Number: NI 041856. VAT Number: GB 888249658
A Deloitte Fast 50 Company eight times: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 & 2020