Digital transformation has evolved in the past decades, from an operational, IT initiative to a revenue-focused, user experience-driven program. As digital transformation expands its scope, tech leaders have a new opportunity (and obligation) to create experiences that set their business up to grow and compete. 

Increasing competition in the manufacturing industry puts pressure on organizations to reduce costs, improve customer/distributor experience and increase profitability. Organizations armed with digital forces are disrupting business models with new value propositions. This disruption causes a challenge for manufacturing organizations but is also a chance to adopt digital themselves. Gartner
Download the White Paper Five Problems Tech Leaders in Manufacturing Face (and How to Solve Them)

In the past decade legacy platforms, which were once quite straightforward, have become unwieldy and clunky. The biggest problem, however, is they may no longer meet business or customer needs. Even so, many manufacturers are reluctant to upgrade legacy eCommerce platforms. 

Here are some of the typical rationales we hear for staying with a legacy platform. 

  • But this system has been highly customized for our business!
  • We’ve spent years investing in this platform!
  • The operational risks are too high for making a change!
  • We know it’s not perfect, but it works!
  • Our customers are used to it!

The reality is that most companies only use about 30% of their legacy eCommerce architecture. The most-used sections generally include: the catalog, shopping cart, checkout, and associated integrations. As business needs and customer expectations changed, you’ve likely made additional, custom changes and purchased more and more specialty services to make the “out-of-the-box” solution work for your company. This process depreciates the platform and makes improvements, upgrades, and new features harder and harder to launch. 

Assessing the Need

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Risks

If the platform is no longer supported, making upgrades could be expensive and time-consuming. If the site is slow or underperforming, you could be losing business to competitors armed with a more robust eCommerce experience.
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Challenges for Change

Replatforming is expensive, time-consuming, and will require reorganization and reskilling of your existing tech team.
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Opportunities

Rebuild and re-architect to a modern set of tools that is easier to staff, faster to update, and either more flexible (like composable commerce) or more out-of-the-box (like enterprise platforms). Redesign an experience that better serves your users.
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Considerations

  • What business needs must the new platform meet?
  • What channels do the new platform need to service (B2B, B2C, D2C)?
  • What are the digital experiences you want to design for your partners, customers, and associates who will be using the site frequently?
  • How will you build the best tech stack to meet your business goals and digital experience needs?
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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Partners and Customers: adoption rate, conversion rate, average order value (AOV), lifetime value, retention rate, and acquisition rate
  • Associates: time to launch (new products, features, solutions, marketing campaigns), and retention rate

About the Author

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Sarah Falcon

VP, Marketing Global

Sarah is a nimble and creative marketing leader with 15 years of experience in a mix of agencies, B2B, and B2C enterprises. She brings a background in building and driving impactful marketing practices and processes for growing businesses. Sarah has expertise in brand, content marketing, lead generation, and marketing operations. She’s a co-author of the 2019 book on B2B eCommerce Digital Branch Secrets: eCommerce Playbook for Distributors.

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