Four Questions Parts Sellers Should Consider Before Replatforming

July 16, 2019

By: Jesse Tyler,
Author Title: 
Marketing Coordinator
, Classy Llama
Parts Sellers B2B eCommerce

Planning a site replatform isn’t easy. There are many factors that merchants must consider before diving into their next major eCommerce project. In true “measure-twice-cut-once” fashion, we’ve provided four helpful questions for when you’re considering a site replatform.

Is my eCommerce platform optimized for growth?

A platform switch isn’t something you want to do often. That probably goes without saying. So when you’re preparing for your upcoming eCommerce website site build, you’ll want to make sure you’ve checked all the boxes for your current needs as well as your expected requirements for three to five years out.

For parts sellers like All States Ag Parts, complex product attributes and large catalogs require a great deal of platform flexibility. All States Ag Parts has over 150K product categories and over 800K SKUs. Their switch to Magento Commerce hosted in the cloud gave them huge site speed improvements over their previous Volusion site.

Magento Commerce 2’s built-in B2B features also allowed them to hit the ground running with user-level permissions, enhanced customer accounts, and customizable catalogs and price lists at a customer level. Having critical needs met with Magento’s out-of-the-box features was a huge plus for All States Ag Parts.

Another challenge is forecasting what features you’ll need for the future. The truth is that you don’t know, at least not completely. However, selecting the right platform can make it easier as your business evolves.

Need to start selling internationally? Got it. Forming a family of brands that need multi-site functionality? It can be done. Magento 2 is packed with features for growing brands with diverse and complex needs.

What features do customers in my industry expect?

As global marketplaces continue to expand and industry disruptors spring up daily, merchants need to differentiate by creating a unique digital experience. It’s wise to survey your competitors and see what others are doing. Is your company lagging behind in the customer experience it delivers? Where are there opportunities for you to get ahead of the pack? 

A major project like a replatforming is a great time to reflect on what new features will drive the greatest returns for you. Evaluate both out of the box features and functions and also how those core features can be enhanced by third-party extensions and custom functionality.

In the case of All States Ag Parts, they knew fitment was the next step for their eCommerce growth. While this is not a native feature, the architecture of Magento 2 made it possible for solution partner Classy Llama to create a flexible extension that could serve All States Ag Parts’ needs.

Do I have a partner that can fill my knowledge gaps?

A good implementation partner should be able to inform you of where your blind spots might be. For All States Ag Parts, Classy Llama’s depth of B2B and automotive experience gave them a safety net so crucial elements of their customer experience wouldn’t get overlooked.

While every project is different, it’s certainly helpful when your implementation partner has experience from work in your industry. They’ll have familiarity with industry standards and can offer guidance around common pitfalls and challenges.

Am I paying attention to possible SEO implications?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most valuable long-term investments for eCommerce merchants. Organic traffic from high-quality SEO is built slowly over time but can be destroyed in a moment. Often, merchants anticipate a substantial drop in organic traffic when replatforming or doing a site overhaul. It doesn’t have to be this way.

With the right preparation out of the gate, a new site can avoid an SEO nosedive. While there’s more to it, the basic principle is to avoid major changes during your switch, then slowly rolling out changes over time.

Conclusion

Of course, there are many more questions you’ll need to ask if you’re a B2B merchant or parts seller looking to replatform. If that is you, though, a great next step is attending our upcoming webinar “Fast, Accurate, and Available: Perfecting Fitment for Parts Sellers”.

You will hear from Terry Burkhart, Marketing Director at All States Ag Parts, North America’s largest seller of used, new and remanufactured tractor and combine parts. Terry will be walking us through their migration to Magento Commerce 2 with Magento Solution Partner, Classy Llama.