This is the ninth part in a 10-part series by Coalition Technologies on replatforming.
Ecommerce integration processing is one of the biggest risks in replatforming, next to Data Migration. This is what makes most of the processes on your site work. Without proper integration, your entire platform goes down. So, it’s important to take this phase seriously. You need to be as meticulous as possible. If anything gets messed up or lost, it can cripple your site. Ideally, you can perform your integration simultaneously to your data migration, as a lot of the steps are the same. Take care of this part of the process, and your replatform will come together quite nicely.
Prioritizing Your Integration
You don’t want to try doing all of your ecommerce integration at once. That’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, there’s a hierarchy you can establish that will help you prioritize how the process is done.
- Critical: This is the most important level. Essentially, these are the fundamental aspects of your site that it can’t function without. Think your ERP and similar. Without these, your website won’t function, and you’ll lose access to 2.14 billion global digital buyers.
- High-level: While these functions won’t entirely break your site, they’re very valuable for general use. Without them, you would be at a loss, but it wouldn’t be insurmountable. This includes your email marketing system and the like.
- Low-level: These functions are nice to have but aren’t necessary for customers to use your store. You won’t be at a loss without these.
Establishing these now lets you plan better and test effectively.
Ecommerce integrations aren’t all built exactly the same. In addition to porting over all the right parts, that means checking that the parts will be able to work with your new platform as well. Some connections will inevitably be more difficult to clear than others. There are two key questions you can ask yourself for each set that can help organize flow:
- Does this integration need to be connected or is it a connector?
- Have we made any changes to the integration?
You can prioritize based on which ones you’ve made the most changes to and which ones use specialized tasks. That gets the hard work out of the way quickly and the other ecommerce integrations can be ported without as much hassle.
Determining Who’s in Charge
You may decide to have an external agency do your integration work. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure the developer knows what they’re doing and what you want. Ideally, that means the developer will have prior experience with your integration. Developers without as much experience can still give you a polished product, but they may take longer, and there’s more risk involved. Also, you should aim to get dedicated help with your ecommerce integration rather than a shared developer. You want an agency that’s committed to your project and will prioritize it. That way you can guarantee good results. And make sure the developer knows how to establish mobile friendliness. More than half of online shoppers buy from their phones.
You can also use resources within your own company for the project. Your first step will be to figure out if the platform offers implementation project management. That will make the team’s job much easier. After that, you’ll want to work closely with the ecommerce integration team to set a clear plan and highlight potential risks. Having a clear blueprint is key to success. Your team will be much less likely to get lost along the way. It also gives you peace of mind that you know what you’re doing. While you shouldn’t micromanage your team, don’t be afraid to keep a close eye so you’ll know right away if there are any problems.
Execution and Testing
Now that you’ve established an ecommerce integration plan, it’s time to get started. You should have a clear idea of where to go from here, but it’s important to remember to be flexible. Things come up or change, and you need to be ready to assess these problems and develop new solutions while keeping your project on schedule. Some components of your plan may need to be re-evaluated, but that doesn’t mean you have to go back to the drawing board. Keep a calm head and make decisions with care. For a reminder of how important integration processes are, improving checkout processes increases customer conversion by roughly 35%.
Once your ecommerce integrations are set up, you need to test them so you know they work. A basic test for an ERP integration will look something like this:
- Make a test plan and desired success rate. Knowing how to test beforehand will save you a lot of time later. And knowing your success threshold gives you a clear goal to work towards. 100% accuracy is the most sought-after goal, but this kind of attention to detail will slow down the project more than it’s worth.
- Run tests of the customer side and the connector side. If your ERP offers separate staging areas, they’ll be perfect to test with.
- Check the ecommerce integration functionality with a test order and customer. If the connections go through your ERP and back to your platform, it’s a success.
- If you can’t get higher than a 70% success rate, you may need to roll back your strategy and retest.
- Administer Pass/Fail testing a day or two before your envisioned live date.
- Have a plan for if things go wrong both before and after the launch. A backup is key to recover from any hiccups and minimize fallout.
The most important thing to remember for your ecommerce integration is to plan ahead and stay on top of things. Breaking things down based on priority lets you know where to allocate resources. Further breaking it down based on platform customization gives you a clear idea of what to tackle first. From there, if you map things out and communicate effectively with your team, execution should be straightforward. Just don’t be afraid to be flexible if issues arise. Then, you can test to see how good the functionality is. Hopefully, it’ll be above 70%, but you can always go back to the drawing board and retest. Integration doesn’t have to be an overwhelming ordeal as long as you coordinate what you’re doing.
Got any further questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Coalition Technologies. We’ll be happy to discuss your replatforming project and guide you through the process.