eCommerce projects, and especially replatform projects, are typically complex and often difficult. When you take one on, you are bound to face challenges. Over the last decade, the Wasserman Digital team has done dozens of new eCommerce site implementation projects, eCommerce replatforming projects, and eCommerce “rescue” projects. Along the way we have developed a comprehensive guide to help our clients’ organizations navigate replatforming challenges effectively. This document identifies the 4 key risks associated with eCommerce replatforming projects.

Identifying Key Implementation Risks

Successful eCommerce replatforming is a complex, multifaceted endeavor. Let’s start by exploring some risks that need the attention of the executive team:

1. Business & Technical Complexity

Navigating the technical complexity of doing an eCommerce replatform requires a full understanding of your existing digital infrastructure. Complex eCommerce sites often have evolved complex architectures to support a wide array of functions such as real-time inventory management, customer relationship management, personalized marketing, shipping rules, regulatory compliance and data analytics. You need a solid understanding of the “as is” site before you can correctly define the “to be” site.

So, it’s crucial that early in the replatforming project you undertake a thorough audit of your current eCommerce architecture. This audit should map out all existing integrations, dependencies, and workflows (at Wasserman Digital, this is part of our Discovery process). Understanding these elements in detail is essential not only to ensure that the new system can accommodate all necessary functionalities but also to identify potential areas for improvement.

This deep dive into the existing and future state of your eCommerce technology ensures that the new system is not just a replacement but an evolution that helps grow revenues, reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction. The objective is to create a “to be” architecture that includes the best parts of the existing eCommerce site while adding new capabilities that can help drive the business forward.

2. Insufficient Requirements Gathering

A common pitfall, and the #1 issue we are brought in to address with rescue projects, is the insufficient gathering of requirements. This risk arises when project teams do not thoroughly engage with all stakeholders or fail to delve deep into the specific needs of different business units. Insufficient requirements gathering leads to a misalignment between the delivered system and the actual needs of the business. Without well defined requirements, it is difficult to architect the solution correctly, identify the work that needs to be done, and to test the system correctly.

3. Unrealistic Scope, Schedule, and Budget Constraints

Setting unrealistic expectations regarding the project’s scope, timeline, and budget is another significant risk. Often driven by an overly optimistic outlook or external pressures, unrealistic constraints can lead to inadequate planning and resource allocation. This in turn increases the likelihood of project delays, budget overruns, and compromises in system functionality and quality. Establishing realistic objectives, grounded in a solid understanding of the project’s requirements and potential challenges, is essential for a successful implementation.

4. Managing Internal Resource Allocations

Effective resource allocation is crucial for the success of any eCommerce system implementation. One significant challenge organizations face is ensuring that internal team members have sufficient bandwidth to contribute to the replatforming project while also fulfilling their regular job responsibilities. This dual demand can lead to overextension and missed deadlines if not managed carefully.

It is essential to realistically assess the capacity of your teams and consider the need for temporary support or adjustments in workload distribution during the project’s lifecycle. Additionally, prioritizing tasks and possibly delaying non-essential work can help manage workloads more effectively. Providing clear communication about expectations and timelines will also aid in balancing these responsibilities, ensuring that both project goals and day-to-day operations are met without compromising the quality and productivity of the team.

These risks are necessary to avoid if you want a successful replatforming project. To learn about the best practices when replatforming, check out our other article that provides strategic advice and best practices on ensuring a successful deployment. Or reach out to us to learn how we would specifically replatform your site!