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5 signs you’ve outgrown your eCommerce platform

In over a decade of working with online retail brands, one of the biggest growth challenges we see time and again boils down to one thing: businesses have outgrown their eCommerce platform.

But with so many different platforms out there, all serving different business needs and sizes, it’s unsurprising that it can be difficult to tell where that tipping point is, and know for sure when you’ve outgrown your eCommerce platform – signaling it’s time for your business to invest in a system that will take you to the next level of growth.

We’ve pulled together our top 5 triggers that lay bare the need for an upgrade – if your business is experiencing one or more of these, then it’s highly likely your eCommerce platform is holding your continued growth hostage.

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1. It’s frustratingly difficult for your eCommerce business to scale

Smaller platforms often have an upper limit on certain features – usually because they simply weren’t built to host businesses past a certain size.

Maybe the analytics available to you just aren’t cutting it; perhaps your site is slow no matter what you seem to try; or your marketing team is constricted by a lack of segmentation tools. It could be that you’ve raised some of these problems to your agency, but the time and costs quoted to improve things have been prohibitive, and as such you’ve just been ‘making do’.

You may also find that some of the solutions you chose when your business was smaller just don’t work for your business any more, and you are now paying over the odds for a package that doesn’t suit your needs. Many eCommerce businesses are paying through the nose for hosting, for example, when they could be using a specialist provider with a much more reasonable rate – or in the case of Adobe Commerce, have their hosting included in the platform licence price.

2. New features are unavailable or too costly to implement

Many brands are held back from their growth goals by not being able to implement features they know will grow their business – and this can often come from a platform that no longer serves your needs. Maybe you want to expand internationally, but are being hindered by your eCommerce platform, because international shipping integrations or local personalisation are too costly or complex to implement.

Or perhaps your goal is to grow your B2B offering, but your direct sales team is already at maximum capacity. Adobe Commerce has time and again been proven to be the best eCommerce platform for B2B brands – offering the option to host a version of your site for your B2B customers, enabling them to switch to self-service shopping and freeing up your sales team, and meaning you can grow your business without recruiting and training additional staff.

Either way – if your team or your agency have advised that a feature is off the table, it’s likely that it’s caused – completely or in part – by you having outgrown your current eCommerce platform.

3. Your design ideas are constrained

This is a problem many of our current clients have run into in the past – their grand design ideas feel constrained, or are completely out of the question, thanks to the limitations of the design capabilities on their old, inflexible eCommerce platform.

It might be something simple like shifting elements about on a product page – or maybe you have an experimental feature in your head that is impossible to build without a complex, custom development project, and the cost vs potential return isn’t worth the investment.

Whatever the constraint may be, it’s likely that upgrading to a flexible, robust eCommerce platform will reduce or completely eliminate any design limitations some of the smaller platforms have, and give you a full range of customisation to make your business stand head and shoulders above your competitors.

4. You can’t empower your internal eCommerce marketing team

Does your system feel like it was built for the IT team rather than the marketing team? Do you find yourself raising tickets with your eCommerce agency for tasks you feel your internal team should be able to do? Are you and your team frustrated by lack of autonomy?

When you’ve outgrown your eCommerce platform, often straightforward tasks – like adding new pages or changing layouts – require complex workarounds, custom development work, or – when you do attempt them internally – don’t work as they should. These unnecessary roadblocks hamper your business’ productivity levels and stop your team reaching their full potential.

A robust platform helps larger businesses empower their team, by offering flexibility in tasks you are able to do in-house. Adobe Commerce, for example, can increase business productivity by up to 25% just with features like Page Builder and Content Staging – which give your internal team the ability to easily create powerful and personalised experiences with a drag-and-drop system, and then schedule a wide range of content updates directly from the store’s Admin. Automating late-night or weekend promotions going live without needing to be next to your computer? Game changer!

5. It’s not financially viable – or maybe even possible – to integrate with other systems

Whether it’s your CRM, inventory management, shipping partners or marketing platforms – struggling to integrate with the systems you need to run and grow your business is a key indicator it’s time to upgrade your eCommerce platform.

One of the benefits of using an enterprise-level platform is that technology and SaaS partners prioritise integrations for the larger platforms. If you are using a niche or legacy platform you may be waiting a long time for a direct integration, or not be able to access one at all.

In some cases you may be able to ask your agency to build a custom API integration, but this can be costly and time consuming, and really adds up – especially if you have to do this for most or all of the third party systems you use.

Despite the initial investment, it may be more economical to upgrade to a more flexible or established platform and make use of direct integrations available – some of which can even be set up with little or no custom development work.

Experiencing any of these signs? Then it’s likely you’ve outgrown your eCommerce platform.

These are trigger points we’ve come across time and again for brands who have outgrown their eCommerce platform in our 12 years in the space – and why we recommend Adobe Commerce as the solution. With a fully customisable platform, productivity-boosting features, and a wide ecosystem of Adobe products to support your growth – not to mention integrations with 100s of third party services – Adobe Commerce is the platform of choice for businesses looking to take their eCommerce growth to the next level.

Want to learn more?

We’ve teamed up with the team at Adobe to host a merchant-exclusive, online workshop on the 9th March 2022 that explores the benefits of switching to Adobe Commerce, showcasing the results attained by brands who have already made the leap. Spaces are limited – so sign up here to be sure you don’t miss out.