The Top 4 Warnings Your Legacy Commerce Platform is Killing Your Competitive Edge
Businesses have always explored how to continually meet their customers' ever-evolving expectations. In today’s digital world, plans often involve technology-driven strategies that help customers make purchasing decisions — e.g., augmented reality and virtual reality visualization, personal shoppers, and live chats — so they turn to their IT team or software vendors for help. Unfortunately, the typical response when asking to add a new capability is “no.” If they’re lucky enough to hear “yes,” it usually comes with the caveat that it will require a large investment of time and money plus no guarantee of seamless implementation. The result? A subpar, half-baked solution, unhappy executives, frustrated engineers, and unsatisfied customers.
So, here you are, a business leader in an environment of constant change, confronted with all these big new trends, from shoppable live streams and social commerce, to the rise of cryptocurrency and selling in the metaverse. Yet you’re still trying to figure out how to build the basics of modern commerce, like integrating split payments, buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and buy now, pay later (BNPL) into your platform. The truth is, it isn’t your IT team who’s holding you up or shutting you down, it’s your technology.
If you’re still running your business on an old-fashioned, monolithic platform, it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to enable commerce in a multitude of channels and deliver the omnichannel experiences your customers expect today.
On the other hand, the modern microservices, APIs, cloud-native, headless (MACH)-based architecture was created specifically to support a digital world. The open, composable MACH environment delivers power, flexibility, speed and scalability, providing a foundation that can enable commerce today and in the future. In fact, according to Forrester, “In commerce … modern solutions, architecture and delivery models reward the vendors that have invested in tech that enables them — and their users — to innovate faster.”
So, if you’re unclear why your business is struggling to keep up with commerce or its ability to compete in the future, here are four warnings that your legacy technology is the culprit:
1. Instead of exploring limitless commerce possibilities, you’re stuck with limited options.
There’s no reason to live with getting an immediate “no” or being met with a blank stare every time you mention something like currency conversion or one-click checkout. MACH-based platforms offer a modular, composable environment that gives you the flexibility to experiment and add new features easily.
2. You struggle to meet your sales goals, while watching your IT costs increase.
New commerce channels are going to keep emerging. If updating and integrating your current platform is expensive and takes forever, you’re not only losing loyal customers, you’re missing out on new ones. Modern commerce lets you quickly and inexpensively create personalized experiences that engage customers and drive sales.
3. Small changes cause big problems — and adding new features is an enormous undertaking.
Like cell phones circa 1999, legacy platforms weren’t built to support the advanced technology required to enable multi and omnichannel commerce. Modern architecture allows the frontend and backend to operate independently, so changes can be made with little risk and no downtime.
4. You get nervous before every big sale or new product launch.
Too many times your technology has crashed during your biggest sales moments, and you live in constant fear it will happen again. Why live with that kind of stress when solutions that scale as needed without crashing and downtime exist? Your technology should be able to adapt to change and grow as your business grows.
You’ll undoubtedly always find people within the ranks of your organization who will insist you don’t need to replatform and offer up a multitude of reasons to stick with your existing legacy platform. The best option is to move forward and prove them wrong.
Look to global brands like Vistaprint to reinforce your position. At a commerce industry event last year, Gary Schorer, Vistaprint’s director of technology, said, “The decision we made in 2019 to declare bankruptcy on our monolith and start over was a big gamble. It wasn't an easy decision to make. But if you think about it, it only took us a year to start seeing some outrageously good returns.”
Ultimately, your business needs to retain a competitive edge. You can’t allow fear of change to control the destiny of your company. Modern commerce is the solution; all you have to do is take a leap of faith.
Arthur Lawida is the president of commercetools US, a cloud-based headless commerce platform.