In the world of eCommerce, the architecture behind your platform impacts not just performance, but how flexibly you can adapt to rapid market changes.
When businesses grow, the limitations of monolithic architectures and the challenges of maintaining bespoke systems become apparent. This is where SaaS eCommerce and composable comes into play, it can reduce costs and complexity and you can build a more modular eCommerce solution that will scale with your business.
Auditing your current stack
The first step is to complete a thorough assessment of your existing tech stack. Before jumping head-on into migration, it’s a good idea to get your ducks in a row using something as simple as a spreadsheet, so that you know where you stand.
But how? That’s why we’re here to help!
We’d recommend setting an afternoon aside to do this work - don’t worry too much about the real nitty gritty either. This should be a pretty high-level piece of work that you can then lean on to guide any further decision-making.
How to audit your current stack
First of all, you’ll want to create three sheets within your document - name the first ‘Basic Requirements’, the second ‘Current Tech Stack Costs’ and the third ‘SaaS Qs’. This sheet will help you to begin to start exposing a rough idea of the use cases that you’re currently delivering, and how.
In the first sheet, you’ll list the features that your current site offers. We’ll use ‘shipping and delivery’ as an example. This lives in your first column. In the second column, you’ll include a description of what this is - in this case we’ll go with ‘integrating with shipping carriers to calculate shipping costs, generate labels, and provide tracking information’. Then in the third column is what tech or partner is providing this solution for you - i.e. ShipStation, Fulfilment by Amazon etc. If needs be, you can add some commentary in a fourth column, to help provide useful context for anyone else who may use the sheet.
Then, in the second sheet, we’ll look at your list of tech partners and vendors. Like the first sheet, your first column will include the vendor’s name, then the main thing that they provide to you, and then their yearly cost. At this point, you can then work with an eCommerce consultant, agency partner or directly with the SaaS provider themselves to see what, in principle, would be replaced.
Finally, in tab number three, you’ll take a look at your existing business metrics. You’ll need to list, in order of importance:
Your number of expected orders for the year ahead
Your Average Order Value (AOV) at checkout
Your online revenue
Your offline revenue (ePOS)
Your current platform
Additional needs (i.e. B2B, multi-store front, etc.)
How your inventory is managed
These are the kind of questions that your potential future SaaS provider (e.g. BigCommerce) will need answering to help give you a comparative price. It can get complicated very quickly, so try and keep it as top-level as possible - however, this should let you compare the price of your techstack vs a Saas provider with relative ease.
We know you’re all busy people though - which is why you can find our free techstack template at the end of this blog. You’re welcome!
Other things to consider
If this is something that’s firmly on your radar for the year ahead, then there are a few other things that you might want to consider before making any firm commitments.
It may sound obvious, but it’s a great idea to survey your team when looking at making changes like this, as they will most likely impact everyone in some way, shape or form. By asking them what their pains are and what tech they love (and hate), can go a long way to make their lives easier. From a people point of view, it’s always a great idea to make your team feel listened to and understood too.
If you’re asking questions internally, it’s also wise to ask them externally to your customers too. You could do this in many different ways - from something as simple as an email survey or website pop-up, to a fully fledged focus group where you gain insights face to face. The choice is yours!
We’d also recommend having a chat with any agency partners that you might work with. They may have some words of wisdom to hand about working with both your existing tech and any providers you may be considering switching to.
Finally, and potentially most importantly, it’s super important to have a clear set of goals for your business and how eCommerce will help to achieve them. Without these in mind, you may not be best positioned to make the final decision, nevermind the right one. If this is something you’re not sure about, we’re more than happy to chat this through with you.
Why will this help me?
By working through this process, not only could you gain a potential financial saving when it comes to your annual costs but you can also move towards a tech stack that’s more suitable for you, your customers, your agencies and your team.
The benefits of SaaS is that it can reduce the need for out of hours maintenance and enable your development team to focus on creating a better customer experience.
Anyone in your eCommerce team can divert their attention to working on personalisation, promos and content, with the marketing team switching on better channel marketing for your products and having more time to be creative.
So, while reviewing your tech stack may start from a place of cost evaluation - it could actually lead to:
A more efficient workplace
Increase customer engagement
Improve sales and checkout conversion
How SaaS providers like BigCommerce and agencies like Rusty Monkey can help
SaaS providers like BigCommerce are really great at working through the minutia of detail with you, and breaking down what will work, what might feel more at home with a third party, and what might be bespoke code. They’ll be able to advise on how other companies that look like you within your space have done exactly this, and the successes they’ve had - they might even be able to connect you with these people so that you can hear it straight from them.
Agencies (like us here at Rusty Monkey) are also really valuable assets to have on side when working through a project like this. They can help you work through your initial spreadsheet, or can go that one step further by helping with a small discovery or scoping project. They also usually have existing connections to a bunch of tech partners who can help with organising demos of various systems to deliver things in a more modern way - as well as a free lunch or two here and there.
On occasion, between the SaaS provider, tech partners, and agencies, there can even be some subsidies provided to help with any eventual migration project.
So - what are you waiting for? Download our free spreadsheet now by clicking the button at the bottom of the page. All great things begin with a spreadsheet…
Who wrote this?
He / him. A dev guru, Russ has been playing with tech and building websites for longer than most of us can remember. He loves to weave together intricate systems in the background that create a seamless and beautifully functioning user experience. As our Financial Director, Russ is also in charge of important things like sending out invoices and buying selotape. A fan of real ales, three-course lunches, and networking events in exotic locations, you are just as likely to find him listening to heavy metal in a muddy field as you are hobnobbing with ecommerce execs in Singapore.