May 15, 2013, 9:59 AM

Changing e-commerce platforms takes teamwork

An IRCE speaker explains how to carry out a technology migration.

Lead Photo

William Bartley

Switching e-commerce platforms without interrupting business can resemble changing a jet’s engines while keeping the plane in the air, and doing so without disturbing passengers, says William Bartley, chief product officer for women’s shoe and accessories e-retailer Sole Society. “Do it right, or it can break your company,” he says.

Together with Greg Thorson, founder and CEO of LED lighting seller EnvironmentalLights.com, and Jon Provisor, owner and chief information officer at web development company Guidance, Bartley will discuss the key considerations for e-retailers planning to change their e-commerce platforms at the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. They will speak during a session entitled “How to migrate to a new e-commerce platform without losing sales and driving your tech team nuts.

Bartley has helped to switch e-commerce technologies at a large business such as Walt Disney Studios and at startups like Sole Society, he says. No matter the size of the merchant, retailers need to select the right software and install it without disruption to customers. E-retailers also need to make sure their teams know the goals of the technology change, he says. If the executives demand one type of software that the web developers have doubts about, for example, the process could run into difficulties.

E-retailers also must make sure their e-commerce platform vendors fit well with skills, and culture of the company’s staff—and that includes the willingness to work with in-house employees, Bartley says.

Bartley says he worked with an online business that outsourced its e-commerce platform development to an offshore vendor, which offered cheaper labor U.S. firms. But coordinating with foreign workers on an opposing sleep schedule proved a waste of that company’s time, he says. The company should have hired a local business to do the same work much faster, and therefore ultimately cheaper, he says.

During his session he’ll talk about other common mistakes and lessons so that attendees will leave knowing what questions to ask when moving to a new e-commerce platform, he says.

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Bartley to speak based on his years of experience working on digital technology for online businesses.

Find out more about the conference and how to sign up, click here.

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