An ecommerce site migration is a risky undertaking if you’re unfamiliar with ecommerce development.
But if your current platform doesn’t offer the features, integrations or technical know-how to meet your growing business needs, you’ll want to consider switching ecommerce platforms.
Migrating from self-hosted ecommerce platforms like Magento or WooCommerce to hosted ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify can take anywhere from three months to a year. It takes time to strategize, plan, learn and test before going live.
In this guide, we’ll explain what to consider when switching ecommerce platforms, and show you how to prepare for a successful ecommerce site migration so you don’t waste your time.
6 Things to Consider Before an Ecommerce Site Migration
Before switching ecommerce platforms, it’s best to do some research first. Consider the following:
1. Your business needs and deal-breakers
Think about the daily operations of your ecommerce business, as well as a customer’s journey through your website. Make a list of must-haves and deal-breakers - ecommerce platform features your business can’t do without.
What functions are essential for your store and customers? Does your ecommerce business rely heavily on gift cards or certificates? What about customer segmentation or upselling?
Migrating to an ecommerce platform that fails to accommodate your needs can hurt your business in the long run, so be thoughtful and careful as you build your list.
2. Platform features
What core features are you looking for in an ecommerce platform? What about secondary features?
Payment processing, content management systems and theme customization are just a few variables to think about. Your needs and deal breakers list will come in handy as you review ecommerce platform features.
3. Platform integrations and apps
What can you add or further develop to take your ecommerce business to the next level? Consider upsell apps, shipping tools or email service provider integrations, for instance.
BigCommerce has several hundred apps, whereas Shopify boasts thousands more. But quantity doesn’t always trump quality. See what integrations and apps are available to determine what’s best suited to your business.
4. Ecommerce platform trajectory
Does this ecommerce platform make an active effort to improve core features and performance, or add integrations to their app store regularly?
An upwards “platform trajectory” is a good indicator that an ecommerce platform is secure, here to stay, and won’t leave you, your store or your customers hanging. After all, the last thing you want to do is migrate your ecommerce platform again.
You might be familiar with Magento 1’s end-of-life story. In June 2020, Magento sunsetted all versions of Magento 1, affecting thousands of ecommerce stores. Magento 1 also did not undergo any major updates since 2014, causing these ecommerce stores to fall behind the competition.
5. Cost of platform
Between BigCommerce and Shopify, plan pricing is competitive at first glance. But keep an eye out for unexpected charges like transaction fees or the costs of third-party apps, which will add up quickly.
6. Brand values
Values and philosophies matter; you want an ecommerce platform you can trust. Scope out the platform’s blog, social media profiles, case studies or reviews to gauge whether their values and priorities align with you and your business.
How to Prepare to Switch Ecommerce Platforms
Here’s our foolproof 10-step checklist for a successful ecommerce site migration.
1. Document all technical requirements
Preparation is key. Create a list or use a project management system to map out everything you need before diving in.
2. Configure your new ecommerce store settings
Adjust store settings and preferences to make it work for your business.
3. Migrate data
This includes your store products, categories, brands, customers, content or blogs, pages, discounts, pricing lists, etc.
4. Design your store
Choose a free or paid theme, create a custom design or do a mix of both. Custom designs require web development.
5. Develop your store
Get to coding. You should also optimize and test your site for speed and page experience, which are pivotal for SEO and user experience.
6. Configure native features
Finetune features like bulk pricing, customer groups or abandoned cart emails and develop the required coding.
7. Configure apps or integrations
Browse the app store to add tools and widgets that are helpful for your store.
8. Prepare for pre-launch
Add Google Analytics tags and configure Google Search Console. Add tracking scripts, mapping and configure 301 redirects, which are also critical for SEO and user experience.
9. Test, test, test
Test everything you do in your business to make sure all the bells and whistles work. Place orders, process payments, double-check shipping, cancel orders and process returns and refunds.
10. Go live!
Change DNS settings for your domain, add SSL certificates and do a live quality assurance check to make any adjustments as needed.
What About Ecommerce Migration Services?
Ecommerce site migrations are complex, time consuming and risky to conduct in-house if you’re not an ecommerce developer.
But if you’re considering an ecommerce migration service, you may want to rethink this approach as well.
Many ecommerce site migration services say they’ll migrate your data from one platform to another (the plug-and-play method), but a migration isn’t a one-and-done task. Unless your store is very minimal with a simple product catalog, ecommerce migration services will likely run into issues, especially when it comes to customization.
So who should you hire to help with your ecommerce migration?
Grow Your Ecommerce Business with Human
For top-notch site ecommerce migration support, get in touch with Human, an ecommerce development and marketing agency and certified BigCommerce partner and Shopify partner.
Human specializes in growing ecommerce companies through full technical support and custom app development. Human also provides full-funnel digital marketing services that enable your business to grow smarter.
Unlike cookie-cutter ecommerce migration services, we opt for a hands-on approach, where we test data along the way and optimize your ecommerce site for unique configurations and preferences.
Our team has the tools and expertise to keep your ecommerce business running smoothly and help you outpace competitors.
We’re also two steps ahead when it comes to critical changes, such as the Google Page Experience Update, which you’ll want to factor in if you’re migrating your site soon.
Ensure your ecommerce migration is successful the first time around. Contact us today to get expert ecommerce help from Human!