Over the past decade, the rise of online shopping has reshaped the way we buy and sell goods. By migrating to a robust online platform, you may find it easier to reach a global audience and expand your market. However, e-commerce migration can be overwhelming and needs careful planning and execution.

 

Feeling unsure about how to migrate your e-commerce site efficiently? This article will provide a complete guide with all the necessary information. Let’s explore the important preparations and guidelines for a smooth process.


What is E-Commerce Migration?

E-commerce migration (or e-commerce re-platforming, e-commerce site migration) is the process of migrating data from one e-commerce website to another. This includes installing the new system, transferring data, and setting up the new e-commerce site to another provider.


Types of E-Commerce Migration

In general, there are three types of e-commerce migration and re-platforming:


1. Platform to platform.

This method includes switching from one e-commerce solution to another that offers more features. A prominent example is the migration from Magento to Shopify or Big Commerce to Shopify Plus. This contains high SEO risk as in general, a platform change means that the site’s URLs will also change. For example, WordPress and other CMSs have their URL structures with different needs. In many platform migrations, maintaining the original URL isn’t possible ⁠— even if you want to.

Changing platforms also face the risk of losing the core functionality that your SEO is currently benefiting from. It is important that you minimize such a risk when it comes to transitioning platforms.


2. Phased migration:

This means migrating your store in different stages, rather than a complete re-platforming. With this type, e-commerce site migration can be simplified by transitioning to a different Content Management System (CMS) like Shopify or WordPress, while keeping certain existing elements on your website. This approach ensures a smoother transition and minimizes the risk of potential issues.


3. Monolithic to microservices.

Moving from a monolithic architecture to microservices provides more flexibility in managing an e-commerce store. This simply means breaking down the application into smaller sections. It will allow businesses to layer platforms and third-party apps to cover different parts of the customer or product journey. This is especially useful for stores operating under a headless commerce model.

Transitioning to microservices requires reorganizing the application’s structure. Instead of a single system, it is divided into separate modules. This approach enables independent development of each service, focusing on specific business capabilities. It speeds up development cycles and simplifies maintenance.

Different types of migrations require different approaches. To meet your platforming requirements and business goals, choose the appropriate type wisely. The impact on SEO performance will vary depending on the migration type. Minor changes like design updates have a low risk to SEO performance, while significant structural changes may require additional measures to protect SEO rankings. Consult SEO experts and implement suitable strategies to minimize potential risks preventing you from running a successful e-commerce business.


Amazon ecommerce migration

Amazon is a prominent example of eCommerce re-platforming. Source: amazon.com


Why is E-Commerce Migration Important?

E-commerce re-platforming requires a great amount of time, money, and effort. Moreover, it will change your entire e-commerce site, including its design, functionality, performance, and much more. Once you decide to migrate the e-commerce platform, you have to choose the right time and the right reasons. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of migrating your website carefully. Below are many reasons for migrating your e-commerce platform to a new solution:


Inadequate performance

For many businesses, their initial e-commerce site offers limited features and performance. However, with the increasing number of working-age internet users buying online (58,4%), some businesses may realize that their current platform is slow, poorly designed, and unable to meet customer needs. In such cases, upgrading the site becomes necessary. Continuous performance issues lead to a negative customer experience. This even causes delays and even stops customers from purchasing.


Additionally, if your existing site requires frequent, expensive maintenance, re-platforming can reduce much of this burden. Whether the maintenance tool is provided by a third-party or built in-house, upkeep and maintenance can become overwhelming for your team.


Chart working age internet users

Percentage of working-age internet users buying online in January 2022. Source: hootsuite.com


Increased efficiency

A new platform can also provide you with new tools for attracting customers and convincing them to spend more on your site. You could offer relevant add-on products, bundles, higher-order discounts, and special offers. Also, a fast, responsive site is imperative for a great user experience. Consider installing a high-quality website hosting to keep your site functioning well.


Business growth

As your business grows, your site may not be able to deal with high amounts of traffic during peak times. And you can lose out on revenue. You need to move your online store to a more stable and scalable solution.


Lack of security

If your website has security problems, it requires more effort to fix the mistakes for your development teams. This also affects your customers’ information and their trust in your brand.


Your platform is outdated

When your current platform provider stops supporting the software, an e-commerce platform needs to keep your website up-to-date, secure, and competitive. When Magento 1 ends its life, many businesses must make an immediate plan to migrate to Magento 2 or other web-building platforms.


Admin functions poorly

A clunky admin panel means poor navigation. It also slows your team down and results in less output and increased frustration. When this becomes a burden, switching to an intuitive, simple admin will ensure your team has a great tool and can work effectively.


How to Choose the Best E-Commerce Platform

In the ecommerce re-platforming process, you need to find out the right platform to ensure you get the most benefits from your migration. Among many web-builder platforms, you should create a checklist to find out the best e-commerce platforms. Check these factors out once choosing a new e-commerce platform:


Input from multiple stakeholders:

To choose the right e-commerce platform, it’s important to get input from different departments and stakeholders. Talk to all the involved parties: sales, marketing, customer service, and IT teams to understand their needs and preferences. Ask about key features, integration requirements, payment gateways, shipping options, and inventory management. This collaboration ensures everyone’s concerns are addressed, helping in making an informed decision. if you involve stakeholders early on, conflicts and misunderstandings can be avoided.


Platform features and capabilities:

Compare the features and capabilities each platform offers and look for those that match with your company’s requirements. Make sure the platform you choose integrates well with any other tools you currently use and can work with any you plan to use in the future.


The capabilities of your team:

When considering the abilities of your team, it’s important to choose a solution that matches their knowledge and skills. Look for an option that is easy to set up, user-friendly, and has useful features. Also, consider how easy it is to use the platform’s interface, so your team can make the most of its capabilities. By taking your team’s abilities into account and selecting a platform with good support, you can encourage them to successfully migrate and effectively manage your e-commerce platform.


Long-term outlook:

Take a long-term view when choosing a new e-commerce platform.  Select one that will meet your future goals and one that’s likely to keep up with changing technology. Seek solutions designed to accommodate expansion without requiring extensive upgrades or disruptive overhauls.


Cost:

When evaluating the benefits of migrating your e-commerce platform, it is important to consider the costs involved. Assess the costs of the platforms themselves, including licensing fees, and site maintenance costs, such as hosting and security measures. Additionally, consider the expenses associated with hiring e-commerce platform migration specialists if needed. By carefully assessing the costs, you can determine the best e-commerce platform for your business. Considering carefully the expected benefits and growth potential will help you make a cost-effective decision that fits your business goals.


How to Prepare for E-Commerce Replatforming

E-commerce site migration seems to be a complex process.  However, by following a formulaic process and breaking it down into specific steps, you can make it more manageable. Let’s explore each step in more detail:


1.    Assess platform capabilities

Before migrating, it’s essential to review the existing e-commerce website thoroughly. This step will help you identify any potential issues that may arise during the migration process.

 

First, evaluate the functionality and features of your current website. Identify which features are essential and determine which can be removed or replaced. This analysis will guide you in installing and configuring the necessary extensions and features for your new one.

 

Next, focus on evaluating the design and layout of your website. Check if the design is optimized for the best user experience and if it is mobile-responsive. Additionally, assess website performance, specifically looking for any issues related to slow loading times.

 

Lastly, examine the data structure of your website, including customer databases, product information, and sales data. Ensure that all data is accurate and up-to-date, and develop a plan for migrating this data to your new e-commerce platform, such as Magento 2. This preparation will set you on the right path for a successful e-commerce migration.


2.    Plan for the eCommerce site migration

To ensure a successful migration to your new site, it is a must to outline all the necessary steps involved. This plan will enable you to track your process thoroughly on your new e-commerce migration process.

 

To start, it’s important to know why you want to migrate your website. Next, do some research to find possible e-commerce platforms. Make a shortlist of these platforms and consider factors like features, costs, and other factors. For example, some businesses need a platform that can deal with sudden increases in website visitors without crashing. Others need to handle lots of products and a growing number of visitors. This helps you choose what fits your needs the best.

 

Next, decide whether you will migrate everything as is or make modifications to elements such as site navigation, product categorization, your domain, and SSL certificate,… You must organize all the content you want to move over from your old site.

 

The next step is to establish a realistic timeline for your migration. When doing so, you should map out all key milestones, and resources required for each.


3.    Audit and backup existing data

Before migrating data, it is crucial to perform an audit of your existing data and ensure you have a reliable backup of your website. This involves reviewing and assessing the quality, accuracy, and relevance of your data. In case something goes wrong during your e-commerce data migration, you still have a backup of the most recent version of your website.


4.    Migrate data

Next, you can start migrating your data. Start by testing a part of your website on the new platform to ensure everything works smoothly.

You can use do this manually, use a migration app, or through a third-party team. Check whether the new platform’s format is different from your old platform. In this case, content needs changes, and the migration process will require additional effort and attention.


5.    Test and Re-test

To ensure a smooth transition to the new platform, It is important to test various aspects of the site thoroughly. It includes conducting tests on key pages, search functions, website navigation, checkout process, email functionality,… This will help you identify and resolve any bugs or issues before launching.

 

Redesigning the site, testing functionality, and addressing bugs should be done before the site goes live. Also, you should use performance auditing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to ensure optimal page loading and usability.

 

Consider involving multiple individuals, including internal stakeholders and loyal customers, to analyze the site and provide feedback. Collect and incorporate this feedback into final tweaks before the launch.


6.    Launch the website

Once all the planning and testing are completed, it’s time to launch the new e-commerce platform. Choose a time with minimal customer traffic to avoid disruptions. After the launch, you should double-check the functionality of critical pages. Then, it is vital to confirm proper form completion and checkout notifications and address any bugs that may arise promptly.

 

Monitoring the results is crucial following the migration. Keep an eye on website traffic, search engine rankings, conversions, and other metrics. Check it by using Google Analytics and Google Search Console. It’s normal to see temporary changes in metrics, but if the migration was executed correctly, the site should recover over time.


Wrapping Up

In summary, to ensure a successful e-commerce migration, it is important to choose the right ecommerce platform, create a comprehensive checklist, and test the new platform thoroughly. By following these essential preparations and guidelines, businesses can navigate the e-commerce migration process effectively and achieve improved performance in the digital marketplace.