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E-commerce Replatforming: Complete Migration Guide

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With its first e-commerce site, a business gets basic features and performance. When your company starts growing, you may find that your current platform is too slow, the design is poor, and there are not enough features to scale your business fast. On the other hand, you may face costly upkeep and maintenance, provided by your team or a technical partner. If a company strives to minimize operating costs, replatforming is definitely worth considering.

The need for migration will raise a question of how to do it? How to choose the right platform? How to migrate painlessly and without loss in income? In this guide, you will discover possible risks of replatforming, the way to mitigate them, and how your e-commerce business may benefit from this move.

What is migration and when you may need it

For successful store operation, your website or platform must be suitable and reliable, and meet all operational requirements, as well as customer expectations. If you lack one of these components, it’s better to think about replatforming your e-commerce store!

E-commerce replatforming is a process of migrating from one platform to another, or building an in-house e-commerce solution to improve web performance, change or update specific components, and get advanced functionality.

Even if you assume your system is 'OK' right now, e-commerce retailers should keep abreast, as technology is developing fast! Your platform can become outdated, start to lack necessary tech features, and turn inappropriate for delivering great customer experience. For example, your store is limited or even slows down with trackers, social-media buttons, and other third-party scripts. Your visitors expect an exceptional impression of your online store across channels and touchpoints. If the website’s design and performance are poor and do not satisfy their expectations, it will push them away.

All in all, migration is great because you can upgrade your current website: improve its performance or metrics, add new features or capabilities, and increase usability. This lets you gain competitive advantages without thinking about any changes in the near future.

Top 5 reasons to change e-commerce platform

E-commerce platform requires time and resources. Here we’ve collected a list of common issues that could influence your decision about switching to another e-commerce platform.

Top 5 Reasons to Change E-commerce Platform

Poor performance

Among many reasons for a website's bad performance is the platform’s poor capabilities. The main consequences of poor performance are:

  1. Slow loading sites: website speed is the time needed to load all the content and present it to a viewer. Popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Magento offer you different loading time:

Slow loading sites

Low speed and responsiveness have a direct impact on your website’s ranks, creating a bad user experience, affecting brand perception, and, as a result, decreasing revenue. The longer your site will take to load the content, the more users will leave it. In our ‘Shopify speed optimization guide’, you may find what factors affect your website’s timing and how you can improve it.

  1. Site crash: If customers face a problem with placing an order or finishing the purchase, they feel frustrated and will probably never come back to your store. If your site cannot respond and the system cannot manage all the backend, an uninspected surge arrives, causing the site to crash. The possible issue roots can be a database, an app server, or a router. Whatever the root cause, you don’t want your customers’ dissatisfaction – so you could consider migration. Customers’ dissatisfaction and lost revenue are serious arguments in favor of migration.
  2. Security issues: cyberattacks may completely destroy your brand reputation and damage customer loyalty. An e-commerce platform needs to protect customer-related information and financial operations. By getting a new cloud platform you may empower your store with protection tools. SSL certificates ensure safe data transferring through the Internet, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) protects all credit card data.
  3. Poor admin options: An inefficient admin panel leads to decreased site performance, lower output, and reduced profitability. Such frustration will obviously push you to explore an alternative admin panel, which will let your business manage the website content faster.

Lack of functionality

To reach new customers you need to have top-notch selling and analytical tools. Your current platform may not allow integration with new plugins, or adding new extensions may be difficult. This results in a loss of thousands of potential customers and search for a new solution with wider functionality and easy integrations.

Among the most popular third-party integrations are:

  • a secure payment gateway
  • shipping software
  • inventory management
  • automated accounting system
  • customer relationship management (CRM)
  • automated e-mail marketing
  • social media
  • multi-language multi-currency support

Additional apps or plugins help your business grow, identify new prospects, and convert more leads into customers.

High maintenance cost

Software maintenance is a process of software modification after delivery to remove bugs, provide improvements or adaptations.

  • Database maintenance: entering data and importing orders manually demand a significant amount of time and labor costs.
  • IT support: you need to pay extra costs to support your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, an e-commerce platform, replicating data and logic on both systems.
  • Development costs: e-store requires continuous and costly development services, such as integrations, product specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing.
  • Ineffective return management: your business suffers from too many order errors that impact revenue.

If your e-commerce platform constantly needs tech updates, start contracting with a professional e-commerce development agency. We at DigitalSuits will analyze the entire scope of needs, find the right solution and offer a suitable engagement model for the maintenance of your store.

Marketing efforts

To boost your marketing efforts, it’s important to have a stable and technically upgraded website. Poorly organized marketing activities result in:

  1. Poor customer experience. Companies that fail to meet customer expectations are bound to lose. By creating a customer-friendly interface, adding a real shop assistant, and inputting bank account details and sensitive personal information we help brands create emotional connections with their customers and build long-term trustworthy relations.
  2. Lack of sales tools. Having enough sales features and proper functionality is essential for an effective B2C strategy. Replatforming will let you have access to the most effective sales tools:
  • Adding unlimited products
  • Providing unlimited orders
  • Disk space with no restrictions
  • Unlimited visitors access
  • 24/7 online and phone support
  • Credit card processing with multiple payment systems
  • Data security standards (PCI DSS)
  • Shipping options
  • Automation of tax calculation
  • Inventory tracking

You will find all of these options, and many more, on BigCommerce and Shopify platforms. Both solutions provide great opportunities for online sales.

  1. Low brand awareness on social media. One of the most effective ways of promotion is through social media accounts. It is expected that the global social commerce market will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025, thus social media integration is an important criterion. With BigCommerce and Shopify platforms you will easily present your brand to a wider audience and gain new markets by adding “Buy Now” buttons on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Low optimization and customization options

To serve future business needs, you want a highly scalable solution that will let your business grow without spending a significant sum on backend rebuilding. If your e-commerce platform doesn't provide enough features or functional possibilities for future scaling, that is a serious reason to think about seeking another solution.

Among the most demanded e-commerce features are payment gateways, email marketing, order and inventory management, analytical tools, abandoned cart options, and logistics reports.

By using Shopify and BigCommerce platforms, you will get an Application Programming Interface (API) that provides integration with other software products. Both platforms allow considerable scope for development and are equipped with a GraphQL API. This tool provides a more flexible way of configuring requests and helps to receive necessary data. With these solutions, you can develop a third-party Storefront application using REST API and manage admin data, orders, products, and users.

Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the most powerful e-commerce solutions that provide an ability to scale with many free third-party APIs. At a competitive market price, Shopify and BigCommerce will help you eliminate growing pains through their well-equipped admin tools, capable of supporting thousands of transactions per second without slowing down the site, and providing proper SEO support.

Once you revealed all the reasons why your e-commerce store should migrate to a new platform, let’s discover what process you need to go through.

E-commerce data migration

To ensure a safe and secured transfer of your store, you need to prepare well for the migration. It is better to hire a professional team that will help you choose the best e-commerce solution and organize the process without hidden pitfalls. The migration process involves the following stages:

Steps for successful data migration

Data import

Before starting the migration journey, you need to check what data should be transferred. Only professional developers can provide safe transfer by creating a backup copy of your data.

Migration of customer data, products and categories is the most important part of the replatforming process. Otherwise, it will result in:

  • Wrong product mapping
  • Mix of product data, such as size, style, inventory
  • Loss of order history, customer data, credentials or transaction details
  • Incorrect product description or image
  • Inaccurate product recommendations

When transferring product options, bundled packages, carts, and themes, it is better to use manual migration to be sure that the data is transferred correctly, while customer data can be migrated automatically. In all cases, professional e-commerce developers will take care of all nuances of your store replatforming.

Creating improved functionality

While replatforming you can also implement new features:

  • Assessment: to check the possibility of migration without affecting the website's major functionality.
  • Decouple architecture: to ensure service-oriented architecture, we decouple web layer and service layer.
  • Upgrade frameworks and components: to enhance scalability, we replace dependent components with newly independent ones.

As a result of improved website functionality, you will be able to add new products easily, provide any upgrades faster, and operate other options without extra efforts on your part, with only a click of a button.

SEO optimization

Replatforming may affect your SEO ranks. As a result of migration and changing URL addresses, Google will fail to index your store, and your customers will face 404 pages. Work closely with the development team to avoid such results.

At DigitalSuits we help our clients with the following:

  • Mapping redirects one-for-one
  • Minimizing on-page changes
  • Monitoring duplicate content
  • Tracking 404 errors
  • Mobile-first design implementation
  • Optimization after replatforming

Migration can be a stressful process for businesses in case of improper planning and poorly-organized risk management. However, by compiling an e-commerce migration checklist and following an optimized and streamlined SEO migration strategy, you will not only reduce risks but also improve your organic ratings.

Design updates

Before we start an e-commerce platform migration, we discuss the site structure, design, layout, and style. Thus, it’s possible to revamp or totally upgrade your e-store. We help transfer the retained struct