Has your E-commerce business outgrown your current platform and you’ve decided to move to a better platform? It’s not uncommon. Many companies began their business lives by hosting their website on-site. Eventually, they found themselves overstaffed and overwhelmed by the demands of a customized system. Functional limitations cause slowdowns, breakdowns, and lost revenue.
Migrating an e-commerce website is a lot different from a regular site. There is a lot at stake because a dysfunctional e-commerce website will cripple your business. One sure sign of trouble is increasing client and employee turnover. Nobody wants to stay on a sinking ship.
Migrating an e-commerce website is not something that you can do on the spur of the moment. It needs some serious consideration and preparation, usually months in advance. But it must be done if your business is to compete and survive.
A big UK retailer’s botched site migration lost 35% of its visibility two weeks after switching from HTTP to HTTPS. It took them about six months to fully recover.
In this article, we’ll show you how to prepare for it and understand a typical migration process for enterprise-level e-commerce stores.
Make Plans and Build Your Checklist
Before moving anywhere, the first thing you need to do is to take stock of what you have and what you need. Identify the gaps and shortcomings of your platform now. Start by building a list of “must haves.” Like shopping for a new home, you want all the features on your list taking into account your current budget and future growth.
Speed and volume are the most significant considerations for enterprise-level stores and those who seek to attain that level of business. Some businesses need their platform to handle dramatic business spikes without crashing. For others, they need a platform that can handle rapid growth in both traffic volume and number of SKUs.
For example, look at the difference between BigCommerce’s Pro Plan and the Enterprise plan. The Pro Plan allows 60,000 API requests per hour but, the Enterprise level can process 400 calls per second! If your catalog contains 50,000 items, you could sync them to the Pro Plan in just under an hour, but it would only take about two minutes with the Enterprise plan.
For comparison, take Shopify Plus. Their maximum level is ten requests per second, which means BigCommerce Enterprise handles 40 times the volume per second.
Once you’ve compared platforms and decided to migrate, here are the necessary steps to a successful migration.
Again, you need to identify your goals and objectives to build your migration checklist.
The Eight Basic Processes of E-commerce Website Migration
Migration is a complicated process, and there are more than eight steps to be sure. But here are eight of the biggest hurdles you’ll need to jump over to migrate your stores and websites successfully. It will require detailed planning, checklists, and collaboration with your team and your migration partner to get it done.
1. Choose the Platform That is Best for Your Business
For enterprise e-commerce, look for a SaaS option with open API that lets you customize while taking advantage of built-in functionalities.
2. Send an RFP to the Finalists
A Request for Proposal contains hundreds of questions that will help you determine your final choice of e-commerce platform. You can learn more about how to write one here.
3. Forecast Your Revenue and TCO
When building your forecast model, project out three years ahead. To be conservative, plan for no growth during the first six months. BigCommerce has a handy Total Cost of Ownership calculator to help you estimate the cost.
4. Map Out Integrations, Functions, and Third-Party Apps
Determine which apps to keep and which to jettison because you may have some apps that are outdated. This is a crucial step in mapping out every touch point between the new platform and every other system at your company.
5. Get Input from All Stakeholders Then Test Platforms
It is essential that you include input from every department and remote provider to ensure that you don’t overlook important features. Once you have your list of semi-finalists, begin testing platforms to find the best choice.
6. Launch the Migration
Next, you’ll need to determine a migration service that can handle the intricacies of data migration. It’s time to migrate all the data to its new home.
7. Relaunch Your Site as a Test
This is the point where you redesign the site, test functionality and work out the bugs before going live. Each department’s input is essential to making a smooth transition. Test to see if all the URL’s work along with every app.
8. It’s Time to Go Live
Then, all of the months of work and planning come together. With a little luck, there won’t be any glitches. The only thing shoppers should notice is a better look and faster service.
For a more detailed explanation of the various steps and to download sample checklists, go this article in BigCommerce.
Migration is Worth Doing Sooner Rather Than Later
Migration, also called replatforming, can be a costly and challenging process, with many hidden pitfalls. However, it is necessary for most expanding businesses and e-commerce retailers.
Since moving to BigCommerce our site is now faster, the user experience is better, and we have achieved a higher search rank - showing up as the number one result in organic listings on Google.
Paul Yoo, President & COO, U.S. Patriot Tactical
A typical enterprise level e-commerce migration takes 4 to 8 weeks to GTM (Go-To-Market). To ensure that your website migration goes as planned, consider using a platform, such as BigCommerce. Their team has the experience of managing large-scale migrations for companies. With the expertise of replatforming over 20,000 stores, they minimize the many problems that can occur such as data loss.