Order Migration for ecommerce

Order migration is the process of taking data from one platform to another. In order to move or copy data over, there usually is a need to manipulate the data in other words match the data style of your new platform. Data migration often happens when you change ecommerce platforms, when merging different sources together or there is an upgraded version of your platform such as migrating from BigCommerce V2 to BigCommerce V3.  There are often a few steps involved with order migration which is involves getting data out of current platform, manipulating the data and importing it into the new platform. Data migration consultant can advise you on the best way to migrate your orders.  

Why Migrate ecommerce Orders?

Typically, companies migrate their orders when they migrate their website to a different eCommerce provider. For example, when migrating from Shopify to BigCommerce your orders will not transfer automatically you need to bring them over. The reason you may want this information in your new system is for reporting purposes. Companies like to see how many sales of what product they had sold for in the past, compare seasonality trends and do year over year comparisons. Having data all in your new platform works.

The second reason is for your customers to be able to view their historical orders. The history of orders are important from a refunding/customer service perspective. The other reason is that your customers may want to order it again.

When do you migrate your orders?

Traditionally, people migrate at the time your new system goes live. However, there are a few risks associated with doing order migration when your system is live. One of the biggest risks is that you may email your customers their historic orders. The automation of emails can trigger transactional emails on historical orders. However, shutting down those services for the duration of the order migration which depending on the system can take hours if not days is not ideal for the customers that are putting in brand new orders.

StrategicDB a eCommerce Data Migration Provider recommends doing the bulk of your order migrations prior to launch. And doing a smaller ‘delta’ or remaining orders at launch, minimizing the risks of emailing those orders, having e-mail shut down time and finally, allowing time to quality check the orders that were imported prior to migration.

What steps do you take prior to migrating your orders?

The first step in data migration is to identify what data you want to bring in. As an eCommerce migration company, we start by asking the client how far back you want to go? From a reporting perspective, typically 24 months of data is enough, from a returns perspective depends on policy maybe 6 months to a year is standard, however, if you have warranty that’s lifetime long you may want to bring in all data.

Once you have established the timeframe for the orders that you want to migrate the next step is to identify what data you want to bring over. For some companies, that sell only one product they just need to bring over the customer information and amount and date of order. For other retailers with thousands of SKUs, they want to bring in all information on a SKU level.

Consideration when migrating orders from multiple platforms

When migrating or merging different stores into a new platform or store, it is important to de-dupe or clean-up your order data prior to migrating it. Order ids are typically assigned in the new eCommerce order system, therefore, you do not need to worry if there are duplicate order ids between multiple systems. What does complicate things is if you have the same customers in both platforms. Ensure that you migrate only one customer with the latest data.

Preparing data for migration

If you have exported your data from your current platform, prior to uploading it to a new platform make sure to understand what format it has to go in. Typically, platforms such as BigCommerce or Shopify, will provide the sample formatting to be used. Keep in mind that for BigCommerce you will probably need to use their API to bring that data over. Regardless of the platform, a few fields may need to be updated this includes: date fields, State/Country fields and custom fields.

For dates some providers use ‘MM-DD-YYYY’ format others ‘dd/mm/yyyy’ format some have a time stamp other do not. It is a good idea to convert these dates prior to uploading to your new system. For example, BigCommerce is using ‘dd/mm/yyyy’ as the date format. While Shopify’s date format is using ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH’. Therefore, it is a good idea to consult the documentation of your new platform prior to migrating.

State and Country also get recorded differently depending on a system. Some use ISO- 2 Digits while others use the full country spelling. Keep in mind that some platforms use ‘United States’ while others ‘United States of America’. For country Puerto Rico sometimes is considered a state/region other times it is considered a country. For US States, they same as for countries some use abbreviations such as ‘NY’ while other platforms use the full name of the state ‘New York’. It is always best to understand what the system that you are migrating to is using prior to migrating as you will have failed orders or create dirty data.

Custom fields is something that will need to be harmonized/standardized. Some eCommerce retailers will allow you to have a custom fields, while others you only have one custom field. So if you are using a platform with multiple fields and you are trying to map it into one field, there will be some data manipulation that needs to happen. Typically, users will combine the data from multiple fields into one field. Depending on the data you may also need to import an explanation on which data came from which field originally. As a data migration company, we can help normalize your data prior to your order migration.

How to Migrate Orders

Orders can be migrated in a few different ways. Depending on where you are migrating from you maybe able to use a connector within the ecosystem. For example, if you use NetSuite to capture your orders, you do not need to bring them into a new platform if you prefer to continue to use them. All you would need to do is pass order information from your new ecommerce provider to NetSuite.

If you are migrating between Shopify and BigCommerce they do have a migration tool, however, it does not migrate variants for products for example, and would not clean-up data and do more heavy lifting. This is a good option for simple migration which do not require any clean-up, do not have any custom fields and do not have discontinued products and so on.

Another order migration method you can use an import/export tool in some systems. So, you can export your data from one tool, manipulate the data in excel and then upload to a new platform. This method will work if you are migrating your order into Shopify, however, it will not work for platforms such as BigCommerce. As BigCommerce requires API transfer, which will require your IT department to map your data into the BigCommerce API fields prior to transferring, this is usually done in code. This method also will not work for anyone running over 1 million of orders, as doing manipulation in excel will not work due to the sheer volume. Also, when dealing with large amount of orders manipulation of state and country codes as well as custom fields will simply be too much to handle.

Therefore, if you have a large number of orders, if you are migrating from a customized platform or if you have to manipulate data, the best approach is to hire a data migration service provider to handle it for you.

Finding a data migration agency

When searching for a data migration company, it is important to feel comfortable with the choice that you are making. A few questions that will help you make that decision:

  1. Does the agency is specializing in a specific platform? Typically, there are agencies that are just BigCommerce or Shopify/BigCommerce and maybe WooCommerce, however, what if you are migrating from a different platform what then?
  2. Do they do any data cleanup/manipulation? A lot of time automated processes will neglect to address custom fields or customize the data to fit your needs.
  3. How long does it take to migrate your orders? Typically, it will can take anywhere from a few days to a week. In super complex cases this could take a bit longer, but not that much. If the migration takes less than a day, then it is automated and therefore, may not bring over all data.
  4. Price? Cost of migrating orders depends on the complexity of the project, the number of orders you are migrating and which tools you are using.

As a data migration agency, we work with all platforms, we do clean-up for you and it typically takes 3-5 business days to process the historical data and then another 1-2 days to process the delta/new orders once you launch.

About StrategicDB

StrategicDB is a full service eCommerce Migration agency. We work with all ecommerce platforms and focus on making sure all data is usable in the new platform. We will advise you on the best course of action, will standardize the data for you and ensure that your launch goes smoothly and in a timely manner. Contact us to get a quote.