BigCommerce Migrating Custom Fields

Migrating products? Realized there is only one custom field in BigCommerce? BigCommerce has only one custom field, which makes it a bit challenging for those migrating from other eCommerce platforms. Your eCommerce migration agency can help identify ways to bring unique information into one field in the backend which will display as multiple rows in Big Commerce’s front end.

Another purpose for custom fields is to use the field for displaying customized information in a unique format. While your web development team can help set up the UI/UX for your product pages, it is your data migration agency to implement in a specific format.

How to implement custom fields

The format in which BigCommerce reads custom fields includes custom field name: and Custom Field Value. In the back end you would need to use name of custom field then equal sign followed by the name value with a semicolon in between.

[Name of custom field]=[Name of value];[Name of custom field #2]=[Name of value #2]

So your product migration company would need to concatenate or combine different fields into one field when migrating, and by adding the equal sign between the name of field and value as well as adding ; in between the fields.

Keep in mind that BigCommerce has a limit of 250 characters. For more information BigCommerce has the following documentation.

Examples of Custom Fields in BigCommerce

Typically, the fields are descriptive for example, size such as L x W x H, Materials used and product features that are special for your eCommerce store. For example, if you were to sell books you may use the custom field for things like: Author, Cover Type, Age Group, Fiction/Non Fiction and other classifications. If your shop was to sell candles you may use custom fields for things like ingredients, wicker length and scent.  

Another example of custom field is using it to display a sticker such as “New” or “Best Seller” on top of your images. Having it as a special field ensure consistency of sticker throughout the website and when adding new images. This saves you from manually adding the ‘sticker’ effect to your current images.

The other usage of the field is to add or hide special parts of product page. Such as tables, disclaimers, etc…

Steps to take when migrating custom fields:

There are a few steps that you can take when migrating your custom fields including analyzing your current format and matching to your new store design.

  1. The first step in your custom field migration is identifying what fields you want to bring over.
  2. The second step is to make sure that your custom field is aligned with your web development agency which may have special instructions. For example, they make ask that custom fields have the name “features” in the name, as they will remove that and just list the items under there for a customized product layout.
  3. The third part is to identify which products have what custom fields filled in. This is critical as if you try to automate your input into BigCommerce you may end up with empty values and just the name of your custom field.
  4. Check if you want to make any changes or clean-up your custom fields prior to input. eCommerce migration consultants will often advise to clean-up data prior to migrating. If you have values that are similar but slightly different now is a good time to standardize it. Especially if you are going to use those fields in your filter. For example, if your eCommerce store sells gloves and some gloves are made of leather others of recycled material, you may want to classify it the same with either all material or natural vs. man made.
  5. Prepare the file for migration, if you are using API this means writing your script or preparing your csv file in excel.
  6. Uploading your data to BigCommerce, followed by quality control. Ensuring that all fields made it in and are displaying the way your web designer intended it.

How to prepare your data migration file in Excel:

If you have a few custom fields or a few products to migrate and you are doing your own data migration here are the steps to take if you will be uploading your file (using import function) to BigCommerce. For those that have many products or many custom fields we advise to hire an product migration company as it will save you hours and will ensure it is done right. Otherwise here are the steps:

  1. Identify the custom fields to migrate.
  2. Name those custom fields that you want to display in the custom field name in BigCommerce.
  3. Identify products are missing the field, you can use filters for that.
  4. Create a new column where the new formatted field will be placed.
  5. Use the formula: =CONCATENATE(column with field name,”=”,column with field value,”;”) if you do not have more than one custom field you do not need to append ; at the end.
  6. Repeat the steps for all your custom fields.
  7. Once you have all of them in new columns use concatenate to add all of those fields. Make sure the last custom field does not have semicolon at the end.
  8. Ensure that you have a value for every field name.
  9. If you are working with many products, it is advisable to copy and paste as values. Please ensure that you are keeping only one custom field prior to uploading, this will save the problem of mapping the wrong field over.
  10. Upload your file to BigCommerce.

Best Practice when migrating custom fields

The most import part of any product migration is to ensure there is no data loss. Therefore, your most important part is to ensure you do not miss any fields that need migrating.

The biggest missed opportunity with most data migration projects is to not clean or standardize your data prior to migrating. For example, if you are migrating your customers, you would ensure you do not have any duplicates. Same with product migration it is advisable to ensure that your photos are high resolution and that your fields are consistent. Overtime, teams that update products may change and so do product descriptions and features, therefore, migration is a perfect excuse to make sure your customers see a unified website.

Working together with your store implementation team ensuring that your custom fields are displaying correctly. It is not rare to see a few changes to custom fields prior to launch of your new website. That is because custom fields can be used for displaying features, for hiding or displaying special features on your website, as well as adding stickers such as “New” or “Best Seller” and other users. Not all products use the same custom fields. This means that you would need to check every product to ensure data migration was successful. You can save yourself a lot of time by doing small uploads prior to running your full product migration.

When to hire a product migration company?

Embarking on a decision to migrate your website comes with the biggest risk of having data loss. There are a few reasons to hire a BigCommerce Product Migration Company including ensure no data loss, proper implementation of custom fields inside BigCommerce and it is done prior to launch. So who should use a data migration company?

  • If you have over 50 products to migrate it is probably not feasible to do so manually, after all you would need to manually upload 50+ images, copy over description and manually add custom fields.
  • If you have over 3 custom fields per product, the more custom fields you have the higher the complexity of your data migration.
  • Customized store, for those that have complex set-ups, it will increase the complexity of data migration as most of customization will be based out of custom fields.
  • Many variations, while variations do not impact custom fields, having many variations may require customized solutions from your store developers therefore creating special customization on custom fields.

The time frame is also something to consider when hiring a data migration agency, typically product migration can be done within 2-3 weeks. Making sure your store is up and running as soon as your product page is finalized. For those that are looking to hire a product migration agency, StrategicDB can help.

About StrategicDB

StrategicDB is a data migration company specializing in migrating to and from BigCommerce. We do not use out of the box connectors but rather customize each migration and custom field to the client. We work with eCommerce development teams to ensure that back-end data translate into product layouts and intended design. We partner with BigCommerce agencies that develop and design website as well as work with small eCommerce companies to ensure that all data is migrated. Since we are data first agency, we will ensure and advise you on what data should be standardized and cleaned-up.

Our agency also offers customer and order migration, CRM clean-up, setting up of your marketing automation tools and reporting. Any data is our speciality and platforms are irrelevant since they are just tools to display, read and analyze the data.

Contact us today to get a free quote on your product migration initiative.