Migrating to a new eCommerce platform is a great time to clean your product listings. Overtime your product pages can have outdated information, low resolution images, and are not consistent with your new product listings. For those stores that have hundreds if not thousands of products it maybe impossible to identify issues, while those issues are clearly visible to customers. While many companies embark on product cleansing when they migrate, many neglect to review their product listings on a regular basis and worst migrate their products using automation tools which has an opportunity loss.
Why migrate to a new eCommerce Platform:
Business may decide to migrate to new eCommerce platform due to a variety of reasons including:
- Functionality: for those companies that were started at the beginning of the ecommerce era of 1990s their tools that were used originally may not be up to current available features which come standard on modern platforms such as BigCommerce or Shopify.
- Ease of Use: certain eCommerce platforms maybe easier to use then others. It may also be easier to hire employees that are familiar with more popular eCommerce solutions then you maybe running on.
- Cost: depending on your current bill, some clients simply want to save money on hosting and managing their products.
- Third Party Plug-Ins: Depending on the tool you are currently using migrating to a new platform may mean access to tens or hundreds of tools that can make a difference in sales and operations, tools available range from currency conversions to inventory tracking.
- Design: Finally you may just want to upgrade your home page and product pages without relying on HTML or structured formats of your current provider.
The biggest risk of migrating to a new provider is data loss. Not transferring and losing information such as orders, customers or product details can be scary, however, a professional data migration company, can minimize the risk.
Steps in Migrating your Products:
As an eCommerce product migration agency, there are a few steps that every company migrating should take prior, during and after product migration. The steps include:
- Auditing current data: first it is important to export all current data and understand all the different data points that need to be moved over. This can include: images, videos, PDFs, descriptions, SEO data, custom fields and more.
- Consult with website developers/designer: Consider the new product page layout, what format should it be in, what image resolution is available versus what is needed, what custom fields should be updated and what data manipulation would be needed.
- Data Cleaning Plan: once you have a list of what is needed and what is available, you can identify products that need cleaning. This can include: de-duping products, adding certain products are variants (children) of big products, assigning special SKUs, asking for better resolution images, identifying broken images and video links, converting video links to YouTube in case of BigCommerce migration and standardizing fields. These are just some examples of data cleaning that would be required prior to migrating. More on that below.
- Migrating Data: Once you have cleansed your data, it is time to prepare your data for migration and migrating all data and assets associated with your products.
- QA: Finally once all data is in, it is important to make sure you have no data loss and that all product information is displaying correctly.
As you can see data cleansing is a key step in your product migrating process.
How to cleanse your products prior to migrating them:
Product cleansing usually involves a number of different steps and would depended on your data and the data audit. Here are some of the more common data cleansing processes:
- Product De-Duping: While most modern tools will not allow duplicate SKUs, some products are still duplicated with similar SKUs with the same names. Other times, instead of having multiple products some companies wish to create a parent product and children products underneath, in other words, main product and its variants. For example, if you are selling t-shirts that are identical but you may have them listed as different products by size you may want to just have one t-shirt product and have variants as different sizes. So your SKUs maybe: 001-XYZ-01-S, 001-XYZ-01-M, 001-XYZ-01-L, 001-NYZ-01-XL.
- Standardizing custom fields: Overtime or even by having different employees enter information you may have inconsistencies which are not caught when looking product by product. Inconsistency which we as an product migration company see often includes using size measurements in cm vs. inches, having sizes listed as L vs. Large, marketing a product as Best Seller vs. Most Popular, and having features as part of custom field while other products have it as part of a description.
- Incomplete Data: We often find products that are lacking images, have a short description if any, lacking measurements or features. Filling missing information is key to user conversion. When we have ran product analysis where we correlate sales to product description, images, and other features we find that incomplete data often has a negative impact on sales.
- SEO Information: For your product to be found, it is important to have SEO information filled out either by automating the title, description or by having someone optimize that information. Either way, missing SEO data is often a missed opportunity to be found organically.
- Image resolutions: Different eCommerce platforms use different resolutions, what’s more your new product layout may use even higher resolution. Therefore, it is important to check if your current images will render correctly. If not, you may want to invest in product photographer prior to migrating you data.
- Converting Videos: Some platforms such as BigCommerce will not take any video links other then YouTube, therefore you may need to upload your videos to YouTube. At the same time, it is important to make sure none of your videos are broken or if uploading are so large will not load in the desired time.
- Discontinued products: You maybe selling products or still hosting products that are discontinued or no longer available. Or worst, you maybe giving prime website real-estate to products which are barely selling. Therefore, it is important to do a quick inventory check on products that should be removed from your website or at the minimum marked appropriately.
While these are just some examples, your data migration specialist would be able to help identify all areas which can be improved prior to launching your new product store. After all you would not want to move to a new house without cleaning the floors and windows first would you?
Hiring a Product Migration Company:
Making a decision to hire a product migration company comes down to a few factors: cost, technical expertise and time. Here are a few things to consider prior to migrating your products yourself:
- Number of products to migrate: if you are migrating a few products which you can manually re-input into your new platform, you are probably better off doing your own product migration. However, if you have more than 50 products to upload, it maybe cheaper and faster to have a product migration agency do the heavy lifting for you.
- Complexity of page layout: If you have many custom fields, customization on products such as sticker on top of image for best seller, or page design which requires customized set-up, chances are you would need a lot of data manipulation which is best handled by product migration specialists.
- Technical Expertise: Many modern platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce to name a few, require API access to upload images, a lot of data manipulation to upload products in bulk and ability to set-up products with variants the way they prefer you to. There are tools that would transfer data from your current platform to the new platform, these connectors are usually faulty where variants will not migrate, and it will not customize your custom fields. The tools also do not have the benefit of identifying data cleaning opportunities. Therefore, if you do not have data specialists in house it is best to leave it to the professionals.
- Cost and time implications: Some companies think they can save money by doing it yourself, but consider that manually inputting a product can take on average 5-10 minutes, you can quickly identify the time it would take to migrate 100 products. While this math may look like a good idea to keep it in house consider the human error factor of doing it manually. As well as the opportunity cost of your team doing data migration as oppose to doing day to day operations. Finally, the technical complexity of some stores make it impossible for current employees to do the migration the right way.
Hiring a data migration company with data cleansing capabilities will make the transaction a positive ROI.
StrategicDB is a product migration company. They specialize in all areas related to data from data cleansing, auditing, migrating and analyzing they are a one stop shop for all things data. They partner with eCommerce development agencies and retailers to help get the most out of their data during migration and beyond. Our process starts with a data audit, requirement gathering from web development team to data cleaning, migration and quality control. StrategicDB can also help set-up reporting for sales and marketing teams to ensure that business is moving forward the right way. Contact us today for a free data migration or cleaning quote.