Moving eCommerce platforms

There are pros and cons to every ecommerce platform, some have features you want, others are easy to use with while a third can be cost effective. When you make a decision to switch from one platform to another, the work that you will have to put into re-designing your website, can easily go wrong if you do not migrate all your data. After all, getting your products into a new platform will require time if you are doing it manually, or come at a cost if you are data migrating. What about migrating orders or customers? These are all decisions you would need to make.

Pros of doing your own product migration:

When migrating from one platform to another product migration is critical to ensuring all your products are listed. It is also important that the products are displayed with full information on description, features, special characteristics. They should also have all images, videos, PDFs and other assets transferred over. Here are some pros of doing your own product migration:

  • Ensuring consistency among products: When you migrate your own products you can ensure that all your products are consistent. You can fill in missing data, add features if they were missing originally and make sure the format is all consistent.
  • Cost effective for under 50 products: if you have less than 50 products or you do not have any special layout for your products, it is probably cheaper to do it yourself. After all copy and pasting, uploading photos for a few products would probably take a few hours which is not a large investment to make. However, if you have product page with specific layout, you have large amount of products or other complexity it is probably cost effective to hire a product migration company.
  • Cleaning Product information Prior to Migration: If you are doing your own migration, you can exclude products that are discontinued, you can update pricing, and do other data manipulation. Since migration is usually a good time to cleanse your data.
  • Updating SEO: If you are doing your own store’s SEO you can update your SEO description, title and alt text at the same time as migrating.
  • Fixing Image Resolution Issues: When migrating, you may uncover products that need a new set of photos taken, usually at a better resolution. Therefore, by doing your own product migration you can identify those issues and fix them without any time delay.

Pros of Using Automated Migration Tools To Migrate between Platforms:

There are many tools that will help you bring your product data from a different ecommerce platform. These automation tools maybe a good solution for specific use cases, here are some of them:

  • If the Product Migration Connector is Available: Before even considering using an automated tool, consider if the connector is even available. Only most popular platforms can migrate between each other, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and in some cases Magento and WooCommerce. All other platforms may or may not have a connector.
  • Simple Product Layout: Product connectors work great if you have a simple layout such as product images, description, title and maybe some SEO information. However, if you have product variants, options, special features, usually those connectors fail.
  • Custom Fields: most connectors will not bring over custom fields and some may not be able to even bring variants and options. If you have special layout, this also will not work as the connectors do not do any data manipulation, any data clean-up or any quality control.

Therefore, even if there is a connector available, and if you do have a simple set-up, it is still recommended that you do your own quality control. That means you want to ensure all product descriptions are displaying correctly, that all images made it over and that there are no additional customization that is needed.

Pros of hiring a Product migration company:

Making the decision to hire a product migration company is the right decision for those eCommerce businesses that have multiple products, lots of variants, complexity in their product layout and lots of assets to bring over. Here are the reason for hiring a product migration agency:

  1. Large volume of products: Any company that has over 50 products can benefit from hiring a product migration agency, not to mention those stores that have hundreds if not thousands. It is simply impossible to upload them manually or use a connector with the need to verify each product after. Therefore, hiring a professional product migrating company is the only solution.
  2. Variants and Options: If you have products that have many children or variations and/or options it takes longer to set up those products and usually requires API connections. This is especially true if any data manipulation is needed.
  3. Product Layout: Your web development team may format your new platform to include special features and layouts. This will mean you need to manipulate your current data to fit the new format that your new eCommerce platform will accept. For example, in BigCommerce you have only 1 field for custom field. While your old platform may have had unlimited amount, so now you would need to combine in a special way your custom fields to fit the one available in BigCommerce.
  4. Assets: If you have videos, images, PDFs, Audio Files and other assets that you want to migrate. It may take a while to upload and link them manually. Having a specialized product migrating agency migrate those assets for you can save you lots of time and headache, after all they do it on the daily basis.
  5. Save your team time: Your eCommerce web or marketing team is probably busy working on their day to day tasks, that they do not have the time to dedicate to data migration, by working with a third party product migration provider, they can simply spend a few hours on it, as oppose to weeks or months.

While each eCommerce store is different with different product page set-ups, different amount of products and different data requirements, the choice between hiring a data migration company, using a data connector or doing it yourself is something that will have to be decided internally. But what about migrating orders and customers?

Deciding to Migrate Orders and Customers:

While all eCommerce retailers will have to migrate their products the choice to migrate their orders and customers is an option. Here are some of the pros and cons of migrating orders and customers.

When to Migrating Orders and Customers include:

  • Customer Service: if you do not have a third party tool that keeps track of your sales and you are relying on your eCommerce Platform, then you should migrate all customers and orders so that customer service will have your customer’s historic orders. This maybe required by law or for refund purposes.
  • Reporting: If you want to see a trend of how your sales went, what products were best sellers and so on, then migrating all orders and customers makes sense. Afterall, you do not want your analyst or marketer to spend hours trying to pull data from multiple places.
  • User Experience: Your customers may expect to view their old orders, after all what if they want to re-order the item they loved but cant remember the name or exact color? For marketing purposes you may wish to highlight best selling product dynamically using the historical data.

There are very few cons on why you would not migrate your customers and orders. The only issue is that your users will most likely have to reset their passwords as passwords generally due to migrate due to privacy issues. One way to overcome this is to email your whole customer base, this may actually increase sales especially if an attractive offer is given with the email.

To migrate your customers and orders may require an API. It may also require manipulation of data such as country name and state name. Typically, you migrate products first then customers and finally orders.

How to choose the right data migration company for you?

If you do decide to migrate your products and/or your orders and customers, how would you choose the right company for your business? The answer is by asking the following questions:

  • Cost: how much a company charges can ensure that you are on budget for your migration. Most data migration projects fall between $5,000 to $15,000 for mid size eCommerce Retailer. Offshore companies typically charge less due to cheaper salaries and currency advantages. However, you want to ensure that quality is there, and there is no lack of communication when migrating.
  • Strategy: the way someone migrates their stores is very important. Asking how would you go about it, will give you an insights if the agency will do standard one size fits all approach or will tailer its process to your specific needs. Today, with all AI and ChatGPT tools, many companies automate the majority of their data migration, which while is cost effective it is not the best strategy as robots will not purchasing your products but people will.
  • Automation: What we found as a data migration company, is that the best solution for data migration is using automation with human intervention. Doing all migration by hand will mean human errors, doing everything by machines will ensure no customization and no way to migrate outliers. Therefore, we use automation with human oversight on all our projects.
  • Customization: How flexible the company is to your specific needs? Do you have special fields that need to be addressed, data cleaning that needs to happen, maybe you want to add a custom swatch which is currently not available on your website but you have it in excel. The right data migration company should be able to handle any custom request, after all that’s the point of hiring them.

These are just some of the questions to ask your data migration company, you may also want to ask about timelines, communication style, how much effort would be required from your team and their data cleaning capabilities.

About StrategicDB:

StrategicDB is a data migration company specializing in eCommerce products, orders, customers and any other data migration. They work with all platforms from BigCommerce to CV3 to Shopify, and others. They will even migrate from your CRM or CSV to your new platform. Most data migration projects take between two to three weeks and cost between $5,000 to $15,000. Contact today for a free quote on your data migration project.