eCommerce Migration Checklist

So you decided to migrate to a new platform, or perhaps you are merging multiple store fronts or upgrading to the latest platform. One of the risks of migrating is data loss or not displaying the data correctly. Regardless, if you are doing your own eCommerce migration or if you are hiring a third party ecommerce migration company, there are a few steps that are needed to ensure that you are successful in moving platforms. The idea is that you ensure only the necessary data is migrated, data is accurate and cleansed prior to upload and the content is displayed in the right way. Here is a useful checklist that StrategicDB uses internally when they help retailers migrate to a new platform.

  1. Analyze current data. Prior to migrating or even having a plat to migrate it is essential to look at current data and understand what data is needed and not needed in the new platform. A good way to do your data audit is to look at what percentage of your data is duplicated, incomplete, inconsistent or outdated. For example, do your customer tables still use fax number? Or perhaps you have products that are no longer available for sale in your backend. Taking the time to analyze your data can help identify problem areas, data that should not be migrated and what steps are necessary to ensure that your new website will have the best user performance.
  2. Identify what is moving. Now that you have analyzed your data it is time to identify what is moving and what is not. For example, you may only choose to migrate the last 5 years of orders, or maybe you decide that you want to only upload customers that have made more than 1 order and you may want to bring only current products over. You may also identify sections of the website that are no longer needed in your new platform. For example, perhaps you had custom HTML code for each product on warranty or shipping information, and in the new platform this information will be on a unique page or in a unique section so you would need to remove that HTML section from current product descriptions. This is also a good time to review product images and videos and see which ones would need to be updated or removed, especially for outdated videos or poor resolution images.
  3. Finalize product page design. Prior to starting your migration, you should have your product page design finalized. As this will help ensure you are matching your current data to the new format of your new platform. For example, BigCommerce custom fields have to go into its own section, while other tools may have multiple custom fields. Therefore, finalizing the design with all different data displays is mandatory prior to starting the migration.
  4. Export data from current platform. Now that you are ready it is time to export all data from your current platform. It is essential to ensure that no new products are added at this point and no changes to the current products are to be made until the new website is up. When exporting all your data make sure you select all fields. Keeping this file for back-up is important to ensure that should data migration does go wrong, you have a back up. For images, videos and other assets, there are different ways to migrate this process but you may want to download them and keep as back-up as well.
  5. Clean-up current data Now that all data is backed-up and exported. It is time to clean up your data. Clean-up can include selecting products, customers, orders, categories that will be migrating. De-duping, updating and doing other cleaning on your data is essential at this stage. Ensuring consistency at this stage will help ensure that your products, orders and customers are displaying in a user friendly way.
  6. Manipulating Data to fit new platform– Now that your data is cleaned and ready to be migrated, it is time to map your current data to new fields. This will include, manipulating data to fit the new format. For example, if your current data has country written as “US” but the new platform has the country labeled “United States”. Another example, is weight is mandatory in certain platforms so you may need to pull that data if let’s say you have that data in description into its own field. This is the most time consuming step, depending on the number of products, orders, customers you have you may be able to do it manually, other times you may require automation tools or a third party data migration company to help you map your old data into new formats.  
  7. Update any missing information: After data is manipulated you may uncover that mandatory fields are missing information or some products are missing certain data. For example, you maybe missing weight so you may need to either input a ‘fake’ weight or actually weight each product. You may also uncover that some products are missing categories or descriptions or maybe brand name was never labeled. This is the step to address all those missing blanks.
  8. Import data into the new format: Now that you have manipulated your data, cleaned it and filled in the blanks it is time to import it into the new platform as an import or using APIs. Please note, that sometimes you must import your images first if you have to upload them prior to uploading the image name in the import file. Some platforms such as Shopify will let you import images via URL from your current store or an accessible folder.
  9. Quality Control: Now that all your data is imported it is time to check that everything made it over. A few ways to do so, is to check that all your products that you wanted to migrate migrated. The product page displays as you wished. If any orders or customers failed, identify the reason and fix and try again. For example, if there is no email address most modern Ecommerce platforms will reject the record. It is a good idea to get multiple people to do the quality control to ensure all issues are identified and fixed.
  10. Finalize and document process of adding new data. Now that your data has been migrated it is important to document a process of adding new products, categories or customers. This will ensure your Ecommerce retail store will stay consistent. It is advisable to have a checklist to ensure all mandatory fields are inputted prior to enabling the new product.

While the checklist has only 10 steps, some steps will take longer than others and may have more steps. Therefore, it is advisable to do a data migration plan prior to starting to ensure no steps are missed. It is advisable to hire a data migration company if your product design is customized or if you have more than 50 products, or if you have no API capabilities inside your organization. StrategicDB, has helped tens of eCommerce retailers migrate to modern tools such as BigCommerce, Shopify or WooCommerce.

About StrategicDB:

StrategicDB is a full service data migration consulting service provider. We work with multiple platforms, and have migrated from even custom solutions to new platforms. Being platform agnostic ensure that we focus on the data and customized solutions for our clients. We work with design agencies as well as retailers to ensure that data is migrated and cleaned-up and matches the new design of your new store front. Contact Us to discuss your data migration needs.