“Migration”. The most uncomfortable word in the e-commerce industry, but why?
The fear, uncertainty, and doubt that often accompany the idea of re-platforming are considerably more difficult to overcome than any of the technical hurdles that you may encounter. But, among the 820,000 + other businesses that have already re-platformed and reaped the financial and administrative advantages, your rivals may be one.
And in the educational series of this week, we 're going to strip back the jargon and confusing words that many organizations use and shed some light on this often daunting definition of "platform migration," starting from the very start.
First things first, what is a platform migration?
Platform Migration does exactly what it says: it is about moving your eCommerce website from one platform to another. The goal is often to stabilize or scale your online business, improve efficiency, gain access to better functionality, or report ... in short, move on to bigger, better things.
Picture this: your eCommerce store is struggling to cope with the influx of traffic and orders, and you’re having to fork out more money to keep the website alive by upgrading your servers.
This is costly in the long run, meaning ROI is much lower than when you began your online business.
As a company owner, you can of course recognize this issue and search for solutions. In this scenario, maybe you'll be searching for a platform where you'll see a bigger ROI, one that can cope with high traffic and sales volumes and allow you to operate at the heart of your company, rather than maintaining the website.
The idea of website migration is viewed with some trepidation by business owners in the eCommerce retail industry, primarily due to a fear of the unknown. Does it pose such questions as to how much does that cost? How long would it take? Will it disrupt my business, or damage it?
The first step in a website migration always is to move your mind to a place where you can see the benefits of moving your company
In the e-commerce world, Replatforming has a stigma of being a one-way ticket for reduced sales and lower site ranking, so many merchants tend to avoid it for as long as possible. It is not about ruining sales. In fact, the way people need to see platforming is as an opportunity not just to make the business future-proof, but also to increase traffic and sales, as well as enhance the reputation of the company.
As a Shopify Migration Specialist, I talk to online business owners on a regular basis all of whom face similar problems on their current platforms, and are thus considering e-commerce migration.
To highlight a few:
Magento 1.x migrations are the most common migration projects at this moment in time. Many users of Magento 1.x are forced to weigh their migration options, after Magento announced that they will no longer support Magento 1.x from June 2020. Check our guide to Magento to Shopify migration & checklist
Although moving to Magento 2 is a choice for those store owners, it's a good time to consider why Shopify Plus could be a better step to more efficiently scale their businesses.
Launched in 2004, Shopify is the world's leading eCommerce platform delivering access to more than 1,000,000 + active businesses of different shapes and sizes. This eCommerce solution settles on such leading companies as Budweiser, WaterAid, The Economist, Sunday Somewhere, Tesla Motors, Red Bull, Gymshark, and many more.
The platform provides a wide range of capacities at a price that can be adjusted to suit any business requirement. Let's explore how Shopify (according to BuiltWith) has gained enormous popularity in the last decade:
But what exactly is it that makes store owners across the globe gravitate to Shopify? Below are the key features on the eCommerce market today making it the most competitive and talked-about platform available:
With all that being said, the above-mentioned reasons to re-platform to Shopify might convince you to make the right decision. Shopify migration is undoubtedly a great chance to improve your online business, and therefore boost sales.
To get around the problem of Shopify migration, merchants usually have two options at their disposal: they can either export and import data manually, following the instructions found on the internet; another option is to ask a Shopify developer or even a group of Shopify migration experts for technical assistance.
Basically, it is critical to transfer data, design, and functionality from the old store to the new one. However, hiring a Shopify migration expert makes it possible for merchants to export not only the data (products, custom fields, product images, related products, category images, manufacturers, etc.) but the design of your old store. Though the design and store functionality transfer often requires building the online shop from scratch, just with the same look and functionality, Shopify experts can make it possible for you.
The possible loss of critical storefront features is the major issue of many owners of eCommerce stores. Luckily, however, Shopify has a very powerful CSV tool (in case you 're doing the migration yourself), which seamlessly moves products and customers in and out. RSS feeds are also in place to properly transfer blog posts, and APIs are set up to smoothly transfer orders.
Shopify Migration experts at HulkApps ensures all your current store data will be in total security during the migration. You can, therefore, rest safe in the knowledge that nothing on your website will be lost or destroyed.
HulkApps can migrate the following entities to your new Shopify store:
One of the main benefits of Shopify is that it is highly customisable and uniquely customized to various brands. While transitioning to Shopify, there's no need to compromise any part of the picture or functionality of your shop.
In fact, by migrating to Shopify, you will be making the process of adapting and perfecting your store's image to your brand identity considerably faster and easier.
Upon completion of the migration, you'll need to invite customers to reactivate their Shopify account. Alternatively, many Shopify apps can be used to send an invitation to all customers to the new store.
After the migration to Shopify, the cart should consider each transferred order as being a new one. Consequently, you can receive email updates regarding the formation of new orders, although they have already been transferred. Sign in to Store, go to Settings->Notifications and click "Disable" in the right bottom corner of the page to get rid of these notifications.
Though the data migration to Shopify can be considered now as finalized, you need to perform a few more steps to ensure that your Shopify store functions properly, and no data is lost.
It happens sometimes that new orders, etc., appear on your source store after the migration. In this case, you can use Recent Data Migration and transfer all the products, customers (or just the entities you select) that were added to your store after the Full Migration.
Our chosen Shopify Experts and Plus Partners share their top advice for eCommerce business owners looking to migrate to the Shopify platform.
When it comes to migrating to Shopify, don't try and reinvent the wheel and if possible, don't try to do it yourself. Reach out to a professional who has done the process many times before because they'll know the in's and out's of the process and will know what potential issues to avoid. If you plan on doing it yourself, use a Shopify app to greatly lessen the complexity of the task and lessen the room for errors.
Founder and CEO
My best advice would be to get help. Shopify-specific designers and developers and setup experts can help you make better use of the platform sooner. You may be able to drop all kinds of plugins and apps from your old platform.
And definitely get help to migrate your content. It's good to do it manually. Migration apps make all kinds of assumptions and bring over a lot of code from your old platform's text editor. And everything is organized a little different in Shopify. Product options, navigation sub-categories, blog categories. These don't have 1-to-1 translations from other platforms.
Yeah, definitely get some help :)
Owner, Web Developer
The most important aspect of starting your store with Shopify is selecting a theme for your store. It will save you money spent on fixes you won't need to make later. Our suggestion is to purchase a premium theme, as they are all pixel-perfect and responsive across all devices. The price is higher than run-of-the-mill themes, but in our opinion, it's well worth it. At first sight, it may seem like the best option to go with a cheaper or free theme, however, in the long run, many people realize they've already spent too much on fixes and tweaks.
When choosing your theme, pay close attention to the functionality of the product page and collection pages, to be sure it's the closest possible match to the type of product you're selling. It will also save you money because this is where most store owners end up spending a lot of cash, after purchasing the theme, which makes this the second most important aspect — your website is an online store above anything else.
Customer Success Manager
Migrating is so much more than relocating from one eCommerce platform to another. With the right approach and the right partner, it's an opportunity to reinvest in your brand and take your business to the next level. Many agencies will offer to securely migrate your data, but few combine the necessary technical expertise with world-class eCommerce design.
Here at Pixel Union, we specialize in helping digital and direct-to-consumer brands grow on Shopify and Shopify Plus. With our extensive platform knowledge and legacy of e-commerce expertise, we're equipped to help you not just transfer platforms but reimagine your brand and position your business for long-term growth.
A top priority for any platform migration is maintaining your organic presence on search engines. To ensure a seamless migration onto Shopify, you need to ensure that search engines pass the SEO strength from your current pages to your new Shopify pages.
Your URLs will change so it's critical that you 301 redirect every page on your current site to the equivalent URL on your new Shopify site.
We recommend a full audit of your site prior to the migration to fully understand which of your pages drive the majority of your organic search traffic. These are the priority pages that must redirect to a Shopify page with like-for-like content.
Founder and CEO
Hire an expert. Seriously.
We typically double sales in the first year after migration to Shopify & have recently migrated one of the world's largest food companies onto Shopify - with no dip in organic traffic. On the other side of the coin we've seen clients do it themselves and (sadly) go out of business or lose a lot of key positions.
Here are our tips for not losing a load of business through messing up a migration:
Scan your whole current site using Screaming Frog SEO spider and build your new site around that scan as well as the data Google gives you in webmaster tools. It will be boring and tedious. Make no mistake. But life will be a lot worse if you don't do it. The key SEO data on the new site should be as close as possible during a migration. There is some automation that any half-decent expert will be able to help with here. Even so - it's a lot of manual work so migrate most sites.
Once the content is in place - redirect EVERYTHING with a 301 including old 301 redirects. Spend a long time with your redirects. Again - if you've been clever - you can save a load of time with automation.
Use amp on the homepage if you can.
Re-submit your sitemaps.
Front End Developer
I recommend creating a clear map of exactly what you'll need to do before attempting any migration steps. You may find that some steps are dependent on others, and it will save you costly re-do time to get it right on the first try.
Some things to consider:
What details do you have for each product? Does this vary based on product type?
Will you be selling on additional sales channels (POS, social media, etc.)? That may affect how you organize your data.
Will your products need to be tagged to make new features work?
What do you want to change about your content as part of the move, and how can you prepare for that in advance? For instance, if you're changing the categories in your navigation on the new site.
Does your new platform offer new features that your current data export doesn't yet account for?
Captain & Founder
Overall, Shopify is a versatile, cost-effective, and highly customizable eCommerce platform that is definitely worth migrating to. Needless to say that no migration is totally hassle-free, and some external guidance may be required. However, HulkApps migration service can more than help to perform data transferring across various shopping carts as trouble-free as possible.
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