Some platforms are built with eCommerce in mind, yet sometimes the complexity of their inherent functionality brings with it the need to lean on an experienced team to extract the benefits. The more complex a platform becomes, the harder it becomes to design and develop.
Complicating the matter, when a business needs to migrate from one platform to another for reasons associated with scalability and functionality, but may have concerns about loss of traffic, brand integrity of the new site, and custom functionality of business-critical apps.
Some development agencies specialize in a few different areas; others, like 1DigitalⓇ Agency, are well equipped to tackle complex projects with multifaceted points. One such project we performed for a client, ShadesDaddy.com, was in need of migration services and extensive custom design and development.
ShadesDaddy.com, a company that sells designer sunglasses and accessories online, was working with a Volusion store, on which they had been operating for some time. However, they were looking to take advantage of some of the enterprise functionality Shopify Plus offered to high volume merchants, but to do that, they needed a platform migration.
Shopify Plus offers a number of unique features that give it advantages not only over platform competitors but also over more basic versions of Shopify. For example, Shopify Plus allows merchants to clone their stores, which is a benefit for large merchants conducting international sales. Shopify Plus also offers unlimited staff accounts, charges lower transaction fees, provides faster API calls, and better support. All of these features come on top of Shopify’s already excellent customization features, security, high-uptime, and ability to integrate with a number of critical apps.
To get to Shopify Plus, ShadesDaddy would need the help of a Shopify Plus Partner with a long history of successful migrations and a proven migration process. Though their story ends with a complete redesign and rebranding and the development of custom functionality from a newly developed app, it begins with the tale of their data and platform migration.
Volusion to Shopify Plus Migration
The thing about data migration, especially for a large eCommerce business like ShadesDaddy.com, is that there is a lot of data to move. That’s not all, though. Businesses, ShadesDaddy included, are concerned with the potentially damaging effects that a migration can have on their eCommerce traffic.
These concerns are valid, especially when you consider some of the practices in the industry that cause these problems to arise during or shortly after a migration.
The scope of the data migration alone was significant. We had to successfully move over more than 900 categories and nearly 36,000 products, including descriptions, images, prices, SKUs, and more.
Other service providers might use a cart-to-cart tool to collect data from the Volusion store and then transfer it to the new Shopify Plus store. The idea of this is nice and simple, but the reality is that since platforms like Shopify Plus and Volusion are entirely different, data will not synch well between them. Any incompatibility between the fields of the system would cause an issue in the new store, and when one is working with tens of thousands of fields, issues like these are inexcusable interrupters of business.
Our data migration process is not just comprehensive and thorough but substantiated by our successful migration projects in the past. When we export data from one store, we then field map it according to the specifications of the new platform destination to ensure that data populates properly and where it should, the first time around.
After field mapping, we import the data to the new store using that platform’s API, which, in this case, is Shopify Plus. This is much more accurate than using a CSV file and hoping for the best; by using the new platform’s API, we can ensure that the data lands where it should, displays as it should, and accurately at that.
Even after uploading the data to the new store, we do any necessary debugging to ensure a migration that is not only painless but quick and effortless for the client. Before allowing the new site to go live, we perform a resync so that any changes to data that occurred after the initial data transfer will be updated and reflected when the store goes live.
Preventing Loss of Traffic
One of the biggest concerns that many clients have when faced with a migration is the potential to lose website traffic. When an established website moves to a new platform, Google may not recognize the new URLs and will not transfer authority; if that happens, a website that was once generating a substantial amount of organic traffic could lose all of it if 301-redirects are not properly implemented, even after a successful migration
As part of this migration project, as with all of the migrations we have performed over the years, we took a comprehensive analysis of the old and new URLs. In this case, we compiled all of the old URLs from the Volusion store, aligned them with the corresponding URLs of the new pages on the Shopify store, and set up the 301-redirects properly. To make short of a lengthy process, the result is that ShadesDaddy lost none of their traffic or domain authority in the wake of the migration, and this effect was not unique to their project.
We then take this level of support a step further by monitoring their Google Search Console for a month after the migration to ensure that there are no changes to their performance or any loss of traffic. This requires a large amount of attention and resources, especially for an established brand with a significant presence and flow of traffic. Effectively, we performed a successful eCommerce platform migration for them that was unnoticeable from an outside perspective.
ShadesDaddy.com didn’t just want to move off of Volusion and onto Shopify Plus in order to reap the benefits that Shopify Plus could offer enterprise eCommerce operations, they wanted a website redesign as well. Luckily, ShadesDaddy.com also had access to a Shopify Plus Designer with 1DigitalⓇ Agency. We rebranded and redesigned the entire website.
ShadesDaddy’s original logo, which you can see in the screenshot below, was somewhat abstract. When they migrated, we built them a new website that was brand integrated with their more formalized, black and white styling. The new website which we created for them was sleek, modern, and more appealing, with less clutter and more emphasis on their product brands, the experience they could provide, and the idealized image of the user.
The custom design of the website was also developed in a way that the imagery and calls-to-action could easily be manipulated. The template that we used and the design we created enabled ShadesDaddy’s administrators to easily switch out featured or promotional imagery, calls-to-action, and other visual features of their homepage. This feature is critical for ShadesDaddy to keep its visual content fresh, in line with its top-selling brands, seasonally relevant, and up to date.
As you can see from the image above, the layout of the website, which is not only appealing but simplified, is also easy for our client to manipulate and customize. Though the theme cannot be easily changed, they can easily make changes to the areas highlighted in red, as detailed above.
Compare the new design of ShadesDaddy.com, which is more contemporary as well as more streamlined, with the earlier version of their website, shown below. Their earlier website may have offered some of the same functionality, but it did so at the expense of a less intuitive, less pleasing design.
Their new website needed some custom development work as well in order to guarantee the functionality they needed to offer their customers an enjoyable shopping experience. Among the projects we tackled for them, several were development items.
For example, we created a custom newsletter popup to enhance ShadesDaddy’s lead capturing initiatives to expand their customer base. This popup, which displays on the homepage as shown here, not only captures leads for ShadesDaddy, but we also integrated their Shopify Plus store with a third-party email service to easily store and manage customer emails.
Some eCommerce businesses use LookBooks in order to make their products and brands seem more personal and approachable. This is a great way to make the digital shopping experience more realistic. ShadesDaddy used LookBooks on their website, and as a part of their project, our team migrated their LookBook page and configured the application on their Shopify Plus store.
Custom App Development
Many businesses, like ShadesDaddy, rely on the functionality of existing third-party apps to run their online stores and provide a high-quality user experience. 1DigitalⓇ Agency’s services were vital in integrating some of ShadesDaddy’s business-critical third-party applications into their new Shopify Plus store.
ShadesDaddy relied on the functionality of third-party apps such as Criteo Remarketing and PriceWaiter, all of which we integrated into their new store. In addition, ShadesDaddy uses SolidCommerce ERP, which we integrated and configured into their new store.
Sometimes, however, a business cannot achieve the level of functionality desired from a pre-existing third-party app. In addition to the migration of their eCommerce store from Volusion to Shopify Plus and redesigning their website, our development team also created a custom app for them. This app not only enables ShadesDaddy to provide a higher level of customer service to their clients but also enables them to extract the highest possible willingness-to-pay from interested parties, serving as a significant conversion booster.
The app is a simple but highly functional tool that appears on certain product pages as a button encouraging the visitors to “Click here for VIP pricing details.” It then asks the visitor for the price at which they were hoping to get the pair of sunglasses in question.
After the visitor enters the desired sale price, the app compares this price to a database compilation of prices it holds in storage. If the price the customer enters is within an acceptable range, the app will send an email to the client informing them that they have secured the pricing desired, along with a link to the product page; only then would the product page list the product at the customer’s desired price.
The private app that we developed communicates with a separate database that we built which contains all of the product data they had in Shopify and provided an extra option for ShadesDaddy.com to offer those products at a minimum or “bottom dollar” price. When the customer enters a price, the app compares that to ShadesDaddy’s minimum price, and if the client’s price is above it, it will grant the customer the price desired. As you can see from the interface of the back end of the app below, it contains a listing of relevant products and gives ShadesDaddy the ability to list the lowest price they would be willing to accept for any given model.
Another level of functionality we built into this app gives ShadesDaddy control over whether or not the app displays for a given product, all of which they can easily manage. In the screenshot below, which shows the backend of the version of the app that we created for ShadeDaddy and DesignerEyes, you can see how ShadesDaddy’s admin can easily manipulate the emails that get sent to their customers, along with a better price.
While this app might appear to offer only simple functionality, it is actually a business-critical function that connects a prospective buyer’s willingness-to-pay with ShadesDaddy’s willingness-to-sell. Normally retail is a guessing game, but in this situation, ShadesDaddy is able to communicate directly with its customers through this app so that willingness-to-pay and willingness-to-buy are aligned. Not only does this maximize conversions for ShadesDaddy, but it also significantly improves the customer experience.
After we concluded development for this app, we got to work helping the other half of ShadesDaddy. We created a clone of this app with the same functionality for ShadesDaddy’s parent site, DesignerEyes.com, in order to boost that site’s functionality and user experience as well.
In Need of Migration and More?
While it is critical to the execution of a successful data migration and eCommerce replatforming that protocols as thorough and comprehensive as our own are followed, sometimes a business is in need of more. Sometimes getting off of one eCommerce platform and onto another is just the beginning. When you need to not only change platforms, but also web design services, app development services, or the help of a Shopify Plus developer, you could end up working with multiple different Shopify Plus Agencies at the same time.
Alternatively, you could call a team of Shopify Plus experts that know the eCommerce platform inside and out. 1DigitalⓇ has concluded many platform and data migrations and joint design and development projects like this in the past. Our web design portfolio and our collection of case studies are both a testament to the success of our ventures.
Many eCommerce organizations are interested in growing their businesses, and the next step is a migration to a more capable platform. If you are one of these businesses but are worried about the potential pitfalls of a migration, don’t be. Get in touch with one of our team members today at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 866-972-2385 and talk to us about what you need. We listen first, and then we deliver.
- Michael Esposito
- October 16, 2020