There’s an idea in behavioral economics called the sunk cost fallacy. It posits that people naturally hold onto things longer than is strictly logical if they’ve invested a lot of time and energy into them in the past. Like your friend that won’t get rid of their old beater car because they’ve already replaced so many of the parts, even though it costs them a fortune every year at inspection time. I see this a lot when it comes to eCommerce platform migration. Merchants hang onto old systems long past when they know they should move onto something newer and better. After all, they’ve invested time and money into this store for years, how could they bear losing that work and starting over from square one?
Fortunately, with help from an eCommerce platform migration expert like 1Digital Agency, you don’t have to start again. We can help you move from an older platform to a newer one while preserving all the work you’ve spent years putting into your current site. This is exactly what we did for our long time client High Tech Battery Solutions when they were ready to move off of Volusion.
Choosing a New Platform
High Tech Battery Solutions is a well-established retailer of specialty large-format batteries for items like motorcycles, electric wheelchairs, and defibrillators. At 1Digital we’d been working with High Tech Battery Solutions, supporting their Volusion site, for a few years before they decided to move. Volusion was one of the first big players in the hosted eCommerce space, but over time they fell behind newer services. After a while, many of our clients who had been on Volusion since they launched their business looked around and found that they didn’t have the features their competitors all had. Richard Price at High Tech Battery knew that since we had been working on the Volusion site for so long, we would be the right team to move their data onto a new platform.
Richard had been considering the two other major names in the hosted eCommerce platform space, Shopify and BigCommerce. After discussing his options we ended up deciding to move forward with BigCommerce. What eventually swayed Richard was transaction fees. Shopify is not only a hosted eCommerce platform, but they’re also a payment gateway. Merchants using Shopify as a payment gateway simply pay the platform a percentage of all the transactions they make on their store. This works for some merchants, as it allows them to easily bundle their eCommerce service with their payments service, without worrying about separate rates and separate contracts. High Tech Battery, on the other hand, had a great relationship with their payment gateway after years of business and wanted to keep their rates.
Once we had decided on BigCommerce the next step was to see what could be done to make the platform even better. After all, the High Tech Battery team didn’t want to change platforms just to find they were running into the same limitations which had driven them off of Volusion. Whenever we begin a new custom site we always sit down with the merchant to discuss anything they might want that would be outside what their eCommerce system can provide out of the box. Richard expressed particular interest in one item that is somewhat unique to the way High Tech Battery does business, a ‘year make and model’ search tool.
High Tech Battery does a lot of business in motorcycle batteries and other recreational power sport vehicles like jet skis and snowmobiles. This is a filtered search that 1Digital added to the new High Tech Battery site which allows their customers to find the right battery by filtering by the make, year and model of the vehicle they’re shopping for. We started with a 3rd party plugin available on the BigCommerce app store called Year Make Model Search. We then added a custom content page to the site and configured the plugin to work on that page. We also took the data on all the year, make and models that related to the batteries that High Tech Battery had in stock. We uploaded this data in bulk so that each product in their catalog would filter correctly.
In addition to new functionality for the BigCommerce store, High Tech Battery had plenty of functionality on their Volusion store that they wanted to make sure was preserved when they moved platforms. We had been improving on the old site ticket by ticket, task by task, for years. High Tech Battery didn’t want to lose years of refining their store in exchange for a new platform. For example, the High Tech Battery Volusion site had customized category descriptions sections allowing for custom formatting and more information at the top of each category page.
This content is not only helpful for users browsing the site. It also is very important for search engine spiders crawling their pages. This category content helps High Tech Battery rank better for their keywords because it’s easy for Google to see what they ought to be ranking this page for.
The 1Digital development team manually updated 321 category pages on the new site with custom HTML. This allowed the category pages to accept this content format when all of the category descriptions were migrated over from Volusion.
Moving platforms is never simple. No matter who you are, your data will have little intricacies. Small incongruities between how it fits in the platform you’re on, and how it will need to fit in the platform you’re going to. When we plan out a data migration we try to anticipate and plan for as many of these edge cases as possible before the migration actually begins. When it comes to issues with data migration, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For High Tech Battery, we moved the standard data, products, categories, customers, etc. Fortunately, when moving from one hosted platform to another, like from Volusion to BigCommerce, the systems are usually similar enough that no major changes to the format of the data need to be made. Where we needed to do a little extra planning was for High Tech Battery’s impressive catalog of technical resources, the Battery Resource and Information Center.
The team at High Tech Battery had spent years building up a repository of resources for their customers. Basic info, installation guides, charger matches, and anything else you could want to know about the batteries they sell. To leave this behind on Volusion would be to rob their customers of an extremely useful resource. Not to mention all of this on-site content was doing wonders for High Tech Battery’s SEO authority.
When moving content onto a new platform each content page needs to be manually updated with custom CSS to make sure the content fits with the styling of the new site. While most of this data migration could be done with automated scripts, for the Battery Information Center the 1Digital development team manually styled 272 content pages to make sure that High Tech Battery’s wealth of information resources came with them to the new platform.
High Tech Battery Solutions relaunched on BigCommerce 4 months after their eCommerce platform migration project began. Working alongside their team, 1Digital was able to bring the strengths of the Volusion store into a newer, more updated platform, as well as make improvements to the functionality along the way. The new High Tech Battery site has a fresh, more modern design, and we look forward to keeping it updated for years, just as we did with the Volusion site.
If you have been thinking that eCommerce platform migration might be in the cards for your store, but don’t want to leave your hard work behind, you don’t have to! Contact the eCommerce platform migration experts at 1Digital Agency today. We can help you break your move down into manageable pieces, keep the work you’ve already put in, and make your store even better in the process.
- Joe Chilson
- March 30, 2020