Managing an eCommerce business requires, first and foremost, a fully functional website that meets all the needs of your users. If you find that your website is lacking important features or simply isn’t performing as fast and as efficiently as you need it to, it may be time to migrate to another platform.
However, it’s not as simple as just jumping ship from your current eCommerce platform to another that suits your needs better. Not only do you want to make sure you carry over all of the functionality of your current website, but you may also need to bring over all of your store’s data as well. A properly managed eCommerce data migration ensures that precious customer information and product data isn’t lost and that your new website will function as expected for users.
A data migration can be a complex technical process that requires a clear plan along with sure knowledge of the specific eCommerce platforms in question. When Mayfair Hotel Supply Company realized it was time to move to a more robust eCommerce platform, they got in touch with the development team here at 1Digital® in order to make sure everything went smoothly and that each of their specific requirements could be met.
Why is Data Migration Necessary?
There is a lot going on behind the scenes of most eCommerce websites. With a wide variety of different products, each with their own unique SKUs, as well as different identifiers for each individual product variation, and reams of customer data that can include order history and other preferences, store owners can’t be expected to manually input all this information into their new website or even worse, abandon it altogether.
One of the main reasons why a website migration might seem intimidating is because of the fear of losing or corrupting this data, which could render thousands of your users without working accounts or severely impact your ability to perform basic inventory management.
To compound the issue, migrations differ depending on which platform you are starting on and which one you are going to. There is no clear-cut path or blanket solution for eCommerce migrations. They require very specialized skills and knowledge, and enough flexibility to account for the numerous unique and custom features that a website may have, which also need to be carried over. Mayfair Hotel Supply Company also needed more than a standard data migration, as their move to eCommerce-powerhouse BigCommerce required numerous advanced development items in order to maintain certain features of their store, such as sub-category landing pages.
Data migration is necessary because it’s integral to the core functionality of an eCommerce store. The design or outward face of an online store is only one half of the picture, so if you are intending on switching to another platform, the data has to be taken into consideration. Not all store owners will need to switch over their data, however; this only applies to very specific cases of eCommerce replatforming.
How Migrations Improve eCommerce Stores
If migrations are such a hassle, what’s the point in following through with them at all? Wouldn’t it make more sense as a store owner to simply ride it out on your current platform and utilize custom development to get the necessary features or enhancements that you want?
While development can certainly fix a variety of issues, at a certain point it would become costly and counterintuitive to try and work around the limitations of certain eCommerce platforms. The truth is that not all platforms carry the same degree of functionality and specifications, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of larger businesses. For enterprise-level solutions, Shopify and BigCommerce offer a more reliable suite of options compared to platforms such as Wix or Ecwid. From both a functional and financial standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense to try and host a large and complex eCommerce store on Wix, as you would just be limiting yourself and providing a suboptimal experience for your user base.
An eCommerce migration can provide a wide range of benefits, from faster page speeds, larger and faster databases, greater shopping cart functionality, more theme options, more app integrations, and more room to grow. Some platforms also make it far easier to customize, making them especially enticing for store owners who want to really tailor the shopping experience for their users.
In Mayfair’s case, they were relying on WooCommerce to carry their business, and while this is certainly a great platform in its own right, the shopping experience could be made far better on a platform such as BigCommerce.
One of the main reasons for this is that WordPress was not originally designed to function as an eCommerce platform. While it can handle the task, as websites grow, WordPress stores tend to get sluggish and inefficient. Platforms that are eCommerce-centric such as BigCommerce also tend to have more high-quality shopping features right out of the box, and with backends that are built for eCommerce, managing your store can be simplified.
Our Comprehensive Data Migration Process
Here at 1Digital, store owners count on us to seamlessly transfer all of their important data from one platform to another, while ensuring their website functions properly and has all of the right features as well. We have performed more than a few eCommerce data migrations, to say the least, which has given our team incredible insight into the process and how best to ensure the safety and integrity of the data while also allowing for plenty of flexible a la carte options.
We utilize custom migration scripts, alongside a trusted process, that provides an optimal experience for our clients. Our expertise helps us identify potential roadblocks and issues well in advance, which allows us to adeptly navigate them and solve complex migration issues with efficiency and surety.
For Mayfair, not only did we perform a complete eCommerce platform migration, but we cleanly carried over the data for over 3000 customers, along with nearly 400 product categories and in excess of over 2,500 individual products. The product data in question included everything from the product name, product image, prices, SKUs, UPC codes, SEO metadata, and even the proper category associations. All of this data was safely transferred over without missing a beat because we are experts at what we do and have developed a trusted migration system for eCommerce websites that businesses can put their full trust in.
One issue business owners might be concerned with during a migration process is that of their SEO. Will you lose your rankings if you transfer your website to another host or platform? This is actually a very real concern because if you mishandle a migration and don’t perform the necessary steps to ensure your SEO remains intact, years of positioning in search engines could be destroyed overnight, and recovering those rankings after the fact would be difficult indeed.
Here at 1Digital®, we don’t simply take the actual store and customer data into consideration when migrating your website. As we did for Mayfair Hotel Supply Company, our developers were able to deftly carry over years of important SEO work using properly implemented 301 redirects and by building their new BigCommerce site with time-tested SEO best practices. The Mayfair website did not lose their spots in Google, and in fact, have prospered since the migration due to our search engine optimization work.
From the initial data transfer through to the data resync and Google Search Console support, our migration services are rock-solid and ensures your website is up-to-date, fully functional, and will meet the high expectations of online shoppers, no matter what industry you are in.
Advanced Development and Customizations
The migration didn’t stop there, however, as Mayfair had several features on their WooCommerce store that needed to be carried over to BigCommerce manually through custom development. To capture the full functionality of their old store and provide the best possible experience for their users, we had to provide straightforward custom eCommerce solutions for several key areas of their website.
Critical Sub-Category Landing Page
One important aspect of the Mayfair WooCommerce website build was their unique category page structure. Rather than their main category pages simply displaying all of the products that fall under the specific category, their store was designed to display sub-category modules instead.
Because this feature is not native to Cornerstone, a common and highly functional BigCommerce theme that Mayfair’s website was being rebuilt on, a custom development solution had to be forged by our team. Due to the importance of category structure for user experience and SEO, this was a task that needed to be done right, in line with the intentions and design of their original website.
Mega Menu Implementation
When a user visits an eCommerce website, they want to be able to find what they are looking for with relative ease. While the search bar is one way to locate a certain item or brand, most users will first try to locate what they are looking for through the navigation that is available.
More eCommerce sites are utilizing the benefits of mega menus to help users find what they need without having to dig through the depths of the site with a search. During Mayfair’s migration to BigCommerce, we built them a standard mega menu with visual elements to help streamline the navigation process and help their users find key items in the store without having to do much work.
Mega menus are an attractive design option for any store owners thinking about simplifying their website a bit so that it favors the user better. If you have hundreds of categories on your website that feature thousands of products but are still relying on an old-fashioned navigation structure, chances are a mega menu could greatly enhance the effectiveness of your website.
Price Per Each Customization
This is another area of the Mayfair migration project that needed a smart custom development solution. On their WooCommerce site, each applicable product page included a “price per each” displayed above the “add to cart” button. This information is provided for products sold in packs, or groups, that Mayfair wanted to list the unit price of, for the benefit of the user.
Logic would need to be created, as well as appropriate adjustments on the frontend of the site, to accommodate this kind of custom functionality. By creating a custom field in BigCommerce, we developed an easy system where the administrator of the site could input the number of items in a given pack or group, which would divide the item’s sale price in order to reach a “price per each” amount that would be displayed in the store’s frontend.
Additions such as these are often necessary when migrating stores from one platform to another, because not every eCommerce platform has quite the same degree of functionality and various options available. This is especially true if a website already has prior customizations developed on it that need to be “redeveloped” or carried over to a new platform. 1Digital® has extensive experience in this area, so we know how to anticipate and navigate such hurdles with ease, with well-coded solutions that feel native to the platform.
Take Action if Your Website Needs a Data Migration
Making sure that you are able to transfer over all of your customer data and product specifications to a new eCommerce service is a big deal that may require the help of a skilled detail-orientated agency that understands your needs and can address them through a professional eCommerce data migration.
If you believe that it’s time for a change, it’s better to act sooner rather than later. A lack of speed or functionality could be hindering your sales and the overall user experience on your website. With growing expectations for what a professional online shopping experience should look and feel like, you need to make sure that your online store remains at the cutting edge and is ready to compete.
Get in touch with our team today at 888.982.8269 if you are interested in migrating your website to a platform that is a better fit for your business. You can feel confident that your important customer data and the functionality of your website will be seamlessly carried over, along with visual and technical enhancements at your request that can help you improve the experience for your shoppers and bolster your business in general.
- Matt Lovett
- November 30, 2020