Ecommerce Migration: How to Transfer Data and Replatform Your Online Store

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If you’ve been in the ecommerce game for awhile now, you may have already replatformed once or twice. With the growing pains of more products, more customers and more employees — not to mention ever-changing industry trends — ecommerce migration is often an unavoidable part of the business.

And with global ecommerce sales expected to hit $6.5 trillion by 2023, a high-performing platform is key if you want to stay up to speed with the industry. In a 2020 survey by advisory firm BDO, 51% of retail CFOs said they had invested more in ecommerce technology in the past six months, and 64% planned to spend more in the next six months — which means there’s a lot of competition when it comes to building the ideal online store.



As the backbone of your online business, your ecommerce platform should be reliable, flexible and scalable, supporting your business as it grows and changes. But if your current platform is running slow, lacks necessary features or simply isn’t keeping up with your business’s growth, it may be time to replatform. 

Of course, migrating all of your data from one platform to another may sound like a daunting, costly task, but we’re here to break down everything you need to know before you make the switch.

What’s in Our Ecommerce Replatforming Guide?

  1. Startups focus on marketing, because their technology is covered. Enterprise brands can do this, too. We’ll explain how.
  2. 3 pain points that force brands to migrate to new technology. And all of them are signals that you should have done it much, much sooner.
  3. 4 options for ecommerce technology. Not every solution is right for every brand, but there are ones that will eliminate the need for you to migrate ever again –– and ones that will force this process time and time again. We’ll go through the cost/benefit analysis of these.
  4. 5 steps to an ecommerce platform migration — the biggest two of which are issuing the RFP and transferring data. We’ll give you an RFP template you can print out and use right now –– and introduce you to services teams that will migrate your data for you. 
  5. Ecommerce replatforming checklist. If you get this far in the piece, you’re probably the type that likes to get things done. This list will let you mark off, one by one, the steps you and your team need to take to migrate the first time, and then never again.  
  6. How to put platforms to the test. While you might issue an RFP and get lots of answers back, it’s best not to buy before you try. 
  7. Another word on data migration services. Some platforms offer them for free, some services are self-serve and others are simply worth the investment to make sure your data transfers effectively. 
  8. Most common data migration myths. Just for fun.

Let’s get started.

Successful Brands Focus on Marketing

What allows these companies to focus on marketing is their choice of technology stack from the onset.

Or, if not from the onset, these companies are quick to replatform to a better solution so that website maintenance and bug patches are not taking priority over marketing activities.

  • The latter leads to sales, growth and revenue.
  • The former doesn’t have to be business as usual.

That is why you must pick the right ecommerce platform — because you need to focus on marketing and growth.

After all, marketing is expensive, competitive and requires a lot of time. It is pay-to-play in so many channels:

  • AdWords.
  • Facebook.
  • TV.
  • Radio.

In the ones where it isn’t (say, SEO), you’re competing against a gamut of competitors and bigger brands, often with a much bigger head start.

And each of these channels are getting more and more saturated everyday. So why are you spending your time and money on a “good enough” ecommerce solution?

Successful Ecommerce Migration Examples

Modern ecommerce platforms are the equivalent of a marketing technology, development and IT staff, all in one.

Likely when you first launched your brand, ecommerce platforms were cumbersome, expensive and required hours of extra work you ended up taking on internally or that you’ve outsourced to platform experts.

Today, there are ecommerce platforms out there that take all the technical heavy-lifting off your hands –– giving your team the time and financial resources to capitalize on the market with strategic, engaging campaigns.

How Does Your Ecommerce Platform Measure Up?

In a perfect world, a website migration project would be a year in planning with an allotted budget and clearly defined goals.

But in reality, replatforming isn’t something companies proactively plan. Most often, there’s a driving issue (or a number of them) forcing a company to migrate.

Here we’ve compiled a list of the most common issues driving online retailers to replatform. Take a look for yourself and check off the ones that apply to your business — check off more than one, and it’s time to replatform.

Financial issues related to your ecommerce platform.

  • High maintenance costs. If your existing platform requires frequent maintenance, this may be your sign to switch platforms. Not only is maintenance expensive as it adds up over time, but it’s also time-consuming and can take away focus from core business activities.
  • A recent merger or acquisition. This can allow for consolidation and review of legacy systems for efficiency gains.
  • New initiatives. With new initiatives such as new brands, product lines or launching into new markets, you may want to test out more cost-effective solutions to prove your concept, and you may find that the more cost-effective platforms outperform your current platform.

High total cost of ownership (TCO). By placing the burden on a third-party solution or higher performing platform provider, ecommerce migration can help mitigate site infrastructure or design costs.

Technical issues related to your ecommerce platform.

  • Slow site speed and responsiveness. Perhaps your old site has grown unstable under peak traffic conditions, resulting in slow loading time. Unfortunately, the first five seconds of page load time have the highest impact on conversion rates, and conversion rates decrease by 4.42% with every additional second of load time. 
  • Poor site performance. Maybe your catalog database can’t handle the physical number of SKUs you’ve added to the catalog over the years, or your current platform hinders you from implementing omnichannel integration
  • Lack of scalability. This is one of the most common reasons for replatforming. Perhaps your platform only captures a limited number of attributes, can only associate a limited number of product related assets, has a limited call volume on APIs or, as in some cases, can’t handle certain types of content such as video.

Gaps in your existing systems. If it takes too long to develop new features on your old platform, and the backlog of projects in IT is becoming unmanageable and cost prohibitive, replatforming may be your best bet.

Marketing issues related to your ecommerce platform.

  • Streamlined, accessible analytics. Having proper analytics is essential for drawing meaningful insights and improving your ecommerce site. Make sure that the platform you’re migrating to allows you to collect and measure data so that you can give your customers the best experience possible.
  • Lack of social media capabilities. One of the most important features your platform can have is the ability to integrate your site with social media accounts. With the US social ecommerce market expected to surpass $50 billion annually by 2023, it’s crucial that your website allows for shareability and integration with multiple social platforms.
  • Poor customer experience. According to a 2018 survey by PWC, 73% of shoppers reported customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions — which means that creating an optimal user experience should be a top priority. If too many plugins are bogging down your site, or your current platform doesn’t offer the most up-to-date technology features, then it may be time to consider replatforming. 
  • Not optimized for mobile commerce: Google has recently transitioned to a mobile-first index, which means that online stores that are optimized for mobile devices will organically rank higher than those that are not. So make sure that your new platform offers a specific design and funnel for mobile devices so that your customers can shop anywhere, anytime.

The Best Ecommerce Platform Options

Before we begin to outline the process for a replatform, it’s important that you understand your ecommerce platform options:

  • On-premise.
  • Cloud.
  • SaaS.
  • Headless.

Below is an outline of each, including pros and cons based on your unique business needs. This is the basic background information you’ll need for issuing a complete and structured ecommerce RFP to a technology provider, the details of which we’ll get into in a moment.

On-premise.

With on-premise, also called self-hosted technology, the ecommerce platform is licensed from and then hosted on the client’s internal network, which means the user can modify all aspects of the code and maintain server and software control.

The business owner is then responsible for managing various ecommerce aspects:

Some well-known examples of self-hosted solutions are WooCommerce — a free, open-source shopping cart plugin that can be added to an existing WordPress website — and Magento Commerce Pro, which offers Magento Open Source, Adobe Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud.

Pros

    • Performance. Self-hosting your servers means the performance of your website is in your hands. With the necessary coding expertise, you can improve your site performance without relying on a third party to do it for you.
    • Control. With full control over the source code, you can make customizations and modifications that are necessary for your business’s goals.

    Cons

      • Infrastructure. Unfortunately, with more control over your website comes more expenses and more maintenance. Owning your equipment can get expensive and often requires replacing or upgrading every few years.
      • Backups. Life happens — and when it does, you need to have a backup plan. Especially during peak traffic times or, worst case scenario, if your server fails, you’ll need extra servers to backup your information and keep your daily operations running.
      • Security. As mentioned above, with a self-hosted platform, the user is responsible for PCI compliance and security. While your ecommerce platform may offer security patches and updates, it’s up to you to install, configure and maintain them.

      Cloud.

      There’s currently a lot of confusion in the market about the difference between cloud ecommerce and SaaS ecommerce. But let’s put that confusion to rest right now.

      SaaS and cloud ecommerce are not the same.

      With cloud ecommerce, you still pay extra in licensing fees, as well as fees to patch vulnerabilities and to complete upgrades. This aspect of cloud ecommerce is similar to on-premise. In fact, many on-premise ecommerce technologies are those that are launching cloud solutions.

      The difference, however, is that the server is hosted and maintained by a third-party, similar to how it is done in the SaaS model.

      Here we’ll break down the differences between SaaS and cloud:



      • Server tainted and hosted by a third party.
        • SaaS: Yes
        • Cloud: Yes
      • No need to install or keep up with software editions.
        • SaaS: Yes
        • Cloud: No
      • PCI compliance and security handled for you.
        • SaaS: Yes
        • Cloud: No
      • Automatic software upgrades.
        • SaaS: Yes
        • Cloud: No
      • No downtime with new software versions.
        • SaaS: Yes
        • Cloud: No, there will be downtime during versioning updates

      SaaS.

      While open source software gives the user full control over the source code, servers and software, SaaS (Software as a Service) offers an alternative. 

      Removing the complexity of managing every aspect of your site, SaaS solutions essentially allow users to “rent” a platform — meaning both the software and hosting are included in one monthly fee and handled by the platform provider. 

      According to data from Statista, the SaaS market is currently estimated to be worth $145 billion, which is expected to increase to almost $172 billion by 2022.  

      But why are SaaS platforms so popular?

      Since the host is responsible for managing the platform, your SaaS provider will automatically make product updates for you, maintain security and hosting, ensure PCI compliance and any other task involved in managing your own software — and it’s all included in the monthly service fee. BigCommerce, for example, is an Open SaaS platform, which means that merchants receive all of the advantages of a SaaS platform — such as being hosted on behalf of the provider, a lower total cost of ownership and ease of use — with the open-source ability to quickly create custom integrations and functionality.

      Pros

      • Low total cost of ownership. Since your monthly fee includes all hosting and maintenance, SaaS platforms allow for a lower TCO and fewer surprises when it comes to operating costs.  
      • Ease of use. Since your SaaS provider manages your software, updates, maintenance, and servers, the setup time is quick and seamless. Plus, if you run into any roadblocks, 
      • Time to market. Since your host manages the platform on their end, you can more quickly migrate your site and start selling sooner. Your SaaS provider will likely have a customer support team to give you guidance. 
      • Various features. Many SaaS platforms offer a number of built-in features that are automatically available as the platform is updated.
      • Security. As a business owner bogged down with day-to-day operations, managing your security is likely the last thing on your mind. Luckily, your SaaS provider is likely PCI compliant and offers top-tier data security. BigCommerce, for example, is ISO/IEC 27001:2013 & PCI DSS 3.2, Level 1 certified.

      Cons

      • Flexibility. While SaaS platforms have very few disadvantages, it’s good to keep in mind that not all SaaS platforms offer the same amount of flexibility. With less control over your servers and coding, you may not have as much freedom when it comes to setting up your website. However, BigCommerce’s open API, strong partner ecosystem and headless capabilities allows for greater flexibility when designing and customizing your site.  
      • Customization. Along the same vein, without control over the source code, there’s also the worry of reduced customization. However, this is only a major issue if your business requires extreme customization.

      Your Ecommerce Replatform Strategy

      Once you’ve identified the need to migrate and the type of platform you want, it’s time to start replatforming. To help you begin the process, we’ve outlined several steps that will give you an idea of how much time and work the migration process will take.

      Write the RFP.

      Before committing the rest of the organization to an ecommerce replatforming project, you should conduct an initial ROI modeling session and internally map out the RFP process.

      Issuing an RFP will allow you to switch from one ecommerce platform to another — all without losing your SEO rankings, customized design or legally required security protocol.

      This is the first step to writing a RFP:

      Sit down with finance and do an honest review of the ecommerce business. Before you can begin developing a detailed set of requirements and an RFP, you will need to have the numbers for your business locked down.

      These include the usual:

      • Unique visitors.
      • Gross revenue.
      • Average order value (AOV).
      • Conversion rates.
      • Number of transactions.
      • Number of units per transaction.
      • Gross margin.
      • Net margin.

      If you decide to go down the SaaS platform route, you will be sharing this information with the vendor so they can calculate anticipated usage and pricing.

      Forecast revenue and total cost of ownership.

      Next, create a three-year forecasted improvement on the above metrics if you were to deploy a new solution.

      Allow six months post-launch for site optimization, and don’t forecast any lift during those six months.

      Here’s a sample walkthrough of how you might achieve this for your own business. The numbers below are based on a last 90-day calculation and 57% overall ecommerce growth by 2019. Conservative numbers are used here.



      Once you figure out your business forecast, look into how much each ecommerce technology solution will cost.

      You can use our Total Cost of Ownership Calculator here, or take a look at the sample chart below for reference, based on a business making at least $2,500,000 in revenue annually.



      Then, calculate your savings, and figure out the average cost for services like SEO, social media and more.

      Finally, add in the revenue lift generally seen by these services and the upside associated with it for your business’s revenue.

      Again, you can use our calculator to do this automatically for you, or take a look at our sample below.



      Through this analysis, you will have determined the amount of investment you can reasonably afford for your ecommerce website replatforming project. This will save you time later on and help you to avoid looking too far into platforms that you simply cannot afford.

      Investigate built-in functionality vs. third-party apps and integrations.

      A technical replatforming project is an opportunity to change and improve your efficiencies in other areas of the business. To make sure you get the most out of the RFP process, take a look at all existing systems and determine if there are better ways to achieve the same results.

      We also suggest taking a look at the various third-party apps that you have undoubtedly accumulated through the years, including:

      • Automated order notifications.
      • Product filtering and faceted search.
      • Automatic sales tax calculated at checkout.

      Many of these can be replaced with features that now come standard on modern ecommerce platforms. Add the savings from these projected changes into your budget.

      Try to use a fact-based measurement criteria during this discovery process. I prefer projected savings, revenue or ROI.

      This phase of the process can be contentious since you’re talking about eliminating tools, processes and potentially people. The measurement criteria helps to keep the emotion out of the process.

      Scope integration redirects and initiation.

      This is the stage of the replatforming process where you should spend a good chunk of time mapping out every touchpoint between the ecommerce platform and all other systems at your company. Create a list of each integration point and determine what will happen to that integration during replatforming.

      It’s at this crucial stage that you determine what’s in scope for the project and what is not.

      Prior to launching your site, perform an SEO audit and develop a content migration plan to avoid losing search engine rankings and retain domain authority.

      Here are a few SEO settings to consider when migrating to a new platform:

      • If your URLs have changed, you’ll need to implement 301 redirects for your product and category pages. 
      • Make sure Google Analytics tracking code is working.
      • Remove any duplicate content.
      • Review your Metadata.
      • Review links embedded in emails and downloadable content.
      • Audit your existing site hierarchy and structure.

      Additionally, review any necessary catalog transfers and make sure to include them in the RFP, including customer data files, product catalogs and assets or content such as product images.

      Creating an outline for where each page is located on your website will help you keep track of content as you transfer it to your new platform. Proper due diligence at this stage of the process will save time and money later on.

      Meet with all potential stakeholders.

      Starting early in the migration process, make sure that all stakeholders have ample opportunity to share their requirements and any business processes that interface with the ecommerce platform. 

      Key stakeholders are typically from the following departments/disciplines:


      While replatforming may significantly benefit one department, it may pose bigger challenges for another, so it’s important as a business owner to understand and balance the needs of all teams. Keep all teams informed and involved throughout the process, and even after launching, put your platform to the test and make sure that all stakeholders are satisfied. 

      Luckily, BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial (no credit card required) so that you and your team can test drive the platform before making a commitment.  Plus, you and your team can browse dozens of case studies to learn how other online merchants have successfully migrated to BigCommerce and scaled their businesses exponentially.

      A Handy Ecommerce Replatforming Checklist

      There are numerous ecommerce platforms available today, everything from simple carts to enterprise grade platforms that include strong search, personalization and CMS capabilities.

      For our purposes, let’s say that there are about 30 different platforms to choose from — that’s far too many to engage in an RFP.

      You should be able to narrow down your RFP list to 5-8 vendors based on the following:

      • Current online revenue.
      • SKUs.
      • Ratio of traffic vs. transactions.
      • Average order value.
      • Units per order.
      • Any unique elements specific to your business, such as hard goods vs. soft goods, continuity/subscription business or complex configuration capabilities.

      Our RFPs contain over 150 questions to confirm vendor capabilities and for use in vendor comparison charts.

      This may seem like a lot, but let’s put it into context: a SaaS platform can contain over hundreds of features, including third-party integrations, catalog transfer services, systems architecture and security compliance issues — all of which will need to be addressed in the RFP process.

      Ecommerce Migration Checklist

      1. Determine the best platform options for your business.
      2. Issue an RFP to those platforms.
      3. Forecast revenue and total cost of ownership.
      4. Investigate built-in functionality vs. third-party apps.
      5. Determine integration redirects and initiation.
      6. Meet with all potential stakeholders and put platforms to the test.
      7. Determine data shopping cart migration service and launch migration.
      8. Pair integrations, extensions, and plugins.
      9. Redesign site, relaunch in beta and QA with stakeholders.
      10. Relaunch site publicly, and redirect URLs.

      How to Put Platforms to the Test

      Based on the responses to your RFP, you should now have a short list of 3-5 potential vendors.

      The next step is to create a detailed set of use cases to be performed by the vendor via Webex for smaller opportunities and onsite for larger deployments.

      There are a couple reasons for this:

      • Stakeholders get to see what a day in the life of using the platform will be like for them. Their feedback is invaluable. They get to see the different ways various vendors have chosen to execute various tasks in the platform and can see which methodologies might suit their particular requirements better. Lastly, maybe most importantly, they feel a sense of ownership in the process and an appreciation for the final vendor selection.
      • The vendor has to demonstrate their capabilities live. It’s easy for a vendor to say that they support a feature, but when it comes time to demonstrate it, the finer details are revealed. For example, a vendor may say they support a certain feature, but in reality, it requires a separate customization to actually deploy it in the field.

      The list of use cases that you develop will depend on the size of deployment, but for the larger ones, it is advisable to schedule about four hours. Some scenarios take 10 minutes to run through, and others can take 30 minutes.

      It’s important that each vendor is given the same list and allotted time to complete their scenarios. This creates a level playing field upon which comparisons can be more easily made, especially for the stakeholders who are new to the process.

      You can use this checklist and agenda for your teams and the platform you are testing. This covers the majority of common needs during a replatform.


      Download a printable version here. 

      You can also allow half an hour at the beginning of the meeting for a general company sales pitch presentation and about 20 minutes at the end for closing remarks and a final pitch.

      Here is what a top-level agenda looks like, simplified.


      Don’t Forget About Data Migration Services

      Transferring your product, category and customer data is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of ecommerce replatforming. 

      A poor transfer could result in:

      • Incorrect product mapping. 
      • Incorrect product data, such as sizes, styles and inventory. 
      • Incorrect product images. 
      • Inaccurate customer data, such as order history, customer addresses, customer account credentials and transaction history.
      • Poor syncing with ERP or point-of-sale (think Square or Netsuite).
      • Inaccurate product recommendations.

      Accurate data is essential to running your business, so unless you have technical expertise and can manually migrate data yourself, it’s best to choose a platform that offers data migration services.

      So, once you’ve decided on a platform or have narrowed it down to two or three, you need to ask immediately about migration and transfer services — and don’t let an unclear answer pass.

      If an ecommerce platform passes you off to a partner for catalog transfer services, this can add more money onto your initial launch fee and more months on your go-to-market timing, which can significantly affect your total cost of ownership.

      Get a solid understanding of how the catalog transfer or data migration will be done and similar stores they have already transferred, ideally from the same platform you are on. If you can, reach out to that brand, too, and ask about the service.

      Better yet, choose an ecommerce platform that provides migration services in-house. BigCommerce provides enterprise launch packages and data migration services to assist you with integrating your systems into ours and getting to market faster. Because our team has worked with so many brands, we’ve learned that every online store is unique, and as they’ve scaled, so has their service.

      Top 5 Data Migration Myths Debunked

      Although ecommerce migration may be an inevitable move for some online retailers, others hesitate to make the leap due to misconceptions around security, cost, scale and more. 

      Here we’ll debunk the top five myths to help give you peace of mind before starting your data migration.

      1. We miss out on sales while you transfer our data.

      Your store won’t go offline during the transfer process.

      We do all the work on your new BigCommerce store backend, then give you as much time as you need to customize your settings, test your site and train your team.

      When you’re ready, and only when you’re ready, you can launch your new ecommerce store — complete with updated data already uploaded into your backend. This allows you to continue business as usual from day one.

      While all of this is happening, your original store stays live on your current platform. We don’t require that it come down, and BigCommerce and our global network of partners actually advise against it.

      We understand that uptime is one of the most crucial factors to gaining and maintaining consumer trust, so all our work can happen with no downtime required.

      2. We’ll lose our design if we replatform.

      Of course, if you’re replatforming, you may want to invest in a redesign, but this can be costly and time-consuming. It isn’t just a matter of transferring URLs and content — it’s essentially a complete rebuild of your website.

      So if you're worried about losing your beautiful, custom web design, this is a valid fear, especially if you’ve spent years perfecting the look and feel of your online store. Redesigning can often require significant time, budget and planning. Luckily, BigCommerce’s open template files allow you to bring custom design elements to your new store, and our design partners ensure that it happens seamlessly. Check out how BigCommerce merchants are optimizing their online stores and using site design to increase conversions.

      3. When we move the store to a new host, we’ll lose all our traffic.

      It is true that moving to a new server, even when using the same domain name, can impact search engine optimization rankings if done improperly — however, this is often only a temporary roadblock. In fact, the very reason you’re migrating might even be that your new platform offers more SEO features.

      For example, BigCommerce provides several SEO tools right out of the box:

      • Optimized URLs: For product, category and other pages, BigCommerce auto-populates SEO-friendly URLs and allows merchants to alter their URL settings.
      • Unique URLs: Every unique page has its own URL which helps prevent duplicate content.
      • Microdata: These are “rich snippets” built into product pages that improve your search result listings.
      • 301 redirects and URL rewrites: If during the migration process you decide to rename products, BigCommerce will redirect the existing URL to the new URL so that customers can easily navigate to the products they’re looking for.
      • CDN (content delivery network): BigCommerce’s CDN is constantly working behind the scenes to ensure your online store loads quickly for both customers and search engines.

      Luckily, online retailers move servers all the time, and migration can often enhance your search ranking. However, you may have to give Google a week or so to recognize the migration and re-grant your ranking, but in time, you’ll reap the benefits.

      Here are some best practices to help you migrate without jeopardizing your SEO:

      • Create and manage your sitemps.
      • Update internal links.
      • Retain old domains and redirect URLs.
      • Review for broken links or duplicate content.

      4. Replatforming means we can clone our store exactly.

      No, you cannot clone your store exactly. You can, however, transfer a majority of your existing data from your current ecommerce platform to your new backend.

      As for your store’s look and feel, you’re probably thinking about leaving your current platform because it’s lacking in some way, so why would you want to recreate those same shortfalls?

      The quicker you embrace the idea that it requires some change to improve your online business, the quicker you can benefit from transferring to a fully featured enterprise solution like BigCommerce.

      We offer a wealth of next-level features that will ensure a smooth transition that is as painless — and profitable — as possible.

      For instance, with dozens of integrated payment gateways, you’ll rarely need a payment option we don’t offer. Chances are that we have an integration with the payment gateway you are using right now, and you may even find new options like Square and PayPal that you like more.

      BigCommerce offers one-click integrations with leading software providers like Survey Monkey, HubSpot, Alibaba and Salesforce. This makes it easy to integrate with the tools you already use.

      Plus, with over 90% of the BigCommerce platform exposed via APIs, merchants can build flexible technical solutions and shop our extensive app marketplace to integrate new features and functionalities that help scale their businesses.

      5. We have great engineers. We can do it ourselves.

      Even if you’re a great developer, our experience has taught us that the first time you undertake an unfamiliar task like this, it rarely goes according to plan.

      Wouldn’t your time be better spent growing your business and serving your customers, while delegating your transfer to veteran engineers who can get it done quickly and correctly?

      When you’re talking about securing and improving your financial future, you can’t afford to let your ego get in the way. Instead, trust your migration to an industry-leading team that’s equipped to help you overcome complexities, design confidently and build out your website completely.

      For more information on BigCommerce’s transfer services, read our support documentation on how to move your store to BigCommerce.

      And note that this is only documentation. You’ll have an account manager and onboarding consultant by your side, handling all the heavy-lifting every step of the way.

      The Final Word

      If you’ve reached your tipping point after yet another site outage, undetected bug or maintenance fee, it may be time to pull the plug and migrate to a new platform. 

      Yes, replatforming can be a time-consuming endeavor, but the benefits well outweigh the costs — so don’t let the fear hinder you from doing what’s best for your business. With the help of this guide, you’ll be equipped to launch a successful migration and start building out your new and improved ecommerce site, leading you to better performance, scalability and innovation.

      If you’re currently operating under a different platform and want to take BigCommerce on a test drive, check out the following resources to help you get started.

      FAQs for Ecommerce Migrations

      Why should a business replatform?

      As an ecommerce business grows and changes, its platform should be able to grow and change along with them. But for many online retailers, their first ecommerce platform only offers basic features and performance — so as the business expands, the platform simply can’t keep up.

      Whether it’s a lack of up-to-date features, slow site speed, poor design or too many maintenance costs, platform issues can hinder an ecommerce business from reaching its goals and become a burden rather than an asset.

      Of course, replatforming may seem like a big, complex endeavor — and we won’t lie to you. It is.

      But the benefits far outweigh the costs.

      A successful ecommerce migration has the potential to transform your online store, from site design to functionality to performance, giving your customers a better experience and more reason to revisit your site in the future.

      Here are some additional red flags that it might be time for your business to replatform:

      • Repetitive, manual tasks that have to be performed regularly.
      • Poor admin panel.
      • Lack of features in your current system.
      • Time-consuming, costly maintenance.
      • Slow site speed and responsiveness.
      How much does an ecommerce site migration cost?

      Long answer short: it depends.

      Generally, ecommerce platforms have a base monthly fee, but the cost of migration can vary depending on what platform you’re migrating to, how many products you have, how many orders you want to fill, and the number of customers you have.

      According to Optium7, an ecommerce marketing service, an ecommerce business could do a basic migration with no template customization for as low as $6,000. However, if you want to include all the custom functionalities that exist on your current platform or want to add further customizations, it can cost up to $100,000. 

      In the end, the cost of site migration largely depends on the size of your business and the scope of your project.

      What can be migrated to my new ecommerce platform?

      Again, this largely depends on which ecommerce platform you migrate to and what their capabilities are.

      However, with many ecommerce platforms, users are able to migrate the following:

      • Product catalogs.
      • Customer data such as order history and addresses.
      • Custom data.
      • Shopping carts.
      • Shipping and tax settings.
      • Links.

      BigCommerce offers several features that help make the migration process smooth and easy. We can assist you in importing products, product options and customers, as well as transferring your product data and catalog to your new BigCommerce store.

      Plus, if you’ve already invested heavily in a fronted solution or CMS, such as WordPress, it may be worth considering a headless ecommerce provider like BigCommerce. Since BigCommerce offers backend ecommerce functionality, merchants can seamlessly shift their existing frontend presentation layer without having to start from scratch.

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