There are some major changes anticipated for many ecommerce businesses in the early part of next year. As of the first of February 2015, many small to mid-sized online retailers will need to make a major transition of ecommerce platforms from Magento Go and ProStores to a new platform. BigCommerce has been named the Go To Hosted Solution of Choice by both Magento Go and ProStores. This means that anyone moving from either of those platforms will receive free help with the migration of their stores to the BigCommerce platform. While options will continue to be available for larger enterprises, the smaller businesses will need to migrate their ecommerce stores to Magento Enterprise or BigCommerce. If you’re one of those stores facing this major change, you might be wondering what steps you need to take to transition your online business so that you and your customers will have a seamless experience throughout the process.
Steps to a Successful Transition
Even though the transition does not entail the movement of physical merchandise, it will still require you to give some attention to detail to ensure a smooth experience for everyone concerned. Some may think that the movement of data from one location to another is simply a matter of cutting and pasting the information into the new platform. Unless you have a handful of products, that most definitely won’t be the case. Even if it were, you would still need to think of your customers every step of the way so that the entire experience will not impact the performance of your existing online business.
This entails giving special attention to other aspects of your new site like research, site design, customer shopping experience, development, deployment, security, and other issues that may not be readily noticed.
When considering the discovery phase of your migration program, think about everything needed to launch your new site. It is the perfect time for you to thoroughly evaluate your current business strategies in this area and determine if certain changes can help to improve your overall sales performance. You could take this time to look closely at other similar sites and see what methods might be used to enhance your own. Use this time to consider more than the obvious; perhaps it’s time to restructure your catalog, improve your navigational structure, or even shipping options. The migration may be the ideal time to add on some new features that you have not yet implemented into your system. What you learn during this discovery phase can serve as the groundwork for your new ecommerce store.
The fact that you have to move your store creates the opportune time to tweak your design elements. Of course, your existing site design can be rebuilt on the BigCommerce platform, however, there is just as much work in building a new site as there is rebuilding your existing site. Taking that into consideration, you want to make sure that the new design for your store will accurately match the needs of your customers. If you’ve already been in business for some time, chances are you’ve recognized many of your customer needs and thought of ways to make their shopping experience more rewarding. Your store needs to be tailored to their expectations and migration time is the perfect opportunity to make that happen.
3. Migrate Your Data
Even though your new move will be merely moving data from one site to another, it is not a step that you should take lightly. You will in fact have to navigate between the existing system and the new one; this will include importing products, customer information, orders and 301 redirects to ensure that your site doesn’t lose any search momentum or rankings. For other points of concern regarding store migration to BigCommerce, click here.
Moving products: try not to consider your product catalog as a string of information but think of it the way your customer sees it. Product data could include any number of things like images, product numbers, descriptions, and prices, all of which needs to be displayed in a way that is easily accessible to the customer and with actionable items above the fold.
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Once all of the information has been successfully migrated you need to deploy and test your site before you’re ready for a full-scale opening. You want to make sure that your new site is tested for a number of different things; function, compatibility, and conversion. Remember that once you switch to your new platform your URL will change, so you also want to know if your new site is going to be picked up by the new web browsers so that your customers will be able to find you once you move. 301 redirects will be an essential part of this.
Another feature of your new ecommerce site that should not be neglected is security. Your customers need to feel that their personal information is protected and not exposed to unauthorized users at any point in the transition. BigCommere is a completely secure and compliant ecommerce platform, so that it allows for effective payment processing without putting their personal data at risk. The merchant you use to accept payments should have a security policy implemented for any number of situations and it’s always a good idea to highlight your secure merchant partner badges.
Once your new site is in full-swing, you will still need to keep a close eye on its progress. Often, trends will appear over time that may not be readily seen after the first few days of a launch. Always be prepared to tweak and make any adjustments to the system as you and your customers grow together with your new site.
As you develop your new site, review the changes you’ve made and monitor its progress on a continuous basis. You want to make sure that the new site not only meets your customers’ expectations but also meets the needs of your business as well.
There are many aspects and features that must be considered when you’re migrating an ecommerce store. While it may not be the most complicated element of running your business, for it to be a true success, you will need to give your personal attention to many important details that could range from the choice of color and design to how potential customers will find you. If you take the time and the extra care needed to plan every aspect of the transition, you’ll find that making the switch to your new platform will enhance your business and even give you a better return on your investment.