More and more companies are diversifying and moving their shopfronts online every day in response to the demands of the modern consumer. The way that we shop is changing and businesses who do not keep up with shifting expectations will lose out on sales and jeopardize their customer's loyalty.
Of course, an e-commerce presence demands an e-commerce platform – and this requires constant management, not just in terms of day-to-day operations but also in terms of upgrades and reassessments, to ensure that your platform is always delivering the functionality required.
The solution: an e-commerce migration
What can you do about it? One obvious option is to migrate to a new e-commerce platform, one that will allow you more flexibility and a lower operational cost. Some businesses may baulk at this, as switching your e-commerce platform is a big step. But if you follow a few simple rules it can be a smooth process that will ultimately pay dividends. Here are the key principles to bear in mind:
- Planning - A clear plan is the cornerstone of a successful e-commerce migration. In your plan make sure that you incorporate any other platforms or services that may need to integrate with or are affected by your e-commerce platform. You should also consider any other projects that could deflect resource or time away from the migration, including any ERP, CRM, POS systems or services such as call centres.
- Scope - Migrating to a new e-commerce platform is a major project, so don’t try to do everything at once. Your first, core focus should simply be successfully migrating. You can focus on building and developing your e-commerce offering once everything is in place on the new platform.
- People - Seek out the right people with relevant experience to make the project a success – and remember that these don’t need to be people from within your organisation if the expertise isn’t there. Contractors or a third-party partner can be the right choice.
- Mobile - Over half of traffic to most online retailers comes from mobile devices, so as a bare minimum your website should be optimised for mobile devices. If you are working with mobile apps (native or cross-platform) for iPhone and Android, you’ll need to check if anything needs to be modified to offer compatibility with your new e-commerce platform.
- SEO - Your internal or external SEO advisors should be involved in the migration from early on. They need to provide a 301 redirect from your old URLs to the new to ensure you don’t lose revenue after the migration. They should also make use of your platform’s ability to generate Robots.txt, sitemaps, image sitemaps and canonical meta tags.
- Product data - Transfer product data to the new platform in the early stage to make sure there are no template issues on PC, tablet and smartphone displays.
- Migration - The core of your migration depends on defining which datasets should be migrated to the new online shop – anything from active coupon codes to customer data (login information, delivery addresses, card details, order history, and so on). You also need to decide whether your two websites should run in parallel during the migration and if so, plan for this from the beginning.
- Testing - It is crucial to not neglect this stage, which should incorporate system tests, integration tests, penetration tests, and user acceptance tests which simulate real-life scenarios. The ultimate goal is to test all processes end-to-end before the final launch to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible.
No one is pretending that migrating to a new e-commerce platform isn’t complicated – but it brings hefty rewards, and these principles will help keep you on a productive path.
Are you or your organisation looking to migrate from your existing e-commerce platform? Get in touch with one of our experts today to discuss the options available to you.