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Complete Guide to Migrating Ecommerce Platforms

Thinking about moving to a new ecommerce platform? Here’s what you need to know.

By Miva | December 9, 2021 | 9 minute read
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Thinking about moving to a new ecommerce platform? You’re not alone. According to a survey released by Digital Commerce 360 in Q1 of 2021, 51% of retail ecommerce executives said they were prioritizing ecommerce platform technology in their 2021 budgets. 

Manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors are also focusing on ecommerce platform technology–in another survey, 92% of B2B ecommerce professionals who responded said they plan to increase ecommerce technology spend in 2021.

Not sure where to start with your ecommerce migration? This guide to changing ecommerce platforms offers a straightforward overview of the replatforming process so you can familiarize yourself with the steps and key decisions involved. Written specifically for enterprise ecommerce professionals, this is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about kicking off an ecommerce replatforming project.

Click here to download the guide (it’s free!).

Here’s a taste of what the guide covers:

What is an Ecommerce Platform Migration? 

An ecommerce platform migration (also called ecommerce replatforming) is when your business goes through the process of migrating your ecommerce website from one ecommerce platform to another. This involves transferring your website data, content, systems, and integration to another provider.

Why is Replatforming Important?

Ecommerce replatforming can help you meet the ever-changing needs of your online business. If you’re looking to improve your website performance, keep the technology and features on your site up-to-date, and increase overall business efficiency, a platform migration can bring new opportunities to grow and scale your business and stay competitive.

Here are four key benefits you can enjoy when you migrate your ecommerce website to a more capable ecommerce platform provider:

Higher Conversion Rates and Volume 

When shoppers arrive at your store, there should be some “wow” factor that gets them excited about your brand and your products. With a new platform, you have the potential to create a more modern and appealing site that gets shoppers to find what they’re looking for, fill up their cart, and proceed to purchase.

Higher Average Order Value 

A new platform can also provide you with new tools for upselling to customers and convincing them to spend more on your site. You could offer relevant add-on products, bundles, higher order discounts, and special offers.

Higher Revenue with Omnichannel Sales 

Today’s online sellers are blurring the lines between B2B and B2C. Instead of hosting separate sites for B2B and B2C customers, you can migrate your ecommerce website to a platform that allows you to serve all of your customers on a single platform, with differentiated pricing, discounts, payment, and shipping displayed depending on the user. 

Better Profitability with Back-Office Efficiency

Inefficiencies in the back-office can be costly for your business. A new platform can help you streamline operations and integrate with a rack-end ERP system, simplifying day-to-day operations and reducing the work needed to process sales and maintain the site.Website home page for a coffee business

Signs You Need to Change Your Ecommerce Website Platform  

How do you know when your business needs to start an ecommerce replatform? Many of the reasons can be summarized into one phrase: your current platform takes too much effort. It takes too much effort for you to maintain your store, to reach out to customers, and to grow and scale your business.

Here are the key signs that it might be time to get a new ecommerce platform:

Your product line has outgrown your navigation.

If you’ve got hundreds (or thousands) of SKUs, they need to be organized so shoppers can easily find what they want. You shouldn’t be limited to a specific number of products or categories.  

Your store can’t handle traffic spikes.

Your site may have the features you need but if it can’t handle high amounts of traffic (especially during the holiday season), you’re losing out on revenue. You need to migrate your ecommerce site to a solution that provides more stability and scalability.  

Your website isn’t fully mobile ready or mobile responsive.

No matter what you sell, customers want to be able to look up and buy from their mobile devices. If your site isn’t ready for mobile commerce, you’re losing sales and online visibility.

Your website security is lacking.

If your website has security gaps, it not only requires more resources from your IT team but also compromises your customers’ information and their trust in your business.

Your customers are not satisfied with your website.

Another sign that you’re ready for an ecommerce replatform is when your support team is overwhelmed with questions and your cart abandonment rates are high. This means your website is falling short of attracting, informing, and selling to your customers.

Your admin panel is too hard to use.

If it takes hours to edit and publish content on your website or locate order numbers and shipping information, your current admin panel is slowing down your business.

New features and updates become more difficult to implement.

You sell complex products and high SKU-count catalogs but find that your site is too lightweight to manage everything. Tiny updates take too much time to implement, and the SKUs in your product catalog are getting difficult to manage. This is a sign that you need a more seamless and capable platform for your business.

You’re a B2B business that wants to go B2C—or vice versa. 

Operating B2B and B2C businesses used to require managing two websites, which takes more time, effort, and resources. However, today you can handle multi-tier business accounts and B2C accounts on the same website. Ecommerce replatforming can make it easier to accomplish this.

You’re tired of fixing third-party apps.

Although they can add helpful features and functionality, plug-ins can become a nightmare to manage. Robust ecommerce platforms include native functionality for the most important site features and don’t require you to constantly fix and update bolted-on solutions.

Your total cost of ownership is increasing.

If you find that you have to constantly invest in development to make up for missing capabilities, this means your total cost of ownership for your current platform is higher than it should be. Ecommerce replatforming can help resolve this problem—switching to a more robust and full-featured platform can provide more out-of-the-box functionality for your business.

Your platform is outdated.

When your current platform provider stops supporting the software, an ecommerce replatform is necessary to keeping your website up-to-date, secure, and competitive.

You’re confident your business can do better.

Higher conversions, more return customers, and increased order values—these small improvements can add up to major revenue. Perhaps you’ve even started looking at your ROI calculations. While your current site is reliable enough, it may be missing features you want and need to grow your business.

How to Choose a Platform for Your Ecommerce Platform Migration

The platform you choose is vital to the ecommerce replatforming process. You need to pick the right platform to maximize the value of your migration and to ensure that your business goals are met. To choose the right platform, you’ll want to:

  1. Get input from company stakeholders. Speak with various stakeholders, leaders, and departments to find out what your business needs in a new ecommerce platform. Ask these stakeholders to consider the agility and flexibility they'll need out of an ecommerce platform to support their departments' day-to-day and long-term activities.
  2. Assess platform capabilities. Look at the capabilities of each platform in the context of your business' needs and goals to determine the best fit. Ask the representatives of each platform to thoroughly investigate your long-term business plan and show you how they can meet your specific needs.
  3. Consider your team. Try to pick a platform that matches your team’s knowledge in terms of the platform’s set up, ease of use, and overall capabilities. Select a solution that's has a proven record of stability and reliability and is easy to update and maintain.
  4. Look at long-term scalability. When choosing a new ecommerce platform, be sure to think ahead and select one that can evolve with your business well into the future. Look for solutions that are designed to grow and scale with your business rather than ones that require massive upgrades and overhauls to manage growth.
  5. Prioritize customer support. Consider the quality, speed, and accessibility of each platform’s provider customer support. You want your provider to be a reliable partner with live support available 24/7/365.
ecommerce platform migration illustration

Migrate Your Ecommerce Website: Key Steps

Migrating your ecommerce website to the right ecommerce platform can significantly improve your business. Before you conduct an ecommerce replatform, however, you should decide the scope and extent of your migration. Do you want to change your site structure, your look and feel, or your content?

There are three options to consider when you migrate your ecommerce website: the minimum viable template, the customized template, or the fully customized site.

Minimum viable template. This is the fastest, easiest, and least expensive method that lets you take an existing template and then add your products, business rules, and data.

Customized template. With a customized template, you use an existing template but you make some modifications to it without compromising functionality. Most elements of the template remain the same.

Fully customized site. This involves building your site from the ground up: new design, development, full data migration, quality assurance testing, and launch scheduling. Fully custom means starting from scratch and then building out every element customized for your site.

After decide the right path, you’ll also need to take the following steps: 

  1. Make a plan to migrate your ecommerce website.
  2. Catalog your existing content. (Identify what data on your existing site must be migrated. Commonly migrated items include: products, categories, and customers.)
  3. Design the new site.
  4. Backup your data.
  5. Migrate your data.
  6. Connect plugins, email, and other tools.
  7. Test your website. (Test pages, site elements, and functionalities as you move them over to your new site.)
  8. Launch your new site.
  9. Communicate your migration to existing customers.
  10. Monitor your results and conduct post-launch testing.   

Ecommerce Migration Services and How Can They Help

Who’s going to be on your dream team to migrate your ecommerce website? This decision will impact what you build, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and how enjoyable the experience will be. Here are your options for migration: 

Keep it in-house 

If you’ve got design and development resources in-house, you’ll likely consider them first. The advantage is control: even if you don’t completely set the team’s schedule, you’ll at least have daily visibility into what they are working on. But the migration project may not be their only priority, and migration will impact their workload.

Contract with an agency partner 

Many professional web development agencies specialize in ecommerce migration and have been trained on one or more ecommerce platforms to help you the most out of your migration. Miva, for example, partners with a number of agencies and system integrators.

Engage with the provider’s in-house professional services 

When you partner with an ecommerce provider’s professional services team, you can get much more than talented design and IT professionals. Not all providers offer this service, but it’s worth looking into as you assess providers. Because they are in-house, professional services teams will have advanced knowledge of their platform, as well as speedy access to product experts for solving problems, coming up with creative solutions and integrating with third-party partners.A web developer working with code

Picking the Right Platform for Your Business

The process of ecommerce replatforming can be daunting, but migrating your ecommerce website to the right platform can help secure the long-term success of your business. To thrive in ecommerce, you’ll want to choose a platform that will meet your goals and needs. and offer you all the built-in tools and functionality needed to drive revenue.

The Complete Guide to Changing Ecommerce Platforms includes the 10 Steps to Migration Success. To receive your free copy of the Complete Guide to Changing Ecommerce Platforms, click here.

To learn more about different ecommerce platform options and providers, check out our Comparison of Ecommerce Software & Features. 

Ready to talk to a Solutions Architect about a move to the Miva platform?

Book a time today.

This blog was updated on December 9, 2021.

About The Author

Elisa Williams

Elisa Williams is a journalist and communications strategist who combines storytelling with solid research and analysis. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Elisa has written for a wide array of consumer, business and technology publications, including Newsweek, Real Simple, Computer Life and Inc. Her marketing and content development work includes supporting technology companies that specialize in ecommerce, financial services and big data.

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Author's Bio

Miva

Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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