With the rapid growth of online shopping, having a platform that can keep up with customer demands is more important than ever. But what do you do when your current platform just isn’t cutting it anymore? The answer is simple: E-commerce migration and re-platforming.
Moving your online store to a new platform may seem scary, but the benefits are worth it. A new robust platform can offer improved uptime, a better user experience, increased scalability, and the ability to make improvements with ease.
But we know you’re thinking, “Isn’t E-commerce migration just going to be a hassle?” Yes, it can be, but with the right E-commerce migration strategy in place, you can make the transition smoothly and effectively. That’s why we’re here to help.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about E-commerce migration and re-platforming so you can set your business up for success. Let’s get started!
What Is E-commerce Migration?
In simple terms, E-commerce migration is the process of moving your existing E-commerce store (both front-end and back-end) from one CMS to another. The goal of such a transition is to improve your online store performance by leveraging the advanced features of the new platform. The process can involve migrating product catalog, customer data, orders, and other critical information and redesigning website’s look and feel to align with brand identity.
E-commerce migration can also involve upgrading from older versions of a platform to a newer version or switching from an in-house solution to the cloud-based one. In general, there are three main types of E-commerce migration:
- Platform-platform migration involves migrating your E-commerce store from one platform to another. For instance, moving it from Magento to Kartify.
- Phased migration involves transitioning your store in stages rather than all at once. This approach eliminates the risk of downtime and data loss, making the transition smoother and easy to manage.
- Monolithic to Microservices migration involves moving from a monolithic platform to a microservices architecture by layering platforms and third-party apps on top of one another. It is done to improve scalability and make it easier to manage your E-commerce store.
E-commerce Replatforming Success With Kartify
E-commerce re-platforming is a delicate process that requires thorough planning and execution to ensure success. While the benefits of re-platforming are significant, it also introduces various risks and challenges that, if left unaddressed, could result in a loss of sales and negatively impact your business operation.
That’s why working with an experienced E-commerce solutions provider is essential. For example, with our E-commerce platform Kartify, we have helped over 200+ D2C brands improve their digital footprints and grow sales.
Here are a few benefits of hosting your E-commerce store to Kartify:
- Seamless Integration: Kartify has integrated with more than 50+ third-party tools and systems, including Payment Gateways, Marketing Automation tools, SMS & Email providers and Order Management Systems, making it easier to manage all aspects of your E-commerce business.
- Managed Support: We offer comprehensive support throughout the migration process and beyond. It includes hand-holding during the onboarding process with a dedicated account team, in-house dev-ops, and design experts making it a hassle-free migration.
- Highly Customizable: Kartify is a highly customizable, fully mobile responsive platform. From user flows and layouts to menu and filter options; you have complete control over the look and feel of your store.
- Data Security: We take comprehensive measures to keep your store and customer data secure by adhering to ISO/IEC 27001:2013 security standards and performing regular security audits with vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. In addition, all data on the platform is encrypted with access control.
- Made for India: Kartify has been carefully designed to the tastes of the Indian audience and offers many India-specific features like login with OTP, automatic pincode & city detection, GST Invoicing, and more.
- Omnifriendly: By enabling the fulfillment of online orders from offline shops, Kartify provides a unified and convenient experience for customers. With Kartify, you can also conduct offline surveys and offer cash returns, further enhancing the customer experience and building loyalty.
To know more about Kartify and ANS Commerce, request a demo now.
Four Signals That Announce It’s Time To Start Replatforming
In an ideal world, replatforming and website migration projects would happen with months and years of planning, clear-cut strategies, and defined goals. But in the real world, replatforming decisions are not proactively taken. Instead, most of the time, underlying issues force online stores to migrate.
Below we have listed the common problems driving E-commerce businesses to migrate to a better platform. So check out for yourself, and decide if it’s time to re-platform your online store.
Technical signals for upgrading platforms
The following technical signals indicate that it may be time to switch to a more advanced platform:
- Lack scalability: If your existing platform is not able to handle the growing number of SKUs or does not provide omnichannel integrations, it’s time to upgrade your platform.
- Subpar site speed & performance: Perhaps your page load speed is low, taking more than 5 seconds to load, then customers are bouncing from your site, impacting the conversion rate. It would be best to start looking at scalable and more reliable platforms.
- Difficult to manage: If your IT team finds it difficult to make small changes on the website, such as it takes too long to customize or it is not possible to integrate the third-party tools you wish to partner with; it’s time to look for a new advanced platform.
Here are the cost-related signals you should look out for while analyzing your existing E-commerce platform:
- Escalating maintenance cost: Over time, maintaining an outdated E-commerce platform can be increasingly expensive due to security vulnerabilities and compatibility issues that require constant upgrades and patches.
- Dependency on costly third-party plugins: If your existing platform lacks the necessary functionalities, integrating third-party plugins can increase your operating expenses.
- High Total Cost of Ownership: A high TCO, which includes the cost of site infrastructure, design, and maintenance, can indicate that it’s time to consider a more cost-effective platform solution.
Marketing & Sales Signals
Here are the sales and marketing signals that indicate the need for replatforming an E-commerce site
- Poor customer experience and low conversion rates: A low conversion rate is a strong indicator that the current platform is unable to meet your sales and marketing goals. In other words, the outdated platform with limited features can result in a poor customer experience that will keep your customers away from making a purchase.
- Not optimized for mobile devices: 70% of E-commerce purchases happen on mobile, and Google also has transitioned to mobile-first indexing; this means the mobile-optimized online stores will rank higher on SERP ranking. So, make sure your platform is fully mobile-optimized!
We have already discussed operational issues like slow site load, difficulty with customizations, and poor customer experience, indicating time to look for re-platforming. In short, if your team is spending more time fixing platform issues, instead of focusing on business-impacting decisions; it is time to consider a better, advanced platform.
3 E-commerce platforming options that you can choose from
When it comes to setting up an E-commerce store, you have a few options to choose from. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to select the one that best suits your business needs. Here are the three options to choose from:
An on-premise E-commerce platform is installed and runs on your organization’s own server. This means you get increased control over your infrastructure, which includes security, data management, and customizations. However, the advantage ends there. On-premise platforming has lost its popularity because of the higher costs involved in setting up and managing it. Complex hardware and specialized technical expertise to manage significantly add to the cost.
A cloud E-commerce platform is hosted and managed by a third-party provider. The platform provider is responsible for managing the end-to-end software, right from infrastructure to security. This is quite beneficial for store owners as they can focus on other areas of the business instead of being bogged down by the technicalities of the software. The best part about cloud E-commerce platforms is that it is very easy to manage and update the store, even for non-technical users. Our E-commerce platform, Kartify, is a classic example. It offers all the above benefits to its users. In return, you need to pay a small monthly subscription.
With a self-hosted E-commerce platform, you purchase and manage a cloud server from the solution provider and host your website there. The solution provider is responsible for maintaining the server and its security. Unlike on-premise platforms, you don’t have to purchase hardware or set it up on your premises, which means you don’t have to make large investments in technical expertise and resources. Examples of self-hosted E-commerce platforms include Magento, Opencart, and Woocommerce.
Things to consider before switching to new E-commerce platform
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself while evaluating an E-commerce platform
- How user-friendly is the new platform?
- Does the platform let you customize your store to match the brand voice?
- Does the platform integrate with other tools you use, such as payment gateways, shipping providers, order management systems and marketing automation tools?
- Can the platform scale along with your business and accommodate rising traffic?
- Does the platform have any hidden fees, transaction charges, and associated expenses?
- How much effort and cost is involved in migrating your existing customer, product, and order data to the new platform?
- How is the quality and availability of customer support for the new platform? Do they have a repository of resources available for training and troubleshooting?
- Is the platform optimized for mobile devices? Does it provide a seamless mobile shopping experience?
- Does the platform have strong SEO features?
- Does the platform provide reporting and analytics to help you make informed business decisions?
Steps to create an E-commerce re-platforming strategy
Once you have determined the need for replatforming and have chosen the type of platform, it is time to develop a plan for the migration process. Here are the steps you should follow:
1. Identify your business needs
The first step is to identify the current and future requirements of your E-commerce store. This includes understanding your business goals and how the tech platform will help you achieve those goals. A few important goals for an E-commerce store include the following-
- Improving sales and revenue
- Elevating user experience
- Building a competitive advantage
- Streamlining data management
- Enhancing the efficiency of staff
2. Write the RFP
The next step is to draft a comprehensive request for proposal (RFP). The RFP should clearly outline your business goals and the expected features. This will help you evaluate and compare different E-commerce platforms for your needs. Here are some essential components to include:
- A brief overview of the project and your business.
- A clear definition of your business goals or the reasons for re-platforming
- A detailed section covering technical requirements for the new platform. It must include system architecture and security requirements.
- Current roadblocks and barriers to success
- A list of all the features and functionalities expected in the new platform
- A transparent timeline and budget for the project, including milestones
- A clear explanation of all the evaluation criteria used for evaluating the proposals.
- A description of the format for vendor responses.
By including all the key components, you will make sure that you receive the right proposals from vendors to meet your specific needs.
3. Estimate cost & timelines
When considering the cost of re-platforming an E-commerce site, it is vital to take into account not only the upfront purchase price of the new platform but also the additional investments required to get the site up and running. These investments can include: infrastructure, maintenance, an in-house development team, surcharges for traffic spikes, ongoing fixes and testing, hosting, security upgrades, performance testing, and custom checkout options, to name a few.
In addition to these initial costs, it is also important to consider the cost of migrating data, maintaining website design and structure, and ongoing site maintenance and security. The cost of re-platforming and ongoing maintenance will vary based on the type of E-commerce platform you choose.
4. Understand 3rd party integrations and other must-have features
The next crucial aspect to consider in your E-commerce replatforming strategy is evaluating the must-have features and compatibility with existing third-party softwares. This is critical to ensure that the new platform supports your business operations successfully. Must-have features could include any necessary functionality like product management, order management, shipping and tax calculation, customer management, etc. The easiest way to do this is by noting down all the features you use in your current platform plus the features you missed the most in it.
Similarly, you must also ensure that all the existing third-party tools work with the new platform. The last thing you want is to change these tools and increase the cost of replatforming.
5. Develop a content and data migration plan
The last step is all about clearly charting out the process for transferring data from the old platform to the new one. Here are the different sub-tasks involved in this –
- Start by cataloging all the data that needs to be transferred, including product categories, image catalogs, product descriptions, order data, and customer data.
- Understand the data format of the new platform and make any necessary modifications to your existing data. This will ensure that the data can be easily transferred without any hassles.
- Find out what are the different transfer options available. You can either opt for fully manual data entry, use automated tools, or a combination of both. Choose one based on your budget and the time available.
- Before you transfer the entire data, perform a test migration of a small set of data to ensure that there are no errors.
- Develop a detailed plan for preventing data loss during the migration. It should also involve backup procedures and other contingency measures.
- Create a rollback plan in case the migration doesn’t go as per your plan.
6. Plan for SEO after E-commerce migration
After an E-commerce platform rebranding, it’s important to pay attention to your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) to improve its visibility and ranking on SERP. Here are some steps you can take to maintain the SEO after the migration:
- Redirect old URLs: If you have changed the URLs of any pages on your website during the rebranding, make sure to use 301 redirects to point the old URLs to the new ones. It ensures that any incoming links to your site will still work and will not hurt your website’s ranking.
- Check for broken links: Broken links can negatively impact your website’s ranking and user experience. Use tools like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to identify broken links on your site and fix them as soon as possible.
- Update your sitemap: A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website and helps search engines index them. After rebranding, ensure your sitemap is updated and accurately reflects the new structure of your website.
- Re-optimize your content: Look at your website’s content and make sure it is optimized for the keywords you want to rank for. It involves updating your page titles, meta descriptions, and other on-page SEO elements to better match your target keywords.
7. Monitoring site performance after replatforming
Even though your E-commerce site has been successfully migrated to a new platform, it’s important to stay vigilant for a couple of weeks to ensure everything is working smoothly after re-platforming. During this time, closely monitor your Google Search Console and look for indexing issues like 404 errors, excessive redirects, and 500 errors, which can negatively impact your search ranking.
Despite thorough planning, there are chances that some minor issues may slip through, so it’s important to monitor crawl errors immediately after the migration and for about a week after that. For example, while you may see a spike in crawl activity immediately after the migration, if this activity continues at high levels, it may indicate the creation of infinite crawl spaces, which can occur when the on-site search function creates auto-generated URLs.
In addition to monitoring crawl activity, it’s also important to pay attention to load speed and response times. Online shoppers don’t want to wait for a slow-loading site, and if your pictures aren’t optimized for fast loading or your CDN isn’t handling the new site efficiently, you may lose potential customers.
E-commerce migration checklist
You can use this, E-commerce replatforming checklist for a successful migration process:
- All existing SEO links are redirected correctly to the new platform
- All important elements, such as meta titles and descriptions, header tags, and alt tags, are properly transferred
- The URL structure remains consistent and does not harm existing link equity
- There is no major change in the new website’s search engine rankings and visibility
- All customer data, including names, addresses, and other details, are properly transferred
- All product data, including descriptions, images, and pricing, are properly transferred
- Al existing order history is properly transferred
- The new website’s navigation, layout, and overall user experience are optimized
- The new website’s pages load quickly
- The new website is optimized for mobile devices
- The payment system is properly integrated with the new platform.
- The shipping module is properly integrated
- CRM is properly integrated (If available)
- The accounting system is properly integrated (If available)
As technology and customer expectations continue to evolve, it is critical for online store owners to regularly evaluate and upgrade their E-commerce platform and remain competitive.
To ensure your migration goes as planned, consider switching to a platform that matches your business needs and offers complete tech support throughout the process.
As an E-commerce marketing agency and technology provider, we can walk you through the process.
Interested?. Book a free consultation with E-commerce Experts today!