“Migration”. The most uncomfortable word in the ecommerce industry, but why?
The fear, uncertainty, and doubt that often accompany the thought of replatforming are significantly more difficult to overcome than any of the technical hurdles you may encounter. Yet, your competitors could be among the 820,000+ other businesses that have already replatformed and are enjoying the financial and administrative benefits.
So in this week’s blog, we’ll strip back the jargon and complicated terminology many agencies use, and shine some light on this sometimes intimidating concept of “platform migration”, starting from the very beginning.
What is an Ecommerce Platform Migration?
First things first, what is a platform migration?
Platform migration does exactly what it says: it refers to moving your ecommerce website from one platform to another. Often the aim is to stabilise or scale your online business, improve efficiency, access better functionality or reporting...in short, moving onto bigger and better things.
Picture this: your ecommerce store is struggling to cope with the influx of traffic and orders, and you’re having to fork out more money to keep the website alive by upgrading your servers.
This is costly in the long run, meaning ROI is much lower than when you began your online business.
Naturally, as a business owner, you’ll identify this problem and look for solutions. In this case, perhaps you’ll look for a platform where you will see a bigger ROI, one that can cope with high volumes of traffic and sales and enables you to work on the core of your business, rather than maintaining the website.
Our Shopify migration guide covers everything you need to know when you've made the decision to replatform. Here at Eastside Co we can also take care of the replatforming and manage the migration on your behalf.
Migrating your Mind
Business owners in the ecommerce retail industry approach the idea of website migration with some trepidation, largely due to a fear of the unknown. It raises questions such as: how much will this cost? How long will it take? Will it disrupt or damage my business?
Often, the first step in a website migration is migrating your mind to a place where you can see the benefits of moving your business
Replatforming has a stigma in the ecommerce world of being a one way ticket to reduced sales and lower site ranking, so many merchants tend to avoid it for as long as they can. It doesn’t ruin sales. In fact, the way people need to see platforming is as an opportunity - not only to future-proof the business, but also to increase traffic and sales, as well as enhance company reputation.
What makes a business consider a website migration?
As Eastside Co’s Shopify Migration Specialist, I talk to online business owners on a daily basis all experiencing similar problems on their current platforms, and are therefore considering an ecommerce migration.
To highlight a few:
At this moment in time, Magento 1.x migrations are the most common migration projects. Many Magento 1.x users are being forced to consider their migration options, after Magento announced they will no longer be supporting Magento 1.x from June 2020. Check out our Magento vs. Shopify blog.
While migrating to Magento 2 is an option for these store owners, it’s a good time to consider why Shopify Plus could be a better move to scale their businesses more effectively.
Many platforms require ongoing development. Whether it’s patching a security bug or making general site changes, over time this all adds up and can become burdensome. Therefore, merchants consider migrating to save money on development costs and hosting.
After discovering a vulnerability or a security breach of some form, many sellers have made the decision to replatform. Magento requires investment for hosting. This is an issue that Shopify removes because it’s a fully hosted SaaS platform, removing all security risks associated with self-hosted software.
Ease of Use
Not only will many merchants have to pay to make changes to their sites, but they will also then have to wait for these changes to be made. In a fast-paced industry like fashion retail, where products need to be uploaded, removed or regularly updated, this can be damaging for sales. Therefore, business owners are looking for platforms that can offer an easy to use interface which enables them to update their site and make changes on the fly.
Common Objections to Website Migration
“I’ve already invested too much time and money into my site”
I often hear this statement, and quite frankly, I completely understand! Naturally you’ll be reluctant to change because of the money, time and energy you’ve already invested in your current platform. It’s a tricky thing to let go of. If you added up the amount of time and money spent on developing and generally operating the website over time, the broader picture shows that although a website migration will cost money in the short term, over time you will see that migrating to Shopify or Shopify Plus can actually save you money; eliminating hosting, development and maintenance costs.
“Won’t a platform migration take 12 months or more?”
This a common misconception when it comes to platform migration.
The truth is, with a planned strategy and the right team in place, project migrations can take between 3-4 months depending on the scale of the project. Factors that could extend the timeframe are additional development for enhanced functionality, or spending time improving your SEO marketing strategy.
“The timing is just not right for us at the moment.”
This is probably one of the most common objections I come across. Many factors are raised to explain the time not being right: budget, other on-going projects, lack of resources etc.
The questions I ask are: when do you feel is a good time? How do you know that the company won’t rapidly grow in the next 6-12 months and, if that happens, would your website be able to cope with the increase in traffic and orders?
The answer is that you wouldn’t. Enter the word “futureproof”. Your competitors may have already taken the plunge undertaken a migration to Shopify, joining the hundreds of thousands of merchants already using it. Now they won’t need to worry about catering for growth - Shopify grows with you. They won’t need to worry about development costs, server or hosting costs and much more because Shopify is the solution for it all.
Migrating to Shopify
Shopify is arguably one of the fastest, most user-friendly and most flexible ecommerce platforms on the market to date, competing with platforms that have been around since the beginning of ecommerce. Growing over the last 15 years and now powering over 800,000 businesses globally, Shopify has changed the ecommerce world for the better by changing the way businesses sell their products online.
Here’s why migrating to Shopify could be the right move for you:
Hosting and Managed Services
With Shopify, you benefit from Shopify’s rock solid architecture, with 99.8% uptime and unlimited bandwidth handling increases in site traffic. To reduce any down time, Shopify are constantly updating their servers. This in turn saves time and money on hosting and maintaining the site.
Security in ecommerce is a big deal. Making customers feel secure when buying from your store is essential. Carrying out regular risk and compliance assessments on your store, Shopify ensures your store is PCI Compliant without you needing to schedule a regular evaluation yourself.
Shopify offers an easy to use interface which enables merchants to update their site and make changes instantly without having to schedule them months in advance with a developer, through a menu-driven editor. Not only this, Shopify has a comprehensive dashboard where you’ll be able to monitor sales, orders and your audience.
With Shopify, scaling is accomplished much more easily than having to architect a solution to accommodate the single highest peak in traffic. Instead it is handled entirely by Shopify’s team of developers and programmers. Shopify Plus offers unlimited scaling and extensive APIs, so it’s perfect if you need a platform that has the ability to grow and evolve in tandem with your business.
24/7 Priority Technical Support
Get your platform questions answered quickly by phone, email or chat, day or night with Shopify’s support team. Experts are able to troubleshoot any problems and find the best solution.
Shopify is now over 15 years old and during that time has built a huge community of designers, developers and business owners throughout the world.
Don’t be a stranger!
In conclusion, replatforming from where your online store is currently hosted gives you the opportunity to improve and grow your business. Many clients see it as a clean slate, a chance to address the issues they had with their previous website and put their businesses on the right platform to enable faster growth.
For Magento 1.x users, now is really a great time to start considering your options and plan ahead, with the fast approaching forced migration in June 2020.
Planning ahead is paramount to a successful migration project; leaving it too late increases the risk to the stability and growth of your business, which could lead to unnecessary and damaging errors in the future.
The Shopify Migration Experts
As a globally trusted Shopify Plus agency, and one of the original 3 in the UK, here at Eastside Co we know the platform inside and out. Not only that, but in the past 5 years we’ve worked with many businesses on other platforms, and successfully undertaken Magento migrations and WordPress migrations to both Shopify and Shopify Plus. We can also migrate online stores from a wide range of other platforms, including SAP Hybris, Visualsoft, Blubolt and bespoke sites.
We've spent years perfecting the process of platform migration to make it seamless and efficient. We've even developed a Shopify app, Easy Redirects, to take the pain out of one of the key elements of platform migration: 301 redirects and 404 page errors. The app makes fixing 301 redirects quick and easy, and lets you manage 404 errors on an ongoing basis to ensure your visitors don't land on dead links and leave your site to buy elsewhere.
Allow me to talk you through your migration options and how your site could be moved on to a more stable and secure platform, which won’t only save you money but will free up your time to concentrate on running your business, not just your website.
Contact us today and let’s make that first move together!