The key to a successful store migration lies in the data. Many will think it has to do with design, but it doesn’t. You can have an amazing-looking eCommerce store, but if your data contains errors, lines of forgotten code, or incorrect/incomplete information, customers won’t be given an optimal shopping experience.
There are three key sets of data that get carried over when you move from one eCommerce platform to another. The first is obviously your items/products. In addition to the basics like SKU, item number, UPC, and name, you need to carry over the item’s description, shipping weight, shipping or warehouse information, SEO elements, as well as any custom fields you use for shopping comparison engine feeds, 3rd party inventory or fulfillment services, etc.
While it may seem item data should be pretty straightforward, it’s not. Many store owners, especially those migrating from the Yahoo! Store platform, have added raw HTML into their item descriptions to pull in things like external links, images, and even embedded YouTube videos. When this field is imported into your new shopping cart, it may or may not give you the look you wanted, or worse, break the page.
Another data set that you will export is any non-items you have in your store. These include pages such as your about us, shipping, customer service, or FAQs as well as all your store’s section or category pages. These pages, like item descriptions, may include raw HTML that will need to be looked at and remedied either before or immediately after import to make sure they are displaying properly.
Ok, so now that you have those first two sets of key data you may think you’re all set – but you’re not. What about your customers and their orders?
While you may be thinking, “oh let’s just start fresh!” That’s definitely not the way to go. We recommend transferring at least two years of customer data and order history to your new store. If you’re on an older platform that does not give customers the ability to look up their order history, they will certainly appreciate the ability to do so on your new store.
Of course, there’s more data to move, but these are the top 3 that you need to pay close attention to – after all, there’s a lot that can go wrong that can lead to major headaches.
Now the question is, do you do this yourself or do you hire a pro?
Unless you’re quite the whiz with managing large volumes of data, you probably don’t want to make this your next weekend DIY project.
Your Store Wizards has developed an 8-step data migration process that we use extensively in all the platform migration projects we take on. We learned very early when a large number of Yahoo! Store merchants started coming to us to move their store that some data is very “dirty” and requires a lot (a real lot!) of cleanup followed by integrity checks.
We also developed proprietary tools to pull data from sources you, or even other developers, don’t know about or don’t have access to. Simply put… we get more data!
Once we have that data, our team uses tools to look for common issues we typically see that will prevent a clean import and begin working our magic. It’s not until we’re 100% confident that the first set of data we pull is “store-ready” that we do the initial import.
But we don’t stop there. We actually import data three separate times and perform the same checks each time. This ensures that we always have the most up-to-date information from the live store on the development store. It isn’t until we’re ready to flip the switch to go live do we do the final data transfer that will make your new store 100% up-to-date and accurate.
Moving your eCommerce store to a new platform isn’t a small project and if you’re considering it, we recommend using a trusted developer such as Your Store Wizards to make sure it’s done correctly. After all, this is your livelihood!
If you’re contemplating a move, or are ready to begin packing, we encourage you to schedule a time to discuss our Platform Transfer Service and how we can make your migration smooth. With our proven processes, world-class design and programming, and our reputation for providing outstanding customer support, we guarantee your migration experience will be stress-free!
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Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and is part of the Cast that makes happiness at the “Most Magical Place on Earth.” Scott lives in Delray Beach and Orlando, FL. Scott can be contacted at email@example.com.