Moving your eCommerce store from Yahoo! / Verizon Small Business Essentials to BigCommerce is a big step for your business, but you’ll soon discover the benefits your new platform offers for both you and your shoppers.
Before embarking on your platform migration, there is one important thing you need to do. Keep an open mind! Yes, change is difficult, but a new, more robust home for your online store is right around the corner.
Here are some important things to consider as you begin to plan:
BigCommerce is not Yahoo!
We like to get that one out of the way up-front. What you are used to doing in your Yahoo! Store will more than likely be done a different way in BigCommerce. From adding items and pulling orders, to creating new categories and adding product options, things are different and there will be a learning curve.
We do not provide training on how to use the platform, so just like you first learned how to use Yahoo! Store, you will need to learn the new platform on your own
Bad Data In = Bad Data Out
Many store owners think their store data is “clean.” After doing over a hundred migrations, we can tell you with absolute certainty that your store’s data is not “clean.” Yahoo! allowed merchants to do things with data such as product options/variables, custom fields, HTML, embedded code, etc that may have worked well on that platform but do not play well with BigCommerce.
BigCommerce is strict with data quality, for good reasons, and what you may consider “clean” actually takes a lot of time to clean up and get into a format that can work reasonably well.
While we do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to data cleanup, don’t be surprised if we ask you to spend some time doing clean up on the Yahoo! Store after we do our first import and you can see how that data looks in your new store.
Custom Fields & Custom Programming
Yahoo! Store allowed developers to do many creative things through the use of RTML and custom fields/variables. Don’t expect the same functionality to exist on BigCommerce. While you may want to keep certain custom functionality, it may not be needed, or simply will not work with BigCommerce.
Sometimes we are able to write custom code to duplicate the functionality, recommend a 3rd party application to accomplish something close, or we may end up telling you that it simply isn’t possible.
In the event, there is a feature that you just can’t live without and we do end up writing some bit of custom code, it will not be as easy to manage as it is on Yahoo! You will need to cut and paste some code into the “Warranty Information” field on item pages where the functionality is required.
An example of this is below:
While this is NOT an ideal or a recommended solution, it is something that we have been able to do for clients who have a feature they just can’t live without.
What is the “Warranty Information” field? In BigCommerce this is a field that is available for products. This is one field that supports large blocks of text and/or code and oftentimes is used to provide code for additional on-page functionality.
Yahoo! Store was great for custom fields and if your store has been around for a while, chances are you have dozens of them in use. While many of the custom fields will no longer be used in BigCommerce, there may be some leftover, or new ones created during the migration process, that you will still need to manage.
Custom fields are managed on an item level, just like Yahoo!, but have to be added individually each time a new item is created. Unlike Yahoo! They are not automatically added when you create a new item making them easy to forget. To combat this, we have an app available in the BigCommerce app store called Custom Field Populator that makes managing these fields easy.
Categories in Multiple Places
One of the biggest challenges Yahoo! Store owners face when moving to BigCommerce involves parent categories. Yahoo! allowed store owners to take a category and place it in multiple areas.
For example, a store selling shoes has a category called Shoe Laces. In their Yahoo! Store the Shoe Laces category can be found under Men’s Shoes, Women’s Shoes, AND Kid’s Shoes. That one category page, Shoe Laces, is visible under ALL three categories.
In BigCommerce, the Shoe Laces category can only be placed under Men’s Shoes, Women’s Shoes, OR Kid’s Shoes – NOT all three. If you want it to appear under all three, you will need to create THREE Shoe Laces category pages.
For many store owners, this has been a pain point, which is why we currently have an app in development that will allow category pages to live in multiple areas. Stay tuned!
Remember, Keep an Open Mind!
While all of this may have you second-guessing a platform migration, don’t. The benefits of moving to BigCommerce outweigh the few adjustments you will need to make with your items and the time you will need to invest in learning a new platform.
We encourage you to not rush your migration, make sure your data is as clean as it can be, and take the advice from our developers who have migrated over a hundred merchants to a new platform.
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 lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.