The new year may have you thinking about making some changes with the way you operate your eCommerce business. The rush of the holidays provides a great insight into where you can look to improve.
From researching a new order management system or hiring more customer service reps, to choosing a better shipping software solution or even switching platforms your store runs on. All these and more are valid things you should be looking at to improve and streamline your operations in 2020.
Over the past several months, we have received many inquiries from our clients about one of the items I mentioned above – switching platforms. As you know, moving an eCommerce store from one platform to another is not a decision you should make without knowing all the pros and cons, and even then, it’s best to get your trusted developer partner’s insight as well.
At Your Store Wizards, our goal is to ensure that when you’ve made the decision to start the due diligence process, that you’re making the right choice for your business. We’ve migrated dozens of stores on many platforms including Yahoo! Small Business, BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento and more and are well versed in the pluses and minuses of each.
We’ve put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions about moving platforms that can help you start out in your preliminary research:
Why should I consider changing platforms?
There may be many reasons why a store owner may want to look into changing platforms. The most common is that their current platform lacks features that others offer, or features they are paying extra for may be included at no additional cost on another platform.
When this comes up as a reason, we always suggest reviewing your current site and make a list of “must-have” features that exist on your current site as well as a “wish list” of features you’d like but aren’t part of your site today.
Take those lists and compare the features to the platform(s) you’re considering and see whether or not they’re available and if there would be any cost savings.
Is it possible for me to “outgrow” my current platform?
Unless you’re Amazon, chances are you’ll never get to the point where you actually outgrow a particular eCommerce platform but some platforms are faster to innovate new ideas and technology.
Most modern platforms can handle any volume of orders and vast numbers of items, but you may outgrow its features or capabilities. It is very important to weigh the pros and cons of a new platform.
While switching platforms may open up new capabilities, are you ready for the learning curve?
Can I save money by moving to another platform?
Yes. And no. There are many different things to consider when it comes to platform costs. One platform may charge a low monthly fee and takes a percentage of each sale, while another has a higher monthly fee and no additional ones. Then there are some platforms that charge a monthly fee in addition to a fee for each item as well as bandwidth.
When considering a platform change, it’s best to review what you’re paying now and compare all the different pricing options for the platforms you’re considering – including any hidden fees that may not be disclosed upfront.
I’m tired of paying for 3rd party services in addition to my monthly platform fees. By moving somewhere else can I avoid that?
Probably not. Today’s popular eCommerce platforms offer hundreds if not thousands of add-on apps that are built by 3rd party developers, such as Your Store Wizards, that provide additional functionality that is not included out-of-the-box.
These 3rd party apps provide a great deal of value to store owners and their customers. By having 3rd party developers create these add-ons, the platform provider can focus on what they do best – making the base functionality of the cart rock stable and continually updated.
Some platforms rely more on 3rd party developers to create popular features like apps, while others build them into core functionality. If you’re concerned about costs and the number of 3rd party apps you will need for your store, be sure to have a discussion about this with your developer partner.
A competitor of mine just moved platforms and their store is now so much better than mine, I think I need to move as well.
Sometimes you have to keep up with the Jones’s, other times you don’t! Just because a competitor has moved to another platform doesn’t mean you have to in order to remain competitive.
Their sales and customer satisfaction may have increased after a platform change, but the opposite could have happened as well.
I’m afraid of moving platforms because I heard my SEO can take a hit. Is that true?
This should not be a concern if it’s planned out and done right. In addition to planning out your new site’s design, you also need a plan in place to redirect pages if URLs are going to change. Your SEO will take a hit if you don’t redirect pages, but using a trusted developer partner you can rest assured that this will be part of the overall plan.
Is it expensive to move platforms?
Platform moves involve more than just a new design for your store. Costs for moving include that design and programming cost as well as a charge for data migration. Your developer is going to need to take all your data from your existing store (items, copy, orders, customers, etc) and put it into a format that can then be imported into your new store.
Depending on the size of the store, this can be quite time consuming and manual. While there may be some 3rd party tools to help with this data transfer, hours still need to be spent doing it as well as validating.
When coming up with an estimate, we look at the complete picture – data, custom programming/features, etc to come up with a price and how many hours we feel it will take to complete the project.
I’m seriously considering moving platforms, but my mind isn’t made up just yet. Can we talk?
Absolutely! We want to make sure that moving platforms is right for you. If after our conversation we feel that you’re best staying put, we’ll tell you. We’ll also try to address any concerns you have with your current platform and see if there are any solutions that can be implemented to alleviate them.
If we feel that a move is best for you, we’ll carefully analyze the pros and cons of each platform, and make a recommendation on what one you feel will benefit your business the most.
To schedule time to talk, simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
My mind is made up, I’m ready to move! What’s next?
If your mind is made up that 2020 is going to be the year to move platforms, it’s time to have a serious discussion. We want to make sure that moving platforms is the right decision. If it is, we then want to make sure that you’re moving to a platform that is going to be best for your business.
We have a fairly straight-forward process we engage in when clients come to us for a move:
- We review the current store for features, custom code, etc and ask you for those “must have’s” and “wish list” items.
- We review your backend data including items, copy, orders, customers, etc and determine how much time will be needed to manipulate the data for a successful transfer.
- We discuss your current platform and the various options you have and make a recommendation either to stay where you’re at or move to a specific platform that will fit your needs better.
- We provide you with a complete project scope, timeline, and straight-forward pricing for our services.
- If you agree to move forward, we will get to work designing mockups of your new site before our programmers get to work building.
- You’ll be involved in every step along the way through the design, build, data import, and SEO preservation process.
If you’re ready to have a discussion about moving platforms, even if you’re just curious as to whether a move is right for you or not, we’re here for you! Just fill out the form below and we’ll schedule as much time as you need to make sure you’re making the right decision.
Talk to us about moving platforms, we’re here to help!
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.