There may be circumstances that come up as an eCommerce store owner when you begin to question whether or not your current eCommerce platform is up to meeting the needs of your growing business. Whether you’re concerned about its ability to scale as your sales increase, or you’re worried about the stability of the platform and whether or not it can handle busier-than-usual periods such as the holidays, re-platforming may be on your to-do list.
Those concerns and more are legitimate reasons for you to question your current platform – after all your livelihood depends on the software that powers your business. Without it functioning as intended or being able to keep up with your business needs are reasons to consider making a switch.
As a developer who has migrated over a hundred stores from one platform to another, we’re asked a lot of questions when it comes to platform migrations. In this post, I’ll answer the number one question we get almost daily and I’m sure you can guess what it is!
How Long Does it Take to Move to a New eCommerce Platform?
The time it takes to move to a new eCommerce platform can vary depending on various factors, but generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The timeline primarily depends on the complexity of your current store, the customization you’ll need on your new one, and the amount of data to be migrated.
When considering a platform migration, there are a few key aspects to keep in mind that will determine just how long the process will take:
Research and planning: Spend time researching different eCommerce platforms and identify the one that you feel best meets your business needs both today and in the future. Most modern providers such as BigCommerce and Shopify are designed with your growth in mind and scale to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. Plus, they’re continually updating the platform with new features such as AI integration to keep you and your shoppers up-to-date with the latest technology to grow your business.
Data migration: The amount of data you have, such as product information, customer data, order history, and what you want to bring over will impact the time it takes to migrate. If you’re choosing to migrate data yourself, you will need to first determine what information you can get out of your existing store and then format it in a way that can easily be imported into your new platform. For many DIY-ers, this can be overwhelming and can certainly take up a lot of time. If you’re using a developer, such as Your Store Wizards, they have tools and processes to make data migration easier and less time-consuming.
Customization and design: Consider the level of customization and design changes you require. Many store owners start off wanting to mimic their existing design which in most cases can be 10+ years old. However, many of these designs are dated, aren’t mobile-friendly, and would not meet today’s standards for a mobile-first environment.
When choosing the design for your new store, most platforms now offer many pre-built themes that can be used to greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to launch. These themes are generally built to today’s coding standards, are built with that mobile-first approach, and can save you a great deal of money as well.
However, if you’re looking for a custom-designed website, this will take more time to build as it has to be built from the ground up starting with design concepts called mock-ups. When considering a custom design, it’s important to keep mobile-first in mind. This is where your store is designed for mobile devices FIRST and desktop last, as most eCommerce purchases are now made from phones and tablets rather than desktops. This approach ensures you build a site that’s fast loading, mobile friendly, and designed to meet Google’s stringent Core Web Vitals standards.
Third-party integrations: Evaluate any third-party integrations you currently use, such as payment gateways, shipping providers, analytics tools, advanced search applications, etc. Most modern platforms have robust app stores where thousands of third-party applications are available for free or for a set monthly fee. It is important to note that the more third-party applications/scripts you have running on your store can impact load time, so keep that in mind!
SEO and URL redirects: Plan for search engine optimization (SEO) tasks such as entering 301 redirects to map old URLs to new ones in order to keep organic traffic and ensure a smooth transition. Not doing so can have a major impact on your organic rankings. It’s also important to note that any type of major change to a website can briefly impact SEO. But by keeping an eye on your Google Search Console, making sure any errors it finds are corrected quickly, and monitoring for warnings and taking quick action can minimize any impact.
Learning your new platform: Here’s one area most store owners don’t give much thought to until it’s too late. While your store is being built, it’s important for you to use that time to dig into your new platform. Learn how to create new items, enter coupon codes, create promotions, built new categories, etc. Many wait to do this until right before the store is launched and they are scrambling to adjust to their new platform. Taking the time to learn how the platform works and make adjustments to any internal processes based on your new storefront before launch can save you headaches post-launch.
Testing and launch: Set aside time for thorough testing of your new store, including functionality, performance, and user experience. I’m sure you’ll be excited to hit the “go live” button when the site is ready, but making sure everything is functioning the way it’s intended is important. After all, nobody wants frustrated shoppers emailing or calling saying they can’t checkout, or are getting errors when performing a certain action.
Remember, every migration is unique, and the specific requirements of your business may impact the time frame it takes to complete. Your Store Wizards is here to help you every step of the way including choosing a platform, migrating your data, and implementing a theme or creating a completely customizable design for your new store.
We offer full-service platform migration services including our Platform Transfer Service Lite designed to get you moved quickly and affordably with a prebuilt theme and our Premium Platform Transfer Service for those looking for a completely custom storefront. Both packages include data migration! Feel free to contact us for more information on helping you make the move to a new eCommerce 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 email@example.com.