If you want your e-commerce business to succeed today, you need to offer your prospective clients the best shopping experience. Therefore, migrating your existing store to Magento platform makes sense as this will help you increase the level of customer satisfaction. However, migration itself is a complicated process, as there is a lot of data to be transferred and some of the features will need to be developed along the way.
Plan Your Magento Re-Platforming Project
Start with assessing your current store and listing all the features it has. Please note that some of the development on your current website may not be compatible with the Magento platform. To solve this problem you may need some custom development to create Magento-based solution from your current code. In this case, the functionality of the solution will remain the same.
Next, study the list of all the features offered by Magento and list all of the features you would like to be integrated in your new Magento store. Take careful notes to ensure you don’t forget anything important.
Now that you know what you currently have and what you want to have, you can move on to creating a re-platforming plan and checklist. The former is necessary to organize the process and help it go smoothly, and the checklist will ensure you don’t forget any important feature or data during the transfer.
Transferring the Existing Content
In general, there are five most important categories of data that will need to be transferred from your current store to Magento. They are:
- Catalog data (product descriptions, categories, etc.)
- General and personal data (customer accounts, orders, subscriptions, blog posts, etc.)
- Back office
- Promotions and merchandising
Transferring such a vast amount of information while preserving its form is extremely difficult. This task can be completed through implementing one of the following methods:
- Adding your products by hand.
In essence, this route equals creating a new Magento store from a scratch. It’s an acceptable solution for small shops, but this method will take too much time for bigger businesses.
- Exporting your data to a CSV and importing it via Magento Dataflow.
Note that this method requires very careful formatting of your current data. If successful, Dataflow will leave your current gallery images and product relations intact. There is also an option of purchasing an extension that will increase this functionality.
- Employing the services of a specialized web agency.
In this case, you will only need to present your current shop and outline the desired features of the new product. If you can afford investing in a professional agency that specializes in Magento re-platforming, this is the best solution to use in order to get your new store up and working fast.
Migrating Catalog Data
‘Catalog data’ is a term that encompasses a host of information that includes products and categories’ names, general product info listed on the pages, images, etc. How your product and category data will look at the new website is one of the most important considerations you will need to make during re-platforming.
Magento offers a wide range of catalog management, catalog browsing, and product browsing features that include but aren’t limited to:
- Different pricepoints for different customer groups (retailers, wholesalers, etc.)
- Batch updates to products (on admin panel)
- Product comparisons (with history)
- Layered navigation for filtering of products in categories and search results
- Multiple images
- Moderated product tags and reviews
- Customer personalized products
- RSS feed for low inventory alerts
- Cloud of popular search items
- Recently viewed products
All these features allow for easier management from the point of view of the administrator and an enhanced shopping experience for the customer as the website personalizes every page based on the buyer’s prospective needs.
Migrating General and Personal Data
The data you should consider migrating is:
- Customer account data
- Orders history
- Blog posts
- Newsletter subscribers lists
Please note that you should decide whether you will keep the data accessible if you aren’t going to transfer all of it to your new Magento store. You also need to account for the fact that it may be nontrivial task to migrate some types of data from your existing e-commerce platform. So you may need a bit of custom development and data manipulations to make that possible.
Customer data migration is a must and it has to be carried out in a prompt and highly efficient manner. It’s imperative that your customers don’t notice any changes to their information, especially personal data and passwords.
Though migrating those types of data may be tricky, but all difficulties you may face during this process, will be compensated by the benefits that you will receive as a result.
Integrating Back Office
Using either Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as your back office solution is a necessity if you want to increase the profitability of your e-commerce business. Both these types of systems and most of their implementations can be effectively integrated in Magento.
The Magento platform offers effective integration with the vast majority of third party CRM and ERP systems. You might experience some difficulties during transfer if your current software is outdated. However, this present a great opportunity for an upgrade that will further increase your e-commerce business efficiency.
Re-building authority for your links from a scratch is a lengthy and expensive process that will push your business back in its development. Therefore, if your current landing page URLs have a good rating with search engines, it’s advisable to keep them.
Retaining your URLs while migrating to Magento shouldn’t be difficult as your current website and the new one create URL permalinks in the same way. However, you will need to check all the redirects and manage them to ensure maximum efficiency.
Migrating Merchandising and Promotion Tools
These tools help draw more traffic to your website as well as assist you in converting sales. Even if you don’t have many of them now, you definitely should make use of the multiple built-in marketing functionalities offered by Magento. They usually include but aren’t limited to:
- You can launch or transfer voucher codes and discounts to offer the clients an opportunity to feel like they are making a bargain.
- This type of content must be dynamic as it keeps the website interesting. Consider whether you should transfer your current banners or develop new ones that will give your website a fresh look. Note that you will need to update them regularly.
- Customer segmentation.
There are bulk of extensions for Magento platform to segment your customers to different groups to provide promotions and recommendation which fits each group separately. Usually there no any integrated tool for migrating all necessary data and for this task need help of professional developers to resolve it.
Magento was designed especially for e-commerce site building, which is why nearly all themes for this platform have user friendly and any device friendly responsive design, what is extremely important nowadays!
Modern e-commerce design is not about styles, colors, fonts or button types, it’s more about providing to your customers comfortable and at the same time powerful user interface which may improve your customers’ shopping experience.
Design part in Magento platform has module structure and can be easily modified. So with the help of any experience developer you may transfer your existing design and add any new feature you may want.
Context based personalization tools is the main benefit Magento platform may provide for your growing e-commerce business. And re-platforming to Magento gives you opportunity to easily integrate a list of modern personalization systems from scratch with already some valuableness data.
Detailed analyze, fulfillment and proper integration of already extracted data into such systems may help you to create a sense of personal and exclusive approach to each client, regardless of their number. That may increase your customers’ retention and boost your sales!
Choose a Good Partner
Though Magento is a wonderful and leading e-commerce platform over the globe market. You may face plenty tricky things to solve for proper and comprehensive migrating from your existing e-commerce platform to Magento.
To achieve the best results from transferring your e-commerce business to Magento, you should find a partner who will be not only an accomplished web developer capable of solving any migration problem. This person should also be an expert in Magento in particular and have experience in setting up effective e-commerce platforms for multiple devices.