For eCommerce websites, migration, in its general sense, means moving data from one Content Management System (CMS) to another. Reasons vary from case to case, but one thing remains the same – the need to keep the client base, inventory, orders, and SEO links, in other words, save everything that has been accumulated and grow.
Normally, migration touches the following assets:
- Shipping Methods;
- Payment Methods;
Sometimes, it is required to migrate additional CMS pages or product filters. It depends on what is more rational: whether to transfer or to create them again in a new place.
Why and when migration matters?
Replatforming might be necessary in case of:
- Legacy systems failing;
- Change of business model (from a single seller’s shop to a marketplace);
- New features needed;
- Redesign for a fresh start;
- Outsourcing development (from in-house development to a hosted or fully managed platform to reduce the website costs and complexity);
- Integration with third-party systems included by default in a new platform.
Although migration is nothing but just a process of transferring data from one place to another, every point in this link adds own specifics. Let’s examine what to expect on this matter.
Specifics of Migration
Transition implies the existence of two platforms: a legacy source system and a target system. There is a great choice of eCommerce platforms to choose from. Assume, the target system is the CS-Cart/Multi-Vendor eCommerce platform. You may have chosen it for its numerous features out of the box, handy dashboard, great UI, inbuilt 70 payment systems, real-time and manual shipping calculation or for any other reason. But what’s the issue with the legacy platform? The thing is that the way a legacy system is implemented and transitioned significantly affects the whole process of migration.
Cloud vs Server Platform Migration
SaaS Platform Migration
Software as a Service is a cloud-based platform like Shopify, Bigcommerce, InSales, Merchium or Ecwid. It should be noted that in a cloud-based platform a user doesn’t have direct access to the storage. Thus, data has to be uploaded using CSV or YML format somehow via the platform admin panel. Product images will be accessed via links. This fact affects the speed of data uploading as loading images from URL takes much time.
Open-Source CMS Migration
CMSs like Prestashop, Magento, ZenCart, or X-Cart provide greater flexibility for data migration as users still have direct access to the source code and the database. In this context, open-source systems are better optimized for migration. Once data in XML, CSV, YML, SQL formats are provided, the rest follows the standard workflow.
Automated vs Customized Migration
Cart2cart application is the easiest but not always impeccant solution. It specializes in transferring assets from-to the most popular CMS platforms offering an easy-to-use automated migrator. This service basic package does not imply a shifting of all objects and the final cost will depend on the data volume. During migration, you will need to install CS-Cart to where data will be uploaded.
Simtech Development Migration
Customized migration presumes to develop a unique script to transfer data based on field mapping. The script runs the same independently of the data volume. Besides, if migrated with Simtechies, data will be actualized. This means that the developed script will check the database again to include new products, users and orders which appeared during the migration process.
Migration encompasses the following steps:
- Data analysis to complete a mapping table;
- Development of a script to migrate data and images;
- Design integration, in case of renovation of the store look-and-feel (optional);
- Data actualization in case the store keeps on running during migration.
Data Analysis and Mapping Table
After data is analyzed, a table containing the description of the old database fields is generated to further map them with the fields in the new database. Description helps to understand which field is worth keeping and which is not. The scope of migration is defined by the number of fields to be transferred.
A script is designed to actually take and shift the selected objects to the target system. This script allows its re-using at the time data is actualized. The script considers the SEO links to products, categories, and CMS-pages (if required) and maps the old links with the new ones to keep the search engine ratings as they were in the old store.
A store can be migrated keeping the same design or acquire a fresh look-and-feel. In both cases, the design is one more point to take into account. In case of a new design, there are several options: whether to use a ready-made theme, create a unique selling design or integrate someone else’s design.
If you keep on running your store on the old platform while replatforming, it is obvious that the database should be updated at the time of the actual transition to the new platform to include the orders, customers and all updates which happened during data analysis and script development.
After all steps are done, the system is assessed again to finally Go Live.
It is critical that migration is performed by experts having in-depth knowledge of the target platform and able to map the core information of the old store with the new configuration. As a result of migration, you’ve got a fresh-looking and a cost-effective platform allowing your online shop to attract more traffic and grow sales.