24 May 2021
Platform Migration: The need-to-knows
There are a whole bunch of reasons why you might be considering taking your ecommerce business to another platform provider; be that to streamline processes, increase site speed, improve stability and security, or generally outperform industry standards across the board.
If you’re at the point where you have now decided you need to upscale, and have already picked the perfect tech to get you there, it’s worth taking a look at a few of our ‘need-to-knows’ to execute a smooth and successful platform switch…
Deep dive into your business processes
You’re migrating to use a new ecommerce platform, so treat this as an opportunity to have an honest audit of your existing business processes. What’s working great and needs to move with you, what’s best left in the past? What can you modify to allow your business to take full advantage of the features your new platform has to offer? Don’t leave any stone unturned here!
Outline what success looks like
This is one of the most important parts of any new project, migration or business venture - what exactly is it that you’re hoping to accomplish with the move to a new platform, and what does success look like? It may be that your current site is slow & sluggish, you’ve outgrown the platform’s capability or its performance simply isn’t strong enough, so you therefore want to improve on all these elements. Setting your goals at the start of the process will ensure you’re able to efficiently measure your ROI.
Establish your schedule & timeframes
So you’ve taken a deep dive into your existing business processes and you’ve established how you’ll be measuring your migration’s success, it’s time to nail down that schedule… and make it realistic. Make sure to include every team member the migration will involve and assign responsibilities that ensure someone is accountable for each step of the process. Regular progress catch ups with your internal team and the third party platform provider will help with transparency throughout.
Prioritise data & product migration
I know we said earlier outlining what success looks like was an important factor, but looking after your product data trumps everything and is crucial to reaching that success criteria. You need to thoroughly look into how your new platform provider will be migrating your essential data and info from your old platform, and how it will work with your existing inventory. This one’s a biggy, and it’s a vital factor to ensure that your switch is a smooth one.
Get your SEO in order
Your SEO needs to be in good hands so make sure you’ve got an expert in place to get your SEO in order, be that your own in house team or a third party agency. Dropping the ball here could result in you losing all the previous time, money and effort you’ve invested in optimising your site to date, and you should be doing all you can to give your new site the best chance of success from the off as possible.
Book in team training
Your team are going to need to know your new platform like the back of their hand - ins, outs, warts and all. It’s easy to overlook factoring in training time for your team to get to grips with the new platform, but it’s a step that will ensure they’re able to hit the ground running after the switch. The more meaningful resources, guides and support you can get your hands on from your platform provider the better.
Test, test & test again
Seems like an obvious one but you need to test your site ‘to death’ prior to your launch date. Book in your testing dates early and often in the run up to your big day, and don’t underestimate how valuable this step is in the process - particularly during staging and once live. Your site needs to run like clockwork and provide a seamless shopping experience for your online visitors. Take a realistic and accurate approach to your performance testing.
Cover your back
We’re certain your platform migration will be in capable hands, but sometimes it’s worth keeping hold of that little safety net to cover your back. Make sure your contract with your previous platform provider continues for long enough to allow for a smooth transition at the point you are confident your site has been thoroughly tested and is ready to go. We all know the nature of the tech, things can happen at any point that are out of our control and cause a delay in pushing a site live - make sure you’re covered.
Give full transparency to your customers
You’ve worked hard to earn the respect and loyalty of your customers, don’t lose it at the final hurdle through lack of communication. If when revisiting your business processes you came to change anything at all that affects your customer’s online shopping experience, keep them in the loop, for example changes to loyalty schemes, member points, delivery times and discount codes.
Keep your eye on performance
Make sure you know what you’re measuring your performance against. To really highlight your growth and success following your platform migration you need to take a look at the current performance on your legacy platform and use this as your ‘yard stick’. We’ve already covered testing, but it’s a pretty sensible idea to run performance monitoring in both the staging and production environments, side by side with your legacy platform, so you can quickly find and resolve the impact of any changes you make.
Our team are experts in platform migrations from the likes of Shopify, Magento and Visualsoft, to the Aero Commerce platform. If you’d like to learn a little more about how we can help get in touch here.