The View from England

Migrating ecommerce platforms is more than moving data

In “After Magento 1, build something special,” my previous post, I suggested looking at alternatives to migrating to Magento 2. Support for Magento 1 will end in June 2020.

The first question in selecting a new platform is to decide if it’s worth the price. Set aside emotions. Does your ecommerce site make a decent profit? Will it make enough money to recoup the investment in a new platform? Does it have the potential to grow?

Answers to these basic questions should determine if it’s worth migrating your business to a new platform, or if it’s best to close the site altogether. It is a mistake to have a dated, poorly maintained, infrequently updated website. It gives the wrong impression of your business, assuming you also run a brick-and-mortar store.

Take a hard look at the figures. How much profit does your ecommerce site make? Have you factored in all of the costs? It is easy to forget the extra staff-hours to maintain a site, or the software costs, or other hidden costs.

The calculation is not always easy. Sales from the website may increase the amount of stock you purchase and enable you to get a better price. The existence of a good site may encourage customers to buy directly from your physical store.

Re-evaluate?

If you feel it is worthwhile to continue having a site, then you may need to re-evaluate what it sells.

If the site is mainly to promote your physical store and increase footfall, then perhaps it need not sell anything. Perhaps it is better with news and tips. Assuming, however, that you will continue selling from it, does the site need all of your inventory? Sometimes 80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of products. Perhaps you should emphasize those 20 percent with professional images and copy.

Are the items you want to sell also available on Amazon or eBay? If so, why should shoppers buy from you? List all of the reasons why buying directly from your site is better for shoppers. Then determine how to promote those benefits.

Look at your main competitors. Do they have their own sites? Are they getting lots of orders? If so, why are they winning the war against Amazon and eBay? Could you do it better?

What other successful ecommerce sites do your target customers use other than eBay and Amazon? Why are those sites successful? Find out who designed and developed them. Then consider hiring those designers and developers for yours.

When you launch your new site, how will you market it? How will you measure marketing and advertising effectiveness? Will you need landing pages, vouchers, and conversion metrics? Will you need a method of determining how a customer heard about your site?

The time to plan what to sell and how to sell it is before you migrate to a new platform. Thus migrating is more than just moving the data from one platform to another. It is an opportunity to invest in your business — to review and revamp what you do. With careful planning, proper research, and sufficient investment of time and money, it could take your company to a new level.

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