You’re thinking about migrating your Magento stores to BigCommerce because the current platform is not working for your business. But you’re worried because you have more than 500 products. Is this possible?
That’s what this article is all about. Replatforming, an enterprise Ecommerce store, is possible. It requires a new design, development, and a few third-party tools to enhance user experience and security protocols. Ultimately, the goal is to make your store more scalable and to run smoother for both customers and key stakeholders.
Even though they designed Magento for eCommerce and made it mobile responsive, SEO, and user-friendly, it has its limitations. One of the critical issues is its sheer complexity. Even slight changes to custom stores and themes require dedicated developer teams to make them. Add-ons, support, and maintenance are often very costly, with some integrations costing thousands of dollars.
There are two main versions of Magento, the community edition, and the enterprise edition. Because the community edition is free, it has security concerns and support issues. The enterprise edition handles large volumes of products but comes with a steep price tag.
BigCommerce is an out-of-the-box platform with fewer additional fees than Magento. For example, hosting, licensing fees, security and PCI costs, web developer or agency partner fees to name a few. The BigCommerce platform rolls in most of their costs into a lower monthly fee requiring little coding expertise, and it offers some of the fastest APIs on the market.
Other Reasons Behind the Migration
BigCommerce has incorporated many design features and apps into the platform making it the go-to choice for enterprise-level retailers. Here are a few of the reasons:
- The Simplicity of Plug and Play - Most of the apps integrate with only a few clicks or minimal coding. Magento requires a great deal of coding to customize apps to your store.
- Easier Customization – If the available apps don’t fill your requirements, BigCommerce web designers will help customize whatever you need.
- Security - BigCommerce integrates a robust security system including a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service Attack) defense system on the platform. DDOS is one of the most common Ecommerce security threats.
These are some of the reasons merchants are switching to BigCommerce, now let’s see how to do it.
What’s Involved in A Magento to BigCommerce Migration
This migration consists of four steps, beginning with pre-migration planning, migrating all data, configuring the new platform, and finishing with the store launch.
Here is the outline of the primary steps involved in moving your store from Magento to BigCommerce.
4 Steps to a Successful Migration
Before you begin the migration of your product catalog and store settings, you will need to take inventory of what will move and what will not. You’ll need a list of all the data like categories, customers, and products. Items that won’t go would be bundled software, outdated content, store settings, and legacy apps.
You’ll need to choose a theme for your new store. BigCommerce provides several base template themes each having several design variations. They offer both free and premium themes with additional features including custom filters, mega-menus, second/third navigation, and custom sidebar widgets.
To launch the website effectively keep the most linked to URL’s and pages with their native structure in place and carry them over from Magento. Migrations are also the perfect time to remove outdated content, consolidate the URL structure, and streamline the way the website works as a whole.
BigCommerce will consult with you at this stage to ensure all boxes are ticked prior to a move. Some of the pre-migration work involves the following:
- Organization of workflows within your development department
- A complete backup of your Magento store
- Set-up with your new hosting provider and domain registrar
- The configuration of your payment plan, storefront and settings within BigCommerce (such as URL structure)
- Design of your BigCommerce template and store-front
2. Migrate Assets and Products
The migration stage is what BigCommerce describes as heavy lifting. It involves the transfer of all of your current “assets” over to your new store.
Migration of catalog and customer data is an involved task, but there are solutions for streamlining it. For instance, there is a free Magento data migration tool and a host of third-party tools, like Cart2Cart, that simplify the data migration process.
It’s a good idea to try a demo migration. Use a small sample of your shopping cart data to verify that population of products, images, descriptions, etc. will work correctly. A demo is the best way to test if the catalog migration is working before shifting the entire contents of your server.
During the migration, is the time to adopt a fresh new look. Part of the process is creating new visual designs including colors, fonts, and themes.
Your data will likely fall into one of the following categories:
- Product information, SKUs, and assets (like images)
- Product categories
- Customer data
- Orders (historical, pending, completed, etc.)
- 301 redirects
3. Qualitative Analysis and Testing of the New Platform
After you have completed the primary task of store set-up and data migration, it’s time to troubleshoot and configure integrations from within your staging area.
It’s vital to check that all third-party APIs are functioning without issues.
BigCommerce recommends you check the following features prior to launch:
- Checkout, payment processing, and shipping in the form of a test order
- Third-party integrations (CMS, tax software, shipping solutions, email marketing app, etc.)
- SSL certificate
- Design elements and mismatches on product pages
- SEO settings (like metadata) and link redirects
- E-Mail Confirmations
- Loyalty Point Accruals
- Navigation Menus
- Responsive Testing
To launch the new BigCommerce Store with identical services to the Magento Store, BigCommerce combines built-in core functionality with some third-party apps.
4. DNS Change and Launch
With migration fully completed, the only remaining step is to launch your site. As an established store, you will likely already have a domain name. All that remains is to configure your domain settings so that they point to the right places.
The main concern during a nameserver change is to schedule it appropriately to minimize downtime. If you’ve already planned for this in the pre-migration stage, then you don’t have anything to worry about.
There are three main launch tasks:
- Alerting customers about any downtime.
- Change of DNS settings.
- User testing going forward.
You have an option where to point your nameservers. Some companies prefer to maintain their MX (mail exchanger) records and other DNS records outside of BigCommerce for better control. Point your A Record (Address Record) to BigCommerce for website purposes and leave all other DNS records as they are.
In the period immediately after migration, it’s quite common for unforeseen issues to arise. Continued user testing is critical to ensure proper functioning of your site. Users will quickly pinpoint any bugs or bottlenecks related to hosting, product catalogs, or checkout.
Planning is Essential to a Smooth and Successful Migration
Most of the issues associated with a migration arise because of a lack of understanding of all the necessary steps involved. Many stores, for example, will complete a successful catalog migration but forget to test if checkout is working properly, leading to obvious problems when it comes time to launch.
The key to a successful migration is developing a thorough plan and consulting with BigCommerce experts.
If you don’t have an in-house team of experts, consider outsourcing the job to their team. They have handled hundreds of Magento to BigCommerce migrations, and it will reduce the time and potential problems if they manage the process for you. Even if you do intend to undertake the migration in-house, having experts to consult at the troubleshooting or quality assurance stage can be immensely beneficial.