Data migration remains one of the most complex problems of any eCommerce project. As Magento 1 end-of-life happened, we observed many merchants moving toward new eCommerce store – e.g. based on Sylius. Therefore we decided to develop our own tool supporting the process and make it less time-consuming.

When thinking about changing the eCommerce platform, eCommerce owners may be concerned about the following risks of migration: 

  • Data loss, 
  • High costs, 
  • Time-consuming implementation.

However, eCommerce platform migration can bring many benefits to your business in the long term.

In our post, you will learn what eCommerce migration is, its stages, and a Sylius-dedicated tool that speeds up migration from Magento.

What is the eCommerce replatforming process?

To explain the concept of migration (specifically data migration) in eCommerce, we should firstly focus on a more general term – replatforming. eCommerce replatforming is the process of transitioning from one eCommerce system to another. In most cases, it aims to improve an online store’s performance, capabilities, or usability. Sometimes it is also aimed at reducing the expenses for the solution we use. Finally, changing the platform is a way to deal with aging (or limiting) technologies.

How does the eCommerce replatforming process work?

The whole process of eCommerce replatforming may depend on the industry, used technologies, and your business needs. However, there are several general steps related to replatforming:

  1. Identification of needs
    A new eCommerce platform should be tailored to specific business needs. It should reflect knowledge of your business, market, and customer needs.
  2. Choosing a new platform
    After you have defined your preferences, it’s time to choose the eCommerce platform. Take the time to research so that you are convinced that the solution you have chosen will meet your expectations.
  3. Hire specialist/ Build a team
    Find the right agency or developers who will do eCommerce replatforming safely. Check their experience thoroughly, and ask about case studies.
  4. Development & Test
    It’s time to change the engine that drives the heart of your eCommerce. Make sure everything goes as planned. Check if the new eCommerce platform works according to your assumptions.
  5. Go live
    If your new store works well, go live, enjoy, develop and grow your e-business.

eCommerce replatforming checklist: https://bitbag.io/blog/how-to-prepare-for-the-project-launch-checklist

Well thought and planned process of eCommerce replatforming will bring many benefits to your online business. On the other hand, improperly performed eCommerce replatforming may carry out many unknown risks.

Well thought and planned process of replatforming will bring many benefits to your online business. On the other hand, an improperly performed replatforming may carry out many unknown risks.

AdvantagesDisadvantages – if done incorrectly
– Getting rid of technological debt
– Matching the new eCommerce platform perfectly to the needs
– The possibility of expanding the business (various sales channels, markets)
– Better scalability
– Better performance
– Losing your current SEO
– Loss of all the data you have collected so far
– Endless development (your launch date is put on endlessly in time)
– Uncontrolled expenses, disproportionate to the investment value
– The total cost of ownership (TCO*) that is cost-prohibitive and unsustainable

How do you know it is high time to consider changing the eCommerce platform?

In some cases, eCommerce replatforming may be the only way to go. You might think about new platform if the store generates huge costs due to its maintenance, instead of developing new functionalities, the performance of your eCommerce site discourages your potential customers, the eCommerce store provides poor customer experience, or you are simply concerned about the security of your website.

See the top reasons why customers choose to migrate to another eCommerce system and then prepare your eCommerce replatforming checklist.

Lack of crucial functionalities

Customers are used to a certain eCommerce standard in the market if they are not able to make purchases safely and quickly, or if your eCommerce site is outdated. The number of different types of software available on the market makes the decision much more difficult. When deciding on free/cheap/unchecked solutions, it is important to make sure that the solution will cover all of the „must-have” functionalities and allow you to freely add new ones over time as the business grows.

Integration problems

It’s no secret that nowadays, many eCommerce business owners use various types of software to help them manage their warehouse, shipment, orders, or products.
If your eCommerce platform cannot integrate with external solutions, it might unnecessarily complicate your business workflow.

No scalability

Scalability is an essential element that allows you to develop your business and achieve the company’s goals. If your existing platform is not keeping up with your business, it’s time to look for a different, more efficient alternative.

Withdrawal of support for the current engine/platform provider

A great example is Magento 1, which lost its support in June 2020. This type of situation may lead to severe risks, especially in terms of security as well as long-term strategic planning. Along with the lack of platform provider support, external companies are also withdrawing from developing their eCommerce store for obsolete engines. 

It is worth remembering that changing the eCommerce platform is a process that is supposed to improve something. It can be functionality, performance, or convenience for customers. Swapping platforms can mean moving to third-party providers (like SaaS solutions) or building your own eCommerce solution. At the most basic level, replatforming refers to data migration process from one eCommerce system to another.

eCommerce migration process as a part of eCommerce replatforming

Correctly performed migration process requires time to plan and perform individual tasks. Therefore, a lot of organizational effort – coordinating the activities of SEO agencies, programmers responsible for the migration (and their data migration service), the eCommerce Product Owner himself and maintaining the existing eCommerce platform.

The most important elements of migrating your online store

It can be difficult to migrate the eCommerce platform in the right way without the proper knowledge, skills, or tools. Therefore, if you are thinking about migrating your store, it is also worth planning data migration to avoid losing your current data and SEO developed over the years (there are agencies that offer professional data migration services).

Content

The content on the website is valuable for users and search engine robots. You certainly don’t want your compendium of knowledge to be lost due to inappropriate eCommerce site migration activities. It is especially important for online stores with many descriptions, categories, products, and blog content. As part of these activities, you should remember to transfer photos, graphics with descriptions, and alternative titles.

Redirects

Suppose you have come across a page with the message „The page you are looking for does not exist” more than once. It results from the lack of a 301 redirect after implementing eCommerce site migration. You should allow your clients to find the websites they want. Use redirections when you want to:

  • Transfer the old eCommerce site to a new domain,
  • Show the change of the subpage,
  • Advise that the given assortment in the online store has been permanently removed.

301 redirects are simply moving old addresses to a new page. They are also done to avoid losing the SEO of the page and the link-building generated. The redirect map contains a list of significant URLs for the new page view, thanks to which you avoid the 404 error. At the end think about performing a SEO audit.

Sitemaps

A sitemap is a file created in HTML or XML format that contains information about the URLs of a given website. Its update is necessary when planning eCommerce site migration. In addition, the sitemap and the addresses it contains, allow you to index your eCommerce site more effectively.

Data migration 

It is an element of eCommerce replatforming. It is the process of moving your eCommerce data from one system to another. But it is not as simple as it sounds. Data migration involves a lot of planning, preparation, data auditing and profiling, migration design, and post-migration activities, such as creating backups, testing, or validation of results. Remember that all the data from the current platform should be transferred into a new platform – these are for example customer data.

New eCommerce platform – what elements can you migrate?

The following may be an inspiration when creating an eCommerce replatforming checklist.

eCommerce solution – Magento 1 to Sylius Migration Tool

Migrations from Magento 1 to Sylius are getting more popular, so we decided to facilitate this process by creating a tool that will allow you to migrate data from your current platform – Magento online store, to the new eCommerce solution – Sylius in an easy, structured, and pleasant way.

As we mentioned, Magento 1 lost its support, making migrations even more complicated even though they were already challenging.

One of our clients had a problem with his eCommerce platform. He wanted to migrate his eCommerce from Magento 1 to the new eCommerce site based on Sylius. That’s why we decided to create a tool that could help us make data migration service more accessible and faster. 

Magento 1 to Sylius Migration Tool is based on an Import/Export plugin we developed for general data imports and exports in Sylius eCommerce projects we work with. It provides architecture and a set of functions for data migration in a standardized SDK. By using this tool, we can import basic data without customization. We may adapt this tool to a given project (for example, by matching and mapping custom data structures).

Import process

This is an example of how the import of product categories to Sylius based on a .csv file looks in the console.

Is this tool free?

We have created many open-source plugins, which you can find on our GitHub and in the Sylius store. The tool is free of charge for clients who decide to hire us as the development partner for Magento 1 to Sylius project. 

How does our Migration Tool work?

  1. The tool connects to the mirrored (we do not want to operate on the production db) database from your eCommerce 
  2. Based on SQL queries, the tool generates CSV files containing the data from Magento 1 store
  3. The CSV files get processed by the migration tool and all common Magento 1 data gets mapped/translated into the Sylius database

Is Magento 1 to Sylius migration Tool a Plug’n’Play solution?

This is not a plug n play solution. It is a tool that, with appropriate developer interaction, shortens the entire data migration process by 70%. Usually, each eCommerce extends the default data model with custom fields and entities, which need to be reflected in the new platform too. The tool covers all the default data that could be found in a standard Magento 1 eCommerce and reflected in the Sylius instance. 

What kind of data may be transferred from your Magento eCommerce store?

  • Customer data
  • Customer Addresses
  • Customer Groups
  • Orders
  • Order Payments
  • Products
  • Product Variants
  • Categories (Taxons)
  • Product to Categories relation
  • Associated Products
  • Newsletter Subscriptions
  • Order Addresses
  • Product Attributes, Images, Reviews
  • Wishlists
  • Order Items
  • Shop Users

Is the tool based on real projects?

Yes, it is.

Clickable Automotive is an online store operating in Australia since 2011. It supplies car parts for BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, and Skoda. The values ​​that determine Clickable are quality, competitive prices, and professional assistance in selecting parts. If a product on their eCommerce site is not available, they help get them even from the competition. Their customers do not need to know about the products. Thanks to the advanced search system, they can easily find the necessary parts.

What was the Clickable problem?

  • Outdated system based on Magento 1
  • Poor code quality
  • Complicated shopping path
  • Uneven graphics of the store
  • No integration with warehouse system or inventory
  • Needs SEO improvement
  • Poor performance & security
  • Many of the features needed to be fixed, extended, or rewritten

Short story of how did we help our client with eCommerce platforms

After cleaning the code, we have created a tool that improved our work and transferred our client’s data from the Magento 1 eCommerce platform to Sylius safely and correctly. Then we expanded the existing functionalities and added many new ones following our client’s needs.

Read the whole Clickable case study.

Summary

Running your own store is a long, winding road. You constantly need to do changes, updates, migrations – and those requiring special attention. If your store no longer meets your needs, and it is not as efficient as it was at first it is worth considering migrating your store to another eCommerce platform. You should remember to hire the right specialists to not lose what you have worked for for years and what makes your business unique.

If you have any more questions or you are considering a new eCommerce platform, contact us.