There are a number of reasons a business might undergo an e-commerce migration, such as if your business's needs are changing or if you simply want to upgrade your e-commerce services. In other instances, however, your platform might simply be out of date. For many websites using Magento 1, this is the case.
After June, users will no longer receive support for Magento 1, according to Adobe. Website owners will be on their own for customer service, upgrades and developments unless they upgrade to Magento 2 (or another platform entirely).
The question then becomes, "How do you choose a new platform?" Many factors go into this decision, and because my company specializes in e-commerce marketing and migrations, I have ample experience with making such choices. There are a few aspects you need to consider, especially in order to comply with new regulations.
A business cannot have data breaches. From a customer standpoint, data breaches can cause a loss of trust. From the business’s standpoint, you can get in trouble with the law. The payment card industry data security standard (commonly referred to as PSI DDS) requires that systems are updated with security patches to protect from vulnerabilities. Approved scanning vendors (ASVs) can help you determine if your company is compliant with PSI DDS requirements. A sensible owner won’t stick with a platform that a credit card vendor will be forced to refuse.
When it comes to choosing a platform, research how successful the platform is at preserving customer data, and look at any history of breaches. That way you can ensure you're compliant with data security requirements, especially with changes to the GDPR in the European Union.
Cost of your investment versus the return
While free platforms exist for your e-commerce store, and there are platforms that run on a tiered pricing schedule, you ought to figure out how high of a monetary and time return you want on the monthly fees and startup costs. The hard part is that no single platform is a cookie-cutter solution; businesses differ in terms of their needs.
Many e-commerce platforms are either software as a service or open source. SaaS provides prepared business solutions so that the owner or marketing team in charge of the site doesn't have to implement any coding. They do have a recurring fee and allow for less control, but it's better for those who want a high-quality site that's standard. You don't need a team of specialists for it or a web host to ensure that your business stays online.
Open source does require coding, but it gives you more control over your individual website and customization. You also have more freedom to scale.
Tiered pricing varies widely depending on the platform you choose. You might be able to choose a basic plan for less than $50, while a more advanced plan could cost you more than $200 within the same time frame. If you opt for a tiered pricing platform provider, remember that the difference lies in API support, product filtering, price lists and other additional filters. Not every business needs to necessarily receive unlimited API calls, but one that does can take advantage of the feature for a price.
My clients want to manage their storefronts and optimize shopping for their customers. The learning curve should be minimal, even if they are delegating the services to a marketing team. That way, if they want to handle the back end, complicated steps won't hinder them.
Take add-ons, for example: They can customize and improve your storefront. Some platforms require separate file transfer protocols and modules to install these add-ons, which can become laborious. Others make it very easy for a user to conduct an installation.
Ideally, you also want a platform that will cross-manage the multiple processes that e-commerce requires. You are not just covering inventory or distribution of goods and services; an online platform needs to wear all the hats in the business. This includes marketing, keyword optimization and SEO.
Management of opportunity costs
By opportunity costs, I am referring to the price of making a selection and missing out on the other alternative platforms. A business owner needs to give up on a benefit after they make that choice and remain aware of it. Managing opportunity costs means that you take full advantage of the choices you make.
I have seen this time and time again: A client starts a business on a platform, and they are pleased to see revenue and improved shopping experience. But then they plateau and become stagnant, unable to grow. The owner knows that they should start to migrate.
Sometimes, a platform can limit your potential to optimize revenue or to increase conversions. What’s more, a new storefront could unify all of the processes and save you the time of having to monitor each one for efficiency. You simply need to figure out which one is right for you.
Users might also miss out on automatic updates to platforms if they choose to stay on the same one. It might not seem like much, but automatic updates mean that you have access to the same resources that other owners on the same platform do. What’s more, in the case of breaches, you receive updated security patches without having to handle it proactively.
Regarding migration, some users worry about losing valuable customer orders. If this is something you don't feel equipped to migrate yourself, you can consider asking a professional web developer for help. They will know how to migrate those orders. Any losses should only be for the short term.
Know how to protect yourself and stay updated. That means assessing what you want out of an e-commerce storefront. The right store platform online can help you level up and allow you to grow in the long run.