Companies in e-commerce always need to consider platform migration. This refers to stores changing their digital fronts, usually by moving relevant processes and confidential data. The data migration is the most important part to ensure that no customer information is compromised and projects can continue.
As an e-commerce expert and the CEO of an internet marketing company that specializes in platform migration, I've seen that many e-commerce owners ask why they need to consider migration every few years. The answer is simple: to protect your conversion rates and online storefront.
You don't always need to migrate, but I recommend checking on technology upgrades. Below are a few reasons I've seen e-commerce brands opt for migration:
E-commerce platform features change over time or become outdated.
You need to stay updated on new potential features. Some e-commerce platforms run the risk of using obsolete software or technology. This can cause bottlenecks, crashed sites and unsatisfied customers.
One of the first things you should assess is if a platform suddenly loses its customer service features. As a website owner, you'll want to have the option to speak to the platform's managers if your store is crashing, as a crash could lead to losing potential and current customers. No owner or manager wants that.
Maintenance is another concern in relation to cost. It's important to be efficient when running a business — without spending too much time managing the platform. That means streamlining any processes related to maintenance, or even automating them.
Also, consider if you or your business's manager are spending excessive time handling bugs or calling the platform's customer service. You'd likely prefer to handle accounts and earn revenue, which is why it's critical to assess your current platform's features and determine if a migration is necessary.
E-commerce businesses want to upgrade.
We are all familiar with free and premium services from websites. An entrepreneur with tangible goods can set up an account on Etsy or a similar website, list their products, and wait. If anything, they’ll have to pay pennies to keep the listings current.
If they turn a profit, that's great! They’re in business. But if you can afford it, I recommend creating a home-base website with an online store. This will save you the costs of letting a third party with personal interests control your storefront.
That said, selling on sites such as Etsy or Amazon makes sense when there is a tangible increase for your margins. Alternatively, you want to maintain relevance for customers. Either way, don’t make such a storefront your only one. Have an online store on your personal website, complete with carts and checkouts.
Not all platforms are made equal, however. When you choose one, you need to determine your budget for investing in a platform and how much growth you want your business to have. Some storefronts have flat monthly fees, while others charge for extra features, such as plug-ins. A platform should support your business now and in the future, with structure and a propensity to evolve.
Some factors are necessities in the modern e-commerce frontier. SEO and mobile-friendly platforms, for example, allow customers to make transactions on smart devices and see your website's higher ranking on Google for certain keywords.
Business needs change for e-commerce.
Amazon has irrevocably changed the e-commerce frontier. In addition to standardizing free two-day shipping and slashing prices on its products, Amazon incorporated practical features. It set the priorities for consumers today.
This means that e-commerce platforms need to adhere to the same expectations for the user experience. If a platform doesn’t deliver, then your business might not survive. Just consider the impact of social media: It's changed the game for e-commerce by showing updates of situations, businesses and people in real time. People can see products that they want to buy on their feeds, but they don't want to leave the platform. New upgrades allow for Facebook to display your stores without customers having to switch.
As a result, e-commerce owners might have a higher incentive to find platforms that allow for integration with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other channels. While a social media manager handles the content, a website programmer needs to know how to streamline the posts and feeds with the store. This is just one instance of leverage.
What challenges should you expect?
Prepare for several obstacles while migrating your website to another platform. Traffic will drop for a short while; this is perfectly normal, and the eventual increase in traffic will make up the difference. Wait this out for a month or two. If the drop persists for longer, review the analytics with your marketing team.
When migrating, you'll also need to transport a large amount of data from your original digital storefront. Such data can include confidential customer information, content and advertising. The migration will take time, and a schedule can anticipate potential delays. Have backup storage of the data just in case, along with integrations.
The same goes for the URL directs. When you migrate, some former pages might turn up as a 404-error page. Customers and users don’t want to see those. Complete 301 redirects; any former error pages will direct users to new parts of your website store.
Make sure that you can use all a platform's features and that they integrate with your store. A vendor can easily sell you the highest upgrades, but they are worthless if your team can't use them. Always test them out and ensure the features work.
Also, accept that migration will change certain details of your store platform. This can include store features. That is normal — and a good sign. Simply assess what needs to change.
If you need to migrate, that means that as a business owner, you are adapting to the times. Protect your customer base and your business interests. Stay on top of advances in technology, and you will retain or increase conversion rates.