Managing an eCommerce enterprise store is no walk in the park, and neither is choosing the right platform for that purpose. Magento has long been considered one of the most powerful and customizable platforms for eCommerce enterprises. However, today we find enterprise owners debating the need for a Magento to BigCommerce migration.
Today’s customers expect seamless transitions between online and offline shopping channels. Whether you consider scalability, seamless integrations, or omnichannel capabilities, the industry simply does not accept any compromises.
In this blog, we examine the limitations of Magento and detail the best practices enterprises adopt for migrating from Magento to BigCommerce.
Why You Should Migrate from Magento to Bigcommerce
Magento has its Limitations
- Since Magento is a self-hosted platform, your business faces challenges in managing, hosting, and maintaining the servers.
- Magento does not provide technical support, meaning your site is exposed to security breaches leading to unexpected downtime.
- Without seamless integrations, the extensions in Magento’s marketplace are not always compatible with your system.
- Magento brings challenges in terms of scalability as your offline and online channels in different regions are not in sync.
- The cost of managing multiple stores on Magento is very high if you consider hosting, security, and development resources.
BigCommerce Saves the Day
- The cloud-based infrastructure of BigCommerce takes away your burden. The fully hosted platform takes care of hosting and server management for you.
- BigCommerce also reduces the administrative burden on your business by providing technical support and updates whenever required.
- BigCommerce backend seamlessly integrates with your storefront to provide your customers with the best shopping experience.
- With BigCommerce, your physical and online stores in different locations are connected to provide you with real-time insights under one dashboard.
- Since BigCommerce operates on a subscription-based model, the cost of running your enterprise store is much lower than it is using Magento.
When it comes to security, it’s a completely different story over at BigCommerce. The robust security of the platform makes it one of the most reliable infrastructures for your enterprise. Not only that, but BigCommerce also offers world-class performance and uptime, meaning you never have to worry about backing up or restoring your data.
It comes with a number of strong SEO tools that help your enterprise rank higher up. These tools allow you to edit page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URLs.
How Awesome GTI Benefitted from the Migration to BigCommerce
According to Wayne Ainsworth, eCommerce Manager at Awesome GTI, “Our entire migration process from Magento to BigCommerce only took a few months. That was a great turnaround time for us because we were still 100% operational during this entire transition process.
Since making the switch, we’ve had 1.3 million sessions, and 4 million pageviews — and it’s consistently growing. Our online store’s performance is remarkable: bounce rate is reduced, session duration is up, and daily sessions are increasing. The growth we wanted to see is there.”
Planning the Migration Process
The Magento to BigCommerce migration consists of a few steps that are quite specific, but it is a straightforward process. You might even find more than one way to perform the migration, but every method involves backing up, moving, and updating your data.
Conduct a thorough assessment of the existing Magento setup
Before taking the first steps of the migration process, you need to identify the features and functionalities that you need while moving forward. An easy way to do this is by categorizing your existing system’s features into important, secondary, and not required.
Defining migration goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Here are some examples of KPIs you can use to plan your migration:
- Improving site performance
- Enhancing user experience
- Adaptability to market changes
- Making your ecosystem more scalable
- Cutting down the cost of web hosting
- Connecting physical and online channels
Identifying potential challenges and developing a mitigation strategy
When it comes to switching between platforms for your eCommerce enterprise, the data migration part is the most risky one.
Your data includes your products, passwords, orders, and other saved information. You need to consider each of these data types individually so that you don’t leave anything behind.
- Product data consists of information about individual products, grouped products, and their configurations.
- You have to take care of the passwords for customers’ accounts on your eCommerce site. These are not easy to import and you are most likely going to ask your customers to create new ones.
- Not just orders, but everything linked to the orders must be transferred to the new platform to avoid inconvenience.
- You also need to consider the personal details of customers saved on your Magento site so that this doesn’t cause any problems moving forward.
A third party would never know your products like you do. This means you will have to put in some extra effort and communicate your objectives clearly. Another important part of planning your migration is taking it slow. The more time you spend on planning, the less you will have to spend dealing with inconsistencies later on. Take your time to review site customizations, extensions, and anything else you will need in your BigCommerce platform.
Creating a detailed migration timeline and budget
Now you need to set a budget for your migration, which will depend on the list of features you have categorized as most important.
In this case, priorities define the sequence with which you will be developing your features after migrating to BigCommerce. But that’s not all, you also need to create a project timeline. Make sure to create space for testing and updating features where required.
The next step before moving towards data migration is creating a backup. You can do this by going into the Magento dashboard and selecting System -> Cache Management.
To back up your data, you can use one of two methods:
- Go to the File Manager in your web hosting control panel
- Use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application.
Data Migration Strategies
Transferring Product Catalogs, Order History, and Customer Data
Although creating your new BigCommerce account is easy, transferring your data is not. If your data transfer process goes wrong, your site performance will be affected for weeks, or even months. The complex migration process needs to be carried out in steps, where you should first transfer product catalogs and other information. In conjunction with the data transfer, you must continue to test the functionality before and after migration.
It is also advisable to start the migration and complete a light site design before moving forward. Once you have migrated your data, the next steps are setting up the integrations and developing the UI and UX for your eCommerce site.
Yes, the process is quite complex, which is why shopdev’s BigCommerce developers are here to assist you.
Data Mapping and Data Integrity
Ensuring data integrity and accurate data mapping is crucial during the Magento to BigCommerce migration. For instance, you have to map your existing data by entering the Magento Source Store information.
This includes entering the URL of your existing Magento store and installing the connector into your Source Cart. For accurate data migration, you need to provide a few more details such as your API Path, API token, and login credentials. As a result, you can receive the data you need from your Magento site.
Customization and Design Considerations
When it comes to eCommerce stores, the look and feel are some of the most important factors to consider. After all, the first thing your customers will notice when they visit your web store is the UI. As you might have guessed, there are some design differences between Magento vs BigCommerce. But here’s where things start getting tricky in your migration.
Design and Themes
If you are used to the high level of customization provided by Magento, you’re going to face some limitations with BigCommerce. While Magento is an open-source platform that allows developers to access the source code freely, BigCommerce does not.
The customizability in Magento is limitless, while BigCommerce, a SaaS platform, only allows you to adjust themes using some bits of code. On the plus side, BigCommerce currently offers 15 free themes and 100+ paid options, which are mobile responsive and easily customizable.
Replicating the Look and Feel in BigCommerce
With the design differences in mind, you still do not want to drift away from the original look and feel of your eCommerce store. In order to replicate the design and custom functionality of your Magento store in the BigCommerce platform, you need to choose the BigCommerce themes that nearly match the template and design you were using previously.
Upon selecting the right theme in BigCommerce, you can then proceed to customize it according to your brand’s design language. The BigCommerce theme editor allows you to make changes to the design of your store, such as adjusting the layout, colors, and fonts to replicate the theme of your Magento site.
Optimizing the user experience during and after migration
While your eCommerce store is migrating from one platform to another, your customers’ expectations remain the same. Therefore, it's important to maintain a great user experience during and after the Magento to BigCommerce migration.
First of all, you need to keep your customers informed of what’s to come. You can send out updates through social media channels or emails to inform them about possible downtime. However, downtime is something you will need to avoid. Make sure you implement redirects on pages that are not working while you migrate your site, and also take steps to maintain product URLs.
That’s not all, you also need to ensure that the mobile responsiveness and performance of your site are not compromised at any point. During the migration, your customer support team must be ready to answer any questions your customers might have. Finally, when you have migrated to BigCommerce, make sure to collect feedback from customers to pinpoint areas that need improvement.
SEO optimization is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of growing any kind of online store. For Magento users, migrating to BigCommerce is good news in terms of SEO. As BigCommerce offers some great SEO tools, your enterprise has a better chance of ranking higher on Google. Both Magento and BigCommerce allow editing page titles, alt text, images, descriptions, and URLs, but the SEO-friendly features of BigCommerce take you a step further.
The impact of migration on search engine rankings
Unless you carefully plan and execute each step of your migration, the process will take a toll on your SEO rankings. For instance, the URLs for your products and pages will change when you move your site from Magento to BigCommerce. Search engines will not be able to discover and index your product pages like before, and there might also be content duplication issues.
Not only that, but Google also looks for secure websites that have an SSL certificate. This means that if your Magento site has an SSL certificate, your BigCommerce site must have one in order to achieve the same SEO ranking.
301 redirects and best practices for preserving organic traffic
So how can you avoid the impact of the migration on your store’s SEO ranking? This is where 301 redirects come into play. When your product URLs change, you need to implement 301 redirects to map the old Magento URL with the corresponding BigCommerce URL. This helps Google understand the changes in page authority and register the new URL.
Apart from the 301 redirects, you also need a detailed SEO strategy that includes best practices to preserve your store’s organic traffic. This includes metadata optimization, continuous site performance monitoring, and keyword research. You will also need to create a new XML sitemap for your BigCommerce site to help Google discover your pages.
Testing and Quality Assurance
Once your Magento to BigCommerce migration is complete, you need to implement a thorough testing procedure. The BigCommerce store needs to be tested for bugs, errors, and responsiveness on both web and mobile platforms.
The importance of testing during and after migration
When you consider migrating any eCommerce site, the testing phase is often left out. However, testing is actually the most important part of the entire process. Unless you go through this process, you have no idea of the functionality of your new site.
This means you won’t be able to answer when a customer runs into a 404 error and asks you why the page isn’t working as expected. In order to avoid such an occurrence, you need to test the site’s functionality, such as browsing, carrying out product searches, adding items to the cart, and the checkout process.
Conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) to ensure a flawless customer experience
Once you are done with the migration, take time to address customer queries and pay careful attention to their user experience. You need to identify any loopholes or bottlenecks that may be disrupting the customer experience so that they can be fixed in time.
For instance, you need to pay careful attention to cart abandonment.
- Maybe your checkout process needs to be further optimized to ensure that there are no lost sales.
- Maybe you are not providing the right payment options.
- Or the right payment options are not working.
Implement post-migration monitoring and support
Taking it a step further from user acceptance testing, you need to keep providing support to customers who might be facing any kind of inconvenience at your site. Based on user feedback and analytics, you need to regularly monitor the user experience and incorporate features or updates to enhance it.
Apart from the URLs and site performance, you also need to check the following details in your post-migration review:
- Check whether the products in your store display on the front end as well as the back end
- Analyze loading times and check whether the site navigation is smooth
- Ensure that each product is categorized correctly and appears in the search results
- Go through all the links that take the user to the header, footer, and menus within the store
- Run a demo by proceeding to checkout with an order on the BigCommerce site.
How L'azurde Thrived Post Migration from Magento to BigCommerce
Let’s look at the journey of a brand that has been successful after its Magento to BigCommerce migration. L'azurde is a well-known brand with a market presence in KSA, UAE, and Egypt. Their Magento-based store brought forth limitations in terms of integrations and scalability, which got them looking for alternative platforms.
With the help of shopdev experts and the capabilities of BigCommerce, L’azurde took a step in the right direction to position itself as an omnichannel brand. The strategic move eliminated manual fulfillment operations and connected online and in-store channels seamlessly.
L’azurde now benefits from a compelling OMS (Omnichannel Management System) with a compelling storefront based on Next.js, developed by shopdev. It integrates seamlessly with the BigCommerce backend to connect the brand’s stores in UAE, Egypt, and KSA using the omnichannel model.
The brand now makes the most of a headless architecture provided by shopdev to ensure flexibility, performance, and scalability. As of now, the seamless integration of the BigCommerce front end and back end allows real-time data synchronization. As a result, customers are always able to see up-to-date product information and pricing.
In summary, keeping up with the evolving eCommerce landscape requires both the right platform and the best practices to enhance user experience. The differences between Magento and BigCommerce arise from the simple fact that one is an open-source platform and the other is a SaaS-based platform.
For your enterprise business, a Magento to BigCommerce migration can bring fruitful results in the form of high SEO ranking, improved customer experience, and better conversion rates. However, it's crucial to follow the right steps before, during, and after the migration. At the end of the day, if business efficiency, performance, and growth are your objectives, BigCommerce is definitely the platform for you.