E-commerce migration can take place for a variety of reasons, including enhanced security, better scalability, cost savings, more sales, and other unique benefits.
After migrating their online store, Great Little Trading Company (GLTC) witnessed a 6% conversion rate lift and a 10% increase in overall orders as well.
Only an e-commerce platform running on the latest technology can offer these benefits. All online store owners want their shops to run on the latest technology, resulting in a never-ending demand for e-commerce platform migration.
However, e-commerce platform migration is easier said than done. One of the most complex and sensitive aspects of this process is data migration. Unfortunately, merchants often tend to overlook data migration, increasing the risk of losing critical data.
Here are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when transferring your e-commerce data.
Audit Your Data
Any data migration process begins with a thorough audit of your existing data. Careful data audit will help you determine the following:
- What and how much data is being moved?
- Where it resides right now and where it will go after migration?
- Is the new storage capacity large enough to store all your data?
- Which format the data should be in for depositing it in the new location?
The audit will also help you clean your current data by removing duplicates and corrupt data files. Moving corrupt and redundant data files to a new location is useless. You can also remove outdated user information, abandoned e-mail accounts, and junk files before the migration. Most importantly, you can spot potential migration-specific risks before they turn into a disaster.
Make sure to identify the fields and tables that are not in use. Decide if need to transfer the unused data fields and tables to the new location. You can use different tools for auditing data. You should also talk to team members from different departments to find out which data needs to be moved and how.
Create Data Backup
It is better to back up all your e-commerce data, not just the files you will be migrating. Although it is unlikely if you encounter any issues such as corrupt or missing files during the migration process, you can use your backup to rectify those errors.
Here’s what you need to back up:
- Databases comprising information such as order history and user details, among other things.
- Asset files such as images, videos, and PDFs, if any.
- All you store configurations and settings.
- If you are not using a hosted platform, back up your code.
- If themes or design layout not included in the code, you will need to back them up too.
Most website hosting companies often have data backups. However, it is still better to have reserves of your own. Make sure to confirm all of your data is backed up. Document your data backup process to let everyone know when, where, and how the data was stored.
Plan the Entire Process
Once you know what data you are moving during the re-platforming, you need to plan the entire migration process. Define the scope and set a realistic time-line and budget accordingly. Analyze both, your source and target platforms carefully while determining the scope of your project.
- Find out if the data migration process will interfere with your store’s operation. If it does, you should transfer the data during after hours or on weekends to ensure minimal downtime.
- Identify and procure the resources you will need to complete the process within the set period.
- Create your data migration schedule and priorities, and configure your back up settings to reduce potential errors.
- You can use data migration software or rope your IT team in. However, evaluate if your in-house team has the skills and expertise to handle your project. If not, getting a professional data and cloud migration service provider on board would be a great idea.
- Data migration is not just a technical process. It is also a business process. That’s why you should also keep your customers in the loop about the migration process. Let them know what benefits (better speed, performance, and security) data migration will offer them. Tell them about the migration time-line, especially if you are going to keep your online transactions closed during the data transfer.
- Finally, create a pot-migration SEO policy as most e-commerce sites experience a temporary drop in organic traffic after migration. Changes in URLs and the loss of some of the Meta data may cause this drop. So, keep your SEO team in the loop when planning the migration process.
Test the Migrated Data
Once you have migrated the data, make sure to verify if the migration was successful before making your website live. You can test each unit, system, volume, batch, and web-based application to validate your data migration process.
Make sure you have migrated all the files flagged for migration. The total number of records in the target platform should match with the number of records in the earlier resource. Check if all the fields and tables in the new platform are in the right format. Ensure all data dependencies have also been migrated successfully.
Despite your best precautions, errors may occur during the migration process. If you notice missing or corrupt files or code, use backup to restore them. After your website goes live, continue to monitor the data for orphaned work sets, unusual access patterns, and security issues if any. This will prove helpful in your next migration.
Data migration is one of the most crucial aspects of e-commerce re-platforming. The process may result in data loss, corrupt files, and security issues. Keeping the above four things in mind, however, should help you move your data to a new location without any hiccups. Have you ever migrated your e-commerce data to a new platform? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.