Merchants looking to migrate to BigCommerce from another platform must ensure a seamless experience for their customers or risk harming their revenues.
After a migration has taken place, customers expect continuity with their experience – they want to login with their existing accounts, see their past purchase history including orders in progress, and be able to shop the same catalogue of products and variants that they had access to previously.
In order to deliver a seamless transition, data must be transferred from the legacy e-commerce system to BigCommerce, with the challenge being that the source and destination systems will have different structures. Exported data retrieved from the legacy system will require transformation and processing to be compatible with BigCommerce.
This article explores some of the considerations for migrating data to BigCommerce.
Types of Data to Migrate
To ensure a seamless experience for users it is important to migrate as much data as possible from the legacy system to BigCommerce. Data to consider as part of a migration includes:
- Product catalogue – The most obvious thing to migrate is the products and their variants including images and attributes such as SKU, name, description, price, height, weight, dimensions, brand, SEO metadata, etc.
- Product categories – Technically this is just an attribute of products, but product categories are considered here separately as they are a distinct entity in BigCommerce and a relationship between the category and product must be established.
- Customers – Maintaining customer account information makes the purchase journey quicker and more efficient for customers. Customer data can include names, addresses, payment details, marketing preferences and other profile data.
- Orders – Maintaining a complete order history for all of a customer’s previous purchases allows the customer to easily make repeat purchases and helps to ensure continuity of business operations following migration to BigCommerce.
- Marketing content – This could include news, blogs, brochure pages, legal and other general website content.
- B2B data – Wholesalers selling to other businesses may have additional data that they need to migrate such as company account information and sales agent accounts.
Now that we understand what types of data to consider as part of a migration, we need to consider the options are available for extracting data from the legacy system and importing it into BigCommerce.
Manual Content Entry
If the volume of data to migrate is not too large – say around 100 records or less – you may consider manually inputting data directly into BigCommerce. BigCommerce has an intuitive and efficient user interface, but this is still a laborious task that may take a few days of your time. If you have a large product catalogue, this approach will likely prove to be too time consuming and error prone, and you will be better off considering some of the following options.
Fun with Spreadsheets
BigCommerce allows data to be imported using CSV files. The data must be entered in a particular schema so that it can be understood by BigCommerce. If you can export data from your legacy e-commerce system (as a CSV or XLS file), it will be possible to transform it into BigCommerce format either manually or by using formulas and macros in Excel.
Alternatively, if the data cannot be exported from the source system as a CSV/XLS, but is available in some other format, such as XML or JSON, you may instead choose to transform this data into BigCommerce compatible schema using tools such as XSLT.
BigCommerce has an extensive set of APIs that covers all entities within the system. It is therefore possible to develop a programmatic migration script that will automatically handle the transfer of data, either by connecting directly to the legacy system (if it has sufficient APIs to allow this) or by using an exported data source.
This approach requires developer support, which will incur additional costs, but if you need to migrate a large product catalogue in a repeatable and quality-controlled manner, API integration may be the most cost-effective approach when compared to the number of man hours required to manually migrate or to manipulate spreadsheets.
BigCommerce does not support the import of Order data through the admin interface. Therefore, the only way to import previous Order data is by using the Orders API. Likewise, any Shipments associated with an Order must also be created using the API.
Migrate Magento (Adobe Commerce) to BigCommerce
Magento (now Adobe Commerce) is not a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product. It was originally developed as a stand-alone application that required deployment to a web server. A PaaS version is now available, but PaaS still requires some administration of infrastructure and services. Many users of earlier iterations of Magento have, by necessity, installed self-hosted (or agency partner-hosted) installations, which carry all the overheads of managing upgrades, servers, disaster recovery, uptime and availability, and security. All this makes migrating from Magento to BigCommerce, which is a true SaaS solution, a very attractive proposition.
Magento is a fully featured e-commerce platform and has all the associated data types that you would expect of such a system including products, product categories, customer data, and orders. Data can be exported from Magento in CSV format and the format of the exported data is pretty close to what is required by BigCommerce. This means that the process to import data into BigCommerce is fairly frictionless, with only some minor changes required to make the source data compatible.
Migrating Customer Accounts
Ideally, customers will be able to log in to their accounts post-migration using the same usernames and passwords that they registered with in the previous e-commerce system. In order to achieve this it is necessary to export users’ unencrypted passwords which, if possible, would indicate that the legacy system is inherently insecure. This security concern aside, if you are able to obtain the passwords it will be possible to import these into BigCommerce using the CSV import process, as documented here:
Otherwise, customer data must be imported without passwords. When a customer first attempts to log in to the new store, they will need to follow the reset password process to gain entry. It is important to temporarily post a message to users on the login screen to inform existing customers that they will need to reset their passwords before they can gain access to their accounts. Otherwise they may be incorrectly told that they are entering an invalid password and will be confused by the need to reset a password that they are adamant they have not forgotten!
Its important to consider the plan of how you intend to switch from the old store to the new BigCommerce hosted store. The timings are also important as once you export data, you don’t want that data to change before you import it into BigCommerce and put the store live.
To ensure that the data migrated is as current as possible, a change freeze should be enforced on initiation of the migration work. This will ensure that no code, content, configuration, or product data will be changed whilst migration activities are taking place.
To ensure a seamless cutover the site will probably need to have a temporary outage whilst the final migration steps take place, to prevent customer orders or registrations being lost.
When migrating to BigCommerce there are various options available to ensure the process is as pain-free as possible for end users. Consider the data to migrate, always with the end user post-migration experience in mind, and then plan and execute your migration strategy whether manual data entry, import via spreadsheets, import after data transformation, or automated using a programmatic API-based process.
For support with migrating data to BigCommerce, please get in touch. Priocept are a BigCommerce consulting partner that can advise on migrating data, transforming legacy e-commerce data to make it BigCommerce import compatible, and developing processes to completely automate the migration process.