Bigcommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market, consistently showing up somewhere on top eCommerce platform lists. It’s no wonder that so many people start a store powered by Bigcommerce or want their existing store to migrate to Bigcommerce. Migrating to Bigcommerce — or any other eCommerce platform — isn’t a simple process. It takes a while, there’s a lot to do and even more to double-check to make sure that everything moved according to plan. You may be able to do some of the work on your own, but it is truly a long and grueling process that’s way too much for someone with other responsibilities to take on.
You may have heard that Bigcommerce offers a “white glove service” for some eCommerce migrations. This is true, but chances are it doesn’t apply to your business. This service is only available to businesses that are on Bigcommerce’s “Enterprise” plan, meaning they have to sell a pretty significant amount of product to qualify. In case you’re migrating to Bigcommerce and this doesn’t apply to your business, here are the steps involved in migrating to Bigcommerce.
If you’re certain that you want to migrate to Bigcommerce, there is no better time to start than now. Even the best and most-experienced developers find it hard to anticipate exactly which problems will pop up during a platform migration. If you want the process to involve as little stress as possible, start your project far in advance of when you’ll need it done. That way, everyone can work comfortably and you aren’t putting in 16 hour days trying to complete your migration to Bigcommerce on a tight deadline.
What Will You Call Yourself?
Are you thinking about a shiny new URL to go along with your revamped website? Depending on your situation, this may or may not be a good idea. If you have an established site that you’ve spent time (and money) on, it’s probably a good idea to stick with your old URL unless you really hate it. This way, you will maintain much of the work you’ve done trying to improve your site’s SEO.
If you haven’t spent a bunch of time improving your current site’s SEO or really can’t stand your current URL, then you may choose a new address to go along with your migration to Bigcommerce. It won’t be as easy if you decide to do this when you migrate to Bigcommerce, but you can maintain some of the benefits of your old SEO efforts as long as you add 301 redirects and continue to host your old site until Google can crawl it. There’s no set amount of time that this is guaranteed to happen in, but it usually occurs within a few weeks. The 301 redirect lets Google know that your site has moved permanently.
Migrating Your Products
This may be the single most important part of a migration to Bigcommerce. After all, it’s tough to say you’re in eCommerce if you aren’t selling anything. Products are imported into and exported from eCommerce platforms using CSV (comma-separated values) files. Each platform is a little bit different, but it should be pretty easy to find where to download this looking through the support documents provided with your platform. Keep in mind that Bigcommerce will interpret the CSV a little differently than your current platform, so you will have to manually edit the CSV to work with Bigcommerce.
For example, let’s say you currently sell a coat on Shopify that comes in four different colors. When you download the CSV from Shopify this data is all embedded on the same line. Bigcommerce interprets the CSV in different way than Shopify does, and requires a separate product entry for each option to display the product in the same way that Shopify would. Little quirks like this are easy to overlook, but have a huge impact on how successful your migration to Bigcommerce is. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to bring in professionals (like us!) to perform the migration for you.
Migrating Customers and Order History
If you want to move your customers and order history when you are migrating to Bigcommerce, you may as well bring your customer information and order history along with you. This is also done using CSV files that can be downloaded from your current platform. This tends to be a little more straightforward than migrating products is, but problems can arise if any fields are incorrectly formatted. This is common in situations where you have collected a lot of customer info over the years and have changed the form they fill out, leaving you with blank spots in your CSV. As with products, these will have to be manually edited by someone who can interpret the data in order for it to migrate properly.
Web Design When Migrating to Bigcommerce
One of the most common questions we hear when someone is asking us about migrating to Bigcommerce is whether they can keep their current web design or if they will have to create a whole new design. The answer is, “yes, you can — kind of.” All eCommerce platforms are different, which means that the same template will appear different on each platform. It will also probably mean that some part of your website will break, like dynamic elements becoming static or your site losing its ability to format itself to fit your screen depending on what device you are using. It’s possible to bring over your template when migrating to Bigcommerce, but it isn’t easy.
This is one area you will almost certainly need to bring in some designers and developers for help. Unless you have the coding skills yourself, it’s simply too much for one person to handle while juggling all of life’s other responsibilities. You will essentially have to rebuild your template or theme to work with Bigcommerce. However, there is one hidden bonus of all the trouble that goes into migrating a template to Bigcommerce: if you’ve been considering a website redesign this presents the perfect opportunity.
At 1Digital Agency, all of these migrations are tested in a sandbox before we go live with your new Bigcommerce site. You can keep selling on your old site per usual up until the moment you are ready to switch, at which point you can either transfer the new Bigcommerce site to your old URL or shut down your old site and launch your new one. Voila! You’re now selling on Bigcommerce. Once you’re sure that you are satisfied with your new Bigcommerce site, you can finalize the transfer in just a few hours time. We complete site migrations in the middle of the night so there is as little interruption to your business as possible.
Migrations are not a simple task by any means. There are a lot of little details that have to be perfect for everything to transfer over smoothly, and that’s assuming you aren’t migrating your template as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring in a digital agency to help you out. They have the experience necessary to make sure everything is in the right place when the time to finalize the migration comes. 1Digital Agency has done hundreds of migrations to Bigcommerce and has the expertise needed to make sure yours goes as smoothly as possible.
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