Preparations before migrating your online store

AmeriCommerce, Website Migration, B2B Ecommerce, Platform Migration, Site Migration

Is this the first time you’re migrating your e-store to another platform? If you’re not nervous, then you should be (even just a little). I’m not going to sugar-coat it: website migration can be tricky for those who’ve never done it before, and mistakes can have serious implications on the business.

That said, mistakes can be kept at a minimum with adequate planning, preparation, and research (which is probably why you’re reading this blog).

Although this blog is written primarily for B2B ecommerce sites that use AmeriCommerce by, the concepts, plans, and best practices should still be applicable to ecommerce platforms and for both D2C and B2B e-stores.

Pre-migration preparations

The more work you do before the migration, the smoother the actual transfer will go. We’re talking about things like testing the new B2B ecommerce site, setting up the appropriate fields, and preparing backup procedures. They will not only increase your chances of success, but also help forestall potential crises.

Download your old data—then do it again

You should pull your old store’s data at least twice: once as early as possible, and again as late as possible.

The first time you download your store data, examine it closely to confirm that all product attributes, pricing information, and other info you need to transfer is indeed included in the extracted files. If they’re not, then you’ve just bought yourself some time to figure out how to fix the problem—whether it’s by researching on your own or asking for support from your old vendor.

Another reason you’re doing this early is so that you can give this sample data to your new ecommerce vendor. Have them review it and evaluate whether or not they can import the data as is, or if it needs to be reformatted to be compatible with their own import tool.

The second time you’ll export your data is just before the website migration actually takes place. This is to ensure that there’s as little a gap as possible between shutting down your old store and turning on your new one and minimizes the number of transactions you’ll have to manually enter when your new site goes live.

Note: Remember to account for the time it will take to reformat the data to fit your new platform’s import template.

Scrutinize your new ecommerce site

One of the worst things you can possibly do as an ecommerce business is to sign up for a new site without thorough review and testing. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of customers we encounter who skip this stage of the process and jump straight in, only to regret it. Either something breaks, or they discover the new site can’t do something they need.

Always, always budget enough time and manpower into carefully evaluating new B2B ecommerce platform features, costs, and capabilities before forking over your credit card. Make sure it can:

  • Properly import the data from the old platform
  • Use the plugins and add-ons necessary to get the site to function the way you want
  • Integrate with other solutions in your tech stack

Run a few tests using sample data to make sure everything works the way it’s supposed to, especially on the most key features.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust salespeople, but you shouldn’t trust salespeople—not blindly, anyway. Most are honest and do have your best interests in mind, but at the end of the day you’re the one who’s going to be using the platform. You know best whether a given feature actually fits your needs.

Loop in your team

Site migrations can and have been done by lone individuals, but it’s still a good idea to bring in a helping hand or two if you can. There’s plenty of work to go around, and some of it is going to be detail-oriented and time-consuming. Having another person would go a long way towards launching the new site in a timely manner.

A second person can also function as a backup in case something comes up and you’re not available. For example, if a vendor calls with questions, or a stakeholder voices concerns, they can help provide answers. So, make sure at least one other person knows what’s going on and is aware of all the relevant conversations.

Always secure executive sponsorship

Webstore migrations are a no-takebacks kind of project, and so it’s best to cover your bases when it comes to upper management. The last thing you want is to have just gone live with your new site, only for your VP of Sales to come in and request changes that will significantly affect the implementation. An executive sponsor can keep the management team apprised of your progress and help alleviate any of their concerns on your behalf. This should minimize any potential interference or disruption from other parties.

Executive sponsors can also help get other departments to work with you to provide data or other needs in a timely manner. This can often be a bottleneck when you’re working with multiple teams, each with their own priorities and definitions of urgency.

Need Help?

We've barely scratched the surface of the process of learning how to migrate your online store. If you're interested in learning more about AmeriCommerce by, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll gladly connect you with one of our B2B ecommerce experts.