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Michał Kloczkowski

Strategies for e-commerce migration: when and how to change platforms

When should you consider migrating your online store to a different solution, and how to prepare for the migration process to ensure it is as painless as possible without significant losses for your business?

In the dynamically changing world of e-commerce, companies often face the decision to migrate their online store to a new technology platform. Such a change can be a response to growing market demands, order volume, evolving business models, and the ambition to maintain a competitive edge. In this article, we will look at key situations when changing an e-commerce platform may be beneficial and discuss how best to prepare for this strategic step.

What questions should you ask yourself before deciding to migrate your store?

Where to start the migration process? The key role of implementation analysis and technical audit

Starting the process of migrating an online store without prior, thorough pre-implementation analysis and audit can cause many problems, such as working on wrong assumptions, mismatching the migration scope to actual needs, and increased cost and time for implementation. The key role of these actions is to identify potential pitfalls and migration challenges that may arise during the migration. Through pre-implementation analysis of your current online store, you can assess which features of the current platform are necessary and which may be outdated or unnecessary and not worth investing in. It is also worth investing in a technical audit to understand which system elements are most problematic and need improvement.

However, even the most detailed analysis may not reveal all functionalities hidden in the corners of your current platform, especially if it has been developed with many dedicated functionalities over the years. Therefore, involving the entire team in the audit process is invaluable. Every team member, from IT to marketing and customer service, may possess unique knowledge about specific aspects of the platform that are crucial for its operation. This helps create a complete picture of the current situation and prevents overlooking critical elements that can be vital for the migration's success while avoiding unexpected costs. In this way, both you and your team play a crucial role in ensuring that the decision to migrate is based on a comprehensive and precise assessment.

Identifying the main problems and limitations of the current e-commerce platform

Before deciding to migrate and conducting the mentioned audit and analysis, thoroughly identify the main problems of the current platform. Are they limitations in scaling, difficulties in integration with other systems, or perhaps insufficient flexibility in customizing functions? Ensure that the new technology addresses these issues without significant adjustments, which can considerably increase costs and implementation time.

Create a list of essential functionalities, such as integration with payment systems or order management, and those that are unnecessary. For example, if your store does not conduct international sales, features related to handling multiple currencies may be unnecessary. This allows you to focus on the most critical aspects of the new solution, ensuring it precisely meets your business needs.

Review the technical documentation of the current platform to understand its limitations and capabilities. Also, carefully analyze the history of previous orders and modifications—often hidden information can reveal which features were added on request and which turned out to be unnecessary. For platforms like Magento 2 with a highly modular structure, reviewing the list of installed modules is also crucial; this helps understand which tools are actively used and which can be omitted in the new environment. Such a review is worth performing periodically to eliminate 'redundant code layers,' optimizing maintenance costs.

What can be an alternative to migrating the e-commerce platform?

Refactoring the e-commerce platform: when is it valuable?

Refactoring, i.e., rebuilding, updating, and optimizing the existing platform code, is often overlooked but a valuable alternative to migration. Many companies focus solely on adding new functionalities, forgetting that improving and enhancing the current system can bring significant benefits. Instead of engaging resources in an entirely new platform, consider allocating the budget for refactoring. This involves not only code fixes but also user interface improvements, performance optimization, and increased security. It is essential to establish open communication with your software house. Together, you can develop a remediation plan that precisely addresses current technological and operational challenges. This approach allows maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing platform, minimizing business disruptions and lowering migration costs.

Microservices as a way to offload the main system

Another approach worth considering instead of full migration is expanding the current platform through additional microservices in line with the composable commerce idea. If the main challenges of your online store concern issues such as performance or integration problems, microservices-based solutions may be ideal. Microservices allow for separating individual functions and processes from the main system, facilitating their management and development.

For example, if integration with System A is a key element of your platform and you encounter performance issues with this integration, you can use a microservice approach. This means building a dedicated mini-application that operates independently of your main system. Such a mini-application replaces a fragment of code from your platform's monolithic architecture that is inefficient or unreliable. By implementing this dedicated function as a separate microservice, you can reduce the load on the main system, ensuring more efficient customer service while enhancing the overall performance and stability of the platform.

This modular architecture allows for gradual improvement of the platform, which can completely eliminate the need for immediate, comprehensive migration. By introducing changes step by step, you can gradually migrate individual system elements without the risk of disrupting ongoing operations. This way, migration can become a more flexible and manageable process, spread over time, minimizing risk and increasing the efficiency of implemented changes. This approach is particularly beneficial when full migration is too costly or risky, allowing for maintaining business continuity while gradually improving the technological infrastructure.

Understand the real source of the problem

Before deciding to migrate due to technical issues, ensure that the cause truly lies in the platform's code. Often, performance or service availability problems are not due to code errors but have other sources. For example, the reliability and quality of hosting are crucial for e-commerce operations. Random service outages can cause significant disruptions in store operations, affecting customer experience and sales results. In such cases, the solution may be changing the hosting provider or upgrading the current server infrastructure.

Another factor could be external systems, such as marketing automation tools, burdening the store's front end. If these systems are not properly integrated, they can slow down the site's operation, negatively impacting user experience. In such situations, consider optimizing external integrations or changing them to lighter and more efficient solutions. Analyzing and addressing such issues can significantly improve the current platform's performance without full migration. Before deciding on migration, it is crucial to understand the real sources of problems, allowing for choosing the most effective and economical solution.

Preparing for your e-commerce platform migration

Choosing the optimal time to migrate your online store

The ideal time for migration minimizes the impact on the store's operations and customer experience. For example, avoid migrating during peak sales periods like the holiday season or Black Friday. A better time might be the beginning of the year when site traffic is usually lower. Additionally, ensure you have enough time for testing and post-migration adjustments.

Equally important is including a time buffer in the migration plan. It is rarely possible to predict all challenges, and often you need to respond to unexpected changes in the technological or market environment. Therefore, when planning migration, always allow extra time for potential corrections and adjustments.

Securing SEO during e-commerce platform migration

Securing current SEO effects is a crucial element of any e-commerce platform migration. Before starting the migration process, investing in an SEO audit is worthwhile to prepare guidelines and checklists necessary to maintain search engine positions. The audit helps identify the most important keywords, pages generating the most traffic, and any technical issues that may affect SEO after migration. For example, if your homepage enjoys a high ranking for specific phrases, ensure the new platform will continue this trend.

Creating a 301 redirect map for all significant URLs is also crucial. This ensures that users and search engine robots are directed to the appropriate pages after migration, which is essential for maintaining traffic and SEO effects. Redirects must be done carefully to avoid errors like redirect chains or dead links. A good practice is to test redirects before launching the new platform to ensure all links lead to the correct places. Ensuring smooth SEO migration is vital not only for maintaining search engine rankings but also for providing a positive experience for visitors to your store.

UX audit: improving usability on the new e-commerce platform

An essential aspect of preparing for e-commerce platform migration may also be a UX (User Experience) audit. Analyzing current usability issues can provide valuable insights into what aspects need improvement during migration. Migration is an ideal opportunity to address issues that may frustrate users, such as complicated menus or slow page load times. However, remember not to make too drastic changes to avoid making returning users feel like they have landed on the wrong site.

If you do not have sufficient data on user experiences, consider connecting analytical tools like Hotjar or Crazy Egg before starting the migration. These tools help understand how users interact with the current platform, which is crucial for migration planning. Mapping user behavior, for example, using heatmaps, can reveal which elements of the site are most frequently used and which are ignored. This knowledge allows building a new platform with better UX, which can contribute to increased conversions and improved overall user experience. Investing in a UX audit is therefore important not only for improving functionality but also for ensuring that the new platform better meets the needs and expectations of customers.

Key aspects of data migration in e-commerce

Identifying and migrating key e-commerce platform data

During e-commerce platform migration, identifying data that must be transferred to the new platform is crucial. Consider whether all necessary data can be extracted from ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or PIM (Product Information Management) systems or if the old platform contains unique information requiring migration. For example, data on customer order history, preferences, or product reviews may be essential to transfer to the new platform.

Next, ensure data formats are compatible with the new system. Some online store customer data, such as user passwords, may be challenging to migrate due to security and privacy reasons. In such cases, instead of migrating passwords, consider encouraging users to set new passwords on the new platform, which is a safer and more recommended approach. Establishing formats and import procedures beforehand is crucial for a smooth transition to the new e-commerce platform.

Training the team on the new e-commerce platform

The difference between migration and launching a new store lies primarily in the need to ensure continuity of essential business processes. Your employees must be well-prepared to work on the new platform from day one of its operation. Training should cover both basic functions and more advanced aspects of the new platform to ensure a smooth transition and avoid problems related to the lack of knowledge.

Equally important is securing so-called hypercare service, i.e., intensive technical support in the initial period after migration. This service, provided by an agency or software house, ensures quick access to help in case of any problems or questions. Ensuring your team has immediate access to expert support is crucial for minimizing business disruptions and maximizing post-migration efficiency. Careful planning of training and hypercare support is an investment that brings significant benefits in the form of a smooth transition to the new platform and maintaining the operational continuity of your e-commerce store.

Evaluation and optimization of the new e-commerce platform

Define key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new e-commerce platform

Developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for evaluating the new e-commerce platform is extremely helpful to ensure that migration brings the expected benefits. KPIs can include metrics such as page load time, conversion rates, customer satisfaction levels, or the number of errors on the site. These metrics allow you to objectively assess whether the new platform meets your business expectations and whether it is indeed better than the previous one.

Emphasize security and performance testing for the new e-commerce platform

Additionally, it is important to expand the implementation plan to include various tests, including security and performance. Security tests help ensure that the new platform is resistant to potential threats and cyberattacks. Performance tests allow verifying whether the platform can handle the expected load, which is crucial for ensuring smooth customer service, especially during peak traffic periods. Such a comprehensive set of tests and evaluation metrics is necessary to ensure that migration brings real improvements and supports the goals of your e-commerce business.

Securing rollback options during e-commerce platform migration

While it is recommended to remain optimistic during migration, preparing a contingency plan for unforeseen problems is extremely important. Rollback is a process that allows reverting to the previous system version when the new platform encounters critical issues. Ensure that your old platform remains active for a specified time after migration. This allows for quick reactivation of the previous system if the new platform does not meet expectations or encounters severe difficulties. Although maintaining two systems simultaneously can be challenging both technically and financially, securing rollback options provides additional assurance and peace of mind during the transition to the new platform.

Partial implementation of the new platform: A/B testing and user feedback

Consider also partial implementation of the new platform, similar to A/B testing. For example, you can redirect only part of the traffic to the new platform, allowing you to monitor its performance and functionality in real conditions while minimizing risk to the entire business. This strategy enables collecting feedback from users and quickly addressing potential issues before fully deploying the new platform. It is a sensible approach that allows for a gradual and controlled transition to the new platform, ensuring continuity of the online store's operation.


Migrating an e-commerce platform is not just a technological choice but, above all, a strategic business decision. It is crucial to deeply understand the current needs and limitations of your platform and consider alternative solutions that may be more effective than full migration. Remember to prepare adequately and involve your team, plan training, and ensure operational and SEO continuity. Migration, although challenging, also offers an opportunity for improvement and innovation, leading your online store to new paths of growth.

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