An e-commerce replatform can be a complex project to take on however, as the world of e-commerce is constantly changing and evolving, and merchants’ strategies are changing to adapt to consumer trends, a replatform can often be a positive move forward.
With strong project planning, a capable and trustworthy team and a clear and concise vision, replatforming can result in increased traffic, increased sales and happier customers.
However, there are risks associated with undertaking the task of an e-commerce replatform. In this blog, we share some of the ways to minimise those risks so you and your business can prevent losing revenue during the transition from one e-commerce platform to the next.
Focus on the planning process
When migrating a website to a new platform with foreign frameworks and architecture much care and consideration should be placed on the planning process. A detailed migration plan is necessary to ensure a seamless transition and we recommend mapping out a migration checklist that can be cross-checked once the migration has been completed.
Work closely with your consultants and or agency to determine specific timelines for each part of the build. Questions such as API connectivity, systems integrations, and third-party integrations should also be considered. A thorough project scope should then be put in place that contains a project timeline and resource requirements.
Consider the timing of the e-commerce replatform
Once you have planned out the process and have an estimated timeline you will be able to determine a time for the replatform. Ensure that this time does not overlap with any significant retail periods e.g. Christmas, Black Friday etc. If you have determined the replatform will take 12 weeks, be careful not to commence the build in September for example, and risk the go-live date falling during a period of high website traffic.
Put a strong focus on user testing
Testing during the new build and after the go-live plays such an important part in a website migration. Your agency should have a team dedicated to quality assurance, and you and your team should also have eyes on every function of the website (especially through to purchase) from a user’s perspective.
Start with testing the website on a staging environment (UAT) which can be conducted without the site being live. Then place a stringent testing process on the site when it is live as some functionalities may become affected from the transition between staging (UAT) and live.
In our experience, there can never be too many testers on a website, across multiple devices and on multiple browsers.
Crawl your site on Google
Crawling your site before a migration enables you to see your current URL structure. If this is going to change, you can match old URLs to new URLs using 301 redirects.
One example of this could be if your product permalinks include the product category and on the new site this is removed. E.g. https://example.com/product-category/product-example changes to https://example.com/product-example
For more information on crawling your site on Google visit this link.
Prevent 301 errors during an e-commerce replatform
A 301 error message occurs on a page visit when that page has moved permanently to a new URL. Google penalises websites whose URLs are broken and this can affect the ranking of your website on Google.
One of the main risks of an e-commerce replatform is the loss of Google SEO position. If you lose ranking, you’re essentially risking the loss of sales from unpaid search results.
Here’s how to prevent 301 errors:
- Keep your content on the new website as close as possible to your old content on the old website
- Ensure pages are all redirected correctly with 301 redirects
- Ensure blog posts are all redirected correctly with 301 redirects
- Spot test from Google Search Console
- Conduct a full URL test from XML sitemap or Search Console
To summarise, putting a focus on thorough pre-migration planning and post-migration testing can help to ensure minimal loss of revenue during a replatform.
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