We have a lot of clients using Magento. They have all told us great things about it from a sellers point of view, and we have found integration with Magento simple yet comprehensive. All in all, it’s a great package. This is a guest post by the Magento team, written specially for us, on how best to migrate to a Magento if you are already thinking of switching to a more flexible and powerful shopping cart.
[To make things really easy – we are currently developing a Magento Connect Extension which will make integration with our fulfilment service truly plug and play – watch this space!]
Why Migrate to Magento Enterprise
Magento Enterprise is the foundation for online stores of businesses worldwide. As an open-source software platform Magento Enterprise makes migrating from an existing online store to the Magento platform manageable, if not down-right easy. Magento provides open APIs for integration with your current business systems such as James and James eCommerce Fulfilment and other valuable third party applications. It’s also a completely customizable platform so that your site is as unique as your business. Over time, the platform can scale with your business needs and perform to support increases in orders, catalog size and the introduction of new websites, storefronts, specific localization configurations as well as integrating custom modules as needed.
The Elements of a Successful Migration
When migrating your online store from one eCommerce platform to another there are a number areas to be concerned with – some obvious and some not. You have to create a fantastic user experience that showcases your products and your brand. You have to migrate all of your product and customer data and order history. You will want to maintain or improve your search engine rankings and chances are you are looking for increased site performance.
An upgrade process from an existing platform to a new platform requires careful planning but by following a few best practices your site will be deployed and fully operational in no time. While not a comprehensive migration plan, some basic elements of migrating your online store to a new platform include these six areas:
- Development/Data Migration
During definition/discovery, the customer and/or solution integrator will gather all of the requirements for launching a new site. Specifically they will go through a discovery phase where an extensive review of current business processes will be considerations for future goals. Typically, the main focus will be around catalog structure, scope of data migration and order fulfilment.
During discovery, define and capture the features you desire as well as the additional capabilities that you foresee needing beyond initial deployment. Planning for the future at the time of migration will save time and money in the future. The resulting system design specification serves as the road-map and blueprint for developers on the project and ensures a strategic, efficient and comprehensive plan that addresses business goals and customer needs.
Magento is completely flexible and customized so that your store reflects your brand and the needs of your customers. Your store can be as unique as your business. Browsing the wide variety of Magento Enterprise sites demonstrates the level of customization possible for your store.
This is a critical step and often requires integration between new and existing systems. This is the time to “clean out” your data and identify the data that should be migrated to the new site. A Magento implementation will include the import of products, customers and orders. Prior to launch, a second database dump is typically required to incorporate the latest records for the production servers.
The product catalogue will need to be enriched, ensuring the products are assigned to attribute sets to best utilise the faceted navigation in Magento. A periodic update is enabled via an XML file. The file contains product attribute information for new and existing products and upon import Magento will update and create products.
The catalog update process should be tailored based in specific business requirements. Several criteria are used to determine which updates can be fully automated and which updates require further review and manual approval. For manual review, it is important to ensure a side-by-side comparison of new and existing product data. The outcome of this process is a definition of the catalog architecture.
Magento offers several features that make it possible to manage your products in ways that are specific to your business and your customers. You are able to establish multiple product types and flexible product attributes allow merchants to match products to different product segments and to present products in the way that customers want to purchase. For example merchants can create simple, grouped, configurable, virtual, and bundled products. It’s also possible to create downloadable products and issue gift cards.
At deployment, a complete cycle of Quality Assurance testing is required. Typical areas of testing include functional testing, compatibility and conformance. During the testing phase, the solution integrator will be checking compatibility with operating systems, web browsers and configurations according to the scope of the migration defined during the initial discovery phase. Magento helps keep your stress lower with the ability to roll back changes to a previous state in case there are issues with a new update. When ready to go live with a site migration or update, merchants can rely on the technical support experts at Magento to help with any final issues.
Magento is a PA-DSS compliant platform which makes it much easier for a merchant to achieve PCI compliance. Magento isolates a Payment Bridge, which is PA-DSS compliant, from the general eCommerce platform functionality. This separation of the payment processing from the platform makes it possible to make updates to the platform without effecting PCI compliance. The merchant will need to implement a security policy in the organization for day-to-day operations. Magento allows the merchant to define and restrict privileges for product, price and promotion updates.
Merchants have multiple payment methods to choose from with Magento. There are a number of options that come standard with Magento Enterprise and even more third party options. The same is true of shipping methods.
During development and integration phase, specific modules or dedicated components are being reviewed by the business needs and the solution implementers to allow early feedback and real time adjustments. If needed, specific coding may take place during that time.
Magento provides tools for search engine marketing and search engine optimization including 301 and 302 redirects that will help you maintain any SEO momentum that you had with your original site after the migration.
Migrate to Online Success
If you are interested in exploring an upgrade to Magento Enterprise visit magento.com. Contact Magento or a Magento Solution Partner (expert Magento system integrator/web design firms) to discuss the specific details of migrating your store. With Magento Enterprise and the right experts, you can have the online store of your dreams.
Magento would like to thank our Solution Partner, Crimsonwing, for their assistance with this article.