eCommerce migration, not migraines: a relatively practical guide – 1

June 23, 2023
5 min read
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Changing eCommerce platforms can be scary. But, like many other scary things, it may well we worth it. The million dollar question, or at least the a-lot-of-dollars question is how to tell whether it will. This, in turn, automatically opens up many other potentially expensive and/or very profitable questions. For example, when it would be a good idea to change eCommerce platforms, what the advantages and disadvantages of taking the plunge are, and if there’s any way to make the most of the pros and also of the cons, or at least reduce their impact, among many others. It is possible that the answer to most of these questions is that it depends - on the particular needs of your organization, on the platform you are considering leaving behind, on the platform you are considering migrating to, (here's our recommendation) and on how you plan to do so. 

In this series, we will cover some of those questions, and share a few answers based on our experience to help you decide if, when and how to migrate to a platform that works for you (and not the other way round).  Play it, Sam.

How will I know?  

Replatforming becomes a viable option when your current eCommerce platform starts causing more headaches than it solves and more fears than it calms. In this section we explore some common indicators that it's time to pack your bags and migrate. In a nutshell, they can relate to three things - poor performance, poor scalability, or poor you (high or unpredictable costs) - and combinations thereof. Here are the most common scenarios.

Scenario 1: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers

The first scenario in which it would be a good idea to migrate your eCommerce site is inadequate performance. This can manifest in various ways and it can be a common issue with legacy, monolith platforms. Some examples include poor customer experience, inefficient processes, difficulties to handle increased traffic, slow page load times, outdated web experiences, frequent downtime or increased security threats, a particularly critical factor that might call for a migration to protect your business and your customers’ sensitive information.

If your website is not functioning as it should or is unable to keep up with the demands of your business, replatforming can provide an opportunity to overcome these limitations.

Scenario 2: Will you still love me tomorrow?

Another scenario in which replatforming may be a good idea is not related to what your site is doing now, but to what you may need it to do in the future. As customer needs constantly evolve, your platform should be able to adapt and add new features to meet those demands. For example, if your existing solution cannot provide an omnichannel selling option or lacks flexibility in customization, replatforming becomes a strategic move to make sure you can meet your evolving requirements.

Flexibility and scalability are key features to look for when considering the best eCommerce platform for your business, because you don’t want your own platform to be the reason why your company is unable to grow to its fullest potential. If your current platform is not equipped to support your company's growth and becomes a hindrance rather than an enabler, it's probably the right time to explore other options.  

Scenario 3: Price Tag:

Or over (your) head. A third scenario is that your solution does what it should, and can therefore still be called a solution, but at a great cost, or (possibly) worse, at unforeseeable costs. Legacy platforms can have a higher TCO (total cost of ownership) than newer, more streamlined options, which means you are spending more resources just to keep the site running. High operational costs, expensive resources, such as dedicated developers, and inability to develop new features or updates quickly can weigh down your business and limit your ability to innovate.

Another thing to watch out for is hidden costs, a common downside of several technically “free” solutions. Maintenance costs, expensive plugins, and customization that requires high cost development solutions can drain your resources. 

An efficient platform should let you make custom changes, scale your business, and innovate without breaking the bank. If your current platform is causing financial strain, resourcing issues, and difficulties in developing new features or updates when you need them, it's time to explore alternative options. Migrating to a better platform can streamline your operations, reduce costs in the long run, and help with the challenges associated with managing and maintaining your eCommerce platform. 


Ultimately, replatforming is not about giving your site a makeover but about future-proofing and growth-proofing your business. It might be challenging, but if you find that your current eCommerce solution is hindering your ability to scale, make custom changes or address existing problems, and generally speaking, causing more problems than it solves, migrating to a new platform is not just a good idea, but an urgent imperative. 

So now we move on to the next question. Beware, there’s a catch.

I think it all depends

What are the advantages and disadvantages of replatforming? The short answer is it depends. The long answer is we'll need to ask more questions. As we said earlier, apart from very obvious scenarios, like replatforming from an inefficient, outdated, expensive legacy platform to a modern, flexible solution with lower costs, it’s impossible to define the pros and cons of replatforming without asking other questions first, such as where you are now and why you need to walk out that door. Or without considering what led you to choose the platform in the first place and what changed since then. Why aren't things working (anymore)? Did they change? Did you?

In our next installments, we will cover the advantages and disadvantages of replatforming from solutions like WooCommerce, PrestaShop, Shopify, SuiteCommerce, Adobe Commerce and Commercetools, the benefits and challenges of migrating to BigCommerce, and how to overcome the latter, with practical advice. All good stuff. Stay tuned.

Tagged: bigcommerce · comparative · ecommerce