What we are going to talk about today is eCommerce re-platforming – changing one shopping cart to software to another in order to improve your online store profitability. As statistics say over 20% of all web business plan to change their platform in 2013 and about 10% are already doing that. The most common case of switching shopping carts related to osCommerce – Magento migration. Why these two? How can it be done? And what are some pitfalls you should consider before, during and right after shop migration? We will discuss each of these quetions and try to provide you with all the necessary information to make your store switch as painless as it even possible.
Why Move osCommerce to Magento?
If there are eCommerce seawolves among you, most likely you still remember the times when shopping cart automatically referred you to osCommerce. It was the first truly open source and free solution that conquered the market with simplicity and effectiveness. The process of creating an online store became much easier and faster. Moreover, due to growing and active community thousands of super-useful extensions were released. All these and many other took osCommerce to eCommerce Olympus and made it #1 solution.
But online business evolves and changes extremely fast. Just try to remember where was responsive design less than a year ago? Now it’s a must-have standard. OsCommerce wasn’t ready for changes. A set of vital improvements that were expected to be made in new versions like enhanced security, effective template and attribute systems, etc. Most of these can be added with help of various modules. However, why you should bother yourself with adding basic features when another solution offers you all of that right out of the box?
Magento came up in 2008 and straight from the spot within a year showed who is a new king among shopping carts. simply check trends chart below to see what actually happened.
Magento stunned eCommerce community with its flexibility and rich default functionality. No other currently existing solution can offer the same level of customization opportunities, scalability and useful store management features.
As a result, we received another eCommerce trend: increasing number of online shopkeepers who decided to move their store from osCommerce to Magento.
Are you Ready?
Before you start switching your shopping carts there is a set of things you should take care about in order to make the whole process smooth and painless:
1. Investigate your traffic. One of the key missions of store migration is to make it invisible for your customers. Analyze at least last 3 months to find out when there is the lowest traffic and schedule your shop switch at that time.
Bonus tip: using Google Analytics you will be able to detect countries where your customers are coming from. Having a lot of clients from Germany? Consider establishing a German version of your site. With Magento multi -store, -language, -payment, -shipment options you have all the necessary tool to reach your target audience.
2. Check if your hosting is compatible with Magento. Undoubtedly, Magento is one of the most powerful solutions but it is also the most resource consuming one. Follow these instructions at Magento Commerce to make sure your hosting will work with Magento.
3. Install Magento. But, never, do you hear me? Never customize it before migration. You will save yourself a lot of time and nerves if you move data from OsCommerce to non-customized, standard Magento installtion.
4. Mage a back up. If everything goes right you will never need it, but as they say forearmed is forewarned- it’s always nice to have a plan B.
How to Move from osCommerce to Magento?
Now you are ready to start. But here comes the question: how to move osCommere to Magento? There are several solutions that can help you with doing that. We are going to follow and check two of them which are the most popular.
OsCommece Migration Tool (OMT). A solution that looks perfect until you install it. Instrument moves products, orders and clients info. Unfortunately, it will require spending a lot of time on finding error solutions that you will receive during data transfer process. Before I managed to make it work I had to:
- change my permissions at Magento Connect to use beta extensions (means the extension is not recommended for use in a production environment)
- find a valid extension key (the one you will get with Magento Connect won’t work)
- fix this problem: SQLSTAT[HY000]  Can’t connect to MySQL server.
There were some other issues during migration but finally a test store with some default products was moved from osCommerce to Magento. Unfortunately product attributes were not migrated. Another company reported issue refers to inability of large scale migrations (over several thousands of entities). Even though if you are ready to spend some time on tweaking the tool and hadling various errors and bugs this option may work for you.
Cart2cart. An online service that handles store migration in an automated way. It works according to the SaaS model. So, all the software is already preinstalled on cloud server. You only have to enter the necesssary URLs and upload connection bridge to move your store to Magento. It is probably one of the most user-friendly and fast options but keep in mind that you will have to invest some budget since the service is a paid one. To see how it works and if it fits you check Demo option that won’t charge a single cent. Key advantages include no store downtime, professional tech support and opportunity to order a number of additional options (preserve order IDs, create product variants, etc.)
Keep in mind that each of these options won’t help you with a template or URLs migration. All of these had to be configured on your own or by your developer/designer or whoever is responsible for this.
What Are Your Next Steps?
There are some thing you should cope with after moving your store to Magento.
Test your store. Before proceeding with Magento customization make sure everything works the way it should. Create test product, make an order from your store, etc.
Don’t forget about your SEO. A crucial point about each store migration is keeping your SEO safe. Major things you should take care about after switching shopping cart.
- make sure your new site is crawlable
- set up 301 redirects
- use a proper robots.txt file;
- generate a sitemap, etc.
Configure Magento. Finally you can feel all advantages of Magento. Amaze your customers with intuitive navigation, blog, one-page checkout and many other options that are available with the platform.
Basically that is everything you should know to perform successful osCommere to Magento migration. Make sure you stick to the plan and you’ll make the store of your dream a reality. Happy migration!
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