Migrating to a New Shopping Cart

Migrating your online store to a new shopping cart platform may be just exactly what your business needs to grow to the next level.

Thinking about migrating your store can really seem like a HUGE project depending on how many products you currently carry on your online store. It also depends on how much help you can get.

You need to have a good reason to start on a project like this. You need to always consider that downtime between platforms will certainly carry some cost of lost sales and lost visits.

First of all you need to do a thorough research of shopping carts and find the one that will accommodate your current AND future needs. Here at ShoppingCartsForWebsites.com you will find great resources to compare different platforms and get informed of your options.

Once you have picked the new shopping cart you should make sure that the new platform can accept what is called a “CSV” file which will make it much more easier to upload a file with all your products, prices, descriptions, categories, and more.

Not too long ago I was given the task to migrate an online store containing a little bit over 2000 products. This site had been up for about 8 years and there was a lot of work put into it and we didn’t want to loose it. So first; we found the right shopping cart after a lot of research; then we realized “This is a huge project!”… but finding the right tool made it a lot much easier. Mozenda

I am talking about a tool called Mozenda. Mozenda is basically a “crawling software“, also known as “data extraction” or “data scraping” tool. You can set it up to crawl your current online store and gather all the important information: product names, SKU numbers, descriptions, prices, images, categories, and more.

What Mozenda does after crawling your site is output a CSV file that is basically an Excel spreadsheet that you can upload to your shopping cart. This tool saved us 100’s of hours (literally). There is a price to it but it’s starting price is $99 for a 5000 pages website.

Upload this new file to your new shopping cart before you shut down your current store and test it. There might still be some tweaking for you to do but you will notice that the bulk of the work; migrating products and descriptions and prices and everything else into your new platform will be done.

Always remember to work on your new shopping cart on a temporary URL so that you keep your current online store alive until you are ready to switch the DNS Name Servers to point to your new store. At that point you should only see about… 4 to 8 hours of downtime in between the switch and that way you will minimize the impact on sales and lost visitors. Also remember to notify your customers well before in advance. I suggest at least 30 days; just make a banner, make it prominent on your current store maybe at the top somewhere center where it is clear to people the message that you will be switching to a new platform. That way they know what to expect. If you can give it a date, it’s even better. If you need to delay the migration date by a few days just let your visitors know in advance as well.

The Mozenda tool also allows you to migrate HTML code so if your product descriptions have already been formatted using HTML the Mozenda software will capture the entire HTML code used in your descriptions. Once you upload the CSV file into your new shopping cart it will include all the details as well as the formatting that you were using on your previous platform. Can you see the amount of time that it is going to save you?

Lets face it; migrating your online store is going to take time and money. If you don’t want to do this by yourself or if you need guidance to complete this task successfully, please contact us. We are here to help.

For a comprehensive list of shopping cart platforms that you may want to consider, head on over to our Home Page.

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