If your store is on Magento 1 or Magento 2, this post will help you:
- Understand why a migration from Magento 1 to another platform is necessary
- Decide whether to migrate to BigCommerce or Magento 2
- Create a migration plan from Magento 1 to BigCommerce
Note: Ready to migrate from Magento 1 or Magento 2? We can help! Learn More.
Why Migrate from Magento 1?
The end of life (EOL) for Magento 1 is June 2020. If you’re still on Magento 1, you need a full migration of your data to another platform to:
- Secure Your Data Against a Breach
Magento will not release further quality updates and security patches for Magento 1. If you don’t migrate, your store’s data and customer data could become a vulnerable target.
- Retain Your PCI DSS Compliance
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) require regular security patches applied to your platform. After June 1, 2020, payment card processors that require these standards met (like Visa and Mastercard) may not consider you PCI DSS compliant if you stay on Magento 1.
- Keep Your Technology Stack Up-to-Date
In addition to security and payment processor compliance, the entire tech stack and digital ecosystem of your business requires current and up-to-date technology for everything to integrate. The global Magento developer community, as well as the marketplace of 3rd party themes, API integrations, and extensions will be focused on Magento 2.
BigCommerce vs Magento 2
When making decisions about their store’s tech stack, merchants tend to base their technology decisions on what can help to scale their business. Both platforms are scalable options, but in very different ways.
Many merchants choose Magento 2 because the open source platform allows for unparalleled flexibility for code changes. Magento 2 can be a great fit for merchants that value near-unlimited customization flexibility.
A BigCommerce store blends much of the customizability of Magento, but with the flexibility of a cloud-based SaaS platform that is easier to set up and manage. That means less development time and cost.
As a metaphor, BigCommerce is like a pre-built structure. You only need to move in your belongings, paint the walls, and decorate. Magento is like buying an empty lot, hiring an architect, and building the structure before moving in and decorating.
Post-migration, BigCommerce’s customizability, integrations, and hosted service make it flexible enough for many merchants to use without running into limitations.
Magento 2 Pros:
- Open source framework allows you to change anything (design, development, and customization freedom)
- Extensive theme, extension, and integration marketplace
- Large and global community of developers
- Integration with large marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
- Multi-store options (requires some customization)
Magento 2 Cons:
- With Magento, even a basic store with little to no customization still requires a lot of work from developers to start from scratch
- Higher development costs long-term for critical updates, security patches, and integrations
- Magento requires hosting, and extra server capacity for scaling (unless you opt for Magento Commerce Cloud)
- Difficult to manage for non-technical users
- Fewer payment gateways out of the box than BigCommerce
Note: Support options on Magento 2 vary depending on which version you choose. Magento 2 Open Source (i.e.: Community Edition) does not include support. Magento 2 Commerce (i.e. Enterprise Edition or Enterprise Cloud Edition) includes support.
- Cloud-based so there is no need for separate hosting
- Lots of integrations and open API makes it easy to develop
- Easy integration or minimal coding with 3rd party apps
- BigCommerce integrated security
- BigCommerce updates automatically
- Easier to use interface
- More payment gateways and local currencies accepted out of the box
- Multi-store options (requires some customization)
- Open API but not open source like Magento 2 Open Source
- Less SEO support when managing multiple domains/languages
- Subscription costs
(Note: Magento’s paid enterprise option, Magento 2 Commerce, also has annual subscription costs)
Usually, setting up on the BigCommerce platform requires less time and expense than migrating to Magento 2. When time is a factor and site downtime isn’t convenient, the amount of coding needed with Magento can be a big drawback.
If it’s a good fit for your business, BigCommerce can give your development team the flexibility to work on more impactful projects that improve the customer experience and conversions.
In this BigCommerce SEO case study, we document how we found impactful SEO improvements for a client when they moved to BigCommerce from Magento. That client’s setup on Magento involved a split between their online store and their blog content. This was less than ideal for their SEO, and it added some complexity that we were able to resolve when they wanted to replatform to BigCommerce.
BigCommerce has provided several case studies on their website showing increased ROI, conversion rates, and profitability after stores replatformed to BigCommerce from Magento.
Magento to BigCommerce Migration Case Studies:
Magento has also documented many successful case studies of retailers who migrated from Magento 1 to Magento 2 and saw great results.
Magento 1 to Magento 2 Case Studies:
Why Migrate from Magento to BigCommerce?
Note: Here is our comparison of Shopify Plus vs Magento.
That said, we believe that many of the businesses on Magento would benefit from migrating to a SaaS platform like BigCommerce.
Ideally, your eCommerce platform should help your business to perform better in the long run and save on costs in the present.
For some stores, Magento 2 is a more costly, complex and development-heavy platform than they need. On the other hand, if there is a very large number of SKUs to manage and ongoing customization is needed, Magento may be a better option. BigCommerce supports pretty large catalogs, but if you start getting beyond 600 SKUs on a single product, Magento is probably a better fit.
For large stores that need an easier-to-manage platform, BigCommerce is a good option. Your store can get up and running quickly because it’s flexible and scalable as an open SaaS platform.
To get even more insight into a Magento to BigCommerce migration, we spoke to 11-year eCommerce veteran and BigCommerce Marketing Competitive Intelligence Manager, Mindy Regnell.
Mindy started her career in eCommerce as a support rep for the largest reseller of Prostores, which was owned by Magento.
After moving to BigCommerce, she worked as part of the data migration team helping customers move over their key customers and product data. During her almost 4 years on the team she worked on several large projects including the end of life for both ProStores and Magento Go.
Before joining the product marketing team, Mindy helped merchants with thousands of different data migrations across 25+ platforms during her career. We’ve collected some of her best advice below for migrating to BigCommerce.
Considerations and Questions to Ask Before a Magento Migration
In general, the shorter your replatforming timeline is, the more flexibility you need. For a large eCommerce store, a data migration and eCommerce website redesign to fit the new platform can take from 3-6 months.
The first step is to prioritize your needs with the answers to these questions:
- Will you be creating a brand new site design for a new store, or recreating the same site on a new platform?
- What features and functionality are necessary? (If this is intricate you may build out an eCommerce RFP template.)
- What are the top platforms that meet your feature/functionality needs? (It’s important to consider all the relevant options for platforms based on your timeline and budget, as well as any needs for customization and extensions.)
- What will your migration strategy be once the above is decided? What is the backup plan if the timeline isn’t met? (And what is the backup-backup plan?)
- How will you make sure that your website’s SEO authority in Google and its conversion rate are maintained post-migration? (See our eCommerce SEO migration checklist for information on how to do this.)
- How will you execute on moving over all your data? The high level strategy for moving data are three general steps signified by the acronym “ETL:”
- Extract the data from your current platform
- Transform the data to prepare it for your new platform
- Load the correctly formatted data via CSV, or using an API / migration tool (which is faster)
Keep in mind: the amount of data you have affects how long the data transfer takes.
Magento to BigCommerce Migration Process and Implementation Strategy
If something goes wrong with data after launching, it can be a big problem. This is why we recommend you start with moving the data and a light site design before anything else.
The overall implementation strategy consists of:
- ETL Data Migration and Pre/Post Migration Testing
- Set Up Integrations
- Develop Your Site’s UX and UI
Here is the full overview of steps for that:
#1: Determine what features and functionality you absolutely need. You can split these into “must-haves” vs “nice to have” vs “dealbreakers.”
#2: Budget your migration in conjunction with that essential list of “must-have” features.
#3: What “must have” changes or features might you need in the future? Ideally you can implement those at the same time as the current migration but if not, put them 2nd on the “must-haves” priority list to develop after migrating.
#4: Create a timeline, and make sure to give yourself a conservative amount of wiggle room on that timeline so that you don’t start the project too late and miss the deadline. You also want to make sure you allow time for testing, and any updates needed after doing that testing.
#5: Outline the implementation tasks between what in-house tasks your team handles and what an outside developer or agency will handle.
#6: Check what plugin API’s and integrations you currently have in place on Magento. Do you need them all with BigCommerce, or does the move make some of them null?
For example, BigCommerce has the following features built in that Magento stores may need as a custom Magento extension:
- A blog
- Abandoned cart emails
- Certain payment gateways
- Checkout options
- Product categories filtering
#7: Back up everything — you’ll be glad to have it. Map and move your data over.
Note: Check how your images on Magento are backed up on the server (image URL or file) so that you can make sure those important images for all your product pages are backed up.
#8: Execute the core pieces first: Payment gateways, key integrations, and a light site design to get it up and running.
#9: Test the site before launching live.
#10: Launch! Then keep working on the design and 2nd-priority features to add to the initial light version.
Conclusion: Which eCommerce Platform Do You Need?
Rather than a clear winner, both platforms have their uses:
When you need a highly customizable eCommerce platform, Magento allows for more customization than BigCommerce.
On the other hand, an open-source platform like Magento may be more burdensome for businesses that don’t need unlimited customization.
When speed, scalability, and ease-of-use is important, you can quickly integrate your data to BigCommerce and customize their theme to fit your brand.
BigCommerce supports the type of customization that historically required an open source platform. The company’s advancements in APIs and headless commerce allow for a lot more customization than was previously thought possible on a platform that isn’t open source.
At the same time, it doesn’t require as much customization as an open source platform. This is why you can save on development and hosting costs by using BigCommerce.
We hope that makes it easier to choose between these two platforms.
All that being said, there are some other considerations when replatforming besides front- and back-end data: improving SEO and conversion rate.
We know that outside help is often needed for eCommerce businesses to execute on a large replatforming project. If you’re interested in a marketing-focused migration service to improve your technology and revenue, we’d love to help! Learn more here.