When Should I Make the Switch to Magento?
Choosing an ecommerce platform should never be taken lightly. There are so many great options out there, including the two big North American giants, Shopify and Magento.
Mar 2020 - 4 minutes read
Deciding which platform to set up shop with can be complex, and requires a good understanding of the current and future needs of your business. Ideally, the right platform will grow with you, and should be able to accept any demands that you put on it. However, sometimes your business is so successful that you grow beyond your initial plans. If you want to continue serving your customers and expanding your business, you need to migrate to a platform that can support your continued growth. For many enterprises and medium to large businesses, that platform is Magento.
The Basics of Magento
We recently did an entire article (LINK TO Basics of Magento article) that covered this topic, but before you make the decision to take all your data and migrate your store, you should understand how this platform will support your success.
Magento is different from other ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify. Signing up with a SaaS like Shopify is like renting a storefront. You can customize the interior and set it up creatively, but the essential building blocks of the store itself do not change.
WooCommerce is an open source software like Magento, but it’s been developed for WordPress. However, the codebase quality is much lower, and the features are less robust than Magento.
In contrast, Magento enables you to build your storefront from scratch. You’ll need to purchase your own domain name and server space, but this gives you control over speed and a variety of other factors that you won’t get with other platforms. You can conﬁgure your store in any way you’d like, and even run several different storefronts off one back end, which offers ﬂexibility as you expand.
When’s the Right Time to Migrate to Magento?
Despite the ﬂexibility and other advantages of Magento, many people start off with a simpler platform like Shopify or WooCommerce because their storefronts are easier to set up. You may not need a developer, and many people ﬁnd the drag-and-drop conﬁguration progress ideal when they’re ﬁrst starting out.
However, there may come a time when the limitations of these platforms become too much to handle, and the freedom of Magento is more appealing. Here are a few common scenarios you may ﬁnd yourself in before you make the switch to Magento.
You Need More Advanced Customization and Features
Although there are many features available on hosted platforms like Shopify, you’re limited to the customizations that are inherent to the platform.
You cannot create your own themes, make large-scale changes, design a unique functionality, or boost your store’s capacity for language translation. All of these capabilities are only possible with Magento.
As well, switching over might become a necessity if you start needing more advanced systems, like ERP, warehouse management, or inventory to support your growing business.
You’re Running More Than One Storefront
One of the best aspects of Magento is the ability to run more than one storefront through the same back end. Whether you’re exploring a new niche, or opening up a storefront in another region, operating two (or more) completely unique storefronts from a single admin panel simpliﬁes your day-to-day life and allows you to give equal attention to both domains without compromising the quality of either.
You Have Customers from Around the World
One advantage that Magento has over a platform like Shopify is its multi-lingual capabilities. While there are some apps and add-ons that can help you with this problem if you’re on another platform, Magento offers more powerful, built-in multi-lingual support that will make your customers from around the world feel right at home.
You Want to Boost Your Sales Through SEO
If you’re ﬁnding that your existing platform isn’t giving you enough SEO capabilities, you may need to make the switch to Magento. While platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce offer apps that help improve SEO, these features are already inherent to Magento, which means that you don’t need to seek them out- they’re already there.
When You Need to Own Your Own Assets
Once your business grows beyond a certain point, it makes sense to own your own assets. To do this, you’ll need to host your own site, ideally off your own dedicated server. This is critical to protecting your intellectual property, and other assets including your website and domain name.
How Should I Migrate My Store?
If you’ve decided that the drawbacks of your current ecommerce platform are just too much to handle, it might be time to make the switch to Magento. This involves migrating your store from your current platform on to a Magento site. This can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t be. You have a few options for how to do this.
With automatic migration, you’re relying on a service or tool to do this work for you. Depending on which platform you’re on now, there are a few options.
Litextension is one of the more popular tools out there, and it can handle migration between many different platforms. It supports popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce, as well as more niche platforms like Hikashop, Shopp, and Neto.
It’s easy to set up your migration on Litextension, especially because they offer plenty of video and written tutorials, as well as technical support with a 24-hour guaranteed response period. If you don’t feel comfortable on your own, you can hire one of their migration experts to perform a full migration for you.
The other option for a store migration is doing it manually. This involves exporting your store data into a CSV ﬁle, and importing that ﬁle into Magento. Manual migration is a good option if you have a smaller store and want more control of your data.
Hire an Expert
If you don’t want to automate your migration process but don’t have the expertise to do it yourself, your best bet is to hire a Magento expert. They can walk you through the process, and keep you updated as it completes. They’ll also be able to give you some pointers on handling everyday admin tasks on your new back end. It never hurts to have a knowledgeable resource on your team.
Before you migrate, make sure you do your research and take all the necessary steps to secure your storefront. This includes backing up data, choosing a good time, and informing customers and staff.
Any down time, even away from peak shopping hours, can jeopardize your site through lost sales, damage to your search engine rank, and reduced credibility with customers. Even if you aren’t as big as Amazon, who loses an estimated $220,000 per minute of down time, it’s still not a great business practice.
Ready to Make the Switch?
Think you’re ready to make the switch to Magento? There’s never been a better time. Since it was released in 2015, Magento 2 has been adding features and functionality to make it easier to run your business and serve your customers.
If your current ecommerce platform just isn’t cutting it anymore, don’t settle for less! Do your research and make the switch to Magento today.