Pros and Cons: Migrating an eCommerce Website vs Updating it
Why might you want to migrate or update an eCommerce Website
One of the reasons you may have found yourself considering making changes on your website could be due to the recent SCA changes that come into force on 14 September 2019. Every eCommerce website will find itself needing to be compliant with Strong Customer Regulation (SCA) in order to avoid seeing a large spike in failed transactions. And this in turn is causing many eCommerce merchants to see SCA as the push they need to upgrade their website.
A quick recap of SCA.
Strong Customer Authentication is a mandate from the EU to abate fraud by ensuring online payments are more secure; it means that eCommerce companies will be required to use several forms of verification when a customer checks out. The three types of authentication, as it is stated in SCA, is as follows:
- A registered device such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
- Using Biometric Authentication like a fingerprint or facial recognition.
- Something only to which the customer would have the answer, such as a password or pin.
While EU enforcement of SCA will be given a grace period, on 14, September 2019 banks will most likely reject payments that don’t have two of the three mandated authentication methods. Banks have the most to lose if they don’t verify payments in accordance with SCA and will seek to protect themselves.
Other reasons to update or migrate could be:
- Older an stale website design – If it look like it’s straight out of the 90’s then it definitely needs an update
- Complex updating process for any needed changes – Increased complexity often means increased costs
- Moving towards internal reliance on updating and managing a website and away from paying a developer for each change
- Accessing better and more up to date tech stack integrations – marketing jargon for “better marketing tools and tactics”
The question often is, should your company migrate your website or simply update it?
Before you decide on what action is best for your website, let’s run you through some considerations that may affect your decision one way or the other.
Migration or “replatforming” is when an eCommerce site moves from one platform to another.
In years gone by Magento and Woocommerce held the title of Best in Class eCommerce platforms, with Magento being a more high-end and developer intensive platform and Woocommerce often being the option for those who entered the market at the lower more self-managed end of the scale.
Nowadays, with the advent of Shopify, there are good reasons to move from platforms such as WooCommerce, Magento and other platforms that have self-hosted checkouts. One of the main advantages of Shopify is that it is a managed checkout solution, meaning updates which come along such as change of legislation and needed security updates are handled by the Shopify dev team meaning the hassle of keeping up to date is handled for you.
It’s honestly hard to look past Shopify as the premier option for new merchants starting out on their eCommerce journey. However, for existing merchants there are other considerations which make switching to the best eCommerce platform not as cut and dry.
Here are some of the Pros and Cons of migration or replatforming your website to Shopify.
Pros of Migrating Your Website to Shopify.
- Migrating to a new platform such as Shopify enables SCA compliance built-in.
- Migrating to Shopify means not always having to update your shopping cart manually.
- With the exception of Magento, Shopify allows better scaling up to enterprise levels of success when compared to WordPress/Woocommerce.
- Shopify is not only SCA compliant, but the platform is more secure means your company is less likely to suffer a data breach. Again, WordPress websites tend to struggle with maintaining their ongoing security.
- Some of the better third party integrations are for Shopify, including HubSpot (world class marketing software), Oberlo (leading drop shipping app). More integration expands the potential functionality of your company’s site.
Cons of migrating your website to Shopify.
In the interests of balance, its important to note that migrating to Shopify may not always be the best solution for you. Chief among these reasons are the time and expense it takes to ensure the migration is done properly.
- Some data can be lost in the migration from one platform to another – This can be mitigated almost entirely by choosing a professional migration service from your eCommerce growth agency of choice.
- If not done correctly, your websites SEO and page rankings can be hurt during the migration from one website to another.
- Additionally to the above, an incorrectly handled migration can often create many broken links which can cause confusion and frustration to existing website customers.
- Your website may be down for a period during replatforming – This can be mitigated a little using a professional to handle your migration.
Upgrading or “Refreshing” is when you introduce newer eCommerce elements on to an existing website.
Refreshing the look and feel of your website is actually something which should be considered every few years or so due to the nature of how fast the eCommerce industry moves. If you’re still using the same layout, theme and addons that you were a few years ago chances are there are many quick wins and areas of opportunity to engage and convert your website visitors and in turn snag a bigger slice of your market share within your vertical.
Refreshing a website is a viable option for those who are either already on a high performing platform such as Shopify or you’re not quite ready to take the intrinsic risk of moving platforms just yet.
Pros of Updating Your Website.
- Limited/no downtime – only applicable if upgrading is done by a pro
- Many self-hosted websites can be upgraded to match the performance of many of the out-of-the-box features Shopify possesses.
- Lower risk of data loss
- Familiarity makes getting used to adjustments easier
Cons of Updating Your Website.
- Your shopping cart would remain on a self-hosted solution meaning many more future updates would be required just to maintain pace with managed eCommerce solutions
- Something which WordPress often suffers from is that as each new plugin or custom code is introduced it can often create incompatibilities with other areas of the website
- Your website may naturally lag behind other websites in functionality and security, requiring regular updates
A Final Thought.
Clearly, migration has several advantages over updating when it comes to not only being SCA compliant, but other benefits as well such as security and access to newer marketing automation features. Moving from self-hosted eCommerce checkout platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce and magento to a platform such as Shopify can eliminate potential headaches.
I’d caution you not to try it yourself unless you have prior experience migrating a website to Shopify. Professionals who have experience in migrating a website from one platform to another should be engaged if you want to be sure there are no issues with the move from one site to another. Web design professionals who know the intricacies of eCommerce migration will complete the task in a shorter amount of time, have less risk of data loss, lower downtime and will have your website performing at an optimum level faster.