Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2020. It has since been updated for accuracy and to reflect modern practices.

If your store is running on Magento (nowadays known as Adobe Commerce) and you’re planning to migrate to another platform, you’ve come to the right place.

As eCommerce digital marketing experts, we’ve helped dozens of online businesses migrate their sites efficiently and with minimal lost traffic. So, to help out readers like you, we’ve detailed that process in this guide — with a Magento-specific spin.

Keep reading to:

  • Understand why migration from Magento to another platform is necessary
  • Decide whether to migrate to BigCommerce or another platform
  • Create a migration plan from Magento to BigCommerce

Ready to migrate and want an expert to handle it for you? Learn more about our site migration services now.

Why Migrate from Magento?

Adobe phased out support for Magento 1 on June 30, 2020, forcing many eCommerce businesses to make a choice — migrate to the platform’s newest version (Magento 2) or find a new platform to replace it.

If, by chance, your website is still running on Magento 1 at this point, migration should be your top priority for a few key reasons:

  • Secure Your Data Against a Breach: Adobe 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 vulnerable targets.
  • Retain Your PCI DSS Compliance: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) require regular security patches applied to your platform. Since June 2020, payment card processors that require these standards (like Visa and Mastercard) may not consider your site compliant if you still run 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 require current and up-to-date technology for everything to integrate. The global Magento developer community (as well as the marketplace of third-party themes, API integrations, and extensions) will focus solely on Magento 2.

What if I’m already using Magento 2?

If you’ve already taken the step to migrate your site from Magento 1 to Magento 2, you’re in a good spot. But, if you’ve come to this guide, you’re probably considering BigCommerce as an alternative platform.

While there are no immediate security risks for your site like those still running on Magento 1, there are some clear differences between these two platforms. We’ll discuss them in the next section.

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. 

In the case of BigCommerce and Magento, 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. Therefore, Magento 2 can be a great fit for merchants that value near-unlimited customization flexibility.

BigCommerce 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 for your team.

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.

In our opinion, BigCommerce’s customizability, integrations, and hosted service make it flexible enough for many merchants to use without running into limitations.

A table with two columns labeled Magento 2 and BigCommerce. 19 rows of features with either a checkmark or an X under the columns. Data as follows: Open source platform that allows for code changes: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: X. Plugins, themes, templates, and integration options: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Appropriate for mid-market and enterprise: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Flexible pricing model: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Automatic core updates, security patches, and payment processing updates: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. Lower development costs: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. No extra hosting costs: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. Free to use basic features: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Larger developer community: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: X. Easier to use: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. More S E O features (both have great S E O functions): Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: X. Scalable: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Integration with large marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, etc): Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Sell across multiple channels: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Support options: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark. Abandoned cart emails built in: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. Blogging built in: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. Large variety of payment gateways out of the box: Magento 2: X, BigCommerce: checkmark. Support for multiple currencies out of the box: Magento 2: checkmark, BigCommerce: checkmark.

Let’s look deeper at the pros and cons of each:

Magento 2 Pros:

  • Its open-source framework allows you to change anything (design, development, and customization freedom).
  • It offers an extensive theme, extension, and integration marketplace.
  • You’ll get a large and global community of developers.
  • The platform integrates with large marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
  • It’s highly scalable (as mentioned above).
  • The platform offers multi-store options, although that does require 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.
  • You’ll pay higher development costs over the long term for critical updates, security patches, and integrations.
  • Magento requires hosting and extra server capacity for scaling (unless you opt for Adobe Commerce Cloud).
  • It’s difficult to manage for non-technical users.
  • The platform provides 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. Adobe Commerce (i.e. Enterprise Edition or Enterprise Cloud Edition) includes support.

BigCommerce Pros:

  • Because it’s cloud-based, there is no need for separate hosting.
  • It provides lots of integrations, and the open API makes it easy to develop.
  • You’ll get easy integration and minimal coding with third-party apps.
  • You’ll get BigCommerce integrated security.
  • BigCommerce updates automatically.
  • The platform has an easier-to-use interface.
  • More payment gateways and local currencies are accepted out of the box.
  • The platform offers multi-store options, although that does require some customization.

BigCommerce Cons:

  • BigCommerce has an open API, but it’s not open-source like Magento 2 Open Source.
  • You’ll get less technical SEO support when managing multiple domains/languages.
  • You’re required to pay subscription costs. 

Note: Magento’s paid enterprise option, Magento 2 Commerce, also has annual subscription costs.

The Bottom Line: Why You Should Migrate to BigCommerce

Our eCommerce digital marketing agency assists stores that are hosted on a wide variety of platforms, including Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce (WordPress), and Shopify Plus.

In our opinion, many businesses on Magento would benefit from migrating to a SaaS platform like BigCommerce.

Ideally, your eCommerce platform should help your business 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 you have a very large number of SKUs to manage and need ongoing customization, Magento may be the better option for you

The BigCommerce platform also supports fairly large catalogs — but if you start getting beyond 600 SKUs on a single product, Magento is probably a better fit.

If you’re a larger store that needs 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.

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.

When migrating one of our clients from BigCommerce to Magento, we identified some helpful search engine optimization improvements along the way. On Magento, the client’s setup required a split between their online store and blog content. This was less than ideal for their SEO performance. By moving to BigCommerce, we resolved that complex issue, setting up the client for future organic success.

How to Complete a Magento Migration: Step-by-Step Guide

If your business is ready to take the plunge and migrate from a Magento to BigCommerce store, it’s time to do some detailed planning.

To help you out, we spoke with eCommerce veteran and former BigCommerce Marketing Intelligence Manager Mindy Regnell. What follows are her suggestions for a foolproof migration process.

Questions to Ask Before Your Migration

The shorter your re-platforming timeline is, the more flexibility you need. For a large store, a data migration and eCommerce website redesign to fit the new platform can take from three to six months.

The first step: Prioritize your migration needs.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will you be creating a brand-new site design for a new store or recreating the same site on a new platform?
  2. What features and functionality are necessary? If this is intricate, you might build out an eCommerce RFP template.
  3. What are the top platforms that meet your feature/functionality needs? Consider all the relevant options for platforms based on your timeline and budget, as well as any needs for customization and extensions.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. How will you move over all your data? The high-level strategy for doing this is signified by the acronym ETL:
    1. Extract the data from your current platform
    2. Transform the data to prepare it for your new platform
    3. Load the correctly formatted data via CSV or using an API/migration tool (the faster option)
    4. Remember: The amount of data you have affects how long the data transfer takes.

Migration Process and Implementation Strategy

If something goes wrong with your data after launching, it can hamper your site’s performance for weeks or months. So, we recommend you start by moving the data and completing a light site design before anything else.

When you’re ready to start your full migration, we recommend our three-step implementation strategy:

  1. Complete ETL Data Migration and Pre- & Post-Migration Testing
  2. Set Up Integrations
  3. Develop Your Site’s UX and UI

Here’s a more detailed, step-by-step version for you to follow:

  1. Determine what features and functionality you absolutely need. You can split these into “must-haves” vs. “nice to haves” vs. “dealbreakers.”
  2. Budget your migration in conjunction with that essential list of “must-have” features.
  3. Determine which “must-have” changes or features you might need in the future. Ideally, you can implement these at the same time as the current migration. If not, put them second on the “must-haves” priority list to develop after migrating.
  4. Create a timeline. Give yourself a conservative amount of wiggle room, so that you don’t start the project too late and miss the deadline. Make sure to allow time for testing and any updates needed after doing that testing.
  5. Outline the implementation tasks between what your in-house team will handle and what an outside developer or agency will handle.
  6. Check which plugin APIs and integrations you currently have in place on Magento. Do you need them all with BigCommerce, or does the move make some of them unnecessary?
    1. For example, BigCommerce has the following features built-in (that Magento stores may need as a custom extension):
      1. Blog
      2. Abandoned cart emails
      3. Certain payment gateways
      4. Checkout options
      5. Product categories filtering
  7. Back up everything. You’ll be glad to have it. Map and move your data over.
    1. Review how your images on Magento are backed up on the server (for example, through an image URL or file). That way, you can ensure important images for all your product pages are backed up.
  8. Execute the core pieces first: These include payment gateways, key integrations, and a light site design to get your store up and running.
  9. Test the site before launching live. Confirm that everything from your product catalog to your redirects is ready, so there are no surprises when you push live.
  10. Launch! Then, keep working on the design and second-priority features to add to the initial version.

If this process sounds overwhelming, you don’t have to do it on your own. Inflow’s team of technical SEO experts is always here to help. Contact us anytime for a custom proposal for your upcoming migration.

Choosing the Best Platform for Your Needs

While our team is partial to the latter, both Magento and BigCommerce have their uses for online businesses.

Ultimately, there’s no clear winner — just what’s best for your store’s needs.

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 are important, BigCommerce is likely the best fit. You can quickly integrate your data and customize their theme to fit your brand. Bonus: 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.

All that said, remember that there are other considerations when it comes to your website migration: improving SEO and conversion rate. If you’re interested in a marketing-focused BigCommerce migration service that addresses these factors, our team is always happy to help. 

We know that outside help is often needed for eCommerce businesses to not only choose the best platform for their needs — but to also execute on the subsequent large re-platforming project. Request a free proposal now to get a custom migration plan for your website.

Still considering your options? Review these additional resources to find the best platform for your eCommerce store:

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