Be it worlds or websites, migration is tough.
It’s the same as moving houses. There’s a lot of effort and care involved. And it’s not just about making sure all your valuables are safely transported; it’s also about getting things set up right so you can go back to your routine as early as possible.
But, I’ll be honest with you, it’s not easy.
There are a hundred things that can go wrong (hi Murphy’s Law!) and mess up that experience for you and your family, or users.
Does that mean you shouldn’t migrate? Does that mean you stick with a mediocre, glitchy, run-of-the-mill subscription website and not hope for a fantabulous, efficient, top-of-the-class one?
That just means you prepare yourself for the worst and avoid all WooCommerce migration pitfalls, so no matter what happens, you got your a$$ covered.
So, keep your eyes open to see where you can fall and you’ll be good. Here’s a list to help you out!
Pitfall 1 – You Could Lose Customer Data
While migrating your subscriptions, the biggest threat is losing orders or user accounts in the process. Naturally, any loss or corruption of data is a major concern. You could miss out on pending orders or lose customer history, directly impacting your business in a negative way.
Although this should not be a worry when moving from one WordPress website to another, it could happen when you’re moving from one platform to another, if data isn’t mapped correctly.
- Take a complete backup of all your data before the migration process
- Understand how fields will be mapped to one another.
- Validate and test the data that’s migrated, thoroughly, to ensure things are in place.
Pitfall 2 – Your Customers might need to re-enter their Credit Card Info
Most store owners always have this worry of impairing customer experience. Imagine having to make customers re-enter sensitive information such as credit card data!
If they think that something is wrong and lose trust, your brand reputation is going down the drain.
- Clearly communicate to your customers that you are migrating to a different site.
- Send an email or put up notices on the account page.
- Be transparent so that they are well informed when they interact with your new site.
Bonus advice: Apologize in advance for any mishap that might occur in billing or subscriptions. You will be trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, of course, but your customers will nevertheless appreciate being forewarned.
Pitfall 3 – You Might Miss Recurring Payments and Subscriptions
Most migrations take care of transferring sensitive data such as customer credit card information. But if you have a new payment gateway on WooCommerce you are moving to, subscription information might need to be recreated. This will depend on the payment gateway you will be using on your new store.
For example, if you are using PayPal on your previous site and want to use Stripe on your migrated site, the data will not be automatically transferred, you will need to manually recreate it on the new site.
Other modes of payments such as ACH cannot be moved legally to a new gateway and will have to be explicitly set up by the customer.
Read up carefully on payment gateway transfers to avoid missing recurring payments or get help from a professional WooCommerce Subscriptions migration provider.
Pitfall 4 – Your Site’s Downtime Could Increase
Although site downtime is a reality no matter who handles the migration to WooCommerce, the extent of impact can vary. Temporary site downtime when making the new store live is expected. But then things like invalid site URLs leading to page not found errors, or database connection lost messages can indicate underlying problems which are difficult to resolve without expert help.
If you experience site downtime – it’s best to first check if your server is fine. With WooCommerce, URL errors could mean your redirects aren’t correctly set up.
Check with your hosting provider, run a speed test to see how your site is performing and then go through your list of migrated URLs to see where you are hitting a snag.
Pitfall 5 – Your Website Pages/Interface Might Break
If you’re migrating to WooCommerce Subscriptions from a different WordPress plugin, your task is somewhat easier. However, if you are migrating your entire store from a different platform to WordPress, you have your work cut out for you.
Complete store migrations could mean having to recreate your entire site. And if you want to maintain the look of your current website, creating a similar site on WooCommerce could be a lot of work. You’d have to make sure your theme is the same, the color scheme matches, all buttons are in the right place, and so on.
What could happen is there might be a difference in the way certain elements (header, sidebar, footer) are displayed leading to discrepancies. If you’re not experienced in frontend development, the user interface might appear obscure. For example, text and buttons might be disproportionate.
Put your current site into maintenance mode and set up a staging site for your WordPress installation.
Fiddle and tinker with everything there, before you go live with the final website. Set up your theme and plugin, migrate your store and subscriptions, have everything made ready ship-shape and then hit the publish button.
Pitfall 6 – Your Site Ranking Could take a Hit
Google don’t love no broken sites. 😐
Ranking high in search results takes a lot of time and effort. And even though you maintain the same set of URLs, SEO is bound to be affected. But that’s an expected outcome and should not be a worry. Most of the time, it’s a temporary dip till Google picks up your links again and you achieve your rankings.
In the meantime,
Make sure you test all SEO parameters and redirects, after your store is made live.
Pitfall 7 – You Might Face Issues with Supporting Apps
No man is an island; neither is your website.
There are a lot of external third-party integrations your website might be functioning on, so you will have to replicate those functionalities in WordPress. Here, it might not always be smooth sailing as there can be compatibility issues with supporting apps.
Upon migrating your store to WooCommerce, you might have to figure out how to get apps integrated with your old platform working with WordPress. WooCommerce has a wide list of extensions which contain integration plugins as well. You will have to download or purchase supporting extensions and then integrate your third-party applications with WooCommerce and get them seamlessly working as before.
If an extension is not available, your best bet is to either implement the API yourself or contact a developer.
Have I scared you with this list of pitfalls on your way to subscriptions nirvana?
Well, don’t worry…
WooCommerce Migration is Easy…When Done Right!
Store migrations are not difficult. You need to be aware of possible scenarios and ready to handle any hiccups. Take necessary precautions, back up your data, and test out all scenarios before making the new site live.
If you think you might not be able to handle the above-mentioned situations yourself, you can always get professional help.
Also, here’s a bit of help.
A crash course in fail-safe migration to WooCommerce Subscriptions:
- Create a migration checklist
List out all the steps involved in the migration process – right from the number of data records that will be exported, corresponding fields that will be populated on data import, parameters and use cases to be tested, and more.
- Give it time
Store migrations can’t be done in haste. You can’t be looking for quick solutions. You have to plan well in advance.
- Get all data ready at your fingertips
Start by removing unnecessary data, clean up your database before the export process.
- Understand data mapping
During data export and import, you might not find the exact mapping of fields between the two systems. In such a situation, it’s important to make note of which fields are going to get populated with the new data and all limitations.
- Keep an expert at arm’s reach
Get in touch with a migrations expert – a partner who has experience handling store migrations.
If you want more detailed insights about how you can migrate your store successfully to WooCommerce Subscriptions, here’s an article you need to read.
That’s about it, folks! So get your screen-of-death safety goggles on and first-aid code kit ready. It’s time for some migrating!
P.S. Don’t forget to drop a comment to let us know how it goes!