5 Steps to Migrate to a Headless Commerce Platform

There’s no set-in-stone definition of what a platform migration means in the commerce space, but for most, planning a migration is the perfect chance to eliminate overhead and aim for a leaner solution. 

The approach advocated by commercetools involves dividing an existing project into business domains and transferring the respective functionality and data out of the legacy platform to a best-of-breed infrastructure with commercetools as the core commerce functionality. In most cases, this means going from an on-premise monolith to a service-oriented, headless cloud solution integrated via APIs.

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Unlike commerce software replatforming of the past, a phased migration is recommended, and more manageable with a headless solution. The idea is to disturb operations as little as possible and mitigate risks as much as possible. With that in mind, below are the five key steps in a migration to a headless commerce platform, as well as considerations for digital teams.

  1. Discovery and gap analysis: This is an opportunity to take stock; to list what the current platform offers (especially in the overall customer journey), what it doesn’t offer, and to set priorities. It’s also a good idea at this stage to set up or reconfigure digital marketing teams to support the new platform during and after the launch.
  2. Building the migration roadmap: There are a few critical decisions to be made in this step including selecting the front-end experience. At what point does the organization want to migrate to a new front-end – ahead of the commerce platform switch, during, or after? There are arguments for all three. Other decisions at this stage include how and when to move data like product catalogs, user profiles, and orders. Of course, no roadmap plan would be complete without pinning down some priority milestone dates.  For marketing teams this could be seasonal or based on a new regional launch, the desire to rollout a mobile or POS app, or the launch of a new channel or product set.
  3. Extracting the data: While the actual data handling will be done by the technical team, digital marketing teams need to have a stake in the data modeling including objects, sub-types, and attributes. A pet food company may have an object called “dogs” while a clothing retailer might have “shirts” and “jeans” product types with different subtypes, and a digital product might have object attributes like ‘download count.’   
  4. Importing and verifying the data: Primarily a technical function, there should be digital marketing owners assigned to verify the data into the new system as this will ultimately impact how the day-to-day business processes are conducted.
  5. Building custom extensions: Custom extensions are opportunities to build efficiency into the new commerce platform as the old platform is being phased out. This includes things like synchronizing product data between old systems and new systems.

Create a Holistic Headless Commerce Migration Plan

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a headless commerce approach. In this new world, no one solution should be the center of the tech stack. It’s about bringing together best-of-breed solutions that are independent of one another, but also integrate seamlessly. That’s why Mobify, commercetools, Amplience, and EPAM teamed up to bring you a holistic guide that covers every facet of successfully actualizing a headless commerce strategy. Download the Headless Commerce Playbook for Business Leaders now to map out your headless front-end, commerce, content, and implementation strategy. 

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