Zee & Co

Migration of a highly successful fashion store from Magento 1 to Magento 2 in the middle of the global pandemic. The story of powering through together with our client.

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Release date: July 27, 2020 | Market: UK, global | Industry: Fashion
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Background story

Our relationship with the UK independent fashion retailer Zee & Co has been among the longest-lasting we’ve had with any client.

We have been working together for over 9 years, going together through thick and thin, and this is really something you don’t see very often in the Magento ecosystem. We started with building a standalone mobile theme back in 2012, established a good rapport and, more importantly, mutual trust, and quickly grew from there.

Our client trusted us with building their first fully responsive website, which helped them capitalize on the increased mobile usage of target audiences. Incremental UX changes, ongoing SEO work, and a lot of effort into building custom features and supporting business workflows on their Magento 1 website – all of those things helped us reach the levels of mutual respect and business growth we’ve seen with no other client.

Challenge

And then, the time has come for the ultimate test – a migration to Magento 2.

This is where many have failed, so we needed to make sure not to leave anything to chance. After all, we were talking about a migration of a very custom Magento 1 site, the one that was worked on for almost 8 years, to Magento 2. What other challenges do you need?

All jokes aside, we’ve carefully planned out the entire process. The plan included recognizing the need for a lot of code refactoring, ditching some of the old code and features that now came out of the box with Magento 2, and we also wanted to take this opportunity to improve in a number of places.

The UX design was one area where both our client and we invested a lot of time, effort, and money, with great results (Zee & Co were awarded Best Mobile eCommerce website in UK for 2019).

This meant that we needed to make sure we don’t jeopardize everything we’ve accomplished, while at the same time preparing a solid foundation for further testing and improvements.

Overall, this was set out to be the largest build project in our recent history.

Solution (and some more challenges in the process)

As we started working on a number of customizations and refactoring of some of the old code snippets to make them compatible with M2, things were going pretty smoothly.

ERP change in the middle of the project

However, somewhere in the middle of the project, we were thrown a curveball when the client decided to switch their ERP vendor.

As you know, integrating an eCommerce store with an ERP is a project in itself, let alone the process of implementing an ERP into an eCommerce-driven business.

Now, to further complicate things, or better yet, to see if we’re up to the challenge, we had to work on integrating the new ERP on the current, Magento 1 website (as that one had to be operational with the new ERP system in place), and at the same time prepare the integration for Magento 2.

However, we were able to power through all the obstacles and, with a little help from Eurostop people, complete the integration (and test it) in time for the big day.

SEO implications of a migration project

Any significant change to the website may affect its SEO. Now imagine if you have a website some 8 years in the making, having to transfer it to a new system (don’t be fooled by the name, Magento 1 and 2 are two different very different beasts).

So, if you’re not paying attention, and planning carefully while being in constant communication with the development team, you may quickly find yourself in trouble.

Luckily, we have a team of eCommerce SEO experts, who have even written a number of articles on the subject, so made sure to leave no stone unturned, or better yet, no page left behind. This blog post on SEO checklist for Magento 2 migration helped us along the way.

Something old, something new…

An eCommerce business that has been running for decades, on various platforms, knows their customers.

Even more importantly, they understand the need to re-confirm that knowledge and to continuously invest in figuring out new ways of satisfying their customers’ needs. This is why using some of the proven 3rd party solutions is essential to enhance the eCommerce capabilities of any store.

Fresh Relevance for personalization, Premier Shipping as a neat option for repeat customers, Click & Collect options as pretty much a standard these days (wasn’t the case when we first rolled it out), Sendy for emails (transactional and marketing), Size Guide, Shop by Brand, Advanced Layered Navigation (with our own custom modifications and improvements to allow for better SEO management)…

All of those are just a handful of features and/or 3rd party solutions that many of the top eCommerce stores need and use. For each of those (and dozens more) proper planning, execution and adequate testing were in order before being able to launch a new store on Magento 2.

Results and the shape of things to come

With the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc in the UK fashion industry in particular, these are very difficult times for fashion retailers – brands or independents alike.

 

Luckily, thanks to the vision and direction of their leadership, Zee & Co have recognized the need for doubling down on their eCommerce efforts on time.

So, even if the fashion industry is now taking a lot of hits and unknowns, our client is much better positioned to reap the benefits of the smart investments they have made when the industry, and the economy as a whole starts recovering.

Do you need someone to help you plan your Magento 2 migration? Drop us a line and let’s talk! Just no ERP changes in the middle of the project, please 🙂

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