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July 7, 2017

Avoid data migration issues with Magento 2

As experienced ecommerce experts, our Magento developers understand that moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is more than merely a migration process. It’s a whole replatforming project and, subsequently, data migration is not straightforward.

Space 48 Technical Director and Magento Master, Tony Brown, discusses five best practices for migrating data to Magento 2 and offers key insights into taking an effective approach to data migration during replatforming:

What data should you need to migrate over?

Regardless of the platform, it’s important to avoid data migration issues. If you’re migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2, treat it as a complete replatforming process. This is, in part, to do with the leap forward that Magento 2 has provided concerning technology utilisation and techniques, but because it’s also the perfect time to revisit your ecommerce strategy, regarding data.

Magento offers a data migration tool to assist you with transferring your data, but don’t simply lean on this tool, or you’ll come up against issues. You need to properly plan your approach to migrating data to Magento 2 with an experienced Magento agency.

Only migrate over what is necessary. Consider the following:

  • Customer records/personal data
  • Product data
  • Categorisation
  • Order history – if your order history data is stored in third party systems, you may not need to migrate it over

Use this replatforming project as an opportunity to improve your data structure and strategy, such as your product attributes. Don’t carry over poor set-up and don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. This is a chance to improve user experience and optimise your ecommerce website.

Five best practices for approaching data migration

1. Get data into the system as soon as possible (even if it’s only viewable in the Admin)

This will allow you to carry out crucial testing and gain feedback at the earliest stage. This also has the benefit of providing real data for theming and development to work with.

2. Repeat the import process to ensure it is consistent.

You want to make sure that the process used to migrate the data is repeatable and not dependent on manual steps, regularly importing the data will give this confidence.

3. Ensure you’re improving your data when migrating from M1 to M2

You can’t just switch on the Magento data migration tool and expect it to run smoothly – it’s simply a mechanism. Put in the hard work and map out your data! No two Magento websites are the same, so make sure yours is the best it can be.

4. Clean up the data, don’t bring legacy data across

For example, sometimes where a module has been removed or disabled in the past, this may still leave data in the database. This can provide unnecessary bloat and lead to inefficiencies. Take the opportunity to clean up and not pollute the new Magento 2 database. This has the added benefit of speeding up the migration as less data is being worked on.

5. Run updates through the Magento data migration tool

The migration tool has the facility to bring across only new changes since the last import, this greatly reduces import times and therefore shortens your go-live procedure and also keeps everything in sync as you are working on the project.

Additional tips to ensure a smooth data migration

Evaluate using a PIM for migrating product data

If replatforming is on the horizon, it may be worth evaluating if a PIM (product information management) tool can add value to your business. If it can, then it may be worth migrating to using the PIM for product management first, then when the migration time comes, the PIM will just plug into the Magento 2 site and push data in automatically.

Consider third-party data storage

We mentioned order history earlier. If you work with third-party integrations, such as an ERP, then the need to store the order history in Magento is negated. You can save yourself a potentially troublesome task, especially if migrating from a non-Magento platform to Magento 2.

Ensure customer passwords are securely migrated

This is obviously vital for customer trust and brand reputation. Magento Security should allow you to migrate password details across securely, due to known encryption keys. However, if you’ve got fears regarding customer passwords or you run into issues, you may have to send messages out to your customers with details of how to reset their passwords.


These insights, tips and best practices should help you to take a strategic and diligent approach to data migration and improve your data set-up during replatforming. Hopefully, we’ve dispelled some fears around data migration – if the process is planned properly, you shouldn’t have many problems!

Space 48 is a leading UK-based ecommerce agency, specialising in Magento website development and ecommerce strategy. We’ve created award-winning ecommerce websites for major brands. Want to learn more about the key benefits of Magento 2, discover our Magento work