#2 In this guide I would like to see…a clear path from where a User might currently be to where they might want to be with UnderstandingE.
#3 The reason why I would like to see this guide is…because, as a new Premium User, I have read and watched a great deal of what Dave and Matt have created with UnderstandingE. It’s an enormous effort and much appreciated but I find myself not quite knowing what to do next and where to get started.
Because I have a fairly successful bespoke Multi-Channel Platform processing around 1,000 orders per week on Amazon ~ mainly~ and on Ebay and my website and from which I want to migrate ~ my in-house programmer no longer works for me and, as a result, I know that the time has come to move on to something new and different.
Other Users may come from similar or different starting points but it is still something of a daunting journey. I cannot afford any interuption to my delicately balanced cash flow ~ this must apply to many Users.
So, where to start? And what are the logical steps that will result in my DB of 3,000 plus Products moving from my Server to a Remote Server. It cannot be done quickly and, to me, seems fraught with difficulty.
A clear path showing how these
difficulties modest hurdles:-) can be addressed and overcome without compromising the current means by which we trade would be very useful.
Thanks in anticipation.
Thanks for the post and thanks for joining us! :) and sorry for the delay in the reply.
This is a really curious one as the route for every business is likely to be a little different due to a few variables. Such as what software they have used before, how large their business is, what channels they use and their familiarity with Magento.
Because of this it would be difficult for us to cover all possible bases, especially when we introduce bespoke systems too!
So yes, a daunting journey but alas one that we are here to help you take :)
Now if this was my business I would try to keep my business running as it is as 1000 orders a week is no mean feat, and keeping that uninterrupted is key. So I would set up Magento & M2E Pro perhaps on a sub domain or separate URL and begin to build the system that you need, by all means link the accounts but don’t set them to synchornise stock or orders at this stage, as this could really FUBAR the current running of the business.
From here you could import your inventory into Magento & M2E Pro and start building your system. Making sure you have the right processes you need in place with any extensions that you think you would need. As the account would be in a sort of ‘offline’ mode you would be able to run tests etc without affecting your business.
Does this help at all?
Every expert was once a beginner
Where to start?! It’s going to be tough to cover the whole process in one post but I can summarise a few key strategies that I think are important.
1. Preparation is key
Watch all of the guides front to back, follow along in your own dummy system, attend the webinars, listen to the podcasts. At first I found the Magento back end confusing compared to the multi-channel software we’re currently using but familiarity soon kicks in and the processes occurring within the UE set up become clearer. This will enable you to plan what you need your magento set up to do for you and build accordingly.
2. Data is king
IMO after familiarising yourself with the systems, the biggest hurdle is getting your data ready for import and mapping. I know Matt is developing a tool to help with this, but as we wanted to proceed sooner we had to explore other ways of extracting our product data. We did a physical stock count, decided where our most accurate stock values were (ironically directly in eBay and not within our multi-channel software – wouldn’t trust that!) and scraped the data accordingly. It hasn’t been a smooth process and required a few weeks of work to get it importing correctly. Needless to say, I took it as far as I could before calling in an experienced m2e pro user to get us over the line. He helped eradicate a few errors and our products are now all importing correctly, ready for the switch any day now.
I’ve used multiple sources of support throughout the process, including:
– Forums – UE, Sourceforge, Magmi etc.
I think it’s key to have a few avenues to turn to if you get stuck, it relieves the stress! The wealth of knowledge that Matt, Dave and UE provide is by far the biggest and most useful resource available but inevitably things happen within your own set up which aren’t covered in the guides or that Matt or Dave haven’t come across before. The UE beast is big but it’s still growing! We have over 5000 SKUs across 500 different categories within eBay and a third of those being configurable. Our problems are our broad range and the quality of our older listings (some still had products photographed on my dining room floor!). Hence, we had to outsource a range of tasks including cutting 1,000s images out, updating these 1,000s on eBay, altering our eBay template, fixing our magmi import and setting up the final system, scraping data from ebay, front end website build, etc. I’ve worked with about 10 different parties during the build, all with their own specialism.
Yes these aspects have a cost but our spend is a low fraction of the £12k-20k quotes I received for our magento/m2e pro build about 9 months ago. I would say follow the guides to the best of your ability and outsource where necessary. It’s important throughout the build to VALUE your time, don’t spend your time stuck on something that becomes a time sink/stress focus for you when a reliable freelancer can do it better and at a lower end cost to you. That being said, hiring freelancers isn’t painless, I’m sure the guys will cover this soon! I’m happy to recommend the (good :) ) guys that I have worked with if you need advice on where to turn to.
4. Relax and don’t lose sight of the end goal
Change is never easy! Any system change I’ve been involved in during past working careers has been the same as this, full of the unexpected, and difficult to get your head around. During your build your current business operation can keep functioning as it does (just don’t take your eye off it during the build!) until the point at which you’re ready to switch. Analyse your day-to-day practices and make sure the new system cover these bases before you move over. After you’ve moved, then you can think about how you expand. For us, we need our orders processing and an easy listing process hence we’re ready to go with our Moogento set up for order processing, invoice templates ready, eBay listing templates ready and easy to use Excel listing templates that are ready for our staff to use from day 1. I’ve got my eye on a plethora of extensions that I want to add in once we get the day-to-day running smoothly but that’s for another post!
Hope the above helps, happy to have a chat over Skype/phone with you David if you feel it would help!
Hello Dave and Alex,
Many thanks for your two ~ detailed ~ responses and recommendations, which I’ve now read with great interest. I also listened to the ‘Tuesday Coffee Morning with Matt & Dave’ which helped project me a little further along that necessary learning curve.
I’ve taken on board all the suggestions and ‘yes’ I can see that in order to learn and become familiar with Mangento and m2e pro etc., I’m best settting up a dummy outlet, which I’m going to get going on almost immediately. No doubt, I’ll be back before long but, in the meantime, thanks once again and thanks, also Alex, for the Sype offer which I’ll be keen to take up once I’ve embarked a little further on understanding just what UnderstandingE is all about ~ read the blogs, forums and watched all the videos etc.
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