So, reason enough to already think about a migration to Shopware 6 and organize a relaunch soon. The current version of comes with a very handy migration manager, so you can migrate crucial data like user accounts etc. directly from the 5er version.
What to consider?
Well to be honest I believe a migration will be possible only with major modifications on the new system in most of the cases. If you have built a sophisticated system with a lot of extras, you might want to take your time to analyze and calculate the possible costs waiting for you around the corner.
I recommend to talk to a very experienced developer or agency and to break down all parts of the shop into smaller manageable pieces, for further development time estimation.
Of course, you should have a development and/or a staging environment to play with the migration. That you never update the system over the old system in a relaunch is self-evident.
I recommend to first migrate all the data and then adapt the design of the store, as you might want to get rid of black spots and doubts first, before you prettify and face lift your baby.
Also make a huge checklist or better said a script, how you will proceed during the launch.
Moments before the launch
You don’t want to turn over the switch on a Friday. Schedule the launch beginning of the week, when all team members are hopefully still in a good mood. Things will definitely go wrong, you only don’t know what and for how long exactly.
So better don’t stress your team and play through everything what could go wrong in theory and plan countermeasures before the situation becomes hot. Make sure your system administrator has all the accesses ready.
And then you switch over
If it is switching a symlink or setting the nameserver, you did it. So usually there are plenty of things which are not working and need to be fixed in real-time after the launch. Better said, you need to test everything, if it works with the new instance. Clear caches, check the payment process, API calls from external service provider needs to be registered again and so on. The list you hopefully made before can be long because e-commerce systems are usually a bit more complex due to the amount and the chaining of data.
I don’t want to become too technical and to keep it short, I can say that my last relaunches needed between 10 and 15 hours to complete in the hot phase. The switching itself and getting the platform up and running took only a couple of minutes, but I needed to test everything and had quite some work to take care of the two million details waiting for me lurking in the dark.
Let’s say everybody survived the relaunch. Now you will want to check the visitor’s behavior and need to check and check again if everything runs smoothly and if all the tracking codes are running as expected.
Actually, you will want to compare all numbers with the situation before the launch. Traffic data, Search console, sales, how your other marketing campaigns are performing etc. etc. this could take quite some days to be realistic.