A Guide to Switching From BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil

John Ahya
John Ahya

October 17, 2023

4 Mins Read

Last Updated November 17, 2023

BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil

An eCommerce store lets you establish a virtual presence and provide a never-before experience to users. However, you must continuously adopt new trends and technologies to offer such experience and survive and thrive in this progressive industry.

Considering the evolving eCommerce world, many businesses like yours have initially developed their online store using BigCommerce Blueprint. However, with the introduction of Stencil, a dynamic, modern, and responsive framework, they migrated their store from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil.

If you are also planning to switch from BigCommerce to Stencil, you have reached the right place.

Here, we will explain the step-by-step process for migrating from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil. In addition, we will also discuss the post-migration checklist, common challenges in migration, and tips to manage your store after migration.

Before we move on with these topics, you should understand why you should migrate from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil in the first place.

So, let’s get started.

BigCommerce Blueprint vs Stencil: An Overview

Factor BigCommerce Blueprint BigCommerce Stencil
Free and premium themes No Yes
Design flexibility Limited Highly customizable
Industry-specific themes Not available Available
Performance Depends on theme Built-in responsiveness
User Interface Old Modern
Customization Quick & efficient Requires more time & effort
Maintenance Less updated needed Regular updates needed
Security Basic Security Good security

Remember that the features and performance of a theme vary heavily on the version and configuration. Therefore, you should choose a theme according to your BigCommerce store requirements and goals.

Reasons to Upgrade from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil

Here is why you should upgrade your BigCommerce store from Blueprint to Stencil.

1. SEO-Friendly

While migrating from one thing to another, store owners have fear in mind regarding SEO. However, in this case, we are just migrating the design from Blueprint to Stencil; however, we remain on the same platform. Hence, SEO will not be affected.

Moreover, the Stencil theme is developed considering the SEO in mind. It comprises schema markup and clean HTML code to enhance your site’s visibility in search engines. In addition, Stencil supports rich snippets to help search engines become familiar with web page content, thereby increasing rankings.

2. Enhanced Site Speed

Stencil themes ensure to provide top-notch site speed. How? It offers automatic image optimization utilizing the Akamai Image Manager feature. Due to this, your store resizes the images considering the particular device size or type.

The theme even minifies and combines all the JS and CSS scripts into one CSS & JS file, thus reducing the web requests and size of files. It ultimately decreases the HTTP requests and improves site speed and user experience.

In addition, Stencil provides Google-AMP-based themes. Due to this, your site loads instantly.

With this enhanced site speed, you can provide a better experience to the users, reduce the bounce rate, and increase conversion rates.

3. Developer-Friendly Framework

Stencil themes are more developer-friendly than the Blueprint themes. The reason is that these are developed on an open-source source, which means a massive community of developers is available for support.

Another reason is that Stencil lets you verify the code without affecting the cloud-based environment. The theme allows you to choose the production storefront as per your need; it simply means that you can view, test, tweak, and transform without the involvement of the production version.

4. Seamless Customization

Stencil offers hassle-free customization with a plethora of options. Hence, you can modify your store to provide a next-gen shopping experience to your users. The best thing is that it lets you customize the storefront without any coding experience using its Stencil theme editor.

Additionally, it has localization support, which means you can modify the language of your store to reach out to people from particular countries.

Lastly, this enhanced flexibility lets you keep your site up-to-date with the changing eCommerce industry and user needs.

5. Mobile Responsive

Day by day, there has been a constant increase in the number of users buying using their mobile devices.

Due to this, stencil themes are built using the mobile-first approach. They are responsive and function well on any device, from smartphones to tablets to desktops.

Things to Consider Before Migrating to Stencil Theme

Here are some of the crucial things you should carry out thoroughly for a smooth Blueprint to Stencil transition.

1. Access Your Store

First and foremost, you should access your existing BigCommerce store on the Blueprint theme. Check out the structure of your store. You should also evaluate the design, functionality, and overall performance.

2. Backup Your Store

The next thing you should consider before migrating from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil is taking a complete backup. This includes taking backups of things like product data, customer data, order history, images, themes, and more.

The backup is highly beneficial in case of any emergencies. You have the option to revert to the previous version.

3. Choose a Stencil Theme

Visit the BigCommerce theme marketplace and check out the vast range of themes available. Choose a theme that aligns well with your industry, niche, and brand.

The new store you create using Stencil will directly impact the user experience and brand identity. Therefore, ensure that your chosen theme has a modern design, the required functionality, and enough customization options.

4. Decide What You Want to Customize

Analyze your business requirements and list the customizations you want in your online store. These consist of fonts, colors, items deployed, layout changes, etc. Also, check out the previous Blueprint theme and identify any custom code you want in your Stencil theme.

By listing all the customizations, you can create a site that presents your brand and aligns with business goals, leading to better customer engagement.

If you don’t know the process of customizing these things or want to check out whether these customizations are possible in the theme, hire an eCommerce developer.

Step-by-Step Process for Migrating from Blueprint to Stencil

Here is the simple process of migrating a store from Blueprint to Stencil.

1. Install the Stencil Theme

After deciding on a suitable Stencil theme for your eCommerce store, go to the BigCommerce marketplace and purchase that theme immediately.

Refer to all the instructions given on the screen and install that theme.

2. Preview and Customize Your Theme to Store’s Branding

Now, preview the theme you purchased for your eCommerce store and modify it using the built-in theme editor.

Now, focus on customizing the theme as per the plans that you have made before. Ensure the theme looks and functions based on the desired needs and preferences.

If there are various complex changes, you should reach out to a developer.

3. Migrate Products, Customers, and Orders

After installing and customizing the theme, you must move all the essential data and content from the previous Blueprint theme to the new Stencil theme. It comprises products, customers, and order data. Additionally, you need to transfer blogs and other relevant content.

Lastly, ensure that all the buttons and navigations are as required and working effectively.

Have Questions About The Migration Process?

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4. Test Your Online Store

You should test your updated online store entirely before you make it live. Consider checking broken links, errors, missing images, etc.

Ensure to test your store on various devices and browsers; check well when considering user experience, compatibility, and responsiveness.

5. Make it Live

As soon as you have customized the new store and think it is working as needed, make it live. Track how your store performs regularly in the early days to detect any errors in your store.

Post-Migration Checklist

Here is the list of things you should consider after migrating your store from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil.

1. Informing Customers about Migration

After migrating your store from Blueprint to Stencil, the first and foremost thing to consider is alerting users about the same. Follow the simple steps given below to achieve it.

Create a Communication Plan: Build an extensive communication plan to alert users about the migration before making it live. Notify users through email, social media, website, etc.

Clear Messaging: Build proper messages describing all the things about migration, its advantages, and any desired changes after it. Create a checklist of how the migration will impact the shopping experience.

FAQ Section: Include an FAQ section on the website that answers all the burning questions that users might have about the migration.

Support Channels: Establish a support channel that answers all users’ questions about migration.

2. Updating Theme Regularly

To offer a superior experience to the users, update your theme repeatedly. Here are the things that you should look up to:

  • Plan a Schedule: Decide a schedule for updating your theme regularly. It ensures your store remains updated according to the latest trends and offers top-of-the-class performance.
  • Bug Fixes and improvements: Monitor updates well that require bug fixes and improvements.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Test and ensure that your store works efficiently on multiple devices and browsers to offer flawless performance.

3. Checking Store Performance

A high-performing Stencil store satisfies the needs of the potential audience and ranks higher in the search engines. Follow the tips given below to achieve the same.

Regular Audits: Track the performance of the store using different tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and GTmetrix. Resolve any of the issues that impact loading and performance.

SEO Monitoring: Check out how the SEO of your store is performing by looking at the keyword rankings, organic traffic, and indexing status. Conduct essential adjustments to improve the rankings. Take help from a digital marketing agency if you are not able to understand these things.

Collecting User Feedback: Inspire users to offer feedback about the store and their experience at the time of shopping. Discover any issues they face in your store and resolve them immediately.

Performance Optimization: Improve images, compress any unnecessary files, and reduce the usage of third-party scripts that affect the performance.

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Resolving Common Challenges

Here are some of the most common challenges that you will face while migrating your store from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil.

Broken Links or Missing Images

Whenever you migrate your store from Blueprint to Stencil theme, many images and links on your store might get broken. Therefore, it’s time to fix them.

Verify that all the links and images on your online store are functioning as needed.

Audit Third-Party Apps & Integrations

While switching from one theme to another, several third-party apps and integrations will not function as required. In other words, they might be incompatible with the Stencil theme.

Check all the third-party apps and any custom BigCommerce integrations that you have installed in the Stencil theme. If they are not working properly, contact a specific app developer to help you sort out this issue. Another thing is to install an alternative app providing the same functionality.

SEO Practices

While moving your store from one theme to another, you might observe issues in the search engine rankings. To reduce this risk, check whether the new theme works according to the latest SEO practices. Ensure your store is SEO-friendly, utilize proper header tags, keep rich meta titles and descriptions for every page, ensure that images have effective alt tags, and more.

Customization Is Up-to-The-Mark

Some customizations might be incompatible when switching from the Blueprint theme to Stencil. Hence, you must identify all the things incompatible with the new theme and build them from scratch.

Here, the best thing is to hire a developer to identify all the customizations that are not compatible with your store and ensure that they function well.

Data Migration

Whenever you are migrating from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil, you need to ensure that all the data, such as customer information, product data, order data, etc., are transferred without any kind of issues.

The best and most effective way to transfer data is to leverage built-in migration tools or any well-known third-party migration service.

Content Migration

While migrating your store from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil, you also need to migrate all the blog pages, web pages, media, etc. While doing this, there are high chances that you might face one or other issues.

To ensure no issues occur during content migration, you should utilize content migration tools or a relevant script. Here, you should make sure that the media files and blog content are migrated accurately with the necessary links.

8 Tips to Manage Your Stencil Store Effectively

To ensure your Stencil store survives and thrives in the growing eCommerce industry, implement the tips we have shared below.

1. Regularly Update Your Store Inventory & Pricing

Closely monitor the inventory and the pricing of the products in your store. Ensure to offer precise details about the product quantity and pricing to the audience.

Also, keep an eye on the product listings. Control your inventory levels and keep pricing based on the market conditions.

2. Optimizing Media and Content

Utilize eye-catching images and videos to represent your product well and draw the audience’s attention. Along with that, modify the product descriptions and content to display your product.

3. Streamline the Checkout Process

A streamlined checkout process has a direct impact on engagement and conversation rates. Here are certain things that you should consider:

  • Eliminate all the unnecessary steps in the checkout process. Keep a fully-simplified, one-page checkout process.
  • Provide a guest checkout option for users to purchase the product without investing much time and effort.
  • Offer multiple payment options, such as credit/debit card, PayPal, etc.
  • Provide a progress bar to let users know where they have reached in the checkout process.

4. Ensure to Offer Best-in-Class Customer Support

Focus on offering top-notch customer support as it helps you establish better trust and credibility for your brand among customers.

It all starts with integrating modern support via live chat or chatbot and providing prompt solutions to customers’ queries. You should also offer phone and email support and ensure users can find these details without any hindrance and reach out to you.

In addition, you should also include an FAQ section on the website to help users find answers to common questions easily. Provide quick help in the case of post-purchase issues: live tracking, returns, product inquiries, etc.

5. Include a Robust Product Return Policy

A transparent and customer-friendly return policy helps you leave a good impression of your brand among customers and allows them to take action with confidence. Here are some crucial things to consider.

Firstly, clearly mention whether you offer a refund or exchange. Secondly, ensure that your return policy is explained in simple language without any jargon. Thirdly, you should state the return window (60 to 90 days), including the condition in which the item needs to be returned.

Lastly, mention the return process with all the essential steps customers need to consider for returning anything.

6. Security

Integrate an SSL certificate in your Stencil store for quick and secure data transmission. Monitor your store regularly and protect against any threats and vulnerabilities.

7. Compliance

Whenever you are opening an online store in any of the countries, you need to abide by the laws and regulations of that country. Therefore, make sure that your Stencil store is built considering the laws and regulations of that region. For example, you need to follow the GDPR rule to open an online store in the Europe region.

8. Analytics & Reporting

It is essential for measuring your store’s performance to know where it is heading. Without doing this, you never know whether you are achieving your business goals.

Therefore, utilize multiple analytics tools to gain valuable insights, such as conversion rates, bounce rates, user behavior, traffic, revenue, and overall conversion rates.

Review all the reports and make necessary changes in the marketing plan, store optimization, and product listings.

Ready To Make The Switch From Blueprint To Stencil?

With over a decade of experience in BigCommerce Development, we can make your transition a breeze!

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Wrapping Up

Adapting to the changing industry trends is essential for an eCommerce store to grow progressively. Upgrading your store from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil is one of the best investments you have made for the brand’s future.

With this upgrade, you can customize the store to the next level, enhance performance, and provide a seamless shopping experience to the customers. Make sure to choose a suitable theme as per your brand’s need and test it thoroughly before making it live.

If you have any questions regarding the BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil transition, feel free to reach out to us.

WebDesk Solution is a professional BigCommerce development company. We have developed numerous online stores using different BigCommerce themes as per clients’ needs. Hence, we can understand your needs well and provide you with an effective online store.

John Ahya
John Ahya

John is the President and Co-Founder of WebDesk Solution, LLC. Living the digital agency life for over 10 years, he explores an extensive eCommerce world. He has immense experience in all major e-commerce platforms. Being a nature lover, he likes to breathe the fresh air on the hill stations during vacations.

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