Migration Phase 2 Announcement

NEW: Track the latest updates with the new Migration Update Chart.

Migration Update Chart

It’s taken a little longer than expected but we are now ready to roll out the next phase for migrating your PhotoMerchant accounts across to the new Fotomerchant application. As an existing user you will recognise a lot of the same concepts but underneath the revised interface is an entire new structure for how we deal with your pages, photos, products and orders. Because everything is so different, the transfer from old to new is quite a complicated, but our goal is to move everyone across to the new system as quickly as we can so you can start taking advantage of the new features and the new features we will be developing. We thank you for your patience.

Migration Phase 2 will start as of today and will continue to be rolled out in larger batches over the coming weeks. Keep reading this post for the full details of the rollout.

This is a pretty detailed blog post and it should cover any and all questions you have about the migration process. Please read through it in great detail as there are few things to consider before you proceed. In this post we will cover:

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1. What IS included in this migration?

At the end of this migration your new website will look almost identical to your current website with some slight changes to font sizes, template tweaks, navigation enhancements and other minor style changes. In this phase you will be able to transfer the majority of your customer facing content including:
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  • Account and billing information *
  • Website and store settings *
  • Domain settings * (You will need to make changes to your DNS settings if you are bringing your own website domain. We will do this for you if you obtained your website domain through PhotoMerchant)
  • Images, Galleries and Tags (titles, descriptions and meta data will all be retained)
  • Website Favicon
  • Website Logo
  • Theme settings (including any custom background images)
  • Gallery Categories
  • Web pages and their content
  • Watermarks
  • Assets
  • Sliders
  • Customers and Customer Groups



* these items are mandatory to the migration process


What IS NOT included in this migration?

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  • Current and Archived Orders
  • Feature Sets and Pricing Models (Our new Product and Catalog tools are much easier to use so re-creating your offering is very simple and should only take half an hour or so)
    • Self Fulfilment products
    • Direct Fulfilment products
    • Digital products
    • Packages
  • Ledger
  • Custom shipping options
  • Reports
  • Discounts



2. Essential things you need to know before you migrate

Missing Features
There are still a few features that are missing from the new Fotomerchant that may be essential to the way you do business. Some of these features are high on our list of development while others are indeterminate at the moment. The current missing features are:
[list type=”list1″]

  • Packages (very high on our development roadmap)
  • Lightroom Uploader This has now been released (click here)
  • Bulk image editor
  • Self Fulfilment setting “Restrict paper sizes based on image resolution”
  • Alternative payment options (e.g. Cash on Delivery)
  • Comments
  • Dashboard & Financial Reports

Favourites and Checkout Cleanse
Although your new Fotomerchant will look the same to your customers and visitors, their previous browsing and order history will be reset to zero. This means that:
[list type=”list1″]

  • Any favourites your customer had created will no longer exist. They will need to rebuild their favourites list and register as a new customer if they want their favourites saved.
  • Any items in a customers checkout will no longer exist. If you know that specific customers have yet to order, you may want to prompt them to complete their order or risk having to go through the process all over again.


If any of these issues are critical to your business you may want to communicate with your customers about the impending change and delay your migration for a short time.

Customer and Order history will not be migrated
The Phase 2 Migration does not include the transfer of your Customer records or any current or existing Orders (that’s coming in Phase 3). An alternative may be to manually copy and paste your customer details into a spreadsheet for future reference. You could also do the same for your Order history or search through your email history for the order emails you would have received from PhotoMerchant.

Reporting and financial ledger data will not be migrated
Again, you may need to scrape the content in these pages and paste them into a spreadsheet if you want to retain this information. The new version of Fotomerchant does not yet have any reporting or ledger functionality.

Choose an appropriate time to start the migration
When you receive your invitation to migrate, you should start the process at a time that will have the least impact on your website. Because your shopping cart will be disabled for up to a couple of hours, choose a time when your customers are least likely to be making purchases on your site. We would suggest you start the process during your regular business hours or very late at night.


3. Rollout schedule

Our plan is to move everyones account across in batches. This way we can manually track the migration process, manage server load and intervene if we need to. The last thing we want is for everyone to press the “migrate” button at the same time and bring the entire Internets down! Okay, so not the whole Internet, but migrating in batches is the safest outcome for everyone. For the most part, each batch will be selected at random. If you have an immediate need to move across, you can volunteer to be a part of our initial wave of batches here.

Migration Phase 2 will start as of today and will continue to be rolled out in larger batches over the coming weeks.

How will I know if I have been selected?
Once your account has been assigned to a batch, our friendly account transfer robot MiGATRoN will send you a notification email and invite you to log into your account to start the migration.

What do I need to do to start the Migration?
Once you have logged in, you will be prompted to start the process with a large banner on your account dashboard (see example image). Click on the banner to start the 3-step process.

Step 1 of 3: Information about the migration process
This page contains all the information you need to know about what will and will not be included in the current migration state. Read everything carefully before you decide to proceed. Click the “Let’s get started!” button to continue.

Step 2 of 3: Migration options
On this page you will get to choose which items you would like to bring across from your current website. You might want to consider just bringing your Galleries across and use this time to reconsider how your pages and layout are presented. It’s entirely up to you.

If you’ve already started a Fotomerchant trial account you will be able to enter your log in details to sync your accounts. Don’t worry if you haven’t created a Fotomerchant account, we will automatically do all of that for you.

Your last option is to choose if you want to keep paying monthly for your plan or to take advantage of our new discounted yearly option. Check out our pricing plans page for more information on the new yearly plan options.

Once you have made your selections, click the “Migrate me to Fotomerchant.com” button.

Step 3 of 3: Final cross check
This is your last chance to make sure that you are happy to take the next step to start the actual migration process. Read the points on this page clearly as there is no turning back.

Once you have clicked the “I Agree” button, your account migration request will be added to the MiGATRoN processing queue. MiGATRoN will send you an email when the process has started and another when the migration is complete and you can log in to your new Fotomerchant account.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my old website and traffic?
If you have followed the steps outlined during the migration process, any visitors to your old website should automatically be redirected through to your new website. If you are using your own website domain, you will need to make sure you DNS settings are all up to date and pointing to your new website. Your old website will no longer exist and at some time in the future, will be deleted.

How long will the migration take?
There is no simple answer to this question as the speed is based on how big your website is, how many images you have and where you are placed in the migration queue. This could be anywhere between a couple of minutes and a couple of hours. In order to minimise the impact for your visitors we would recommend you start the process early in the morning, during standard business hours or late at night.

You’re the best judge of when you visitors are most likely to be on your website. Remember, your website will still be visible, it’s just that your visitors will be unable to add favourites, add items to cart or make a purchase.

Is there anything I need to do after the migration?
There are just a few little administrative tasks that may or may not be relevant to finalise your website. Take a look at our Post Migration Checklist once you have completed the migration.

Should I migrate now or wait until Phase 3?
It’s entirely up to you. Hopefully, you’ve read through the “Essential things you need to know before you migrate” list above so you’re aware of the things to watch for when moving across.

If the only thing that concerns you is setting up your products all over again, then you should bite the bullet and go through with the migration – setting up new products is very easy and nowhere near as painful as Feature Sets and Pricing Models were. If you have a lot of customers and re-building them manually again looks like a chore, then you should probably wait for Phase 3.

When will the next phase be ready?
We are unable to commit to a timeline on when the next phase will be ready for you to use. Know that our biggest priority is moving everyone across from the old system to the new, so getting phase 3 ready is super important to us.

What happens during the migration?
When you start the migration process your PhotoMerchant account will go into a suspended state, meaning you will be unable to access any administrative functions of your website. Behind the scenes, MiGATRoN will be copying all your photos, website content and settings across to your new website.

Your public facing website will continue to work normally allowing your visitors to browse your pages and view your photos. However, visitors will be unable to add items to their favourites, to a cart or be able to checkout.

What about payments and billing?
As part of the migration process we will automatically move your account and payment information across to the new system. During the migration process you will be offered the opportunity to take advantage of our discounted yearly option or continue with the monthly version of your current plan. Your new Fotomerchant account will reset your billing date to the date of your transfer. We will automatically calculate how many days you have left in your billing cycle and apply it as a credit to your first payment so you wont be out of pocket. Your new monthy billing date will now be the day you migrated to the new system.

Why haven’t I received an invite to migrate my account yet?
As mentioned previously, we are rolling out the migration invitations in batches. If you would like to be considered for inclusion in the first few batches, you can add your email address to our Migration priority volunteer list. If you have been waiting for more than a couple of weeks, there may be something unique about your account that requires our manual intervention, and if so, we will reach out to you personally to get you migrated as soon as we can.

Got more questions?
Add your questions to the comments area below

Written by

Kain is a co-founder, creative and marketing director at Fotomerchant. You've probably seen his template designs, blog posts and video content. His photography website lomovision.net is home to a collection of lomography, instagram and experimental photography.

  • Fetlock Photos

    If an existing account holder starts a new trial account and completes its set up does it still mean that all existing customers would have to go thru their registration process again.Regards Roger

    • photomerchant

      Yes, that’s right. Customer records are not being moved across in Phase 2 – that is planned for the next phase. You could manually recreate them in your new Fotomerchant acount yourself if you wanted to.

      • Fetlock Photos

        Do you have any idea about the time frame between phase 2 and phase 3,I have volunteered to be an early phase 2 mover.Next question,will the original site still be useable after the phase 2 move.Thanks Roger.

        • photomerchant

          We don’t have a time frame between phase 2 and phase 3 as we need to see how the take up of phase 2 goes first. As soon as we have some idea, we will make an announcement, but it would be fair to think that phase 3 would not happen for at least 2-4 weeks.

          Glad to hear you’ve volunteered for early access :)

          Once you’ve migrated your domain (if you have one) your old site will no longer be publicly available and all traffic will redirect to your new site. Nor will you be able to access the admin area of your old website.

          You might want to read the reply to Bob Strempka in one of the comments above as it describes a good way to do the migration.

  • andrew Baird

    no-one has explained why i would want this ‘migration’ at all. I only just set up the sales site – are you telling me i now have to fix it up again? surely if you are charging me to be with you, you should do the required work.

    • photomerchant

      Hi Andrew, we’ve been developing the new version of the application for the past 12 months with the aim of making it faster, to improved on it’s core features and so that we can develop more features more quickly. The new version is easier to use especially for product creation and gallery management, uploading is dramatically faster, there’s blogging and a bunch of tweaks designed to make managing your website and orders more simply.

      During this time we’ve attempted to share the benefits of the new system, though clearly we have not done this very well.

      Eventually we will move everyone across to the new system automatically, but in the meantime, a lot of our users have expressed that they want to be on the new system as soon as possible, which is why we have been rolling out various phases of migration to make the process possible. With this phase, a partial migration is possible, which for a lot of photographers is what they want. You are more than welcome to sit tight and wait for the full automated migration

      The end result is, hopefully, a better experience for managing your website and your sales.

      • andrew Baird

        OK thanks, I’ll wait for the fully automated version.

  • Bob Strempka

    If I go through the migration process, is there time to work with the new site while my old site is active, or am I immediately required to start updating prices and such to the new site? I would like to be able to figure my way around the new site until I am ready to go live with it, while still having the old site up. If the old site is not available, is it best for me to just rebuild the site from scratch with the new trial account?

    Bob Strempka

    • photomerchant

      Hey Bob, that’s a good question. With migration, your new website is instantly live using the vanity URL you get for free (bobstrempka.fotomerchant.com). Your old site will still be browsable but commerce will be disabled. If you want to start the migration, the best process for you to do would be:

      1) Create a trial on the new Fotomerchant
      2) Remake your Feature Sets and Pricing Models as Products in a Catalog (it’s a new way to make products but it is waaaaay simpler). This should only take you half an hour.
      3) Copy the HTML from your current pages and past them into new web pages in the Trial.
      4) Create one new gallery and upload one image so that you can test that your new Catalog is working the way you want.

      At this point you’ve rebuilt the core of your website. Once you’re happy with these basic elements you can start the phase 2 migration. Once everything is copied across you can bulk select your Galleries to apply the Catalog. Re-check that you’re happy with the setup of your new site and then edit your DNS settings to point your domain to your new website.

      Does this sound like a feasible option?

  • Bob Strempka

    Thanks…I’ll get started with the trial and follow your suggestions!

  • Jodie

    I am on a satelitte connection which is limited as far as upload/downloads – do I have to upload all my photos again?

    • photomerchant

      Hi Jodie. Migration Phase 2 means that we will copy all of your photos across from the current system to the new Fotomerchant (so you don’t have to!). You would only need to upload them all over again if you decided to create a new account and start from scratch.

      If you log in to your PhotoMerchant account and you see a big pink banner with a robot on it, you’re eligible to start the migration process and all your photos will be copied across. Good luck!

  • Sarah

    I have my own website domain – you make mention that I need to ensure that my DNS is up to date and pointing to the new website. How will I know this?

    • photomerchant

      Hi Sarah. Once you’ve migrated to the new Fotomerchant you will need to change your DNS settings to point to your new website. Log in to your new Fotomerchant site, click on Website > Domain Name and then follow the instructions in the “Custom website address” panel. There are also some post migration instructions available here: http://fotomerchant.com/about/post-migration-checklist/

  • Yas Hamid

    I got the invite to migrate on my admin page. Let me get this thing very clear. I have 51 customers singed up with my business/website and handful of them are regular customers and have existing galleries in the client section that they access regularly. If i start the migration, would I lose all the 51 customer information? and they’d need to re-signup? Can you please let me know if this the case?

    • photomerchant

      Yes, that is correct. This phase (phase 2) is about moving galleries and website content. Phase 3 will migrate your customers (along with their gallery access) so their login credentials will remain in tact.

      • Yas Hamid

        Thanks for the reply. This is going to create some frustrated clients and mess up my network. I will give it a pass on phase 2. Many thanks!

      • Yas Hamid

        is there anyway that i could migrate this myself? i have pretty good database management skills…

        • photomerchant

          It’s not possible for us to give you access to the database, however, you can manually re-create your customer’s personal account details, then do the migration, and then re-assign the galleries back to your customers (now called contacts). It’s manual, but it’s do-able.

          Keep in mind that existing orders will not come across with the migration, so any existing digital download or print order histories will not be accessible to your customers.

          • Yas Hamid

            Thanks for the reply. I just don’t know why you’d even consider this option. It’d work for people who use your website as a display and hobby oriented. I really want to see this new version, but I’m not going to let my customers down by doing that…I wished photomerchant had a bit of a better plan than just phase 2, because you can’t really disconnect that link. Are there any tutorial out there to show how to manually create and link the gallery to the customers? let me ask you this, what do other business people doing? are they taking this phase 2 option? give us some stats… how many are approximately waiting on phase 3 and how many skipped phase 2? etc. etc. it’ll help me to make a decision (I hope).

          • photomerchant

            In the past fortnight we’ve had 20% of people move across but we’ve been selective of how many we’ve invited to make the move.

            A couple of months ago we put up a facebook poll and asked at what stage people wanted to move across: about a third said they’d move manually, another third said they’d wait until the photos could be moved and another third said they’d wait until it was entirely automatic. We took that feedback to hand and decided to release the migration in stages.

            If you’ve yet to have a look at the new version, you can always sign up to a trial using a completely different email address (to your PhotoMerchant account) so you can decide for yourself if you think its worth it.

          • Yas Hamid

            Are you able to give me a demo account to log in and have a look? I don’t want to put my time to create a new one go through it… i’m tired to signing up for trial sites and ended up paying! I have been with you for oven an year so far and I hope to keep this account going, although i am not entirely happy with you guys as yet.

          • Yas Hamid

            I put a lot of blood and sweat to build this over this year…help me to keep it going!

          • photomerchant

            I can see you have done a lot of hard word with your website. Managing them would have been a bit of a pain in the current system – you will definitely appreciate some of the new gallery management and enhanced portfolio stuff, plus the drag and drop.

          • Yas Hamid

            I had a bit of a quick play with the demo account…. i must say at the 1st glance i’m a little a lost. I actually don’t mind the current photomerchant site… one of the hardest thing was at the beginning was to upload files… so i ended up using FTP uploads.. now i have no pain! what i really wanted added to the current system is drop down menus so that i organize my front end nicely, also a bulk option to download 100’s of digital files.. .all my customers complains about all the time about digital downloads because they have to click one by one… so currently i have to give them in a DVD and i’m also looking for alternative options to give them links to digital downloads like dropbox and yousendit etc.which is costing me more money.. looks like you guys put a lot of effort to make a whole new experience for the backend users…remember end of the day you have to please the clients too… you gotta give them the best experience!

          • photomerchant

            The new interface is very different to the previous version but I’m positive that you will find it more intuitive once you start using it in depth.

            Although it may appear to you that all our effort has been focussed on the admin interface, we have in fact re-written everything from the ground up, including the way your websites are rendered. They are now much, much faster. Admittedly, we have not spent a lot of time adding new features to the website template functionality as our primary goal was for current users to experience parity between their old site and their new site. We wanted for the features and design to match up as closely as possible.

            We have big plans to improve the functionality and design of your websites and part of the reason we’ve rebuilt the application is so that we can now do that more easily. We can only develop so much at a time so if we had overhauled the template designs at the same time, there probably wouldn’t be a new Fotomerchant for another 6 months or more. What was more important for us is to get the new features and enhanced functionality into your hands as quickly as possible. We will continue to roll out more features and functionality in the future – and we can now do that more easily because of the new platform.

            We should be releasing a new theme in the coming weeks which is a very different layout from the current theme. It includes some new layout concepts and we then plan to go back to the current (only) theme and update it’s design and layout.

          • Yas Hamid

            OK. Thanks for the reply again. Are you able to give me a spreadsheet of my customers that has all the details.. so that I can create them for currently active customers. I am unable to export all the details of the customers.
            many thaks

          • photomerchant

            You can take a look at a fresh account created just for you:

            user: demo+023@photomerchant.net
            pass: demos

  • Richard Reeve

    In phase 2 I can migrate my website but not customers or customer history but you say that is will be available in phase 3.
    If I migrate now (phase 2) will I be able to then migrate customer info when phase 3 happens or is that completely deleted in the phase 2 migration?

    • photomerchant

      That’s a good question. We’re going to work something out where you will be able to bring your Phase 3 stuff across later, even if you’ve done your Phase 2 migration now.

      It all depends on how many customers you have in the PhotoMerchant system. Setting up new Products and Catalogs, which replace Feature Sets and Pricing Models, is very easy and shouldn’t take longer than half an hour to do. You could always manually re-create your customers accounts in the new Fotomerchant if there aren’t too many.

      A couple of things to keep in mind. You wont be able to access your old PhotoMerchant site once the migration has taken place. And although phase 3 will bring your customer records, pricing models and feature sets, it wont bring across your order history (that’s phase 4).

      • Yas Hamid

        Also, you can’t really export the full details of the existing customers! it only exports names and email address and when the account created…? no other information can be exported… bit disappointed there photomerchant!

      • Richard Reeve

        Okay so are you saying that if I do a Phase 2 migration even though I wont have customer details at this stage I will definitely have them at some stage in the future (i.e. they will not be lost in the migration)

        • photomerchant

          That’s right Richard. Although you won’t have access to your old account information, we will still store the data and will move it across in a future update. Out of interest, what is more important to you: the customer information or their previous order history?

          I thought I saw a post where you asked what the benefits of the new Fotomerchant are. There’s a list of the new features here: http://fotomerchant.com/features/new-features/


          • Richard Reeve

            Thanks Kain,

            My question was actually why migrate in phase 2 instead of waiting till phase 3 or 4 to do the migration. My site works for me now so is there any actual reason why I should not just wait and do the migration when all the phases are in place?

  • Richard Reeve

    One more question.
    Mt Photomerchant site is working now. Why would I migrate now at phase 2? What actual benefits are there in migrating now as opposed to waiting till phase 3 or 4?

  • Lynn

    Hi there! So I went to sign into my photomerchant account and it took me to the fotomerchant site. I logged in and it told me that my free trial has expired. How will I be able to migrate if I can’t even sign in? Also looking to pay for the whole year instead of monthly. Please help! I actually have some free time today to work on my site. :-) thanks!!

  • Yas Hamid

    I went ahead with the migration..took me less than half hr. I must say I kinda like it. I’m in the process of getting the domain name verified…it seems like there are some problems so i’d need help. Also I’d like to do the uploading using the FTP client like i did it with previous version. If you can tell me how i could set this up would be great. I wish you put some fresh templates for the themes. Some of my galleries are missing few files, can you please help me with this. It too me literally 2 mis to setup the prices for a gallery now that’s impressive. I found the website is generally fast now, specially flicking through each photos. However, i can’t seem to find the slide show like it was in previous versions.
    Many thanks

  • Yas Hamid

    Hi Fotomerchant,

    I have to say i’m experiencing high rate of errors in uploads (e.g. pixel lines and bars etc.) i have to keep reuploading over and over…. can you please look into this. Also i’d like to use my old method of uploading using FTP client…is this still possible? Thanks!

  • Yas Hamid

    Hi guys,

    i don’t understand why my blog is not showing at the front end of the webpage.. can you please help?

    • photomerchant

      I can see that there is an issue. You’ll need to log a support ticket in the help section by clicking the “Help & Support” item in the menu. That way our support team can respond with a solution and get it to our development team if anything needs to be fixed.

      The blog is only checked sporadically so your fastest response will be from support.

  • Picndrive

    I only offer digital images, i don’t do prints. Are u saying, therefore, that i won’t be able to do business as usual until this is fixed in Phase 3?

    • photomerchant

      If you have existing customers that have digital orders that they will need to access, then you will have to wait until Phase 3/4 when we can bring across existing orders. If your customers have their all their images and if you’re happy to leave your existing customers and orders in the PhotoMerchant system, then you can move across now.

  • edl_627

    How long should it take to complete the migration? I migrated on friday night and its now sunday and i still haven’t gotten a email saying it’s complete. Should it be much longer?

    • photomerchant

      It looks like Migatron got a little stuck on the weekend but we’ve cleared the log-jam and are processing migrations again. Sorry for the inconvenience but you should receive notifications soon (if not already).

      • edl_627

        okay thank you for the response, that makes me feel a lot better! hopefully ill get the notification today.

  • Nita Hastings

    what will happen with billing if you were a beta tester for the roll out of “photomerchant” and have a discount code applied to your account?

    • photomerchant

      Your discount will travel with your move across Nita. :)

  • Miriam

    I’ve just had my invitation to migrate, but most of my sales are in packages (I’m a portrait photographer), so not having packages will be a major problem for me, and also I rely on the “Restrict paper sizes based on image resolution” function quite heavily. Would you suggest that I wait until Phase 3 to migrate – if I do, will these (and particularly packages) have been sorted so I can continue to use them after migration?

    • photomerchant

      Hi Miriam. We’re working on Packages at the moment and we’ll be releasing it as soon as its ready. I will have to check on the “restrict paper sizes” option to see where it is at. Essentially, you might be best to wait until we have packages ready. It might even come before Phase 3, so keep an eye out for emails and updates to our Facebook page.

  • Bob Strempka

    I recently rebuilt my site from scratch with the new system. One thing I used to do was to print the order and use it as a summary and packing slip for my mailings to the customer. Does that ability to print the invoice exist in the new system or am I just not seeing it?

    • photomerchant

      Hi Bob. We’re going to be adding that functionality back in to the system over the coming weeks. It’s coming!

  • Neysa Ruhl

    I’m not sure who to contact for migration issues. I can’t log into the support page anymore since my migration is in process. Can you please let me know who to contact with question?

    • photomerchant

      Hi Neysa. Because you’re in migration your best bet is to send an email to the new support system, and send it from the email address of your PhotoMerchant account: help@fotomerchant.com