Commerce Trends

How to migrate Magento to Shopify

It's time. This guide will tell you all you need to know to make your migration from Magento to Shopify as smooth as possible.

You're finally going to do it. Rest assured, the Magento migration to Shopify will be a game-changer for your brand. In this post, we're going to help you get your digital ducks in a row to make migration as easy as possible.

When you migrate your ecommerce website from Magento to Shopify, these are the main buckets to consider:

  • Design

  • Data

  • Functionality

Since everyone is working with a different setup, it's difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all guide for Magento/Shopify migrations. So instead we're going to give you all the info you need to answer the following question:

"Can I do this myself or do I need help?"

There's no shame in getting help - in fact, we recommend it! This is a big move, so extra help will allow you to focus on keeping your business alive during the transition.

And if you think you can do it alone, this guide will help you wrap your heads around all the moving parts involved.

Why switching from Magento to Shopify is a good idea

While Magento can do some great stuff, Shopify is the better choice for rising brands. Here's why:

  1. Scalability

  2. Hosting

  3. Security

  4. Customization

In a nutshell, Shopify is a customizable, secure, hosted, and supported solution. Switching means you'll be able to focus on your brand and leave a lot of the behind-the-scenes tech to Shopify.

Moving from Magento to Shopify Plus is one of the most common re-platforming routes in e-commerce. For the international Shopify Plus agency, We Make Websites, over 60% of their work is Magento to Shopify Plus migrations.

Why experts say it's time to make the switch to Shopify

We Make Websites Co-Founder, Alex O’Byrne has seen the ecommerce landscape changing in real-time.

In recent years, Shopify Plus has won a huge list of retailers from Magento, seeing many enterprise brands like This Works, Third Man Records, and Gymshark have made the move.

It's not just the big players mentioned but above, but dozens of respected brands.

The main reason? It’s simple. Shopify offers more for less. The total cost of ownership of a Magento store is high. This is because you have to do a lot of custom development and maintenance - even for a basic e-commerce experience.

Shopify presents a much more user-friendly alternative. They have successfully ‘commodified’ the parts of ecommerce experience that everyone shares, and then made them amazing. One example: checkout & payment processing. Shopify has made the process smooth & frictionless, handling over 5,000 checkouts per minute.

The features that Shopify offers make switching a no-brainer for most merchants. And this trend only took so long because of the high cost of migrating e.g. having to rebuild your full website. But that investment was always going to be worth it.

Before you make the switch... have you thought of everything?

You may be gung-ho to switch to Shopify, but make sure you consider the following before drawing up your plans:

  1. Magento extensions

  2. Your Magento version

  3. Costs to migrate

1. Magento extensions

Before you can fully imagine your Magento to Shopify plus migration, you need to survey your Magento extensions. These all play a major role in the functionality of your online shop.

Depending on how your Magento store was set up, you could have a few or a lot of these:

  • Customer Support extensions

  • Chatbox extensions

  • 3PL extensions

  • Returns management extensions

  • Shipping solutions

The good news is that many Magento extensions also connect with Shopify. For example, post-purchase software like Gorgias, Klaviyo, and Yotpo all connect to both apps. Many of these apps exist in the cloud too, meaning your app data is hosted independently from your site.

Take inventory and see what gaps you'll need to fill when moving to Shopify. Here's some great news: being the biggest ecommerce platform also means you'll have a ton of options to extend your site. Migrating from Magento to Shopify could even be an opportunity to improve your tech stack.

For example, online stores using Shopify can deploy a returns management solution like ours - Loop Returns. We power post-purchase experiences for brands like Chubbies, Nisolo, and many more. And by the way, Loop also integrates with a ton of ecommerce tools too.

2. What Magento version are you on?

At the moment, there are two major versions of Magento: 1 & 2. Both can be migrated, but Magento 1 will present more of a challenge.

Magento 1 to Shopify migration

As of June 2020, Magento 1 is no longer a supported platform. That means it won't be getting any updates - which includes security and functionality updates.

Magento 1 is a real dinosaur. As such, it will present challenges when migrating to Shopify. It is possible to migrate Magento 1 to Shopify, but you'd probably be "re-building" rather than migrating.

Magento 2 to Shopify migration

If you are migrating from Magento 2, you'll be in for a smoother transition. Most migration services and apps are built to handle products, customer data, etc. from Magento 2. The obvious reason for that: most Magento users have been using Magento 2 for several years.

3. What's the cost to migrate Magento to Shopify?

When you are moving from Magento to Shopify, there'll be some costs involved. For starters, Shopify has a monthly fee. The main pricing plans are:

  • Basic Shopify ($29/month)

  • Shopify ($79/month)

  • Advanced Shopify ($299/month)

  • Shopify Plus (starting at $2000/month)

Which one do you need? It kind of depends on where your brand is. $2000 per month for Shopify Plus seems like a pretty penny, but if you're doing enough transactions, the plan can easily pay for itself.

As for other costs, they could vary widely. Do you have a technical team to help with the migration? If not, take a look at this list of basic migration considerations from Shopify:

  • Protocol-independent assets

  • URL redirects

  • Customer passwords

  • Blog posts and articles

Here's the deal: if you don't have the foggiest idea how to migrate the above items from one platform to the other... you'll need some help.

How to approach your Magento to Shopify migration

Before we get to our Magento to Shopify migration checklist, let's check back with the experts at We Make Websites.

As much as we love keeping things simple, they know the devil is in the details. Here's a list of questions they ask all of their clients before their Magento to Shopify migrations: 

  • What functionality from your current site needs to be present on your new one?

  • What new features might you want (ignoring any restrictions you have today)?

  • Which systems need to be connected to the e-commerce platform e.g. ERP, OMS, and other back-end systems?

  • What historical data needs to be moved across for business, compliance, or marketing reasons? E.g. customer data, order histories

  • How will you transfer your product catalog to the new systems?

Chances are... if you are able to answer the above questions, you are probably the technical person in charge of the migration! If that's you, stay right there. Let's run down a checklist of the major items you'll need to get a grip on when migrating to Shopify.

Magento to Shopify migration checklist

Here are the basic items you'll need to complete for your migration.

Preparation:

  • Take inventory of all your extensions and apps

  • Sign up for a Shopify account

  • Create a backup of your Magento site & data

Migration process:

  • Configure your admin settings

  • Import data to Shopify

  • Check your products after import

  • Design your website & set up your domain

  • Configure shipping, payments, taxes

  • Set up your checkout process

  • Check/write your policy pages

  • Integrate your 3PL and other services

  • Integrate your social media

  • Check 301 Redirects

  • Test everything!

Should you use a Magento to Shopify migration service?

Let's make it official: we recommend using a Magento to Shopify migration service.

If you want your new Shopify store to run on EZ mode, a Shopify migration service is the ticket. The good news is there are a ton of great agencies that handle migrations from all sorts of platforms.

Here's even more good news: agency services for migrating your store are relatively cheap. Since so many brands are making the switch, the price is lower than you'd think - starting as low as $29.

Always remember the old stand-by: you get what you pay for. When your entire business is on the line, peace of mind is worth it.

What will agencies handle for your migration?

There really is a range of offerings when it comes to ecommerce agencies. Some will act as consultants and answer questions (like how to migrate products from Magento to Shopify). Some help with specific tasks like:

  • Magento to Shopify data migration

  • Magento to Shopify product migration

  • Shopify themes & web design

And some agencies handle the entire migration from start to finish. When you think about all the things that can go wrong, a managed migration makes sense.

What could go wrong? Picture this: you upload a CSV file of your data to Shopify, and somehow the imported product information doesn't populate. The source of these kinds of problems could be hard to track down without the right experience.

Here's another example of something that could slip through the cracks: your SEO rankings. Transferring your articles to a new Shopify store is only one part of the equation. An experienced migration handler will know to create 301 redirects from your old URLs pointing to your new ones.

By following that process, you'll be able to maintain your SEO ranks. There are a surprising amount of details like this to consider when migrating.

How about a Magento to Shopify migration app?

Take a trip to the Shopify App Store and you'll find a number of Magento to Shopify migration apps. There are even a few with great reviews that could really help with your data transfer.

Don't expect miracles though. If you are migrating from a perfectly clean Magento site, you'll get better results of course. But you may still need to handle some manual cleanup after running an app. Apps also can't help with anything coding-related, they are mostly used to export and import data.

Think of it this way: if dozens of agencies make significant income on Magento migrations, what issues might arise if you rely solely on an app?

Wrapping up

There's no doubt about it: having an ecommerce store run on Shopify is a sweet thing. There are a number of things Shopify handles in the background (like site up-time for example), leaving you free to do what matters most: pump up your brand.

As great as Shopify is, it doesn't automate everything. If you're moving to Shopify because you've outgrown Magento, maybe it's time to look at expanding further? These days, brands are spending more on post-purchase experience than they are on product or pricing... shocking right?

If you're keen on taking your post-purchase experience to the next level, book a demo with our team to find out how returns can actually increase customer LTV dramatically. That's right - returns can become a profit center. Hope to hear from you 😊

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