A guide to migrating from Magento to Shopify: How to migrate seamlessly to and 5 key things you’ll NEED to consider
Why Shopify continues to dominate for merchants looking to migrate platforms
Shopify is an incredibly powerful eCommerce platform and a vast array of Magento merchants are flocking to Shopify as part of their replatforming process.
You may have heard the cool story behind Shopify? Of how it all started?
Basically, two friends were trying to sell snowboards online in 2004, dissatisfied with what was out there, they created a brand-new platform. What they developed turned out to become a multibillion-dollar, market-leading platform that we of course know today as Shopify.
Today, it’s home to some big brand names including: Bulletproof, Gymshark, Kraft Heinz Co, PepsiCo Inc and Tesla to name just a few.
Magento 1 (released in 2008) was once such a dominant figure and strong contender in the eCommerce sphere.
Then, the eagerly awaited Magento 2 (M2) was released in 2015 which provided some fixes to its predecessor’s fundamental issues. Upon release, the initial versions of M2 were unstable, but eventually, a stable minor release allowed a greater number of brands to give M2 a whirl.
Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and the 12 year old Magento 1 essentially became obsolete and came to the end of end of its life. Whilst it’s true that it’s been possible for eCommerce businesses to continue operating on Magento 1 since, the much-needed ongoing support, patches, security updates and quality fixes that they depended on are now unavailable.
What does this mean?
Well, it means, not only do eCommerce businesses have the headache, costs and time-waste associated with clunky legacy systems, they are also left wide open to security breaches and risk non-compliance.
For this reason, brands still on Magento 1 are left with a binary choice:
- Part with a scary amount of money to upgrade their online store to Magento 2 (because, far from being an “upgrade” in reality, it’s actually a hefty replatforming job).
- Seek out a new platform. One that removes the headache of hosting, security patches, constant updates and reduces the cost of ownership.
Whilst the functionality of Magento 2 (M2) continues to improve, the cost for merchants continues to rise. Therefore, for many, Magento is deemed a better fit for larger organisations and it’s not so surprising that platforms such as Shopify are popular choices for eCommerce businesses looking to migrate.
For this reason, Shopify, with it’s flexible, feature-rich, all-in-one, SaaS platform, is a popular choice for those eCommerce merchants looking for a simple, yet powerful solution. As a merchant, Shopify’s world-class support removes a LOT of headaches, meaning you can have absolute peace of mind, knowing security, updates, and new features are taken care of – so all merchants need to do is focus on growing their online business.
Because Shopify’s platform is so powerful, meaning it can withstand the huge traffic and volume of some of the biggest global eCommerce businesses, it’s a popular choice for those merchants with ambitious plans to scale at pace.
Although switching from Magento isn’t the right move for every eCommerce business, there’s a whole host of reasons why eCommerce businesses make the switch from Magento to Shopify. From our experience, it tends to come down to reducing maintenance costs whilst providing lots of interesting features and a great user experience for customers.
Shopify vs Magento: the key benefits
Below is a stack of the key reasons why Shopify is the platform of choice for many merchants looking to migrate from Magento.
Lower overall cost of ownership and maintenance
Whilst Magento is a free open-source system, its hosting is outsourced and development and maintenance costs can soon stack up. Both Shopify and Magento don’t charge set-up fees to get started on their platforms. Shopify runs different subscription plans depending on the scale of your business and the features you are wanting. Magento requires regular maintenance, updates and patching and these costs can be expensive as you develop functionality on the platform. As a SaaS platform, Shopify does not have any bandwidth charges, whereas Magento’s bandwidth charges depend on the hosting provider.
Shopify is PCI-compliant out-of-the-box and a secure checkout means you’ll automatically comply with PSD2 Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). When migrating from Magento to Shopify you’ll enjoy the benefits of its high security level of encryption. Your Shopify store will come with an SSL certificate. Your Shopify store will work using the HTTPS protocol, meaning from the get-go you’ll be 100% secure.
Quicker to launch, easy to use, with tonnes of built-in features
Shopify is incredibly easy to use while Magento is more suited for those will skills in advanced development. Shopify is designed with the novice in mind and therefore comes with an easy-to-use interface.
The ‘Wizard Mode’ on Shopify allows you to set up an eCommerce store quickly with less specific development work required. Magento can be difficult to use and maintain for those who have no technology background. No ‘Wizard help’ here.
Apps, apps, apps
Both Magento and Shopify have an extensive library of apps and plugins that deliver different functionality.
Shopify has an awesome app ecosystem. In fact, there are more than 3,200 apps in the Shopify App Store (Shopify). From payment options, reviews, search, customer engagement, gift cards, cart abandonment resolutions, live chat and shipping, Shopify has a really broad range of world-class technology partners for you to choose from.
No more patching
On Magento, a hell-of-a-lot of time can be wasted on endless patching and security upgrades. With Shopify, it’s all taken care of.
World class support
Think 24/7, around the clock, levels of phone, email and chat support.
A platform built for easy integrations
Shopify’s impressive ecosystem of pre-built integrations means you can quickly plug it into your existing tech stack. Powerful APIs let you easily integrate the business systems and tools you rely on.
Issues with servers
A thing of the past with Shopify and there’s no need to scale up your infrastructure for busy events in the year (think Black Friday, Christmas) as Shopify can handle whatever you throw at it, automatically.
Online, all of the time
Shopify’s engineering wizards work around the clock to ensure your site is running 24/7.
Site speed isn’t affected as you add more products to your Shopify store. Both Magento and Shopify allow you to have a limitless number of products on your eCommerce store. However, site speed on Magento tends to get slower as you add more products to your online store.
Beautiful designs that are fully optimised
Your Shopify storefront is fully customisable, and you can select stunning themes that are fitting of your brand. You’ll have access to a greater number of themes on Shopify Plus too if you decide to opt for their more premium offering. Shopify themes are also automatically optimised for mobile.
On the other hand, Magento has fewer themes to choose from, similar to Shopify, some free, some paid for. But not all of them are mobile friendly and may require some development work.
5 key considerations when migrating from Magento to Shopify?
Whilst Shopify offers an awesome solution for those seeking a more flexible, easy to use, all-encompassing eCommerce platform, the migration and replatforming process from Magento to Shopify is still a daunting process to most. That’s why It’s really important you make some key considerations when doing so.
Data migration and structure
Migrating data from one platform to another can be daunting. When migrating from Magento to Shopify some of the content and products may be disorganised. This will cause issues when launching your new Shopify store. With the right technical support, preparation and awareness, you’ll be to sort out any data that’s arranged incorrectly.
Shopify has a core data structure that can be extended via ‘tags’ or ‘metafields’. Ultimately, this provides a greater deal of flexibility compared to how structured and rigid Magento is when managing data. However, to prevent any niggles when it comes to manipulating and updating product and customer data, you’ll need to clearly map where you want to migrate and store each value.
You can overcome this by using tags to store data that someone in your business will need to access and edit when within Shopify whilst using ‘metafields’ to manage data that will be synced and edited within external systems.
With regards to customer data, Shopify only captures a basic set of attributes (name, email, phone, email marketing status, tags, address etc.) so if you currently hold additional customer data in Magneto (areas such as gender, shopping preferences, DOB), then these will need to be mapped and stored against the customer using additional ‘tags’ or ‘metafields’ – worth noting!
Also, it’s worth considering, some data cleansing may be required during the migration process. Why? Because Shopify identifies a customer by their email address (or phone number if no email stored). Magento, on the other hand, may have duplicate records against the same email address. Some tidying may need to be done.
On Magento, you have multiple options when creating products: simple, configurable, grouped, virtual or bundle. On Shopify, however you’ll have a single ‘product’ for items with multiple variations.
On Shopify, the concepts of grouped and bundle product types do not exist. This means, if you currently sell (or intend to sell) multiple products combined as a single ‘product’, you’ll need a separate solution for this. Not to worry, you still have options. As a specialist eCommerce agency, Wow Group can provide you some development work to add multiple SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) to the cart, at the same time as a bundle, and use Shopify Scripts to apply discounts if required.
It’s also worth noting that as with customer data, your product attributes from Magento will also need to be mapped into either ‘tags’ or ‘metafields’ to ensure a smooth migration across to Shopify.
Protecting your rankings and reducing bounce rate
The SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your eCommerce site, determines where your site will rank on search engine result pages. SEO ranking plays a vital role in driving traffic and subsequent revenue to your site.
As such, during the migration process, it’s vital you understand how to preserve your SEO rankings and reduce any bounce rate. To preserve it, you will need to prepare redirects from old store pages to the new ones.
When migrating from Magento to Shopify (unless you go headless), you’ll need to consider that Shopify has a strict and rigid URL structure, where the webpage type is used as a folder, e.g. coffee.com/products/coffee-mug.
Likewise, with stores that operate internationally, each Shopify instance will typically need to sit on its own domain/subdomain. Whereas if you’re on Magento, you may currently be using sub-folders for these.
During the migration, be sure to map out and redirect all pages from your current international setup to your new Shopify URL architecture. You’ll also need to thoroughly test these redirects. This will ensure that they’ve been successfully implemented. Failure to make this consideration and you risk losing the SEO rankings of your current eCommerce store.
Having said that, during a migration process, you should expect an initial drop in rankings. Don’t be alarmed. Google needs time to process your new store and update its indexes over time.
On the whole, when migrating from Magento to Shopify, your SEO should benefit in a number of ways. You’ll find that Shopify SEO is far easier to implement, where you can add metadata, titles, and product descriptions within just a few speedy clicks. With Shopify being a faster eCommerce platform overall, your site speed (mobile and desktop) and page loading time should improve due to migrating to Shopify which will put a beaming smile on the ranking-robots at Google and ensuring your ranking remains high.
As with all SEO, you’ll need to view this as an ongoing focus and investment and continue optimising this regularly. Wow Group are well equipped to support you with this and there’s a whole host of top tips out there to help you optimise your Shopify store’s performance.
The setup for international selling is different on Shopify and Magento.
If you currently sell internationally on Magento, you’ll be able to manage your international store views from within your store website. This is great for simple catalogue and content management.
However, when migrating from Magento to Shopify, you might need to split these into multiple store instances. Or it might be that you decide to have a Shopify instance for each Magento store, and then use Shopify multi-language/multi-currency capabilities for each store view. The good news is there’s options out there for you. This guide on how to sell internationally on Shopify will be a great starting place when mapping out your migration process.
Built-in vs additional apps
Magento has a number of different built-in features to Shopify. Shopify taps into a colossal ecosystem – with more than 3,200 apps in the App Store – it’s jam packed full of the very best end-to-end eCommerce solutions out there but it’s worth noting, customising an application to make it perform a certain way or provide a very specific piece of functionality can prove difficult with some applications. Whereas, with Magento, there is greater flexibility to build a piece of functionality that performs exactly how you need it to.
When migrating your store from Magento to Shopify, you may need to factor in getting additional apps from the Shopify App Store to replace functionality that is native on your Magento store. For example, you may need additional apps around search, merchandising and returns. But not to worry, many of these tech solutions offer you feature-rich functionality, ready to plug and play at a reasonable price. There are new innovative applications being added all the time and you’ll be spoiled for choice in Shopify’s App Store.
Back it up
It sounds like a no brainer, but It’s important during any migration to be safe. Back up your Magento store to ensure that anything lost during the migration can be recovered!
If your migration doesn’t go quite to plan the first-time round, you’ll need a complete backup of your Magento eCommerce store. Having as much data as possible during this process is critical as you’ll need your old data for migration mapping and decision making.
To avoid any issues around accessing your Magento store data, simply prepare the backup of your store, using Magento Admin sidebar, specifically: ‘System’ > ‘Tools’ > ‘Backups’ – the admin sidebar-, then ‘System’ > ‘Tools’ > ‘Backups’.
Whilst it’s true that your hosting provider might make backups, it certainly makes good sense to be safe than sorry on this front.
Of course, it’s important to mention that you don’t want to be closing your online business operations when migrating from Magento to Shopify too.
Whilst with the right technical support and considerations, the migration process can be seamless and as pain free as possible, it will take time. You can migrate from Magento to Shopify whilst still keeping your eCommerce store open and running on Magento.
This still all sounding a bit of a minefield?
Not to worry, we get it. Replatforming can seem like a whirlwind with lots to consider during the process. The benefits of SaaS platforms like Shopify are clear. It’s why so many amazing eCommerce brands are making the switch from Magento.
The good news is at Wow Group, we’re platform agnostic so we’ll ensure we’re consultative in our approach. We’ll intently listen to diagnose your issues and advise on the most suitable platform options for your specific needs and growth plans.
With over 12 years of experience providing streamlined eCommerce solutions, we are experts when it comes to delivering real results. Wow Group has established itself as a leader in conceptualising, designing and building stellar eCommerce solutions, we work with some of the best-known brands across the globe to deliver highly functional, cutting-edge systems and ultimately, provide you the tools to facilitate your growth. We’ll look after areas such as data transformation and migration, technical integrations, and we’ll make sure your traffic and ranking are protected, without fail. Our expertise will help make the process as pain free as possible.
If you’d like to learn more about replatforming, or you’re stuck on which platform to choose, get in touch with one of our experts, who will give you the low down (without all the jargon), on the process, what sort of investment you’ll need and how it could transform your eCommerce business.