Thinking about moving from Magento to Shopify? You’re not the only one. In recent years, many eCommerce businesses have been replatforming their online stores and moving from Magento to Shopify. At Rainy City, we’ve managed a number of these migrations and put together a list of 5 key points we’d share with anyone thinking of (or ready) to move from Magento to Shopify.
(If you are at the stage where you’re still choosing between the two platforms, we’ve written a broader comparison guide on Shopify vs Magento).
What to consider before moving from Magento to Shopify:
- Shopify or Shopify Plus? What Shopify plan is best for your business?
As an enterprise-oriented solution, Magento has traditionally been popular with larger eCommerce businesses, so if your own business falls into this category (and especially if you’ve been using Magento Commerce) we’d almost always recommend moving from Magento to Shopify Plus.
Compared to Shopify’s other plans, Shopify Plus includes the top-tier features and functionalities (like multi-currency support and a dedicated account manager) that are great for larger businesses. It’s also highly customizable. You can read our in-depth comparison of Shopify vs Shopify Plus for more information. We’d also recommend talking to a Shopify consultant to find out if and how your business would benefit from Shopify Plus.
Below is a quick overview of the other Shopify plans:
- Shopify Lite: for small businesses that want to start selling online but do not need a standalone online store (this plan allows you to sell products through your existing website, blog or social media accounts with the Shopify Buy button).
- Basic: good for merchants with a standalone online store, starting to grow their business and need a basic store with standard features.
- Shopify: this is the standard plan, recommended for small and medium-size eCommerce businesses. It includes additional features such as gift cards and abandoned cart recovery.
- Advanced Shopify: great for online stores that have started growing and getting high-volume sales. Includes advanced features such a report builder and third-party calculated shipping rates.
- You’re moving your website to Shopify - what else?
Have you considered what extra developments you could make to your website?
If you’re moving to a brand new platform, this might also be the perfect moment to capitalize on the investment and combine the migration with other positive front-end optimisations. Maybe even a redesign. It’s like moving into a new house and, whilst you’re at it, getting rid of your old furniture and bringing in new pieces, along with a fresh paint job, rewiring etc.
One of the biggest benefits of combining projects together is that it can often be more cost-effective than paying for individual projects separately. However, a redesign or UX optimisations are not what we’d recommend for every business wanting to migrate their online store. The best course of action will all depend on the priorities for each business since additional projects can increase project timelines, complexity and SEO risks.
We’ve helped merchants with ‘simple’ moves prioritizing the actual migration, as well as other more complex and multi-purpose moves. Consult an expert while having a good think about what else could benefit your new site.
- Prepare for compromise & expect differences in use.
If you are expecting to replicate the exact same look and feel of your Magento website, don’t expect a simple copy-and-paste or drag-and-drop job. This is not possible.
Magento and Shopify both use themes (or templates) to define the front-end layout and design of a website - some are pre-designed, others can be customized, but the infrastructure and codebase of the two platforms is fundamentally different. Even though it’s possible to reproduce the look of a Magento website in Shopify, your Magento theme will need to be re-coded.
If you have special or unique front-end functions on your Magento site that you need to bring over to Shopify, work with developers to identify these and ensure they are incorporated into the move.
Unsurprisingly, there are also some big differences in operating the back end systems of Magento and Shopify. Although new interfaces always take a little bit of time to get used to, Shopify’s easy to use back-end system is one of the many things that make it such a popular platform in the first place - even for the non-technical user.
- How are you going to manage your SEO during the migration?
One of the biggest risks in moving a website to any new platform is SEO.
If SEO best practices aren’t implemented, rankings that you’ve worked hard to get can tank. Although some initial disruption to ranking is expected, there is a lot of work that can be done to ensure it’s to a minimum and only temporary (like redirecting old web pages to new ones and ensuring new images are optimized).
Work with an agency that is able to assist and support in this tricky bit of the move. Once the dust settles, the goal is to come out of the migration process with SEO that is the same if not better than before.
And once your Shopify site is set-up, there are some SEO quirks you’ll need to get used to, like Shopify’s URL structure. This article has some great, in-depth information about Shopify SEO.
- Whatever you do, make a plan
This might sound obvious, but it can’t be overstated.
Even if an expert is managing the migration for you and leading with their own plan - work alongside them. Nobody is going to know your eCommerce business better than you so approach the early stages of the move by putting together a list of key features and functionality you need your new Shopify or Shopify Plus website to have (some elements will need to be migrated, but it’s also likely that some can be left behind).
Shopify Migration Services: Ready to move from Magento to Shopify?
Those are 5 tips but unsurprisingly, a lot more can be said on this topic. If you would like to speak to some Shopify experts who have manned a fair few Magento to Shopify migrations - get in touch.
We know that replatforming your online store can be a daunting task and we’d be happy to work with you to help you understand how your requirements can be met to manage the migration successfully.
View our migration case studies here.