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Migrating Your E-commerce Store To Shopify

The migration of an existing store is a challenge and a hassle at first, but Shopify is a great platform that has a lot of benefits.

Migrating Your E-commerce Store To Shopify Moving your site over to a new platform is like moving to a new home
Moving your site over to a new platform is like moving to a new home

If you’re thinking about migrating your e-commerce store to a new platform, consider Shopify. The migration of an existing store is a challenge and a hassle at first, but Shopify is a great platform that has a lot of benefits . But you won’t regret the move and the effort it took to migrate will pay off in the long-term.

Every migration process is different. The exact steps vary depending on the original e-commerce system such as Woo-Commerce of Wordpress, Squarespace or Magento. The complexity of the move also depends on the volume of existing website pages, the age of the site, the code customizations that you've previously done and the third party services and plugins that you’re using. Basically, the more products, pages, customers, and orders you have in the existing store, the more involved the transition will be. But don’t feel intimidated as the end result will be definitely worth it.

There are both more straight forward and automated processes to export and the import certain data, but also data that would require more manual work to transfer over.

Back up

First thing first, make sure that you have an up-to-date back up of your e-commerce website. This is your insurance policy in case things don’t go as planned. You can always revert back to the old version of the site and get your store working on the old platform until you are ready for the new move. You’ll be working on an offline version of the new site on Shopify, so any errors won’t be made live, but accidents could still happen on the source site so better be safe than sorry.

Migration tools

Shopify has import features that works well for most stores. It imports product data in bulk with the help of .csv and .xml files depending on which platform you’re migrating from. Alternatively, you can use an export tool provided by your old CMS to achieve a similar result. But transferring over everything isn’t usually successful and manual reviews and updates are almost always necessary.

Manual adjustment

Once the automatic move is done, it’s time to fine-tune your new e-commerce website. Check and adjust whatever didn’t transfer correctly. Go through the list of customers, products and product descriptions, as well as images and other media. Check any dependencies, interlinked products and pages to make sure that active links lead where they should. 

You should also create other content pages that exist on the old site and copy over the content to the new one.

Shopify functionality

Keep an eye on the formation of tags, categories, collections, pricing and SKUs. Some functionality that you used to have on your old e-commerce website might not exist in Shopify. For example, Shopify utilizes collections to group relevant products together like categories do in Magento . However, you will need to put the collections together from scratch as this functionality doesn’t translate from one platform to another. You also will need to add tags manually and check on prices as they are a flat number on Shopify rather than a variable function like it is on Magento.

A lot of features use similar ideas behind them, but the execution is totally different. So be patient with the editing process. Shopify does have a great Bulk Editing feature that will make the adjustment process easier and relatively fast.

301 Redirects and 404 Errors

Different CMS systems create URLs in different ways so there are different structures used. For example, your Wordpress site could have a specific name for the blog which is reflected in the URL (i.e. www.yoursite.com/my-blog) but in Shopify, you’re forced to use “blog” before the name of the blog (i.e. www.yoursite.com/blog/my-blog). Same goes for various pages – in Shopify your contact page will have to be in the category “pages”).

When transferring your posts, pages and products, make sure to create 301 redirects  that will permanently redirect the visitor from the old address to the new one. This is essential to preserve the search engine rankings of the old page, so the move happens seamlessly in terms of traffic and SEO.

Make sure that there are no link chains and loops when setting up 301 Redirects. Use your 404 Page Not Found page strategically and offer your visitors helpful suggestions if the error occurs. After all, your goal is to keep visitors on the website and help them find what they came for, even though the interface and the website structure has slightly changed.

Migrating to Shopify is an involved process, but it's worth it. Shopify is a modern system that continues to evolve and grow, and there are more and more success stories every year.

For the best results, start planning your move in advance. It will help make the transition as smooth as possible. And if it still seems complicated and confusing, we are happy to help you . Work with us and delegate the redesigning of your website to our experienced team. We will help you migrate to Shopify while designing a beautiful, easy-to-use and effective site that sells and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact us  now to get a quote or check our portfolio of Shopify stores we’ve created to see what we can do.

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