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Choosing the right platform for growth

As your eCommerce business grows and evolves, its needs become increasingly complex. Over time, many medium and large enterprises find that the platform they initially built their website on becomes inefficient, expensive, or overly complex to manage and can no longer effectively support their needs. If they want to continue to scale, evolve, and thrive online, these businesses must consider migrating their website to a more suitable platform.

Two of the best platforms for large enterprises are Magento and Shopify Plus. Each platform supports large volumes of traffic, advanced features and functionality, and scalability for growth. However, now, more than ever, many businesses are migrating from Magento to Shopify Plus to meet their evolving needs and remain competitive.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why many businesses choose to migrate to Shopify Plus and provide a step-by-step guide on how to perform a seamless migration.

Why migrate from Magento to Shopify Plus?

Magento and Shopify Plus are both very powerful platforms designed to cater to medium to large-sized businesses. However, we are seeing a growing number of businesses choosing to migrate from Magento to Shopify Plus. 

Let’s find out more about how Shopify Plus compares to Magento to help you decide which platform is right for your business.

Magento is an open-source platform that offers unparalleled customisability and limitless personalisation. However, it requires extensive developer support – often at a significant cost. 

Shopify Plus (Shopify’s enterprise-level service) on the other hand is a robust software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. While it may not offer the same level of customisability as Magento, it compensates for this with a competitive suite of features (which are regularly updated) and an extensive network of partners. Shopify Plus has become a popular alternative to Magento because of the platform’s simplicity, high security standards, low development costs, and potential to help streamline operations and enhance efficiency.

Big-name enterprise brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Gymshark, Decathlon, SKIMS, Penguin Books, and Victoria Beckham have all successfully leveraged Shopify Plus to scale their online presence. If you’re ready to join some of these well-known brands, read on to discover how to prepare for and execute a seamless migration from Magento to Shopify Plus.

How can you prepare for a seamless migration from Magento to Shopify Plus?

Before you begin, it’s important to recognise that migrating a website from one platform to another is no easy feat. The process requires a lot of careful planning and preparation, and even then, it’s a task that’s not without its risks. 

The scale of the project really depends on the size and complexity of your Magento website. The more products, apps, and custom design features your website has, the more time-consuming the job is likely to be. Website migrations require a meticulous and methodical approach so, if you’re not confident in your technical skills, website migration is probably best left to the experts. Get in touch with us to find out more about our migration services. 

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Pre-migration planning

Pre-migration planning can be roughly divided into three steps: documenting your current setup, backing up data, and performing an SEO audit. Let’s find out what each of these steps involves.

  • Document your current setup – Thoroughly document your existing setup in Magento, including extensions, custom functionalities, product catalogues, customer data, and order history. This will help you assess the scale of the migration and plan your next steps.
  • Backup data – Log into your Magento admin panel, navigate to “System” > “Tools” > “Backups”, and select “Database and Media Backup”. Follow the prompts to complete the backup. Next, use FTP or your hosting provider’s file manager to download all files from your Magento root directory. This ensures that all media files, scripts, and custom codes are stored safely.
  • SEO Audit – Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to benchmark your current traffic, rankings, and other metrics. Identify which pages are performing best in terms of traffic and backlinks. These pages should be prioritised during the migration to maintain your SEO ranking. Finally, crawl your Magento site using tools like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb to identify the URL structure, metadata, and on-page elements that need to be transferred to Shopify Plus. 

Thorough planning can help your website migration run smoothly and minimise disruptions.

A step-by-step guide to migrating from Magento to Shopify Plus

Performing a website migration is a complex and multi-faceted operation, so it’s important to understand the steps involved and what you’re getting yourself into before you begin. Attempting to migrate a website without adequate technical skill or knowledge puts you at risk of data loss, extended downtime, and security vulnerabilities. 

Inadequate planning can also lead to broken links, lost SEO rankings, and poor user experience, which can ultimately affect your brand’s reputation and revenue. So, before you get started, read through this migration guide from Magento to Shopify Plus carefully, and if you require any help, get in touch with our team of Shopify Plus setup experts here at Create8 to ensure a successful transition from Magento to Shopify Plus. 

Export data

Begin by exporting all necessary data, including products, categories, customers, and orders from your Magento platform.

  • Products – Navigate to “System” > “Data Transfer” > “Export” in the Magento admin panel. Select “Entity Type” and choose “Products”. Now export the data in CSV format to ensure compatibility with Shopify Plus.
  • Categories, Customers, and Orders – Now, follow a similar process to export categories, customers, and orders.

Exporting all existing data helps you preserve important information and maintain the integrity of your store as you transition to Shopify Plus.

Choose a migration tool

To transfer your data from Magento to Shopify Plus, you’ll need to use a migration tool. To select the right tool, first assess your needs and the complexity of your Magento setup. Popular Magento to Shopify migration tools include Cart2Cart and LitExtension. If you’re not sure which tool is right for your needs, speak to the team at Create8 to get expert advice from our developers.

Import data into Shopify

Once you’ve exported your data from Magento, the next step is to import it into Shopify. This process involves preparing your CSV files and using the right tools to ensure a successful data transfer.

  • Data preparation – Ensure that your exported data files are in CSV format and free from errors such as missing fields, incorrect data formats, or encoding issues. 
  • Product import – Shopify provides a built-in feature for importing products and customers directly through the admin panel. Navigate to the “Products” or “Customers” section within your Shopify admin, click on “Import” and then upload your CSV file. To import data types that are not directly supported by Shopify’s import feature, you’ll need to use a third-party app like Matrixify.

Set up Collections and Tags

Shopify uses Collections instead of the traditional category system used by Magento. Collections organise products into groups, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. In Shopify, Tags can also be implemented to improve product organisation and searchability further. Collections can be created by navigating to the “Products” section in your Shopify admin and selecting “Collections.” Tags can be assigned when editing products in Shopify.

Protect your SEO ranking

Neglecting SEO during a website migration can lead to your website vanishing from search engine results pages overnight. Implementing the following strategies during a migration will help to protect your hard-earned rankings.

  • Plan SEO-friendly URLs – Create a URL structure in Shopify that is as similar as possible to your Magento store. The structure should be clean and logical and include relevant keywords.
  • Set up 301 redirects – Create a list of all existing URLs from your Magento store that rank well or receive a lot of traffic. Next, use a redirect app to implement 301 redirects to avoid losing SEO value. Popular redirect apps include SC Easy Redirects and Ablestar Link Manager.
  • Migrate metadata – Migrating metadata like meta titles, descriptions, and headers (H1 and H2) is important for maintaining SEO integrity and increasing your new website’s visibility in search results. If you have a large number of web pages, you can use an app like SEO Manager or Sherpas: Smart SEO to import metadata to Shopify Plus in bulk.
  • Canonical tags – Don’t overlook the importance of setting up canonical tags after migrating to Shopify Plus to prevent duplicate content issues and maintain your SEO rankings.

Customisation and Setup

You’ll need to take a structured approach to setting up and customising your store in Shopify Plus to ensure that your new store meets both your business’s needs and your customer’s expectations.

  • Discover – Begin with a comprehensive discovery phase where you analyse your business needs, goals, and customer demographics. This step helps you identify key functionalities, design preferences, and operational needs.
  • Wireframe – Develop wireframes to map out the structure of your new Shopify store.
  • User experience – Maintain the design and keep navigation consistent with your old Magento website to ensure users have a familiar experience, but be prepared to make improvements where necessary.
  • Visual design – Develop visual designs that align with your branding and user experience goals.
  • Content – Prepare content, including writing and photography, to populate your store.
  • Build – Develop and build your Shopify store based on the wireframes and visual designs.

App integration

The Shopify app store features over 8,000 apps that can be used to streamline operations and enhance your store’s functionality and user experience. Once you’ve completed the basic store setup, it’s time to identify and integrate apps that can help your business meet its goals. Let’s explore some of the different types of apps that can be integrated at this stage.

  • SEO and marketing – SEO Manager, Klaviyo, Privy, Omnisend, or HubSport.
  • Inventory management – Stocky, TradeGecko, or Cin7.
  • Customer Support – Zendesk, Gorgias, Yotpo, Freshdesk, or Reamaze.
  • Upsell and Cross-Sell – UFE Upsell, Bold Upsell, or ReConvert Upsell and Cross-Sell.
  • Subscriptions – Recharge, Bold Subscriptions, or PayWhirl.
  • Site Search – Klevi, Algolia, or Searchanise.
  • ERP integration – Brightpearl, NetSuite, or Microsoft Dynamics.

Create8 web design team working on a Shopify website

Payment and shipping settings

Next, it’s time to configure your payment gateways and shipping methods to create a smooth checkout process for your customers.

  • Configure payment gateways – Access the “Payments” section in your Shopify admin panel and add your chosen payment methods. Supporting a variety of different payment methods can help boost conversion rates. Popular options include Shopify Payments, PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.
  • Configure shipping methods – Within Shopify, you can set up shipping zones to define which areas you ship to. You can create different zones for domestic and international shipping, each with its own set of rates and methods.
  • Ensure correct tax settings – Within the Shopify admin panel, select “Taxes” and configure the settings to calculate taxes based on the customer’s location automatically. 

Configure Robots.txt

Your website’s robots.txt file tells search engines which parts of your site they can and cannot crawl. Configuring it correctly will improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Configuration – Locate your Robots.txt file and ensure that it’s set to allow search engines to crawl your website, and configured correctly to exclude any directories or files necessary.

Verify configuration – Use Google Search Console to test your robots.txt file and check for errors. Navigate to “Coverage” and use the “URL inspection” tool to ensure critical pages are being crawled.

Testing and launching your website on Shopify Plus

Once you’re happy that your data has been successfully migrated and your new Shopify Plus store is set up and configured correctly, it’s nearly time to unleash it on your audience. But wait! Before going live, it’s important to conduct a rigorous testing phase to ensure that everything functions flawlessly.

Testing phases

  • Functionality – Test all features on your website, including navigation, links, forms, payment processes, and any integrated apps.
  • Mobile responsiveness – Test that your website functions and displays correctly across various devices and browsers.
  • Verify redirects – Use tools like Google Search Console to check that all 301 redirects are working correctly.

Submit sitemap

Shopify automatically generates a sitemap for your store. You can find it by navigating to “yourstore.com/sitemap.xml”. Submit your sitemap to major search engines like Google using their respective Webmaster Tools.

Soft launch

Consider running a soft launch approach by introducing a limited audience to your new Shopify Plus site to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments before a full public launch.

Prepare a marketing strategy

Develop a marketing strategy for the launch and create engaging content that highlights the benefits of your new website. Use all available marketing channels to generate excitement surrounding the upcoming launch. Consider allocating an additional budget to digital advertising platforms during the migration process and launch to help maintain traffic levels and attract new customers.

Launch your new Shopify Plus store

Finally, the moment that all this hard work has been leading up to – it’s time to launch your brand new Shopify Plus store!

What should you do post-migration to ensure everything is functioning smoothly?

After you’ve successfully migrated your website to Shopify Plus, it’s very important that you continue to perform post-migration checks and closely monitor its performance to ensure that it’s performing optimally and to identify any areas of concern.

Benchmark traffic – Compare pre- and post-migration traffic to identify any immediate drops that may indicate issues that need prompt attention.

Analyse traffic patterns – Regularly analyse traffic sources, user behaviour, and engagement metrics to understand how visitors interact with your website and highlight areas for improvement.

Gather user feedback – Actively collect and review customer feedback post-migration to gain insights into your website’s performance and help address any usability issues.

The hard work doesn’t end once you launch your new website. To maintain competitiveness, it’s important to carry out ongoing optimisation to boost your website’s speed and performance.

Partner with Create8 to seamlessly migrate from Magento to Shopify Plus

Need help migrating a website from Magento to Shopify Plus?

At Create8, we’re proud to be a Shopify partner with a team of specialist Shopify web designers and developers who have helped numerous businesses perform a seamless Magento to Shopify Plus migration. Our team can support you through the migration process, no matter the size or complexity of your existing Magento website, providing specialist advice and ensuring a successful transition.

For more information about our Shopify Plus migration services, request a quote or give our team a call on 0161 820 9686.

The Create8 eCommerce Web Development Team gathered around a table