We’re seeing more and more high-growth e-commerce websites make the move from Magento to Shopify. As with every big move in technology there has to be certain contingencies in place to make sure everything moves over as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, we’re being contacted by a lot of eCommerce businesses that have made the move and they’ve lost a lot of organic visibility, functionalities, customer accounts and had a drop in conversions. We’re also noticing a lack in confidence of agencies abilities to migrate from Magento to Shopify. As a Magento agency that transitioned to become a Shopify Plus Partner, we’ve build up a knowledge base to correctly and strategically migrate from Magento to Shopify.

Will migrating to Shopify from Magento mean a big design change?

The short answer is no. Both Magento and Shopify offer the same flexibility in terms of design. Because the two platforms are built on different frameworks, the site will need to be re-coded in Shopify based on the original designs. This gives us a perfect opportunity to either re-design or refresh the UX and user journey.

Does Shopify make it harder for developers?

We’ve found that sometimes it can be the other way round, often taking hours to do an update as opposed to days with Magento. The obvious difference is that Shopify is a hosted platform whereas Magento has to be hosted and maintained. Although it’s not recommended, you can amend the core of Magento which isn’t possible with Shopify. However, you can extend the Shopify platform using applications.

Configuring products in Shopify to sync with your old Magento data

The way Shopify handles products and attributes is slightly different to Magento, which means migrating the products isn’t as simple as exporting and importing. At ELS Media, we have a system in place that allows us to map the Magento product attributes and data to the Shopify equivalent. While this can take some time when you’re dealing with potentially thousands of products, this has to be done right. Unlike Magento, Shopify is limited to 100 variations per product and a maximum of 3 options per product. There is an extensive library of apps available to extend this functionality within Shopify.

How to avoid SEO pitfalls when migrating

By far, one of the biggest complaints we hear when sites have moved from Magento to Shopify is that they lose a lot of their traffic. Usually, you would expect to see a small drop in traffic straight after launching a new site, but this traffic should catch up and overtake current SERP rankings in time if it’s been done right. At ELS we understand the importance of organic traffic and have invested a lot of time in to understanding how best to move an online store to Shopify without loosing traffic or SERP position.

Redirects

Without a doubt, the most important aspect of SEO when launching a new site is to make sure the redirects are done correctly. Shopify lists products on several URLs so it’s really important to make sure you redirect your Magento product URLs to the Canonical ones.

Speed

It’s no secret that Google and other search engines use site speed as a ranking metric, with that in mind, it’s important when building a Shopify theme that the speed is as optimised as possible. Because Shopify is a self hosted platform, there isn’t much we can do to optimise it server-side, but with a massive, reliable and state-of-the-art infrastructure in place, coupled with extensive caching and an optimised CDN (content delivery network), we’re safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t get much faster without spending a small fortune. It’s extremely rare that a site migrating from Magento to Shopify ends up having a slower loading time.

Canonical

With a lot of eCommerce platforms you get the option to create several URLs for the same product and choose a preferred URL or a canonical URL. This canonical URL is essential for SEO as it tells Google which URL holds the original content and the other URLs are copies. Without the canonical in place, you could be in danger of producing duplicate content. Shopify, by default, creates canonical URLs for every product, so you don’t need to worry about anything. For certain ecommerce websites you will want to remove the collection from the URL completely, we have done this for a few of our clients and it’s relatively straightforward.

Migrating user accounts and passwords from Magento to Shopify

Every eCommerce platform uses its own encryption system to keep user accounts safe, because of this, there isn’t a reliable, secure way to migrate user passwords from Magento to Shopify. However, we find that this gives our clients an opportunity to reach out to their customers with a bit of clever email marketing. Most subscription based Magento sites will use a third party to process the subscriptions such as Stripe, this makes it relatively simple to migrate these subscriptions into Shopify. The same process goes for reviews; the big review platforms like Yotpo and FeeFo have apps that run on both Magento and Shopify, making the integration relatively seamless.

Software and add-on migrations

As the Shopify platforms grows we can see more and more third party software venders creating integrations. We’re close partners with software providers like: Nosto, Klevu, Klarna, Loyalty Lion and DotDigital, all of whom have seamless integrations with Shopify. While there are some software venders that aren’t currently on Shopify, there is a plethora of alternative solutions for most eCommerce requirements readily available on the Shopify app store.

Ready to migrate to Shopify and make the switch from Magento?

While every new rebuild or big move in technology can be daunting, at ELS, we’ve invested a lot of time and resource into making high converting Shopify stores AND making the migration process as smooth as possible. We’re always available for a chat, so if you’ve got any questions, you’re thinking of moving to Shopify, worried about a data migration or need some more information about Shopify, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.