How to migrate from Magento Community Edition to Shopify

Image Credit: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos

Magento community edition is not the most user-friendly option for smaller businesses or solos.

Shopify, on the other hand, is much easier for smaller operations to use and can scale to a very sizable business. I’ve heard of Shopify sites doing double-digit revenue without needing to upgrade to another eCommerce platform.

Unfortunately, you may have been setup on Magento first. Moving is not easy, also known as replatforming, can be a high stakes project given that if not done properly the design change can make conversion rates variable and SEO results suffer.

Design changes are a different discipline. However, I can share my process for replatforming a client’s site which lead to a smooth transition and an improvement of SEO and conversion rates.

To replatform from Magento Community Edition to Shopify, you will need to:

  1. Download product, customer and order data
  2. Create your Shopify site
  3. Import product, customer and order data
  4. Crawl your Magento site
  5. Setup 301 redirects on Shopify
  6. Backup your Magento site
  7. Change DNS settings to your new Shopify site
  8. Submit sitemap to Google

Here are the details.

Download your product, customer and order data

Before building your Shopify site, download your legacy data from Magento.

Make sure you export to excel all your data on:

  • Order history
  • Customer information
  • Products

This will make the build on Shopify faster as you will have the data you need to import all ready to go when you go to record your order history and migrate customer profiles and products.

You may want to collect all your product images into one folder ahead of time and name them correctly.

Order history cannot be migrated however you may want to keep this excel document for reference.

Create your Shopify site

Now that you have your images and data, you can create your Shopify site.

Sign up for a trial or regular account on Shopify here and complete your:

  1. General settings (payments, taxes, shipping)
  2. Pages
  3. Theme setup
  4. Plugins

If you would like some suggestions on what plugins to use, I have written a post about my favourites here.

However, be sure to download the Easy Redirects plugin (Shopify plugin store) as you will need this later.

Import product and customer data

Now that your store is setup you can begin to import your customer and product data exports you found earlier.

To import customer data, go to the customer section and click the import customer function.

To import product data, go to the product section and click import products.

Note that Shopify provides .CSV templates for both imports. Be sure to use them correctly so that your data is transferred neatly.

At this point, your Shopify store should now be complete (after testing) and only requires configuration of your URL to go live and function.

However, if you change your DNS settings to push your Shopify store live at this point, you will have too many URL errors and broken links. The next steps will show you how to fix these before turning the site live.

Crawl your Magento site

In order make sure you do not have any broken URLs on your new Shopify site, you will need to map out your Magento domain’s URL structure so that all URLs can be redirected to their respective versions on Shopify.

To crawl your site:

  1. Use a crawling service like Screaming Frog which can provide all the URL data in excel form.
  2. Compare the results from these Crawlers to the pages which receive traffic in Google Search Console to make sure you have mapped out all the possible URLs.
  3. Using both these data points, create a list of URLs in a spreadsheet and plan the new URL that you will redirect these to on Shopify.

Setup 301 redirects on Shopify

Now that your URLs are mapped, you can return to Shopify to setup your 301 redirects ahead of time.

Head back to your Shopify store and open the Redirection plugin. You will be able to enter the previous URL and destination URL in order to create a 301 redirect.

If you have carefully mapped out all your old URLs and new destinations in the previous step, you can upload these all at once in the Easy Redirects plugin. This can save you hours of work.

All all the redirections required and you will be ready to move onto the next step.

Backup your Magento site

As part of good practice, make sure you backup your old magento site.

You may have a few orders still being processed so it will be good to keep it live on a password protected subdomain set as non-indexable. This will give you the 1-2 week window to follow through those orders.

Change DNS settings to your new Shopify site

With your URLs properly redirected and your Magento site backed up, you will be ready to set your Shopify store live.

Before making the transition, you may want to plan to push the changeover at a low period of sales to lower and potential impact should there be any issues.

To push your store live:

  1. Go to your Shopify store settings section and choose domains
  2. Select connect with existing domain
  3. Follow the prompts to enter your desired domain name
  4. Change your DNS settings to Shopify’s name server details provided on that page

Congratulations! Once the DNS settings have been propagated your store will be live!

Submit sitemap to Google

As a final step, you should give Google notice of your new URL structure so that your new site can be properly indexed.

In Google console, submit a new sitemap from your Shopify store. Shopify automatically generates a sitemap for every store in their system which can be found at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

Once you have submitted your sitemap, monitor both Google Analytics and Search Console in case you need to spot any issues or errors in the coming days after the transition.

Conclusion

Follow the steps above to ensure the smoothest transition possible and you should be fine.

Be sure to pay special attention when you map out your URL redirections correctly in order to mitigate the short-term effects on SEO. Also, make sure you keep an accessible backup of your Magento site for a few weeks in case you need to reference any orders made before the change.

Migrating from one eCommerce platform is a great opportunity to move from a more resource intensive platform to a more user friendly one, like Shopify, so I wish you all the best with your transition.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or punch in a question in the comments section below.

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