A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
This is the first post in a two-part series that will take you step-by-step through how to migrate your e-commerce store to Shopify from another platform, like WooCommerce or Magento.
(Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash)
Did you start your e-commerce business on Magento or WooCommerce, but it’s not working as well as you need now? Maybe your business is growing and your platform isn’t supporting your growing needs. You may be considering migrating your site from your current platform over to Shopify.
Whether you’re wondering if a migration is something you can DIY (it definitely is, depending on how big your store is and how much customization you want in the design and functionality), or if you’re thinking about finding a pro to guide you through the process - this post is for you.
We’ll walk you through the process of migrating an e-commerce site from another major platform over to Shopify, including the tools to help you manage the project yourself if you want. If you decide to bring on a partner to oversee the migration for you, this post will prepare you for what to expect, from start to finish.
In this first post, we’ll cover:
- Step 1: Plan a Schedule
- Step 2: Know What You Have - With a Sitemap
- Step 3: Understand What Content is Working (And What Isn’t)
- Step 4: Data Mapping
- Step 5: Data Migration Plan
- Step 6: Data Cleaning
- Step 7: Set Up Content Inventory Tracking
Then stay tuned for the next post, where we’ll jump back in on Step 8: Migration.
Step 1: Plan a Schedule
Site migrations can take awhile, depending on how you approach them. Even working with an experienced pro, a typical migration can take weeks to months (if you choose to create an entirely new custom designed site).
If there’s a date by when you absolutely need to be up and running on your Shopify site, communicate your timeline clearly, get started early, and give yourself plenty of time.
Step 2: Know What You Have - With a Sitemap
Start out by evaluating your existing data and deciding what needs to migrate. A great way to begin is to create a sitemap - a list of your website's URLs - to get a sense for how much content currently exists.
For websites of a few dozen to a hundred or so URLs, you can get a sitemap from a Google search. Just search “site:DOMAIN” (replacing DOMAIN with your website’s domain). You'll see which URLs are currently indexed, which is essentially what Google “thinks” exists in your website.
Once you have a good idea for your current site map, list the types of data that you track in your old platform. In the list, include how much data you have for each amount.
The types of data that you may want to migrate include:
- Gift Cards
- Store Credits
- Discount Codes
- Pages (eg. Shipping Policy, Contact, and other webpages)
- Product Reviews
Step 3: Understand What Content is Working (And What Isn’t)
Before you simply bulk transfer over every piece of data in your current site to your new Shopify site, it’s worth taking a look at what content is working well for your business, and where there may be opportunities for improvement.
You can perform an audit of your site content to determine what has a positive impact on your SEO, customer experience, and overall content strategy. To do this, use your Google Analytics account and look at:
- URLs with the most time spent on them
- URLs that consistently come up as initial landing pages in customers’ search queries
Both are of these are markers of successful content.
Step 4: Data Mapping
Not all the same data fields are going to exist in both your old platform and Shopify. There might be a product attribute or other data field that doesn’t have the exact corresponding field. In some cases, customization or a workaround might be needed.
You’ll need to map out in detail what data is being moved, and to what field, so you can ensure a seamless migration.
Data mapping will be most critical for content including:
- Product Data
- Customer Data
- Order History
- Discount Codes
- Gift Cards
Start with the product database from your current e-commerce platform, and map previous product attributes to Shopify's supported attributes.
Step 5: Data Migration Plan
Once you have comprehensive data mapping in place, it’s time to create a plan for how you’ll go about migrating all of your data, and in what order.
The order in which you import your product, customer, and historical order data is important to ensure that you will have access in Shopify to your customers' complete transaction history, and that the migrated orders will also be linked to their associated products and customers.
Data should be imported in the following order:
- Historical orders
There are several approaches for migrating content, each of which have their own considerations.
Manual Data Migration
This option is best for e-commerce sites with a product catalog in the single or low-double-digits. It can be slow, but is also easier to oversee quality control for individual data entries. To enter data manually, you will create the field in Shopify, then copy the content from your old site and paste into your new Shopify site.
Bulk Import with CSV
Shopify has a native bulk import tool that allows you to import product data via a CSV spreadsheet. This approach will work well for sites with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of products to upload. Shopify’s bulk upload restricts you to follow the exact template specified by Shopify, and CSV files cannot exceed 15MB (If it does, simply break it into a few separate batches).
You can choose to use one of the third-party migration apps for platform-specific product importing that are available in the Shopify App Store, such as:
- Bulk Account Invite app to automatically invite any number of customers to activate their new Shopify account
- OrderImp imports order history
- Bulk Discount Codes
Application Programming Interface (API)
You can create (or hire a partner to create) an app that will help automate some of the data transfer between your old site platform and Shopify.
Step 6: Data Cleaning
It happens to everyone: dirty data. Things get outdated or become irrelevant. Old discount codes that you no longer use. Bad customer data for people whose email address bounce, or whose mailing address has changed.
You know the saying, “Junk in, junk out.” There’s no point in going through all the effort of migrating over to Shopify without taking the time to clean your data first.
Once you’ve gone through the process of data mapping and have a migration plan in place, it’s important to dig into your data and clean it in preparation for moving it all over to Shopify.
Start by removing any old, outdated or inactive products, categories, and customer records. Then comb through your data and make sure it’s in order and prepared to seamlessly migrate over. This process will look different for everyone, and will depend on the types and quantity of data you have, and your data strategy for your new Shopify site.
Step 7: Set Up Content Inventory Tracking
To track the process of migrating all of your content over, it helps to create a content inventory spreadsheet.
For each URL on the new Shopify site, the content inventory can track a variety of attributes associated with each page such as:
- Page Title
- META Information
- Content Summary
That’s it… the preparation is finally complete and you’re ready to hit “go” on your e-commerce website migration.
Check in soon for the second half of this topic to read about the migration itself: the design migration (use a pre-built theme or develop a new, custom design?), the navigation migration, and all of that content.
In the meantime, if you’re thinking that you may want to partner with a pro to help out with your site migration, give us a ring. We’ve helped loads of e-commerce companies transition to Shopify from another platform (without any of those scary scenarios of lost data or plummeting SEO that you might be worried about).