Let's face it, moving sucks. Switching to a new e-commerce platform doesn't involve any backbreaking work, but it can be daunting all the same. If you are switching to Shopify as your e-commerce platform, you'll want to be prepared to migrate your products and content. Whether you have a small handful of products or a marketplace filled with hundreds of SKUs, there are some best practices and applications that can make the process suck less.
If you're coming from Amazon, Magento, or eBay, then Shopify has some official migration apps which can assist you in your move. There are also some 3rd party options available in the Shopify App Store to handle other cart systems, but reviews for them are sparse. Shopify's Amazon Webstore Importer, Magento Importer, and eBay Importer will all bring in your products and most of their important metadata. Each platform varies when it comes to customers, images, and other information. Be sure to check out Shopify's store migration documentation to find out more about those platforms.
No matter your current system, Shopify offers a tried and true bulk import system. It requires you to format everything into a CSV file, meaning that the best tool at your disposal is your favorite piece of spreadsheet software. If your current cart allows you to export your products as CSV or Excel files you'll have a head start, you'll just need to map everything to the headers that Shopify's system expects.
Thankfully those headers allow you to define every detail of your products, from titles, variants, and weights to SKUs and product images. Shopify provides a sample file to use as a template which includes nearly all the fields you have at your disposal. We say nearly because there's one extremely useful field you can add which can save you a lot of time: the "Collection" field. This is actually the only field you can add which won't break Shopify's bulk import system, and we highly recommend using it!
Collections are the main way in which you'll organize your products in Shopify. By setting the collection field in your CSV file you'll be able to gather everything into their proper place upon being imported. So if you sell a lot of t-shirts you'll want to ensure you're putting them into a "T-Shirts" collection. Shopify will even create the collection if it doesn't exist, the only caveat being that you can only define one collection per product. Keep in mind that this only creates manual collections, which are great for curated lists. Such as your shop's homepage or other places where you want to merchandise products. Don't worry, you'll be able to add products to as many collections as you'd like later, and we recommend Shopify's automated collections to make that process more fluid and flexible.
The other area where you can save the most time during migration is with regards to your product images. If you prepare everything in advance Shopify can grab all your images and associate them with the proper products and their variants. The first step in preparing your images is to give them sensible names based off the titles and variants of your products. Then you'll want to make sure they live in a single folder online either through a web host or cloud storage solution, such as Amazon Web Services' S3. S3 offers a free tier and they won't mess around with your filenames. Doing all of this will let you fill out the "Image Src" and "Variant Image" fields of your CSV without fighting your way through cryptic image names and directories.
Migrating Product Reviews
If you employ product reviews in your shop, you have a few options to migrate those as well. Shopify has their own solution, simply called Product Reviews which offers an import function. If you're looking for something a little more robust there is a 3rd party app called YOTPO which also provides review migration by way of an import feature.
Migrating Your Order History
The official cart migration apps that Shopify offers only handle products and in some cases, customers. If you want your previous orders to make the jump over with you, you'll want to employ an app called Orderimp. If your current cart allows you to export a CSV of your order history then you're only a few steps away from migrating them to Shopify. Orderimp's system will help you map the columns to be compliant with Shopify and then your import will soon be done. This allows you to utilize other Shopify features and apps where having sales data will lead to better marketing decisions and customer relations.
Migrating Your Blog
Once you've imported your products, customers, and orders, the last portion of content to migrate should be your blog. Having your blog live on the same domain as your online shop can be a major boon to your SEO. This makes your blog content an important part in your migration to Shopify. There's a good chance you're using WordPress to blog currently, and if so Shopify offers a WordPress Importer to assist with your blog migration. It'll handle posts, comments, images and even your WordPress pages.
As for the other blogging platforms out there, if yours supports RSS then you'll be able to use BlogFeeder to migrate your posts to Shopify's blogging system with little effort. You'll have the option to do a one-time import and start blogging full time within Shopify, or you can maintain your original blog and have BlogFeeder periodically import everything to Shopify. A few of the downsides with BlogFeeder are the lack of comment and image import. Employing a 3rd party comment system such as Disqus will allow you to import comments from your old system should you choose to bring them over to your Shopify blog. You'll need a little elbow grease to use Disqus within Shopify as its an unsupported integration.
Dealing with Redirects
After you've completed your move to Shopify, there's a good chance that your visitors and search engine crawlers will be met with some 404 errors. This can cause frustration with your customers and possibly damage your search engine rankings, so you'll want to fix those errors quickly. If you luck out and have only a few 404s occurring then Shopify's built-in URL Redirects should be enough to fix them. If you're seeing a significant amount of errors, with new ones cropping up over time, then you'll want to take a look at Traffic Control. Traffic Control is a bulk redirects app for Shopify that lets you manage your 404 errors by uploading lists of redirects as opposed to tackling each one manually.
Another good practice to get in front of some issues with your site being indexed properly is to submit your Shopify sitemap to Google's Search Console. If you need additional assistance with these steps be sure to check out Google's support article on the topic.