If your online business has outgrown your current store platform, migrating to Shopify could be a smart move. Shopify is among the most popular and powerful e-commerce platforms. In fact, hundreds of thousands of businesses currently use Shopify’s abundant store setup features and expansive theme designs.
Shopify commands 10.32% of the global e-commerce software market. Simplified order management, robust reporting, and integrations with marketing, fulfilment, and accounting tools make it an entrepreneur’s top choice.
Moving an existing store to a new platform is no simple task, however. It involves migrating years of product data, order history, blog content, and other information seamlessly to the new system. You also need to recreate your workflows, shipping methods, payment systems, and full website design on the new platform without disrupting your current customer experience.
So how should you go about it? This post provides a step-by-step checklist to guide you through this complex process. But first, here are the basics.
What is e-commerce migration?
E-commerce migration means moving an online store and its data from one platform to another. More specifically, this involves moving products, inventory, images, customer information, sales history, and other pertinent aspects.
With proper planning, you can migrate successfully to Shopify. Follow these steps to enjoy the best results:
1. Back up your current website
Before altering anything with your live store, create a full backup of critical data to transfer to your Shopify shop later. Download all product info, categories, descriptions, images, and customer transaction history. Save copies locally and externally.
2. Sign up for Shopify and choose your plan
One of the first steps when getting set up on Shopify is selecting one of their monthly subscription plans. Carefully choosing the right plan from the start allows you to build a store that caters to your needs. But you can always upgrade later as the business grows.
Shopify offers three main pricing plans:
- Basic Shopify (USD$32 per month): This plan is best suited for new e-commerce stores and offers basic store performance reports.
- Shopify (USD$92 per month): This middle-tier plan suits most growing e-commerce merchants and offers all features in the basic plan plus additional benefits.
- Advanced Shopify (USD$399 per month): For high-volume merchants generating over a million dollars in annual sales, the Advanced Shopify plan may be beneficial. It offers further bulk pricing discounts and third-party calculated shipping rates.
If you’re a beginner, you can go for the Starter plan, which costs only USD$5 per month. There are also more advanced plans, such as Retail (USD$89 per month), Shopify Plus (USD$2,000 per month), and Enterprise Commerce (custom pricing) designed for established businesses.
3. Create your Shopify store
Use Shopify’s theme store options to find a visually appealing theme that also offers the right e-commerce functionality. The platform offers hundreds of professional themes to choose from when customising your online storefront.
Selecting the right theme is crucial to get your brand look, feel, and functionality right from the start. Consider colour schemes that match logo and product photography as you preview theme options. Prioritise easy site navigation with intuitive flows into product pages and onto checkout.
Also, ensure responsive design so your store looks great on all devices. Check that important features like integrated payment processing, shipping calculators, inventory tracking, and reporting are supported.
4. Identify data to migrate
Thoroughly audit what existing store data needs to be migrated over for a successful Shopify launch. Some key data to prioritise include:
- Product catalogues with inventory levels, descriptions, variants, and images
- Customer information, e.g., names, order history, subscriptions, and email lists
- Sales reports and analytics
- Media assets, e.g., brand logos and banners
Identify any third-party apps connected to your current store that need to integrate with Shopify. Compiling this data helps build your new store foundation.
Shopify offers an automatic migration tool that works for basic storefronts. For more customised stores, manual migration allows more control. You may also want to hire a Shopify expert agency to manage the migration for you.
5. Export data and import into Shopify
Utilise your original e-commerce platform’s export tools and Shopify’s integrated import options to transfer key store information. Methodically move product catalogues, descriptions, inventory counts, images, and variants first. Next, migrate customer details.
To retain SEO without losing any historical performance data, redirect old product URLs to relevant Shopify pages. Carefully confirm all old data is displaying and functioning as expected in the new Shopify store back-end and front-facing site before launch.
6. Measure store performance
Post-migration, leveraging Shopify’s built-in analytics and reporting is key to monitoring and optimising your new store’s performance. Carefully track sales volumes, revenue totals, website traffic, peak shopping times, average order value, and other key metrics on a daily and weekly basis initially.
Compare this to your old e-commerce platform’s figures to spot revenue, traffic, or conversion issues early. With continual performance measurement, you can fine-tune platforms, product listings, and promotions to ensure your Shopify provides a profitable foundation for e-commerce growth.
Migrating an existing e-commerce store to Shopify is a complex process, but following a structured checklist helps streamline the transition. Back up your current site, choose the right Shopify plan, export and import data, and redirect URLs to continually monitor performance. Attention to detail in each step sets your new Shopify store up for long-term success. Leverage all of Shopify’s analytical tools and support to refine and expand your online business continually.