- November 2, 2020
- by Eve Rouse
- 10 minute read
As a staggering number of Magento merchants flock to Shopify Plus, we delve into why, and share the key considerations of this migration, so you, too, can upgrade your online retail with confidence.
Why should I migrate from Magento?
Hungry for scalable growth, a huge amount of brands on Magento end up taking their online stores to Shopify Plus. Firstly, we look at the reasons so many merchants have ended up pulling-the-plug with Magento.
Magento 1 end-of-life
Many moons ago, Magento 1 (M1) was a strong contender in the e-commerce world. Then after a long wait, along came Magento 2 (M2) in 2015, providing solutions for some of its predecessor’s issues. The first versions of M2 were not stable, but eventually, a stable minor release allowed more brands to try out M2 for themselves.
Fast-forward to June 2020, and 12-year-old M1 became officially obsolete. Whilst it’s been possible for brands to continue operating on M1 since, the ongoing support, security patches, and quality fixes they’ve always relied on are now unavailable. This means brands are left open to security breaches and non-compliance — as well as the headache of a legacy system.
For this reason, brands on M1 are left with a choice:
Part with a 6-figure sum to “upgrade” their store to M2. Why so expensive? Because that tricksy “upgrade path”, in reality, is a huge replatform. Look at other platforms — and ones which offer a more reasonable cost of ownership, like Shopify Plus.
Magento 2 is not the holy grail
With this in mind, we’re seeing a lot of merchants jump ship from Magento. Not just those on M1, but those on M2 as well. At the mercy of hefty running costs, alongside expensive and complex upgrades, for many brands, M2 is not the best solution.
Why should I migrate to Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus’ launch in 2014 added a new player to the game — and one that’s gained market share at breakneck speed. Brands all over the globe are gravitating to Plus, many of them ditching Magento in the process.
“Over the last 2-3 years, there has been a huge increase in the number of retailers moving from Magento to Shopify and Shopify Plus”
Because Shopify Plus is designed to withstand the traffic, volume, and velocity of the world’s biggest brands, it’s proved particularly popular for high-growth merchants. We stack up the reasons Shopify Plus is preferred:
Quicker to launch
The 6-12 month migration time of traditional platforms is exhausting. With Shopify Plus, you can be there in less than 3 months’ time.
Lower cost of ownership
The total cost of ownership on Shopify Plus comes out around 50% less than on Magento (over a 3 year period).
Shopify is PCI-compliant out-of-the-box. A 3-D Secure checkout means you’ll automatically comply with PSD2 Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).
No more patching
On Magento, a lot of time and money can be wasted on endless patching and security upgrades. With Shopify Plus, it’s all handled for you.
Built to integrate
Shopify’s ecosystem of pre-built integrations means you can quickly plug it into your existing tech stack. Powerful APIs let you integrate the business system and tools you rely on, with ease. Your ERP, PIM, or CRM integrations would be much more simple.
Shopify plus scales with you
Whether it be handling huge traffic, or accommodating complex operations, Shopify Plus scales with you — and with ease.
10,000 checkouts a minute
High traffic should be exciting, not a cause for sleepless nights. With Shopify Plus, those peak trading periods are a breeze.
No more server worries
Forget scaling up your infrastructure ahead of Black Friday. Shopify handles whatever you throw at it, automatically.
Shopify’s engineering team works around the clock to make sure your website stays up and running when you need it most.
The ultimate app ecosystem
From reviews, to search, payments, and shipping, Shopify Plus boasts the broadest range of world-class technology partners, right at your fingertips.
Easy to use
If Magento’s clunky tech is weighing you down, rest assured Shopify Plus takes that burden from your shoulders. Your staff will pick it up in no time.
With Shopify's storefront totally customisable, you can design and build whatever your brand needs.
Shopify provides powerful automation tools, like Flow, Scripts and Launchpad. They're made to save your team time and money.
Shopify’s support team is there when you need them. Think 24/7 phone, email and chat support.
Considerations when migrating from Magento to Shopify Plus
Whilst there are clearly lots of reasons for leaving Magento for Shopify Plus, the migration process can still be a daunting task. For any brand looking to replatform, it’s important you give some thought to the following.
The international setup differs
If you sell internationally on Magento, you’ll be able to manage your international store views from within your store website at current. Of course, this makes for simple catalog and content management.
When moving to Shopify Plus, however, you might well need to split these into multiple store instances. Or it might be that you decide to have a Shopify instance per Magento store, and then use Shopify multi-language/multi-currency capabilities for each store view.
To learn more about the different options you’ll have to choose from, have a read of our blog post explaining how to sell internationally on Shopify Plus.
You’ll need to safeguard your SEO value
A second consideration when migrating from Magento to Shopify Plus is, unless you go down the headless route, Shopify has a strict URL structure, whereby the webpage type is used as a folder, e.g. domain.com/products/my-first-product.
Similarly, with international stores, each Shopify instance will normally need to sit on its own domain/subdomain. Whereas on Magento, you may currently be using subfolders for these.
Be sure to carefully map out and redirect all pages from your current international setup to your new Shopify URL architecture. You’ll also need to thoroughly test these redirects, to make extra sure they’ve been implemented successfully. Miss this step out, and you risk losing the SEO value of your current store.
Do note, an initial drop in rankings following any migration isn’t a cause for concern. This is to be expected in your first few days whilst Google processes your new store and updates its index accordingly.
Ultimately, if you’re replatforming from Magento to Shopify Plus, your SEO should benefit in other ways — take performance as an example. With Shopify being a faster platform on the whole, you’ll see an inherent increase in site-speed as a result of migrating, which Google takes kindly to. It’s important to continue optimising this as much as much as possible though, so have a read of our tips on how to improve your Shopify store’s performance.
Data migration and structure needs considering
Another thing to point out is that Shopify has a core data structure that can be extended via tags or metafields. The flexibility this grants can be a real bonus when you compare it to how structured Magento is when managing data.
To prevent issues when it comes to manipulating and updating product and customer data, it’s important to clearly map where you want to migrate and store each value.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend using tags to store data that someone will need to access and edit within Shopify, whilst using metafields to manage data that will be synced and edited within external systems.
Firstly, when it comes to your customer data, Shopify will capture the following core fields:
- First name / surname
- Email address
- Phone number
- Tax setting
- Email marketing status
This is only a basic set of attributes, so if you hold additional ones in Magneto (think DOB, gender, shopping preferences), then these will need to be mapped and stored against the customer using additional tags or metafields.
Moreover, Shopify identifies customers by their email addresses — or by phone numbers, should they not have an email address. Magento, on the other hand, may have duplicate customer records against the same email address. This means data cleansing may be required before importing customer info to your new Shopify store.
Finally, if you’re selling internationally and opting for a multi-store Shopify architecture, you’ll need to ensure that you migrate customers into the correct store, based on their geographic location and language preferences. Some clients with large e-commerce teams choose to do this independently, though we do offer this as a service.
Now, let’s look at product data. On Magento, you’ll be used to having multiple options when creating products: simple, configurable, grouped, virtual or bundle.
Shopify, however, provides a single ‘product’ for items with multiple variations. This works by the one ‘product’ then having the ability to behave differently depending on its configuration. Add a variant, and simple becomes configurable. Remove the variant, and it becomes simple again. Check the 'does not require shipping' box, and the product becomes virtual.
It’s also worth noting that, on Shopify, the concepts of grouped and bundle product types do not exist. This means, if you currently sell, or intend to sell, multiple products combined as a single ‘product’, you’ll need a separate solution for this. If this is you, there’s a few options available. For example, we can offer development work to add multiple SKUs to the cart, at the same time as a bundle, and use Shopify Scripts to apply discounts as/if needed.
Moreover, as with customer data, your product attributes from Magento will also need to be mapped into either tags or metafields.
Offer gift cards on your online store? No problem. It’s pretty straightforward to have these migrated.
Native features on Shopify vs Magento
Magento has different built-in features to Shopify. Instead, Shopify leverages an enormous ecosystem that’s jam-packed with the best e-commerce solutions out there.
You may need additional ‘apps’ from the Shopify App Marketplace to replace functionality that is native on your Magento store. Likely areas you’ll need a Shopify partner for include:
Search & merchandising
Although Shopify does have native search and merchandising capabilities, most Plus merchants will demand a more advanced solution. There are a host of partners that offer feature-rich search functionality, ready to plug and play. These include Algolia, Klevu, and Boost Commerce.
Similarly, if you’re on Magento, you’ll be used to a native returns’ management portal. But with Shopify, you’ll need to use a technology partner for this. Find out more about managing returns on Shopify, here.
Have you checked your current contract ties?
Lastly, a point that affects your timeline rather than your ultimate decision: how long do you have left on your current contracts? Your Magento licence may well be coming to an end. But it’s worth weighing up the value of any long-term commitments you have with things like hosting and support, or uptime monitoring providers, before you commit to the move. None of which will be required when you’re up and running on Shopify Plus.
Finding the right agency partner
The benefits of Shopify Plus are undeniable. It’s why so many world-class brands are realising, and upgrading from Magento. As an agency, we help these brands do it successfully. Transferring data, connecting integrations, and protecting traffic without fail.
If you, too, are sold on the Shopify Plus platform — or at least know you want out from Magento — then it’s probably time to start gathering quotes. You’ll want these to come back as accurate and efficient as possible, and so our advice is to nail step 1: writing a website specification. Approaching agencies with a killer spec gets you off to the best possible start, not only in helping you to obtain better quotes, but in gathering more insightful feedback.
When listing agency partners, make sure they’re trusted. Over 60% of our work is replatforming brands from Magento to Shopify Plus, so we’ve seen it all. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you, reach out to our replatforming experts today. In the meantime, have a look at some of the migrations we’ve already carried out, over in our Shopify Plus case studies.
Eve joined us in 2019 and has been distilling our team's technical knowledge into digestable content ever since. Aside from writing, Eve's also interested in comms, R&B music, EQ and human behavior.