We previously covered the biggest differences between the two ecommerce market giants and came to the conclusion that both have their own niche. Shopify is more user-friendly and super quick to launch, while Magento is more robust, has a steeper learning curve, and allows you to customize everything, including the backend.
Since you’re reading this, something or someone must have planted the seed in your mind that Shopify might not be the perfect fit.
Let’s dive deeper and see what all the talk is about. We’ll explain how to migrate Shopify to Magento — and much more.
There are tons of options to choose from to replatform, so why Magento?
We encourage you to weigh the pros and cons of all the major enterprise-level ecommerce platforms, because you want your business to grow and the platform you choose has to be flexible.
Flexibility is one of the biggest reasons we chose Magento as our niche.
We’ve gone in-depth on the differences between Shopify and Magento in previous articles, and we were able to highlight the seven strongest selling points for Magento.
1. Adobe acquisition brings fresh ideas and integrations
According to our own experience at the MagentoLive Europe Conference and TechCrunch’s analysis, Adobe is investing heavily in integrating Magento with existing Adobe products like Adobe Sensei (AI tech), Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, Adobe Stock, and more.
2. Magento B2B and Business Intelligence
Magento has powerful B2B functionality as well as Business Intelligence, which help merchants offer frictionless ordering and management with better business insights and results through data aggregation, analysis, and visualization.
3. Magento PWA Studio
4. Page Builder
Page Builder helps you create content for a best-in-class shopping experience without requiring technical skills.
5..The ability to customize anything and everything
Unlike most other ecommerce platforms (apart from the premium/enterprise versions like Shopify Plus) Magento is like a sandbox environment for developers. Magento can bring anything you dream up to life.
6. Lots of out-of-the-box features
With Magento, you get a lot of bang for your buck. For example, One-Page Checkout, Multi-source Inventory, support for multiple languages and currencies, setting up related products, up-sells, and cross-sells, and much more.
7. Magento Commerce Cloud
Magento Commerce Cloud is the cloud-hosted version of Magento Commerce. It is an even more robust solution that implies a content delivery network, easy/continuous deployment, B2B functionality, improved support, and enhanced security.
This is a very loaded question which depends on how much you’re ready to invest. And, truthfully, it’s not going to be cheap. Instead of looking at it as a burden on your finances, think of it as an investment. Migrating to Magento takes your business to a new level.
To give you an idea, here is an example:
We’ll look at what types of data can be transferred via automated tools and extensions a bit later. The two most popular Magento migration services are Cart2Cart and LitExtension. They work by connecting to both your Shopify store and your new Magento store to securely transfer the bulk of your data.
How much it will cost to transfer 1,000 products, 10,000 customers and orders using Cart2Cart
How much it will cost to transfer 1,000 products, 10,000 customers and orders using LitExtension
With Magento, you can create anything you want in it. You can build or buy an extension and add all the bespoke features you need.
Many of our clients opt to get custom functionality built to spec so their teams can optimize their daily workflows.
Here are a few examples:
Custom Gift Card Extension for DiggEcard, a GaaS (Gift card as a Service) company offering a white-label solution for B2B and B2C businesses.
Our guides comparing Shopify and Magento point out the key differences in features, pricing, and other important factors that play a role in your decision-making process.
One thing we haven’t covered is the pitfalls in day-to-day use. Here are a few things to be wary of:
1. Magento/Shopify flat catalogs
Regardless of what you read, both platforms have flat catalogs. The only difference is, Shopify comes with a flat catalog by default. A flat catalog creates new tables on the fly, where each row contains all the necessary data about a product or category. Where before enabling a flat catalog was part of the Magento Performance Best Practices, we learned that this is no longer the case.
Starting with Magento 2.3., the use of a flat catalog is no longer a best practice and is not recommended. Continued use of this feature is known to cause performance degradation and other indexing issues. A detailed description and solution are available in the Magento Help Center.
2. Configurable products
Configurable products will be something new to you. Instead of creating a base product and using additional subproducts through variants of the first product (where every product has a separate SKU), in Magento you can create configurable products that are associated with the “parent products.”
3. Magento Categories instead of Shopify Collections
Collections in Shopify = Categories in Magento. Apart from flat product catalogs by default, Shopify has flat categories. In your new Magento store, you can create sub-categories to your heart’s content.
4. Product attributes vs Tags
Magento uses the following to display and sort products with attributes. You can read more about product attributes here.
5. 301 URL redirects (SEO!)
A problem you may run into is how URLs are created in Magento. What you want to do is match up the URLs from Shopify with the new ones in Magento.
In the next section, you’ll see that this is often an additional service on top of the regular migration services. This can also be managed in the Magento Admin interface, preferably by someone who knows what they’re doing.
To get a taste of what’s in store, log in to your admin panel -> Marketing -> SEO & Search -> URL Rewrites
Luckily for you and the ecommerce tech crowd, migrating data from platform to platform isn’t rocket science. However, there are turnkey migration services like Cart2Cart and LitExtension that only need information for your target and source platforms to quickly transfer your data.
Most migration services offer more or less the same scope of data, this is what Cart2Cart offers:
Please note that the additional options listed here are highly recommended — preserve order IDs, skip product thumbnail images (Magento generates these automatically), and create 301 redirects.
Although it can be done (painstakingly), it’s not worth trying to migrate most of your design (theme, buttons, other page elements).
Finding Magento extensions that perfectly match the logic and functionality of your Shopify Apps can be a challenge. However, the good news is that Magento has tons of extensions available and you can take an existing extension, customize and seamlessly integrate it (something you can’t easily do on other platforms).
These are the five major things you’ll need to plan and map out before migrating since you will have to replace them:
The short answer is — yes. The reason is that the two platforms are inherently different and handle data differently. For example, the database where all of your products, categories, orders, and customer info are stored organize data in a different way.
Our recommendation would be to go with a shopping cart migration service like the ones already mentioned. But that’s just the beginning. The next step is crafting your new Magento 2 store.
To get started, you’ll need to choose the right development team. Go for a Magento Solution Partner — they have the Magento stamp of approval and have tons of tech and business expertise to plan and launch your store on time and within budget.
If you take out the migration, learning curve, and other platform-specific tasks, migrating from Shopify to Magento is just like any other IT project. This is our four-step process:
Ideally, you should either get in touch with Magento or an experienced Magento partner (at least a certified Magento developer).
They’ll ask you a bunch of questions like:
To see what an ecommerce specification document looks like, check out our article on How To Write an Ecommerce Website Requirements Specification Document: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
The most important part of this step is to have a clear Definition of Done (DoD). This step is where you write a work-breakdown structure to outline the project into separate components — technologies, requirements, features, and project roles. With this in hand, you can move forward with developing a roadmap with a DoD at the end.
When your product team and your internal or external Magento development team are in sync and you’ve agreed upon a timeline, you can start migrating data, writing code, designing the store, and any other tasks. One thing to keep in mind is, even with contingencies and risk assessments, there can still be setbacks.
Once you’ve tested and re-tested multiple times to make sure every component of the store works, you can open a bottle of champagne…and put it right back down because now comes the hard part — learning a brand-new platform from the ground-up.
Set aside time in the overall migration plan to include post-launch support (getting accustomed to Magento, fixing bugs, optimizing the store).
Migrating to a different platform is like moving to a new apartment/house. You need to plan everything out — what to pack, when to ask for help, what the new environment is like, and what pitfalls you may encounter.