One of the things we do most often here at 1Digital Agency is migrations. People want to migrate for a lot of different reasons. Maybe they had a bad experience with customer service or feel that another platform can offer them more than the one they are using now. Shopify is one of the platforms that we see people want to migrate to the most. It’s not really all that surprising when you consider that 8% of all of the top 10,000 eCommerce sites are built on Shopify. Migrating to Shopify can be a great business decision. It’s a stable and powerful eCommerce platform that works for hundreds of thousands of users. You just have to be sure you go about your migration to Shopify in the right way for it to be successful.
Protect Your Data
Before you begin the process of migrating to Shopify, you need to backup your data. You should probably be doing this regularly even if you aren’t planning on migrating, but it is doubly important now. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing your entire site if something goes wrong. With all the time and money you’ve spent putting it together, this is something that would catastrophically bad. Backing up your data should be the first step of your migration to Shopify, and it’s one that you can do yourself pretty easily.
If you’re trying to migrate to Shopify on a tight deadline, then the best time to start would have been two weeks ago. Migrations involve transferring huge amounts of data, and a small mistake can have big consequences. Even the best developers with the most migration experience have a hard time telling exactly how long a migration will take. If you still have the chance, give yourself as much time as possible to do the migration to Shopify. It’ll be easier for you and whoever else you have working on the project. No one wants to spend 18 hours a day carefully studying spreadsheets to make sure everything is in the right place.
Pick Your Name
Are you going to be migrating to a new URL at the same time you are migrating to Shopify? This isn’t a bad idea necessarily, but there are certain steps you have to take to make sure that you don’t lose valuable SEO. The most important thing to do is to add 301 redirects to your old site. These redirects let Google know that your site has moved for good and can be found at a different location. Whatever information Google’s crawlers have collected on your old site will be transferred over to your new store. You’ll also have to keep hosting the old site until Google’s crawlers have had enough time to go through your site. Google only scans a handful of pages at a time, so it’s going to take a little bit. Expect to host if for at least a few more weeks so Google can crawl your entire site.
On the other hand, things are a little bit easier if you decide to keep your old URL. All you have to do is transfer the new site over to the same URL. You will retain all of your old SEO efforts, which for many people means over a decade of work. It’s more or less impossible to run a booming eCommerce business if you don’t get traffic through organic search. Keeping your old URL makes this as easy as possible once you have finished migrating to Shopify.
Migrating to Shopify — Products
You’ll use a comma separated values file (CSV) to bring over your products when you are migrating to Shopify. This is essentially a spreadsheet that contains all information about your products. This includes things like price, color, size, etc. CSV files can be downloaded from the API in whatever platform you are using. CSV files aren’t standardized across platforms so Shopify probably interprets the data a little differently than the platform you used before, often leading to some hiccups in your migration to Shopify.
For example, Bigcommerce and Shopify interpret product variations differently. If you sell a set of earrings that has four different color varieties, Bigcommerce will put these variations on different lines of the CSV, while Shopify would put these variations all on the same line. Unless you were to go and manually correct this, it would cause problems with your migration to Shopify. This is something that takes a lot of knowledge and experience to do right. If you’ve never done it before, the easiest thing to do would be to hire an agency (like us!) to handle it for you. That way, you can rest assured that everything will go as smoothly as possible.
Migrating to Shopify — Order History & Customers
If you’re migrating your products to Shopify, you may as well bring along your order history and customer profiles as well. This is also done through CSVs. These tend to vary a little bit less than CSVs for products, but you still may run into issues if you have changed the fields that customers have to fill out over the years. This is something you would have to manually correct as well. If this is true, then it’s probably a good idea to bring in some migration experts to make sure there are no problems.
If you’ve spent money on a template you like, then you probably want to bring over your design as well when you are migrating to Shopify. This is possible, but it’s closer to rebuilding your template to work on Shopify than it is a migration to Shopify. Like the CSVs for product pages, eCommerce platforms all interpret the code for templates a little bit differently. Unless you are already experienced in HTML code, this is probably going to be far too difficult to handle by yourself. If you know you want to migrate your template to Shopify, you are almost certainly going to have to hire someone to help. On the plus side, if you’ve been thinking about a site redesign then this occasion presents a perfect opportunity.
Finishing the Process
At 1Digital, we thoroughly test all of our migrations in a sandbox to make sure that the migration to Shopify was done properly. After we’ve made sure that everything went smoothly, we’ll get ready to launch your new site. We launch sites in the middle of the night so there is as little interruption to your business as possible. It’s usually a fairly quick process to launch your new Shopify site, with 24 hours being about the longest it would take.
There’s a lot involved in a migration to Shopify. Unless you’re some kind of renaissance man who is a master of everything, it’s probably too much for you to handle. 1Digital Agency performs migrations for clients all the time, and we would love for you to be next on our list. Check out our migration services and give us a call today. We’d love to hear from you.
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