Shopify Plus Migration: A Comprehensive Guide to Moving Your Store to Shopify Plus
Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento) and custom-built sites are great starting platforms for ecommerce sellers, but, as you scale, they become difficult to maintain. One solution many turn to is Shopify Plus, which provides a professional team to handle hosting, development, and integrations. This service switches the bulk of store overhead and complexity to an experienced third party.
However, making the move from an online store to Shopify Plus can be complex, even with pre-built migration tools and integrations. Additionally, the more custom capabilities and integrations you have, the more complicated the shift is.
This shouldn’t deter you from migrating your store though, as the benefits far outweigh the costs. To make the transition go smoothly, we’ve outlined the red flags that signal the need for a more robust platform, as well as the steps involved.
“Shopify Plus is a great option for small business owners who want to launch a store in a short period of time. It is a great platform for those who want to focus on their business and not on the technicalities of the website. Shopify Plus is easy to use and allows you to focus on what you do best – running your business. I would recommend Shopify Plus to other retailers because of the ease of use and the features that it offers. I also made a few mistakes when I first started with Shopify Plus, so I would recommend that retailers not rush into the process.” — Krittin Kalra, Founder, Writecream
4 Signs It’s Time to Switch to Shopify Plus
1. Your Site Requires Too Much Maintenance
Shopify Plus is a store builder with the functionality, applications, integrations, and plugins for nearly any change or feature you’ll need. This often allows marketers, merchandisers, and graphic teams to make changes directly, such as updating product pages, altering the look and feel of the site, or adding new widgets and graphics—all without the need for an in-house developer or outside agency.
If updates incur significant costs, moving to a more modular and user-friendly system like Shopify Plus could save you considerably on every marketing campaign or website update.
2. Your Store Is Breaking
If your site is custom-built or functions on Adobe Commerce with custom code, maintaining that code at scale becomes a major headache. As your store grows, processes will break, integrations may become outdated, and you’ll have to update applications and functionality continuously to maintain website security, integrations, and functionality.
Switching to a SaaS solution like Shopify Plus will reduce the hassle of a breaking site, cut the internal costs to fix those issues, and improve your customer experience as part of your contract.
3. You Need More Integrations
With Adobe Commerce, a lack of integrations isn’t a common issue. But for custom stores, sourcing new integrations is a time-consuming process. It also takes significantly longer to add new features or apps because you have to build them yourself.
Shopify Plus offers a fully headless solution with REST and GraphQL. In addition, you can access APIs, scripts, Shopify Plow, and the Shopify Checkout.liquid file, all of which enable you to customize and integrate applications into your store (often out of the box). With over 6,000 native apps, support for the most popular API, and thousands of brands providing integrations, Shopify lets you seamlessly incorporate almost any tool you want.
4. Overhead Costs Are High
Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 a month per license, which is dramatically less than many of their competitors and cuts the cost of maintaining an internal IT team. Platform fees also include updates, maintenance, security, and hosting, so many of your overhead costs will disappear. Note, though, that Shopify Plus charges extra for third-party plugins and apps, themes, and any PIM or CRM software you require.
If you have a multi-store setup, you’ll need multiple licenses and a dashboard to manage them. So, while costs can be considerable, they’re more transparent and sometimes significantly lower than the alternatives.
How to Switch From Adobe Commerce (Magento) to Shopify Plus
Moving from Adobe Commerce to Shopify Plus is simple for the most part, mainly because there are plugins and apps to help you export and import your data almost in one piece. That greatly simplifies the actual migration, but you still have to plan and prepare for the entire process to avoid issues.
The first and most important step in migrating your Adobe Commerce storefront is launching a discovery phase. This entails creating a list of functionalities you need in Shopify, determining how Shopify Plus will meet those requirements (e.g., plugins, apps, native functionality, integrations), and estimating the total cost. You should also establish a projected timeline, as migrations are generally long endeavors.
Create a data map and figure out how you’ll store data. Anything not inside Shopify’s basic fields will be stored as tags and metafields, so it’s important to assess what you have, what you need to keep, and how it’ll migrate. Applications like Matrixify (formerly Excelify) are extremely popular for content reformatting. However, you’ll still have to plan how to handle translation issues, such as multiple customers having the same email.
In addition, thoroughly research any partners you intend to work with, software solutions for the backend, and any ERP or PIM software you might need. Be sure to answer general questions, perform test runs, and check how migrations work before you start the migration.
Orders – Migrating orders from Adobe Commerce to Shopify is relatively simple with tools like EZ Importer, which migrates bulk import orders in CSV format. EZ Importer also supports line items, transactions, and order history, meaning you can keep customer orders tied to accounts. However, you have to pay for the app, and the larger your order history, the higher the cost of the migration.
Product Data – Shopify Plus uses a flat hierarchy for product categories and tags, which moves any subcategories or product attributes into tags and metafields in Shopify. This can consistently change how you structure and store product information. While most conversion apps will automatically translate this data, you’ll still have to review everything manually to verify the accuracy after the transfer (issues like imported products no longer having listed dimensions are common). Shopify also uses product variants rather than configurable products, which could require tweaking to ensure everything transfers correctly.
SEO – Shopify has issues with SEO, so you’ll have to pay significant attention to it. That requires you to set up 301 redirects, restructure your URLs, and ensure any multi-store solution you have employs the same URL structure.
“In most cases, Magento stores are mammoth-sized stores with hundreds and thousands of pages. Magento has its own host of structural problems like canonicalization of pages and indexing that need to be addressed. I tackled this by having our SEO team map page to page and identify page-level issues as we mapped the pages out. If you can catch those issues in migration, you are already off to a good start.” — Shane Pollard, Chief Technology Officer, BeMedia
Once you go live, take time to assess your products, check for errors, make sure elements work the way you intended, and regularly test functionality across the site. That may involve placing test orders, using navigation, and systematically reviewing the frontend and backend for every product.
Customer Accounts – If you have existing customer accounts, you’ll have to notify the owners and have them reactivate their accounts since you can’t migrate passwords. It’s also good practice to include a reactivation link on the login page for the first few months.
How to Switch From a Custom-Built Store to Shopify Plus
For larger brands transitioning to Shopify Plus, the migration requires more effort. For instance, there are fewer apps that import data easily at that level. However, you can use many of the same applications (EZ Importer is a go-to for any import), provided you export data to CSV first.
If you have a proprietary website, your greatest challenge will be documenting processes and transferring them into a Shopify-friendly format.
Moving to Shopify Plus is an opportune time to analyze your site’s functionality, determine what you need to keep, and identify the value each feature adds. One approach is to create a minimum viable product for your Shopify migration (take only what you absolutely need) and add the rest later. Alternatively, you can take everything that adds value while simultaneously scrapping anything that doesn’t achieve similar results (i.e., simplifying your backend and reducing overhead).
Other important preparation steps are:
- Mapping order workflows
- Documenting order management
- Defining vendor management and how purchase orders are handled
Then, determine how you’ll realize the same functionality in Shopify Plus. That often entails integrating ERP, especially if you’re moving to a multi-store setup. Incorporating order workflows and vendor management will require new tools and solutions.
Many brands also use the migration as a reason to restructure. You could save significantly by adopting a consolidated ERP or ecommerce SaaS solution to replace the tools you’ve acquired in your stack. This is the perfect time for ecommerce stores to assess what they still use as well. You can create a list of functionalities and then map those to the integrations and solutions you’ll use to replace them.
SEO – Run a tool like Screaming Frog’s free site crawler to map your domain and any subdomains. Then, analyze your inbound links. Shopify Plus also allows you to create a custom link structure, so you may be able to keep the one you had previously. You might want to set up a 301-redirect tool as well to avoid breaking links in images, inbound links, and other SEO-related issues.
Once you begin to export data to Shopify, you can initiate the setup. Most issues at this stage involve forms that don’t map to Shopify fields, underwhelming functionality, and SEO limitations.
In general, your primary concerns will be to establish payment gateways, synchronize accounting, link Shopify with your ERP (chances are you can use either an API or a direct integration), and ensure any trading partners, logistics, and order management tools are integrated directly or via API.
Cross-Site Syncing – If you’re building an international store, you’ll need multi-site solutions. This generally involves cloning your storefront and managing it through a single dashboard. You should integrate cross-site syncing as well to maintain order management, product inventory, and customer service in the same place.
When you go live, double-check that your site functions as desired. It’s helpful to run a full test of the site immediately, including placing test orders. Additionally, you should:
- Make sure customer accounts work, if you have them
- Verify product data, including variations and sizing, which can be tricky to import
- Ensure APIs function as expected
- Keep track of product inventory as it updates across storefronts to ensure it’s synchronized properly
- Check the functionality of any automations you implement
- Confirm that applications/integrations/tooling are operational and meet their intended purpose
Perform follow-up checks after three, six, and 12 months to ensure smooth operations, make changes where needed, and complete any other maintenance. As a backup, keep your old site on standby until you confirm Shopify Plus is working correctly. This way, if orders plummet, order processing malfunctions, or some other breakdown occurs, you can switch back while you fix the issue to prevent business interruptions.
Wrapping up – Nail your Shopify Plus migration for more sales
Shopify Plus offers ecommerce sellers a great deal of scalability and flexibility for their stores without the overhead and maintenance of a custom site or Adobe Commerce (Magento). However, making the switch requires months of investment, including discovery, mapping processes to Shopify applications and integrations, and improving existing operations.
By following the procedures outlined in this guide, you can thoroughly prepare and transition your store smoothly. You need a platform that will accommodate your ecommerce growth, so make the first move to migrate and enrich your store.
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