How to Migrate Shopify to WooCommerce

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Are you a small business owner looking for a way to migrate Shopify to WooCommerce?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we show you how to easily migrate your Shopify store to WooCommerce. We also provide helpful tips on making the migration process as smooth as possible. So, if you’re ready to learn more, keep reading!

What’s covered in this post:

  1. Why move from Shopify to WooCommerce?
  2. Migration options and the pros and cons
  3. Manually migrate store data – steps and tips
  4. Migrate Shopify to WooCommerce using a Store Migration app
  5. Hire a Developer or Agency

Why Move from Shopify to WooCommerce?

Graphic with the text, "WooCommerce is the UK's most popular plugin".

WooCommerce is the UK’s best-loved eCommerce store option, with Webtribunal reporting that WooCommerce is the most popular plugin on the entire internet — with 68% usage distribution.

It’s not a standalone platform. It’s an extension of the popular website builder, WordPress, so it is a convenient way to convert your WordPress dashboard into an online store.

Shopify is quickly growing in popularity — and for good reason; it’s an easy-to-use eCommerce platform for small to medium businesses.

Shopify is not for everyone, with many finding themselves limited by its interface. If you feel you’ve outgrown the functionality within your Shopify store or are looking for something bespoke, then switching to a WooCommerce store might be a great option.

Read on to discover the benefits of opting for a WooCommerce store.

Infographic showing the pros and cons of Shopify and WooCommerce

More control over your store

WordPress and WooCommerce are both open-source code, allowing anyone with the technical ability and the imagination to run wild with customisation ideas for their WooCommerce store.

There are countless apps available to turn your website into whatever you need it to be. Whether that’s creating tables, doing regular free back-ups or new design features.

Plugins developed by third-party developers mean that if you can dream it, someone else will likely have dreamed it first and built it. For example, a plugin that allows users to create their own designs to put onto your products is possible with the WooCommerce store.

Better SEO features

WooCommerce allows you to customise and edit all aspects of your SEO, from metadata to URL structures and snippets to plugins that can improve your site speed scores.

Shopify was not originally built with SEO in mind, and whilst they have recently made an update that allows users to update their metadata more easily, it has a long way to go before it catches up with the WooCommerce store and WordPress.

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Niche payment options

Both the Shopify and WooCommerce stores have plenty of payment options, including Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

This again comes down to how flexible the WooCommerce store can be, thanks to the many extensions available. So if you like to offer credit-based options, or your website needs to provide payment options for overseas customers, WooCommerce is a great option.

More flexibility and customisation

The open-source nature of WordPress and WooCommerce means that developers can change the source code in whatever way they’d like.

Likewise, if there isn’t a plugin or extension that does what you need, it’s possible to create one for yourself with the help of an app developer.

Likely, you won’t need to do that. WooCommerce has over 300 add-ons explicitly built for eCommerce, and WordPress has over 54,000 free plugins to help with everything from marketing to functionality.

Shopify has around 6,000 apps, which is plenty, so again, it boils down to what you want to achieve through your store.

This is also true of your store design. The Shopify store has many lovely theme options designed with an eCommerce store in mind. Whilst they are customisable, Shopify is unlikely ever to be as customisable as WordPress.

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More flexible pricing options

The Shopify Store has three core payment plan options, which fit most pocket sizes, and for most small businesses, this is great.

WordPress and WooCommerce are free to use, so if you want to spend years perfecting your online store before launching it to the world, you can do that.

It’s worth mentioning that to put your site live, you will need to pay for a domain name, hosting and an SSL certificate, so WooCommerce is not a completely free option. This post by WooCommerce shows the costs involved.

However, WooCommerce allows you to control your monthly costs more. If you’re looking for an extension to add a specific kind of functionality, you can likely try a free version or pay for one when you can afford it.

There are also no transactional fees with WooCommerce, which is a way to save on costs.

Equally, whilst both Shopify and WooCommerce offer additional shipping tools, the price to use these on Shopify is built into your package, so you’ll need to upgrade to access them.

WooCommerce offers a paid-for extension, so it’s up to you whether you need it or not, no matter your business size.

Access to a community of learning resources

Shopify and WordPress have a large and growing community of users who are happy to share knowledge.

The Shopify store additionally has 24/7 phone or live chat support, which WordPress doesn’t.

So why would you opt for WooCommerce over a Shopify store? It depends on how passionately you feel about open-source, sharing resources and community.

WooCommerce encourages knowledge sharing through their Forum and regular meetups. Likewise, WordPress has a scheme that encourages volunteers to contribute their time to improve the platform.

To summarise, both WooCommerce and Shopify are excellent options for small to medium business owners. Which you opt for will depend on how customised you need your online store to be. If you’re looking for some niche functionality or expect to need this ‌in the future, ‌consider moving from Shopify to WooCommerce.

Migration Options and the Pros and Cons

Graphic showing different WooCommerce migration options.

If you’ve decided that you need more flexibility or niche functionality within your online store than is possible with Shopify, then it’s time to migrate Shopify to WooCommerce.

Whilst the extent of migrating your data is nowhere near as large a project as building a new website, there’s still time, effort and the potential cost involved with moving your store from Shopify to WooCommerce. Which option you choose should reflect how much of each of these three things you’re willing to spend.

All three options will require a degree of time, effort and money, so it’s prudent to look at your WooCommerce migration as an investment that will help your business grow in the long term. Viewing the migration process as inconsequential will likely result in problems later down the line.

Here we’ll explore the three options available to you if you’re looking to move your online store from Shopify to WooCommerce, along with the pros and cons, followed by the steps you need to take for each option. Consider each one carefully before making your choice.

Manually migrate store data

This is the only free option, but it’s likely to be the most time-intensive option. Whilst the process is free, ‌consider the functionality built-in to Shopify that will be lost and might require a WooCommerce plugin to replace it. Do your research upfront because while most WooCommerce plugins are free, some are not.

Pros

  • This is a free option, with the only costs being the price of a hosting provider, SSL certificate and any plugins needed (you will need these with any migration option).
  • For a manual migration process it’s relatively straightforward.
  • You will be in full control of your migration process, which is a great way to review your Shopify data and ensure the security of your customer data.

Cons

  • There is no expert support, only community forums.
  • It can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with either platform or not technically minded.

 

Choose a store migration app

Multiple automated migration apps can be purchased to speed up the migration process. Two that have excellent reviews are LitExtension & Cart2Cart.

Both tools are excellent options with great customer reviews. Which one you opt for is up to you.

Pros

  • Both have a dedicated customer support team.
  • A migration app is the fastest option and relatively affordable.
  • Both are straightforward and use a migration wizard to guide you through the process.

Cons

  • The cost can vary depending on the amount of store data you need to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce.
  • Errors can still occur.
  • There is still a good amount of time needed from yourself.

Hire a developer or agency

This is potentially the most costly option, but if you’re time-poor, it’s likely to be the most stress-free.

If taking on the Shopify to WooCommerce migration makes you feel nervous, then hiring a professional is an excellent option that limits the amount of involvement from you.

Pros

  • There’s less time needed from you, just a small amount of input required upfront.
  • There is likely to be after-sale support provided by both developers and agencies, whether through an agreed amount of feedback or a warranty period.

Cons

  • It’s potentially an expensive option.
  • You won’t be in control of your data migration, so you should ensure the agency or developer has security procedures in place.

Now that you’re aware of the three options available, we’ll look at each one in closer detail with the steps needed for each one.

Manually Migrate Store Data

This is the option for you if you have little to no budget and plenty of time on your hands or have a good understanding of Shopify and WooCommerce/WordPress.

Compared to some platforms, WooCommerce and Shopify make it relatively straightforward for you to complete your Shopify to WooCommerce migration, so if budget is your number one priority, it is possible to achieve this without the help of a developer.

Step 1 — Back up your data

Within the Shopify store, make a backup of all your store data. You can do this by using CSV files to store data, or you could alternatively duplicate your store or create a store backup using an app purchased through the Shopify store.

Whilst this step won’t affect the outcome, it is vital as it means you won’t lose your store if things go wrong.

Step 2 — Export Shopify products

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Products.
  2. Click Export.
  3. From the dialog box, choose the products you want to export:
  4. The current page of products
  5. All products
  6. Products you have selected
  7. Products that match your search and filters.
  8. Select which type of CSV file you want to export:
  9. CSV file for Excel, Numbers, or another spreadsheet program. Use this format if you plan to use a spreadsheet program to edit your product CSV file.
  10. Plain CSV file. Use this format if you plan to use a plain-text editor with your product CSV file.
  11. Click Export products.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that your CSV file will not contain your product images, so it’s best to leave your Shopify store open so that your product images are accessible whilst the import is running.

Step 3 — Tidy up your CSV file

Use either a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Docs or a text editor and ensure all your data is formatted correctly. You can read formatting guidance from Shopify here.

Step 4 — Import your data to WooCommerce

Screenshot of the WooCommerce product CSV importer tool.

At this stage, you should have already set up your WooCommerce store.

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to WooCommerce > Products.
  2. Select Import to access the product CSV importer.
  3. Click Choose File and select your CSV file and click Continue.
  4. Next, you will see the Column mapping screen.
  5. WooCommerce will attempt to map the column name of your Shopify CSV file to the WooCommerce product fields. This might not be possible in some cases, but you can correct these manually using the dropdown menus.
  6. Select Run Importer.
  7. Don’t close the screen until the process is complete.

Step 5 — Import customers to your WooCommerce platform

To migrate data that isn’t a product, like a customer, a coupon or an order, you will need to download an additional app. WooCommerce recommends using this snappily titled, Customer/Order/Coupon CSV Import Suite by Sky Verge.

  1. Once it’s installed, simply go to Import data from CSV file and select the CSV file that contains your customer and order data.
  2. On the next screen, select your preferred import options and then Preview the fields to ensure they have mapped across correctly.
  3. If there are any that haven’t mapped across, it’s no problem. Next, you’ll be presented with the opportunity to map columns against the appropriate WooCommerce fields.
  4. Hit the Dry Run button to check that your file will work properly when you do your live run.

If you follow the above steps, you should have successfully imported your Shopify data from Shopify to WooCommerce.

It’s a good idea to review everything on your new WordPress site after the data migration is complete, including product pages, links and checking to see whether your customer and order data look correct.

Migrate Shopify to WooCommerce Using a Store Migration App

Screenshot of the migration options for the Cart2Cart WooCommerce extension.

As we’ve mentioned, plenty of great store migration tools are available, but for ‌this article, we’ve selected Cart2Cart because there’s an excellent Cart2Cart WooCommerce extension available.

This is an excellent option if you have little to no technical knowledge and are happy to spend a small amount of time and money on the migration process to make it easier.

Unlike migrating Shopify to WooCommerce manually, a migration app allows you to export product data and other data types. A few examples of data transfer options are:

  • Products including variants like tags, weights, price and sales tags
  • Product categories
  • Customer data, including shipping addresses
  • Order data
  • Coupons
  • Reviews
  • Blogs
  • Languages.

Step 1 — Select your source cart

Cart2Cart offers a free demo migration, which is worth trying before running the full migration.

To get started, click “Start Free Demo” and follow the migration wizard. When it asks for your Source Cart, select “Shopify” and add your existing URL.

Step 2 — Connect your target store

Next, you will need to connect to your target store. Select “WooCommerce” from the drop-down. There will then be an option to install the required Connection Bridge on your WordPress dashboard, which you should do manually or automatically.

Step 3 — Select the data you’d like to migrate

The next screen should allow you to select the data you’d like to export from Shopify to WooCommerce. There will also be additional paid-for options, like setting up automatic 301 redirects. With WooCommerce, you can likely do this for free later, but if you’re looking for ease, consider putting some budget aside for this. Most add-ons cost around $59, but you can get a free estimate from Cart2Cart before you begin.

Step 4 — Launch the migration tool

Hit the “Start Free Demo” button and follow the migration wizard to run the demo migration.

Step 5 — Check your imported data

We always recommend checking the imported data after completing the Shopify to WooCommerce migration. This might include checking navigation links and your onsite search functionality.

It might seem time-consuming, but it’s also a good idea to go through each page systematically and check that all of your product data is intact. Check product categories, prices and other pages like blogs and content pages if you’ve chosen to import them.

Step 6 — Ask users to register

After your new WooCommerce store is ready to go and you’re happy that the import process has been a success, you can invite your customers to register on your new store.

This is a great opportunity to show off your new store and entice people back with some relaunch offers.

The Cart2Cart process is relatively simple, affordable and pretty secure, as the store migration process is performed on a separate dedicated SSL encrypted server.

All things considered, it’s a happy medium option for those who don’t have loads of budget or time.

But if the above process still fills you full of dread, there’s one final option available to you that requires zero technical knowledge and very minimal time and effort from you.

Hire a Developer or Agency

Hiring a developer or an agency is a really good option if you’re not technical or don’t have the time to run your WooCommerce migration.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle with this option is finding the right one for you. After all, there are hundreds to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a freelance developer on a platform like Fiverr or searching for an agency with a good level of expertise in WooCommerce migration, it’s hard to know where to start.

In this next section, we’ll run through some considerations you should have when selecting a developer or an agency for your Shopify to WooCommerce migration.

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Developer or agency?

There are two considerations here:

  1. How much time and money do you have to spend?
  2. Are you just looking for a Shopify to WooCommerce migration, or are you looking for help optimising your online store as well?

Developer

Let’s start with a freelance developer. Naturally, developers can range from the very budget-friendly to the very expensive. Likewise, you can meet a developer who’s very communicative and an excellent project manager too.

If you are just looking for someone to run your Shopify to WooCommerce import, then a developer is probably the option for you.

Agency

With an agency, you’re getting access to a whole team of experts if you need them.

This is the perfect option if you’re looking for a more holistic way to create your new eCommerce site.

For example, finding an agency with an in-house designer might be helpful if you’d like help designing a beautiful new look for your WooCommerce site.

Likewise, there are many ways you can optimise your new WordPress website for SEO, and you should!

You can take a DIY approach to your SEO and read our Beginner’s Guide to SEO Strategy, or you can look for an agency that provides both WooCommerce migration services and an SEO Strategy to get your website to the top of Google.

Hopefully, you should now have an idea of whether an agency or a developer is for you, and the next big question is…

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What’s your budget?

If you’re on a very low budget, this might impact whether you opt for an agency or a developer, but it doesn’t have to.

Just as there are some developers well worth spending more on, there are agencies providing great value for money with the additional services they provide. So don’t be disheartened if you think an agency is the right option for you but you don’t have a huge budget.

Consider what your own time is worth to you. If you have a low budget but more time to spend, you should consider doing as much as you can upfront to help speed up the process.

This might be tidying up the data on your existing Shopify site, removing any products, data, customer information and order information you don’t need to be moved across.

Understanding your budget and what you can do yourself before you start shopping around for a professional will help you narrow down your search and hone in on the options that work best for you.

If you’re still unsure of where to start, then our next consideration might help.

Are they a Shopify Partner or a WooCommerce Expert?

Most great developers can find their way around a Shopify to WooCommerce migration, but that doesn’t mean you should pick one with no experience on either platform.

There are so many to choose from that it makes far more sense to narrow your search to those with Shopify and WooCommerce migration services.

A good place to start is the Shopify Experts page. A Shopify Expert, or Shopify Partner, is a developer or agency who has previously worked on the Shopify platform and should know how to import Shopify data. You will need your Shopify logins to access the Experts page, so don’t close your store before you’ve had a chance to ‌look.

Likewise, WooCommerce has a partner page, WooExperts, where you can filter by timezone, budget and service. There aren’t many options available here, particularly in the UK, so you might be better off searching on Google if you’re looking for a WordPress-specific agency.

Finally, if you’re on a very tight budget, look at listing platforms like Fiverr or Upwork, which have a massive range of freelancers. You should be able to filter by expertise to help narrow down your search.

Even once you’ve narrowed your search to professionals with WooCommerce/Shopify expertise, that doesn’t mean you should pick the cheapest or the one that offers the fastest turnaround. Both these things are factors, but if you’re opting for help, you likely don’t want to spend much time managing the project, or you need technical support.

In which case, picking an individual or team to do the job efficiently will be important to you.

Can they show you reviews?

One of the best ways to get an idea of whether or not a development team is the right fit for your business is to ask for customer reviews or testimonials. These can give you valuable insights into the quality of their work and their interactions with clients.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to past clients of your potential developer or agency and ask about their experience working with them. Get as much information as possible before making a decision — it could be the difference between a successful project and a frustrating one.

Ensuring you’re working with the right person or people will ultimately give you a much more rewarding experience.

Do they provide after-sale support?

There are several ways that a development team or agency can reassure you that after a project is over, you’re not entirely on your own.

A warranty usually gives you a set period to get in touch with any amends or issues after completing your import. This is usually around 30 days but can be more or less.

Rounds of feedback or amends usually mean you have a set amount of opportunities to get in touch with your developer with changes or issues; two rounds is the normal amount. If this is your option, set time aside to review the work thoroughly and to send through all your feedback in one go. This way, you can be sure that the work has been completed to your standard, and you have another round to utilise if you find something unexpected.

Warranties and amends are a great way to know whether you can trust someone to do a good job. If they’re being offered, you know the developer or agency is committing to do a great job and see it through until you’re happy in a reasonable and contractual way.

How much time can you offer?

If you need your migration project managed quickly and efficiently, then an experienced developer or agency might be the right choice.

It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want from your website before starting the process. For example, do I need product variants set up on this site?

When you let your developer or agency know how busy you are upfront, they can manage how much information is sent to you daily and coordinate on how much information they need from you right at the start of the project.

Some professionals might ask you for a brief or plenty of information at the start of a project. This is a good sign! Whilst it’s frustrating to provide this information when you’re busy, it often means they have everything they need to get on with the job at hand until it’s ready for you to review.

If time isn’t on your side, then hiring someone to set up your new Shopify store is the perfect option, and the less time you have, the more you should be willing to invest in a professional team who can manage the amount of information passed to you.

Want to work with a team of experienced Shopify Experts who can help improve the experience of your eCommerce store? Learn more about Exposure Ninja’s Website Development eCommerce services for Shopify online stores and Shopify SEO service too.

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About the Author
Emma Lamont
Emma is the Content Strategy Manager here at Exposure Ninja. When she’s not digging into what makes great content, she can be found on the...

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