Moving from Magento to Shopify Plus: The Complete Guide for Large Retailers

Moving from Magento to Shopify Plus: The Complete Guide for Large Retailers

When you’re a large eCommerce store pushing thousands of orders every month – the last thing you want to think about is completely migrating your money-maker to another platform. It’s a lot of work, and you’re pretty sure it will destroy sales – so you put it off. You keep putting it off until eventually, your site is broken beyond repair or your competition is gaining too much ground.

We just did it. We moved our giant online store from Magento to Shopify Plus. A lot of people were actually surprised with our decision to move to Shopify Plus. They were convinced that Shopify Plus couldn’t handle our 10,000 SKUs, our thousands of transactions, our custom widgets, etc. They were wrong.

No site migration is without its frustrations though. Hopefully this guide will help you navigate them. I’m going to lay out everything that went well, everything that went wrong, how we overcame those hurdles, and why we even made the switch in the first place.

A few quick stats about us:

  1. We had about 10,000 SKUs at time of launch
  2. We process over 3,000 transactions a month
  3. Our site traffic is about 150,000 visits a month

Why did we switch from Magento to Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus Trusted for Large eCommerce Stores

Our Magento site wasn’t that old. When we started looking for a new platform – it was only about a year and a half old – and had just undergone a ton of CSS changes 6 months previous. The problem though, is that it still wasn’t what we needed to keep growing.

Magento wasn’t very secure.

Shopify security vs. Magento

The site was barely over 1 year old when we got hacked, compromising our customer’s information. That was an awful email to have to send out to our list of over 150k people. It broke our hearts, and frustrated our customers.

That wasn’t entirely Magento’s fault – but it’s based on the way our Magento site was set up. All of that data, all of that information – it was all stored on our own hosting server. If one area of the website security was weak, it opened up issues with critical pieces in our backend.

Shopify solves this by hosting it entirely in their own environment. Everyone gets hacked – even Sony, but being in a more locked down environment can help protect you from small code instabilities that open your site up to malware and hackers. Shopify maintains PCI Level 1 Compliance – the same as your bank, and the way they’ve set up their platform, customer data isn’t stored on your web VPS hosting solution’s server – it’s stored within Shopify’s ecosystem.

Magento was infested with bugs.

Less bugs on Shopify Plus

Again – this isn’t entirely Magento’s fault. It’s simply a byproduct of having a solution that is so dependent on outside programmers. Shopify has their own internal programmers keeping you perfectly up to date. If they find a bug, they fix it, and your site keeps moving forward without having to rely on a developer to push a patch to your website – which always ended up creating more bugs and more issues for us.

Every update from Magento cost us a few hours of developer time at a rate of $150/hr, which is pretty cheap for Magento developers. Those updates would break things on our website which we would then have to pay to fix as well – not fun.

Our site was junk.

Crappy Magento Website Programming

It really wasn’t programmed well to begin with. The dev team we worked with must not have been very high on the list of good programmers. This was the source of a ton of problems. If you have the best Magento developers, and you pay them top rates, you could probably maintain a great Magento site at our size – but at a cost.

It cost way too much money to maintain it.

Shopify vs. Magento - Reason to go with hosted solution

I’m not allowed to say exactly how many thousands of dollars we spent on our Magento website every month, but it was enough that we almost felt like paying eBay and Amazon fees was a lower cost than running our own website. It should never be that way.

The worst part about it, is that we weren’t exactly paying all that money for improvements. We were paying for bug fixes that created more bugs that we then needed to pay to fix. The cycle continued and we grew frustrated with our website experience.

Shopify solves a lot of this by keeping a ton of the functionality within their hosted ecommerce solution – so you know that it pretty much always works the way it’s supposed to. You still have to worry about the actual website though (the HTML and CSS that your internal dev team adds) – and a lot can go wrong there regardless of which platform you’re on. Even on Shopify, your site is still only as good as the code that went into it.

It wasn’t marketer friendly.

Shopify is Marketer Friendly

If I wanted to add a Facebook conversion pixel to the website, I wasn’t allowed. The dev team had the staging site set up and the git repository locked down so that there was no way for me to do this. I’m not afraid of using git, or code – but I wasn’t even allowed in there or it would “break something”.

To be fair – that’s probably a reasonable point, but there are a ton of things that I want to do as a growth marketer, and quickly adding a conversion pixel to a website is one of them so that I can assess the effectiveness of my marketing today – not in 3 weeks when my dev team can get around to it – and pay them for their slow work.

Shopify actually let’s me add this to my store through the admin panel. What a relief. Was that really so hard?

Apps weren’t exactly plug and play.

Shopify Apps are easy to use

I don’t think we encountered a single app on Magento that was truly just plug and play – one that allowed me the marketer to install it and not bother the dev team. “You want to improve your customer service experience by installing Zendesk, that will cost you 12 hours of dev time and we can have that done for you in about a month.” At least – that’s what it seemed like I was always being told for everything. It makes growing your company a very slow and expensive process.

With Shopify, I’ve run into very few apps that actually required a developer. There are definitely ones that did – and required a lot of dev time, like our custom search solution, Algolia. But, there’s a ton of stuff involved in custom search. Zopim chat? Zendesk support? Signifyd fraud protection? LuckyOrange heatmaps? Those are all things that I should be able to install in a few minutes and get my teams working on. I was able to do all of those with ease on Shopify.

People actually couldn’t checkout on our site.

Shopify checkout has less errors than Magento

Everyday for about 6 months we were getting multiple emails of people that were unable to checkout on our Magento site. They were getting a 500 error. Our dev team looked into it, multiple times, for multiple $$, but we were never able to completely figure this out.

Thankfully we have a very loyal customer base that was willing to try checking out for several hours sometimes (crazy, right?!) and then take the time to email us with screenshots letting us know what they were experiencing.

On Shopify – the checkout is locked down pretty good by them. This helps to ensure your checkout always works. If people can’t checkout on your website, you lose money – you lose customers.

If you add all of these problems together – you can begin to see why we were looking for a new platform. OK, maybe we only needed a new website, but we figured if we were going to go through the trouble of a new website, we might as well try out a new platform that seemed to offer a solution to everything that was annoying us with our current platform. No platform is perfect – but Shopify Plus seemed to have everything we were looking for.


What was the process like?

Step 1: Evaluate the solutions available

The first thing we had to do was get on a call with Shopify and really see if they could handle everything we wanted to do. I’d encourage you to map out what you need to have on your site to be happy and successful – then ask them those questions. The rep that worked with us was incredibly helpful. If there was something that didn’t come standard with Shopify, she knew which apps would work for that and she gave a few suggestions.

Don’t just talk to Shopify though, talk to a bunch of other options. Talk to BigCommerce, DemandWare, LemonStand, Mozu, and even Magento. You need to ask them all the same questions. You need to really dig into this because once you choose a platform – you probably won’t want to change it again for a while.

Step 2: Find the right development team.

I had to laugh a few times when I was working with the Shopify Plus rep. She did mention several times that many people don’t really need a programmer. This tells me that Shopify Plus still doesn’t see a ton of clients my size. They were good, however, at recommending some awesome development teams that are great at working with Shopify and their API.

We also spoke with a couple of other local firms that we had personal connections with, and ultimately, Foundry won our bid. Things that are important for you to consider are:

  1. Their exposure to the Shopify setup and API – this will determine how quickly they can work on your site. If they’re still learning the Shopify setup, it can take a lot longer than anyone planned.
  2. Their payment plan – this was a huge deciding factor for us in determining who we went with. Cost and payment terms can make a big difference on cash flow – which you still need for inventory 🙂
  3. Their personalities – you gotta find someone that you’re comfortable working with, because you will spend 100’s of hours with each other, and will, at times, want to strangle each other. Find someone that you can get along with.

Step 3: Create your POC (Proof of Concept).

Don’t skip this step. You need to pay the few grand to really test this out before you go too far down the wrong path. Make sure Shopify Plus really can do everything that is absolutely vital to the success of your business. Don’t focus on style/CSS changes – this is just to make sure that the core functionality is there.

Step 4: Set reasonable goals, and make sure they’re in your SOW (Statement of Work).

We were all a bit over-confident in our abilities to work with a new platform. We were convinced that we could get the basics of the site done in 45 days, tweak the bugs and test, and have it live in 3 months.

In reality, it took us 6 months to get the site live – and that was still a push. That included 800 hours of billable dev time, and at least that same amount from all of us internally, from the product team, the marketing team, the executive team and the customer support team. We all had to be involved and spend countless hours making sure that everything was integrated correctly. We also did the Design and UX (User Experience) in-house, so it took even more of our time.

What are some of the problems we ran into?

Being a larger retailer comes with a few specifics that need to be addressed when switching to Shopify Plus. While we enjoyed 90% of the process, there was 10% that completely irritated us, because it meant that we had to change how we did things – and we don’t like change 🙂

Problem 1: The Magento to Shopify importer just couldn’t handle us.

We initially thought that the easiest way to transfer everything from Magento to Shopify Plus would be to use their app. It quit working halfway through the import dozens of times before we actually got it to work.

After that, we realized that it creates the URI for the product dynamically based on what the title of the product is. Since we wanted to improve the URIs anyways, we figured it would be a good idea to delete all of the products the week we planned on launching and do a fresh import (we didn’t think it was a good idea but we did it anyway – hopefully, you picked up on that sarcasm).

Ultimately the CSV import was so much better for importing. The URIs ended up being cleaner, the way we wanted them, and it didn’t crash the way the app did.

Problem 2: The CSV import is still not a great solution.

This is really an internal problem – not a Shopify problem. Our database is outdated and when it spits out the CSV of all our products, it puts everything in a separate column. Most of this was easy to fix in Excel (we also over utilize Excel), but Shopify wants alternate product images to be in a separate row instead of a new column. Not the end of the world – but if you’re used to doing things the “old” way – it can be very frustrating to change. This is why we think you should just start out you ecommerse business on Shopify instead. If you are starting a new online store you should read this guide about niche vs general store shopify to give you deals on what you should sell on your site!

Also – every time you update via the CSV import, you have to include almost every single column (and row for each image) for every product. This makes the import slower and more susceptible to overwrite something that you didn’t mean to do.


Ultimately the best solution would be to use the API and create something custom, but this is pricey and wasn’t in our budget. If you have a lot of products, you should consider working a custom solution for importing information into your budget.

Problem 3: Metafields aren’t a core part of Shopify Admin.

After we get done importing the Shopify Product import CSV, we then have to import the metafields separately. We have to do this in an app though, and we aren’t very impressed with the app. It’s slow, and the only way to find a product in the app admin is by exact match of title – not SKU or Handle. We will probably try a different solution for the Metafields, but I would still love to see this as a core part of Shopify. I’d love to be able to see the metafields in the individual products admin, and have it be a part of the main Shopify import.


If you do want to see metafields in the admin – you can use this Chrome plugin call ShopifyFD. It’s spectacular. It’s also technically free, but I gave the guy some money through donation because it seriously saves me from headaches daily.

Problem 4: No DHL integration.

Being able to show live shipping prices for USPS and UPS is great, but we have a ton of international customers (about 33%), and they use DHL. This isn’t a Shopify problem though – it’s apparently a DHL problem since they don’t have an API that can do that yet. At least that’s what our DHL rep told us.


There are apps that do allow you to get DHL rates in your shopping cart – unfortunately for us it would mean changing who we use for shipping and fulfilling orders. Not the end of the world – but not a project we were ready to tackle at the same time.

Since we didn’t want to change. I had to manually build out hundreds of custom shipping rates and options for different shipping zones. No way to import them, so I had to do it all by hand 🙁

Problem 5: We already had a blog set up on WordPress.

Trust me – this really isn’t a problem. Just work with someone that knows how to keep your blog intact as you switch over. Everything moved over nicely. We kept our wordpress blog.


Use your dev team to make sure you keep your WordPress blog intact through the move – and stick with the blogging platform that you’re used to.

Problem 6: No social login.

We wanted to have social login on our site. We installed an app called Social Login – and it worked great, except that when someone creates an account with you using the social plugin, it appends your URL to their email address, creating a new account (if they had one already). So I ended up with an account [email protected] and [email protected] – the problem with that is that I now had two accounts. This is because of the way Shopify handles the social login.


There isn’t one that I could find. We simply turned off social login. Not a deal killer – but not the greatest news. This is something Shopify should include in their core product.

What are the tools and Shopify apps we used?

These are the tools and apps that we found to be most helpful to us. They might be good for you, they might not – but at least this gives you a starting point. You can try these tools out and then recommend some better ones to me in the comments below 🙂 Oh – and another great thing to keep in mind, is that a lot of these apps offer discounts for Shopify Plus users.


Website Migration Tool for Communication - Asana

I can’t stress the importance of this tool enough. This is how we managed all of the tasks internally among the different departments – as well as critical discussions with our developers.

You can assign people tasks, add a due date, and even a due time. You can also assign subtasks because sometimes there are 5 things that need to happen before you complete that one big task. This was the lifeline that kept us all moving, on the same page, and not lost in chat messages and cluttered email inboxes.


eCommerce Migration Tools - Slack

This is my personal favorite chat application and that one that we used to communicate our critical site issues with our developers. It’s also a great place to share GIFs when you’re excited with the progress of your new website.

Zendesk (Shopify App)

eCommerce Tool for Customer Service - Zendesk

We used to just use a shared Microsoft Outlook inbox for all of our customer service requests from the website, eBay, Amazon and more. I honestly don’t know how those incredible Customer Support reps kept it all organized. It was a daunting task for sure. Now we use Zendesk, and I didn’t need to work with our dev team to set it up. It organizes everything, helps you assign people so that you don’t double up your work, and helps you find quick responses you can use for frequently asked questions.

Zopim (Shopify App)

eCommerce Chat Tool - Zopim

Zopim chat integrates nicely with Zendesk – so you can create support tickets directly from your chat sessions. Having live chat was crucial to the early success of our new website. We have so many customers that are used to our old site, old navigation, old checkout flow, etc. – and we wanted to make sure that we were able to help them navigate the new site and find what they were looking for.

Back In Stock (Shopify App)

Shopify App for Out of Stock Products

We had something rudimentary on our old site, but it didn’t work – at least that’s what our customers told us. With this app though, we’ve been getting a ton of requests for products to come back in stock. Seeing what people are excited to purchase helps us prioritize what we need to be spending our money on.

YotPo Reviews (Shopify App)

Product Reviews App for Shopify - Yotto

Site reviews are huge for increasing conversions. Yotpo does a great job of keeping them clean, easy to read and easy to contribute. They also have a tab that allows customers to ask questions about specific products, and get feedback from other customers that have purchased that product before. This is critical when you have nearly 10,000 SKUs and can’t possibly be a real world expert on every one of them.

Spently (Shopify App)

Shopify app for email - Spently

The stock emails for Shopify aren’t exactly the most exciting. We used this app to brand them better and add our own personal flare to them. Our customers love the personality we put into our emails and the ease of using Spently (along with the low cost) made this app a no-brainer for our team.

Traffic Control (Shopify App)

301 Redirection App for Shopify Plus

Making sure you redirect all of your old URLs is absolutely critical to the success of your new site. I won’t go into an SEO 101 lesson for you. Traffic Control made it incredibly easy to bulk import our 301 redirect and since you can’t do that in the .htaccess file like you would for other sites.

Signifyd (Shopify App)

Fraud Protection App for Shopify Plus - Signifyd

Shopify does a decent job of highlighting orders that it suspects are fraud, but if you are as big of a retailer as we are, you need something more. And, since so many of our clients are international – we were getting notified for a bunch of APO/FPO addresses. Signifyd helped us keep better tabs and get more relevant information about every order – and they also allow you to submit questionable orders to them for guarantee. If they approve it, you pay them 4% of the sale, if they don’t approve it, you pay nothing. Pretty nice deal.

DataFeedWatch (Shopify App)

Data Feed Management app for Shopify

This app made it crazy easy for us to set up and map our new feeds to Google Merchant Center, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, and more. Setup took me almost no time at all.

LuckyOrange: Heatmaps (Shopify App)

Heat map tool for Shopify Plus - LuckyOrange

When you launch your new site, you need to start getting metrics on how well it’s performing. What areas are people getting stuck on, what pages are doing the best, how far are people scrolling, where are people clicking – all of that is critical to solve any unforeseen issues as soon as they arise.

Persistent Cart (Shopify App)

Persistent Cart tool for Shopify Plus

People don’t want to have to add things to their cart, and then log in later and re-add them. This app makes it so that logged in users see their cart, regardless of the device they’re in. If they created the cart on their phone, and then later went to their desktop to complete their order, the cart is still there for them.

Metafields Pro (Shopify App)

App for editing Metafields in Shophify

This is the metafields editor that we’re using. I’m not the biggest fan, but I haven’t found a better one. In my opinion – Shopify needs to just add this as a core part of the Shopify Plus product.

Buy X Get 1 (Shopify App)

BOGO app for discounts in Shopify store

The stock Shopify Discounts generator is pretty bland and basic. This app let’s us create a ton of other options for discounts and sales – which is usually a pretty big part of any big online retailer’s game plan.

Algolia (Shopify App)

Custom Search Widget for Shopify eCommerce

This is our custom search app – and we love it. We have so many products, that a facet menu is absolutely necessary so people can find exactly what they’re looking for. Algolia solves that and so much more for a great price. We helped them work out a bunch of the kinks (you’re welcome), and they are pretty good about daily improving their product for us larger eCommerce stores.

Minifier (Shopify App)

Make smaller product images with Shopify

This is a great way to quickly get some optimized Image titles, image sizes, and image alt text without a ton of manual labor. It’s not the perfect way to do it – but it sure beats an image that’s too large of file size named picture1.jpg with no ALT text.

S Loyalty (Shopify App)

Customer Loyalty Program for Shopify

You should probably have a great cutomer loyalty and referral program on board. We’ve been very pleased with the team at S Loyalty – it offers everything we want, at the price we want, without being bogged down with a ton of unnecessary features.


All things considered, this was a very easy, smooth transition – which is saying a lot for a large retailer migrating its entire online platform to another one in only 6 months.

Hopefully this guide gives you a taste of what to expect when making the switch from Magento to Shopify Plus. If you have any questions about it – I am seriously willing and able to help – just shoot me a comment.

Oh – and a friendly full disclosure, I own a few stocks in Shopify and Zendesk. That didn’t play any bias though – because the amount I own is really worth a hill of beans. I own their stock because I like their product – not the other way around.

Also – if you’re interested in working with a stellar development company for your eCommerce store, especially if you’re moving to Shopify Plus, I highly recommend the team that built our site – The Foundry. Mention me by name, William Harris, and they should give you a better rate – and who knows, maybe they will even give me a kickback (I’m probably dreaming on that part, though). On a serious note – they kick butt.

Again, let me know if you have any questions – I’ll help you out the best I can.

Featured image credit: Nathan Peck of

Image of the author
William Harris
As the founder and CEO of the rapid-growth ecommerce advertising agency, Elumynt, William Harris has been critical to driving growth for multiple startups in ecommerce and SaaS with 6 recent exits, the largest selling for almost $800M. His contributions have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Shopify, The Next Web, and many more.

86 thoughts on “Moving from Magento to Shopify Plus: The Complete Guide for Large Retailers”

  1. Hey Will, first off – huge congrats and very well done with the migration as it required a LOT of attention to detail to ensure it was glitch free (or at least catastrophe-free, as glitches are bound to occur at this scale). I can also relate with the 6 month time scale 😉

    VERY plausible reasons to make a move away from Magento as is it so human resource, capital resource and CPU/hardware intensive!
    Although Magento is no doubt one of the most flexible ecommerce platforms at enterprise, if see the need to migrate to fully managed platform like Shopify Plus if managing Magento was a nightmare. For the money you pay Shopify, you save yourselves server management time, bug fixing, worrying about security etc.
    You can now focus of actually growing the business…
    p.s. keep us posted on the overall flexibility and limitations of Shopify Plus…

    1. Right on, Kunle. I don’t think anyone could deny the great and might Magento – but they seem to be fading away to better options like Shopify Plus, Mozu, Lemonstand, etc.

      I will definitely keep you posted on the long term success of this move.

  2. Stoked you moved to Shopify and that’s a great solution for you! Fantastic! I have to say though, having worked on many of the largest sites on Shopify, 800 hours of dev time for this project is insane. I would have expected about 400-500 MAX, and that’s pushing it. Congrats though I think it’s a great move!

  3. William this is a resources I will present to every Magento client I work with. WOW you did your diligence and made it SO much easier for anyone else trying to replicate the process. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  4. Hi William, this is a fabulous article and so helpful for those that are timid about switching platforms. We hear similar pain points for those retailers that are on Magento. It is one of the reasons that we choose to start with Shopify for our app integration – glad to hear so far it seems worth the effort! Look forward to hearing more about it!

  5. Hi William,
    Was there a reason you didn’t use USPS for your international shipping so that you could just get the live rates with them? Does DHL offer good enough rates to justify going to all the trouble of making all those rates?

    1. Big time. We ship to something like 150 countries. I don’t handle the shipping side of the business – but I know the guy that does has rate shopped a ton and says that USPS can’t even come close. The trouble to set it up is short lived. You put in some hours upfront adding it all in there and then you’re set to save a lot of money – for us it’s several thousands of dollars in shipping less each month.

      Just be careful. With all of that manual entry you run the risk of putting a decimal point in the wrong place. I did 🙁 One rate was wrong and charging a fraction of what it should be charging. Luckily we caught it pretty quickly (thanks to our great shipping team). But it could have been much worse. We even had more than one person double check the rates – but it’s easy to miss something like that.

  6. Hi William,

    First of all – GREAT post! Must have taken ages to put together. Thanks for the really good content.

    Secondly, I’m just curious to know: you mention Shopify being more “marketer-friendly” which is also a comparison we made in our article here:

    Do you think that Magento 2 would’ve been any friendlier? Given you’d have to basically build your site from scratch to upgrade to version 2, are you still sold on the Shopify choice? Did you demo Magento 2? If so, thoughts on the admin panel in terms of more user-friendly?


    1. Great question, Jenna. Magento 2 wasn’t even an option for us, mostly because of the bad taste we had with Magento. I do think Magento 2 seems like a great platform – but I really can’t say if it is better/worse. If I get a chance to test it out sometime though, I will definitely weigh in.

  7. Hi William, I just wanted to say thanks again for the chat and this great article. We eventually moved from Magento to Shopify – as you know we are a much smaller business – and I couldn’t be happier. The Magento to Shopify app worked fine for us, it took about a month for us from start to finish and I am so excited that the Shopify platform is so user friendly!

    1. Hey Elena – that’s great news! Anytime you have questions, feel free to shoot them my way and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Glad to hear the transition went well for you.

  8. Fantastic article William. I really appreciate your deep insight into this topic as we have had numerous clients deal with the exact issues you laid out with re-platforming. Personally speaking, Magento Enterprise is a great platform depending on your needs and if you know what you’re doing from a technical standpoint (if you’re a developer) or if you have enough resources to hire an in house team to handle all technical aspects of maintenance and management of your online store. Even still the idea of managing security and hosting is a scary situation for most growing brands thinking about their business more than the platform itself. Most of our clients are non technical founders and worrying about managing and maintaining their technology infrastructure is a non starter.

    I recently wrote a detailed post about the eCommerce landscape and how more SMB brands are adopting on-demand software like Shopify Plus. I would love to get your insight if possible.
    Here’s the link:

    Thanks William,
    Humayun Rashid

  9. Hi William,

    Great post, thanks for sharing this with the world. We are currently sizing up a switch to Shopify Plus and this is certainly eye opening. I think a key take away from this is that you need to be ready to get your hands dirty when it comes to getting data prepared and in to Shopify.

    Have you seen any issues with having a large volume of SKU’s? We have about 50,000 so there is quite a few!

    What has your post launch growth been like? In your data what has seen growth and decline over the last quarter?
    Any information that you would be willing to share would offer great insight to the many readers of this article.

    1. Thanks Tim – yep, the thing that has been our biggest struggle is dealing with meta fields and data. Thinking of building our own private app because we’ve tried all of them and they all pretty much stink.

      The only issue with large SKU counts that I’ve seen is that some of the apps just can’t handle that. It’s no problem for Shopify – but not all of the apps have caught up to truly be worth of plus. That said – some of them we should be building in house anyway.

      Post launch growth is still going strong – just changed up some of our navigation and saw a 20% increase in sales that’s now holding strong for a whole month despite going into our slow season. So that’s encouraging.

      Happy to help out in any way, Tim – just shoot me an email.

  10. Richard Protheroe

    Great article William, I had no idea larger retailers used that many apps!

    Do you use anything for inventory management? I assume you must sell on other channels like eBay and Amazon.

    Once again, great stuff very thorough!

    1. Hey Richard – we are in the middle of being TRULY large, and just large compared to everyone else 🙂

      I do sell on many of the other channels. We use Seller Active (in fact, you can see a video of us on their homepage).

      I’ve also started doing some growth work for Sellbrite because I think they have the cleanest and easiest platform for managing inventory and listings across multiple channels – and a fraction of the cost of Channel Advisor.

  11. I am probably wont be approved for this comment here. But wow. Seriously?

    You spent so many thousands of dollars for magento maintenance, you couldn’t move it to a secure and magento optimized and managed server?

    And how exactly did you get hacked? It is really hard for me to believe that you spend $$$$ for your magento site every month and still get hacked with security bugs. You probably worked with offshore people who overcharged you with no promise.

    Moving from freedom to some paid service is a suicide. We know it from our own experience (shopify – bigcommerce – volusion). The main excuse is “you sell a lot, we gotta charge you more”. Even though the traffic of the sites were very minimal compared to big sites, they did not care. From $70 to $3,000 we had to pay monthly until we migrated to magento. Daily visitors range from 5,000 to 20,000.

    You want to pay? Go pay for magento Go. You won’t get hacked. Or go get yourself magento Enterprise. This article smells like paid by shopify.

    You basically are telling people all the big companies like Nike, Vizio, Nordstom, Adidas, North Face, TOMS and Zumiez made a huge mistake by using magento. 😀

    If you are not ready for a good website, you were not supposed to invest $$$ for magento anyway. You could migrate to magento go from magento CE or Enterprise within minutes instead of going thru all these steps…


    1. Hey Tom – sounds like you are pretty fired up about this. That’s good though. We need to have passions in life.

      Not biased.

      Not paid by Shopify (but if Shopify is reading and would like to donate to the time I spend managing comments like this, I can send you a paypal invoice, just let me know what email address).

      Here’s the deal. We were working with a US Based Magento Gold partner. Sony got hacked too – so don’t forget that. Sites get hacked.

      I never claimed that Magento was the reason, but the setup that we had was ripe for allowing us to be hacked.

      We had a bad experience. That’s it. We switched to another service and we love it. There are so many reasons why we love it. There are so many reasons why our old site frustrated all of us. I wrote about it to document the frustrations we had, the successes we found in migration, and how exactly we did it.

      It’s not meant to be the final word on which platform is better. Some people love Apple products even though they’re locked down. Those same people experience less viruses. Other people prefer Android because it’s NOT locked down. Those people enjoy more freedom.

      Each merchant has to pick and chose from the experiences that make the most sense to them at the current rate of business that they’re seeing.

  12. I moved from Magento to Shopify last year and I know why – it offers a lot of helpful apps. If I may recommend something here – please take a look at SimplyTick, a reporting tool for Shopify (it’s available to download in Shopify app store as well as on their website. I will be more than happy to read your feedback!

    1. Hey Alexander – it’s still going great. Our store continues to grow and we continue to love using Shopify Plus. I’ll do a follow-up post sometime (if I get a chance), but so far, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

  13. Thanks for a great article. Unfortunately, I have seen many Magento solutions that are poorly developed. The right developers means everything – whether it’s magento or Shopify.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen some very impressive Magento websites and some very poor ones – and the same thing for Shopify. A good dev team, a good UX team, a good designer, etc – those things make a big difference.

    1. I can’t say how much my clients pay for Shopify Plus – you’d have to ask Shopify team directly. I can say that it’s very fair and less than what it cost to maintain the old site 🙂

  14. Hi William ,

    May I know what was the total cost you spent with foundry for the complete migration ? We have over 1000 SKU and also have multiple extension in place with our current magento enterprise version. I think your bad taste with magento was very similar to ours. We are a decent size small business doing around 2000 number of orders a month. If you don’t mind I may need to continue to ask you few more questions. Hope that is okay

    1. Great question, Ren. I really can’t give out that information on behalf of my clients, but it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway. Every dev project is so individualized. If I had to guess, you will look at spending $25,000 – $100,000 for a decent migrations for something like that. But really the only way to know is to get in touch with a developer and see what they say.

  15. Fantastic article, William! I am going through a very, very similar process with our website that is built on Magento Community. All the reasons you list are exactly why we are moving to Shopify. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. Makes me feel so much more confident! Plus, I just sent a note to Foundry.

    Hope your new year is off to an excellent start!

    Best Regards,


    1. Hey Winston – glad to hear that. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions during your transition – especially around SEO. Also, I’m friends with the owner of St. Paul Harley Davidson, Tom – are you in his MVP program?

    1. Hey Mats – that’s a great question. Can you be more specific though? The problem with sub-categories is that they can be very limiting. Is this a sub-category of this category, or this one? What if it’s a sub for both?

      There are lots of tools that can help you manage that, but one of the workarounds most use is using TAGS. You can tag products with a TON of subcategories and then set rules as to which must be present when others are, etc. You can see that used well on among others.

      For apps, a great tool is SearchSpring (currently my favorite for this type of task) –

  16. Really appreciate the offer! The owner, and my boss – Asaf, of HDNYC is away so I’ll have to ask him about MVP program….not sure if it is the same as Performance Group (PG) which consists of 10-15 dealers that meet to share everything to help their shop(s).

    1. That’s awesome – I’m not sure about that one either. I just know that Tom created the MVP program and a bunch of dealerships participate and benefit from it.

  17. We recently had a customer who was on an old Magento Shop. We wanted to move him to Shopify as well. We had to search the web for some good bullet points for him to understand.
    Came across your article, got us all the points we needed. In fact, your secured the deal. Thanks, William!

    1. Hey Frederik – that’s great news. Go ahead and send my cut of the deal to 1015 Olive… 😉 But seriously – that’s exactly why I wrote this – so that others who are going through it will have the answers they need. Let me know how the migration goes – I’d love to do a follow-up piece if you have anything good to add.

      1. Hey William,

        Really great and well-written article. I just think a lot of Magento-users moved to Shopify because of this. You answer a lot of good questions and have some good bulletpoints. We’ve already moved some of our customers to Shopify and the migration went well 😉

  18. Hi William,
    I’m just starting to look at migrating from Magento to Shopify Plus and would love your opinion.
    Our company has around 20,000-30,000 SKU’s do you think Shopify can handle that?

    1. Hey Claire – I have clients on Shopify Plus that have around 70,000+ products and they still love it. The only limitation you MAY run into is running out of redirects. Currently Shopify Plus only allows for 300,000 redirects. You have at least 30,000 just to redirect your products, but if you were allowing google to index page 2 of search results, etc. on your current Magento setup, you’re going to have a few hundred thousand redirects that need to happen. Does that make sense?

  19. Great write up! As I was reading all the issues and problems you have had with Magento, I was like…this is us! I have been using Magento for about 7 years and am done. After spending 5-10k each month in development, and still having constant issues and bugs, are moving to Shopify Advanced or Plus. I have a couple questions if you could help. First to give you some info, we do about 6,000 sales per month, have about 5,000 skus, and about 150,000 visitors each month.

    1) We have two stores with the same products. In Magento, set up as storeviews. Is there a way to do that in Shopify, or do you have two have two totally different logins?

    2) With moving the skus, why didn’t you use something like Cart2Cart? Not powerful enough?

    3) We have a lot of products that are stacks. Where a single product page will include multiple products. And we need to make sure that when someone buys a stack, the inventory is reduced correctly.

    4) I talked to a buddy that did the same thing and he said his biggest issues was with moving customer information over. He said customers were accidentally emailed about orders going out and that all customers need to re-activate their accounts when trying to login into the new platform. Did you have these same problems?

    5) As a digital marketer, my main concern is rankings. While you shouldn’t lose anything with 301’s, the page structure is going to change. Did you notice any drop in rankings?

    6) Were you able to migrate things like reviews or q/a from Magento to Shopify?

    Any other advice with moving?

    I really appreciate anything feedback you can give us.

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Jeff – all great questions! It definitely sounds like you’re ready for a change 🙂

      1. Why do you have 2 stores? Yes, you can do something very similar depending on your needs. Are these set up that way because one is for one country and the other is for another country? Or is one a wholesale version of the site?

      2. Tried a bunch of apps like that, and they all failed (we were moving a LOT of SKUs)

      3. By stack, do you mean bundle? There are definitely ways to do this – Dollar Hobbyz does this. Most of that is going to depend on who you use for inventory management. Some programs can handle bundling products and other’s can’t. Who are you using to manage your inventory?

      4. Yep – that’s probably fair. I didn’t have any issues with accidental emails, but having everyone create new accounts is a bummer. What I did, and recommend, is send out a series of emails letting your customers know that ahead of time (1 month before, 2 weeks before, 1 week before and 1 day before – and obviously on the day of). Let them know WHY you are doing this (better security, better uptime, etc) and that creating a new account is a necessary part of making things better for them. I also put up a hero image letting people know how to do this to make sure we got as many people on-boarded to the new system as possible (and have your customer service team ready).

      5. It’s almost guaranteed that you will lose rankings. That said, I’ve done this on a whole bunch of Shopify Plus sites now, and I’m pretty sure we’ve GROWN traffic, not lost (I have to verify that to be 100% certain). You’ll notice that with DollarHobbyz, we nearly doubled traffic. The key was doing MORE than just redirecting things – we took efforts to redo a lot of the SEO issues which helped to offset any loss in traffic.

      6. Yep, depending on what programs you use it can be easy or hard. But we used YotPo (very easy) to transfer reviews. Although we’ve helped people migrate from Magento to Shopify stock reviews as well.

  20. Great article William! Thanks for your solid insights. I’m running a far far farrr smaller shop with 35 SKUS. We recently migrated to Magento 2 but this was with my business partner at the helm. As he’s leaving, and with all the troubles we’ve had even (or more so) with v2 I’m really thinking it would be a great idea to migrate over.

    My major concern is the hit to SEO/organic search and thousands of reviews. Having said this, it feels like Shopify code seems more SEO friendly in the long run (and we’re already starting to slip).

    How did you find traffic/customer confidence (if reviews were all reset)?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Heath – thanks for the compliments. I’ve worked with Magento 2 – and IMO, it’s worse than Magento 1. I think it has a lot of potential though, and I recently spoke to one of the VPs there and they are releasing some great stuff coming up in q4 that will make it much better.

      That being said – it’s no secret that I swing strongly towards Shopify Plus.

      In terms of SEO – I don’t know if either one is more geared better than the other, they both have their pros and cons, and both need a professional SEO team to get the most out of them. DON’T rely on your dev team to also be your SEO team. That would be like asking your electrician to also take care of your plumbing. Sure – he might be handy, but won’t know the ins and outs as well as someone that specializes in it.

      Also, your reviews DO NOT need to be reset. I’ve never had a site that was unable to migrate all of the reviews. Happy to chat with you more 1:1 if you still have questions.

  21. Excellent guide for those that consider moving to Shopify! Very informative and spot on. It really shows that good planning is the key to the successful migration to another platform.
    Unfortunately there are Magento store owners that just rush into moving their store to Shopify, lured by recent Shopify marketing campaign. Recently we have had a client who decided to move a successful apparel store serving two countries in two different languages and two currencies, with the blog on two languages as well, from Magento to Shopify. However instead of doing a well-planned migration like you did, they went with “free data migration” offered by Shopify. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work for them.
    You can read a full case study here:
    It shows you what migration to another platform can do to your business if you fail to prepare properly.

    1. Yikes – you get what you pay for. Free is often paid for in reduced effectiveness.

      I’ve also heard of Shopify Plus reps telling their customers that they don’t need anyone SEO help when migrating their site over from Magento 🙁 LOL – that’s very very very bad advice and it usually results in me having to come in to undo the damage that should have never happened in the first place.

  22. How did you import orders into Magento? Via CSV and an App or a Data migration service? Did you look into cart to cart? Worth the $2k+?

    1. It definitely can be worth it – it comes down to how important that historical data is for you in Shopify. If it helps you identify your best buyers and your repeat offenders, its usually going to be worth more to you than $2k in initial setup.

      When we did this one – the automated ways to do it weren’t that great so we manually did it. The downside, it took more time and probably cost more than $2,000 in dev fees, but the data was super clean – so that was worth it to us.

  23. Thank you, William for writing this detailed article. We are on Magento 1.13 now and are not looking forward to the leap to 2.x – for all of the reasons you state and more. I have a small side business on Shopify which I have only spent about $300 of dev time on, everything else I’ve been able to do myself or with an app. Our Magento site costs us more than $15,000/month in dev time. More and more Magento developers are mentioning Shopify to us, not because they want to be out of work, but because they want to spend their time on more interesting things – rather than constant bug fixes and patches.

    1. Yep. And you’re not alone. I’ve helped tons of large retailers move over from Magento to Shopify Plus. There’s not a single one that’s been disappointed. It’s quite a breath of fresh air for so many people.

  24. Although good, this post looks to be a personal opinion. The problem is not every business fits a Shopify website. Especially those with over 100 product options. I take it you didn’t hit this Shopify restriction. I do agree with the operating costs being ridiculously high with Magento but I can say I’ve created Magento websites that run very well. I was a Magento dev since they pretty much launched but they took a terrible turn with Magento 2. You would have been spending 2 to 3 times more on resources and dev so it’s good you moved to Shopify.

    1. Hey Gary – you’re right, this was a personal opinion – but one that’s been validated many many times over by the numerous people I’ve helped migrate from Magento to Shopify/Shopify Plus. They all felt the pain of Magento and have loved being on Shopify. It’s a personal opinion that seems to be backed up more and more each day. There’s no one-size-fits-all, but Shopify comes the closest (in my opinion).

  25. Hi William,

    Great reading, it’s awesome you took the time to enlighten us all! 🙂

    There is one big thing on my mind, when thinking about the change to Shopify Plus from Magento 1.9. – Are we too big for Shopify, too complex maybe?

    We have,
    – 2 brands (domains) with 5 languages and 5 currencies, one brand with 2 languages and 2 currencies. In total, that is 12 store views on Magento 1.9.x each completely translated into the local language.
    – have 40.000 unique SKU’s
    – have live stock feeds updates, we read our suppliers stock in CSV, XML, and via API
    – have to option to order all items missing for back orders, and order directly with the supplier via Magento to API, EDI and CSV

    I’m a bit unsure if we might fall outside the comfort zone in Shopify and should continue to focus on a new Magento 2 solution. With your experience, what do you think?

    Best regards
    Kim – From a Danish webshop 🙂

    1. Hey Kim – all great questions.
      – I’ve been less impressed with Magento 2 than I was with Magento 1.9.
      – The translation and multiple stores should be very doable with Shopify Plus and domain mirroring.
      – I’ve worked with stores having more than 70,000 SKUs without a problem.
      – Same thing with the live stock feeds – just depends on how you prefer to manage your inventory – what tool are you currently using?
      – There are definitely ways to do this – some apps, and some custom built apps. We built a custom program to order Just In Time for thousands of SKUs.

  26. Hi William, Thanks so much for a very informative article! About 6 months ago we completed a costly and lengthy migration to Magento 1.9 only to be swarmed with bugs, security issues and other disfunction. It’s getting old real fast and I feel that we need to find another solution for our business. We have about 1600 SKUs and about 100-120K visits per month. My main concern is the loss of rankings, since as of now we’re ranking quite well and it took a while to get there. Does Shopify allow for preservation of original URL structure? Also, would you recommend anyone specific at Shopify to talk to? I will contact the Foundry as well. I would like to talk to you and ask a few questions, if possible. Thank you for your time!

    Thank you,

  27. Hi William,
    Thanks for this write-up. We are a small business with about 40,000+ visitors a month. We moved to Magento 2 about 1.5yrs back under previous leadership and it has been one headache after the other. I read your write up and felt like someone was writing my experience to the T. We are in the process of migrating to Shopify. We have a dev team helping. I just want a functioning site that is user friendly and allows our customers to checkout. We have a WordPress blog as well. Was that process easy? Migrating the content?

    1. We actually left the blog content on wordpress. At the time, Shopify’s blog wasn’t very good. That’s changed a lot, and with some great visual page builders, you can do a great job on the blog using Shopify instead of WordPress.

  28. Very good informative article William!! after more than 3 years of writing this article, how are your migrated stores are doing? Do you still recommend Shopify over Magento or any eCommerce development platform

    1. Yes, for most people, I still believe that Shopify is a better solution than Magento – but each case is unique and should be evaluated as such.

  29. A million thanks for the post! Very informative and in-depth. I’ve been hesitating for a long time whether to migrate my Magento store to Shopify – but the fact that everything is performed totally automatedly (with the help of Cart2Cart service) made me try it. I’m not very technical on such matters – but these guys, really helped me to cope with everything and I appreciate that help greatly. Now my store is a lot easier to manage and I have no regrets about mu replatforming.

    1. Happy to hear that, but I think it’s good to clarify, “everything”. Cart2Cart can help with a lot of this, but it’s not a replacement for a good dev team, SEO team, ads team, etc. to make sure everything goes smoothly.

  30. Hi William,

    I noticed you didn’t mention what Shopify addons you use for Conversion Rate Optimization, for example, do you use

    Also, you omitted what you use for Analytics, do you rely on the default Shopify Analytics or do you use a tool like to merge Shopify and Google Analytics data? It’s designed for handling data for larger stores like yours.

    Conversific wrote a blog about the problems relating to Migrating to Shopify and bulk data import.

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