What is Magento?
Magento is a powerful open-source platform designed specifically with ecommerce in mind. Unlike many other platforms, Magento's primary focus is on providing a comprehensive ecommerce solution. This sets it apart from platforms like WordPress, which require additional tools to fully support ecommerce functionality.
Magento provides a versatile shopping cart system, permitting vendors to personalize the look, content, and operations of their online shops. Despite being based on an PHP, an older programming language, it's known for its comprehensive suite of features, encompassing powerful marketing, search engine optimization, and catalog-management tools.
Magento operates much like any other Content Management System (CMS). It provides a centralized interface that allows multiple users to manage the store. From adding products and creating categories to configuring the store's functionality and appearance, Magento offers a wide range of customization options.
Key features of Magento
- Magento's built-in caching feature helps to enhance the speed of your store.
- Designed to cater to large businesses from the outset, Magento can be scaled to match your store’s growing needs.
- With Magento, you can run several stores with different settings and even interconnect them.
- Magento is built to handle sites of all sizes, ensuring solid speed and performance across the board.
While Magento offers a wealth of features and flexibility, it's not as beginner-friendly as some of its competitors. It requires a certain degree of technical knowledge to operate effectively. However, its scalability makes it a popular choice for large-scale online retailers.
But for those who find its complexity daunting, other platforms such as Shopify might be a more suitable choice. If you are one of these people, it might be time to start the shopify magento migration process.
M1 versus M2
Much of the reported issues seem to be associated with Magento 1, which has since been upgraded to Magento 2. While some of the changes outlined below may improve the capabilities of Magento, Shopify still shines as the winner.
- Technology – Magento 2 uses more advanced technologies such as Apache 2.2/2.4, Ngix 1.7 +, and MySQL / MySQL Percona 5.6.x.
- Performance – Magento 2 has a faster order processing speed (39% more orders per hour), quicker server response, and 1.5x faster checkout times.
- Admin Panel – Magento 2 has a more organized and intuitive admin panel, making it easier for store owners to manage their stores.
- Extensions – Magento 2 has more up-to-date extensions with regular updates, while Magento 1's extensions are outdated and no longer receive updates.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – M2 has better SEO features, including the ability to set meta tags and create mobile-friendly sites, which M1 lacks.
What does Shopify do better than Magento?
Shopify and Magento are both powerful ecommerce platforms, and they each have their strengths. But Shopify has an edge over Magento in a number of categories, which is why you may be looking to make the migration from Magento to Shopify.
Magento, while offering a powerful and flexible platform, can be complex and often requires a higher degree of technical knowledge to operate effectively. This is particularly true for Magento Commerce, the paid version of the platform with expanded functionality.
In contrast, Shopify is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface. Shopify is designed with simplicity in mind, making it easy for users of all technical levels to navigate and manage their online store. This ease of use makes Shopify an attractive option for business owners who want to focus more on their business and less on managing the intricacies of their ecommerce platform.
Hosting and Security
Shopify, being a hosted platform, simplifies the process of managing an online store by taking care of hosting and security, making it an excellent choice for small businesses that may not have the resources to handle these aspects independently. In fact, when you're using a headless Shopify setup, the hosting can be managed by platforms like Vercel, relieving you from worrying about security updates and technical issues. Vercel also offers a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for swift page loads worldwide.
On the other hand, Magento, being a self-hosted solution, necessitates that you secure your own hosting and manage security. This responsibility can lead to a variety of infrastructure challenges for e-commerce businesses across the spectrum of sizes.
One area where Shopify truly shines is its 24/7 customer support, ready to assist whenever you encounter issues. This round-the-clock service can be a lifesaver, especially during those unexpected moments of urgency.
Conversely, Magento's open-source version does not offer official support. As a result, you'll need to rely on community forums or hire a developer for help, which may not provide the immediate assistance you need. This difference in customer support can significantly impact your experience, especially if you require frequent technical assistance. However, it is worth noting that the Magento Commerce edition does offer access to expert support.
While Magento does offer an open-source version that does not require a paid license, it may still end up being more expensive in the long run. These costs may stem from the necessities of hosting, purchasing extensions, and upgrading to the premium tiers such as Magento Commerce or Magento Commerce Cloud, which do require paid licenses. Magento Commerce licenses can cost upwards of $22,000 to $125,000 per year. Magento Commerce Cloud costs even more, ranging between $40,000 to $190,000.
Contrastingly, Shopify operates on a monthly fee basis, with its pricing clearly laid out. This can be beneficial for budgeting, as the costs are more predictable month-to-month, and there are no additional licensing costs to consider.
A year of Shopify can range between $468-$4,788 per year if the Basic, Shopify, or Advanced plan is chosen. Going with Shopify Plus at $2,000 per month will increase yearly costs to $24,000.
Shopify's pricing structure is straightforward and transparent, with monthly plans that include hosting and support. This simplicity makes it easy for businesses to budget for their ecommerce platform costs. Consequently, Shopify often emerges as a cost-effective choice for many businesses, particularly those with limited resources or those looking to control costs while still having a robust ecommerce platform.
Both Magento and Shopify offer a range of extensions and apps to enhance the functionality of your online store. Magento's extensions can be quite powerful, but they often require a higher degree of technical knowledge to implement and manage.
On the other hand, Shopify boasts a vast app store with thousands of apps designed to extend the functionality of your store. These apps cover a wide range of needs, from SEO to inventory management, making it easy to customize your store to fit your specific requirements. The sheer number and quality of Shopify's apps often give it an edge. A particular advantage of a headless Shopify store is the ability to integrate custom apps, which offers improved adaptability to suit your specific needs.
9 Tips & Special Considerations When Migrating from Magento to Shopify
Even though undertaking a migration to a headless Shopify setup can present its own set of challenges, it also brings a wealth of rewards to the table. This setup offers enhanced performance benefits, combined with superior customization capabilities, making it a tempting avenue to pursue. Here are some key considerations and tips you should be aware of based on the experiences of others who have made the switch.
1. The Right Shopify Plan For You
Selecting the appropriate Shopify plan is a crucial step in setting up your online store. Each plan offers different features and pricing, so it's important to consider your business needs and budget. If your business is migrating to improve scaling support, it may be prudent to choose the Advanced Plan or even consider Shopify Plus ($2,000 per month) if you are pushing high volume.
2. Backups Not Optional
Don't get any ideas about trying to migrate your e-commerce business from Magento to Shopify without first backing up your existing site. Making a backup is not an optional step; if you skip it, you can lose data and seriously harm your business.
3. Changing URL Redirects to Preserve SEO
The transition from the complex structure of Magento M1 to a more simplified one in Shopify can be challenging. If the redirects, sitemap, and robot.txt are overlooked, this can lead to a significant amount of testing and fixing to reset your SEO. Without these redirects, Google will have to re-index your entire store, and any previous rankings could lead customers to a non-existent page, further hurting your online presence.
You may need to use a combination of software and spreadsheets to collect all your existing URLs and translate them to the new URL patterns.
4. Additional Shopify Product Metafields
To import products into Shopify, a CSV file containing all product details, including images, pricing, shipping information, and more, must be uploaded. The key challenge lies in ensuring the CSV file aligns with Shopify's specific format. When transitioning from Magento to Shopify, it's necessary to adjust your Magento product export CSV file to fit Shopify's import template. This includes modifying data such as titles, descriptions, prices, and SEO information.
Metafields in Shopify allow you to add extra information to your products, and translating these from Magento can be complex. It's important to have a clear understanding of how metafields work in Shopify and plan for this translation process ahead of time.
5. Past Orders
If you want customers to view your new Shopify site as a cohesive continuation of the older site, you will probably want to import the order history. Shopify does not natively support this, so again, you'll need to turn to a third-party app to help.
6. Managing Translations
If your store operates in multiple languages, managing these different translations can be a major sticking point. Having a strategy in place for managing and implementing these translations in your new Shopify store is essential.
7. Customers Must Re-Activate Account
Shopify provides a straightforward way to import customer lists directly into its platform, as detailed in their online guide. However, due to external encryption, passwords cannot be imported, necessitating customers to reactivate their accounts and set new passwords. This can be a pain point as it might deter some customers from returning to your store due to the extra step.
- Shopify Plus – If you opt for Shopify Plus, you can use the Bulk Inviter app to automate this process, sending emails to prompt customers to set up a new password on your Shopify site.
- Other Shopify Plans – If you choose any of the other plans, you'll need to rely on third-party apps to help manage the invites. Invites can be done manually from Shopify admin but would be difficult to execute with a large user base. Alternatively, you can leverage the services of a developer to write a script to execute this process one time via the GraphQL Admin API. This can be a more efficient and streamlined solution, especially for stores with a significant number of customers.
8. Importing Blogs and Pages
When migrating from Magento to Shopify, the transfer of pages and blogs is crucial to prevent any SEO issues, as Shopify doesn't natively support direct import of this content. However, when utilizing a headless Shopify setup, the blogs and pages are typically stored in a separate content management system (CMS) anyway.
This approach is actually beneficial, as a dedicated CMS is often better equipped to manage such content compared to standard e-commerce platforms. Consequently, this headless approach offers an elegant solution to the content migration challenge.
9. Custom Functionalities and Large Product Databases
If your website contains any custom functionalities that are not usually found in other e-commerce websites, you may face additional troubles translating these functionalities to Shopify. The same goes for stores with a vast product list. More products mean more problems. In these instances, you may have no choice but to seek professional help with Magento to Shopify migration.
However, with a headless Shopify setup, integrating any type of custom functionality becomes feasible. This flexibility can significantly ease the migration process.
Move Forward with Excyted
If you feel compelled to gain the benefits of Shopify for your e-commerce business but are concerned about the Shopify Magento migration process and need to involve multiple third-party apps, Excyted is here to help. We are specialists in facilitating the migration to a custom, headless Shopify setup, understanding the unique challenges this transition may bring.
Our skilled team will oversee a smooth transition, safeguarding your data, preserving SEO rankings, and configuring your new headless Shopify store for success. This allows you to focus on what you do best - running your business.
Don't let the daunting task of migration hold you back from making a move that could propel your ecommerce business forward. Contact Excyted today and let us help you transition seamlessly to your new custom, headless Shopify store. Your future ecommerce success could be just a migration away.