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HostPapa Blog / Web Design & Development  / How To Migrate From Shopify to WooCommerce
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26 Apr

How To Migrate From Shopify to WooCommerce
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(Last Updated On: April 26, 2022)

When it comes to establishing an online store, Shopify is one of the best platforms out there. However, as your business expands and grows, you might start noticing some limitations you need to grow out of. 

WooCommerce, a popular Shopify alternative, gives you the perfect opportunity to grow and reach the maximum potential of your business. Let’s talk about how two platforms differ from each other.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Although it’s a perfect kick-starter for your online business, Shopify limits you when you grow quickly. If you want to switch to a platform that can allow you to reach your full potential, you should go for WooCommerce. 

WooCommerce allows you to have total control over the operations and functions of your store. Everything is in your hands and is free from taxes to custom shipping methods to publishing hundreds and thousands of products. 

Luckily, it’s easy to migrate your online store from Shopify to WooCommerce. We’ll take you through the step-by-step guide to moving your store, and by the end of this article, you will know all about migrating your online store to a better platform. 

WooCommerce is built on open-source software. It uses WordPress, enabling users to create any website they want on any hosting platform. WooCommerce comes with more opportunities to modify and customize.

As opposed to Shopify, WoCommerce doesn’t charge you for features or demand any processing fees to sell your products. You have to pay for hosting if you’re using WordPress and WooCommerce together, but you won’t be tied to one specific platform, which allows you to choose whatever hosting company you choose. You could also go for managed WordPress hosting for better service availability. 

Why You Should Consider Moving From Shopify to WooCommerce

Let’s check out more reasons you should consider moving from Shopify to WooCommerce.

  1. More control over your store. WooCommerce, an open-source platform, allows you to have complete control over your site. You can customize it as per your preferences and create the store of your dreams without any limitations. There are few things that you have more control over with WooCommerce than Shopify.
  2. Search engine optimization. Your search rankings are based mainly on your site’s content, and with WooCommerce, you can edit every aspect of your content to make sure it ranks.
  3. Payment gateway integration is much easier with WooCommerce than with Shopify. Apart from all the mainstream payment gateways, WooCommerce allows you to connect to niche, lesser-known payment solutions that might be necessary for your store based on its location.
  4. WooCommerce doesn’t charge additional transaction fees for third-party payment gateways, unlike Shopify. As a result, your profit margins aren’t narrowed. 
  5. Backups. Shopify allows you to export customer data in exchange for a fee to back your site up, but WooCommerce does that for free. It has multiple excellent backup options.
  6. Endless flexibility. Since WooCommerce is an open-source platform, anyone can copy and change the source code, unlike Shopify, a closed-source program. When it comes to your website design, you can integrate WooCommerce with WordPress and open the door to a wide range of design opportunities. You can make your site as simple or complex as you would like.
  7. More controlled pricing. Unlike Shopify, which charges you with monthly plans, features, and shipping rates, WooCommerce and WordPress are free. With WooCommerce, you’re only charged for the domain name, hosting, and extensions. 
  8. Unlimited product variations. When you add a product, its variations can quickly be added to WooCommerce. For instance, for a t-shirt, you might offer four colours and seven sizes, which would add up to make 28 product variations. Depending on the product, you can add as many variations as possible, but Shopify limits variations to 100 only.
  9. A close-knit community. WooCommerce gives you access to a community of people with whom you grow, learn, expand, and improve. Every year, hundreds and thousands of developers and store owners meet virtually in over 400 cities to educate each other.

If these reasons have convinced you to switch from Shopify to WooCommerce, let’s talk about things to consider before making a switch.

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Things to Consider Before Migrating From Shopify to WooCommerce

Before migrating your store from one platform to another, you need to consider several factors, such as hosting and data backup. 

Let’s get through each one of them in detail.

  1. Finding a WordPress-Friendly Web Host

WooCommerce will work best if it’s integrated with WordPress, so you should find a host that will tailor to this need. Since WooCommerce and WordPress are immensely popular platforms, you won’t have any difficulty finding a good web host. We recommend you get managed WordPress hosting for your online store. 

  1. Backup Your Shopify Store

Whenever you make a significant change to your online store, it’s best to back up its data beforehand. If the process doesn’t go as intended, your data will be safe and restorable. However, Shopify doesn’t offer a backup function. It enables you to export product data in CSV format. It’ll come in handy during the migration process.

If you want direct backup options for Shopify, you can visit the Shopify App Store and find tools that offer backup functionality for Shopify.

However, keep in mind that you cannot create complete copies of your store even with backup apps, and you can’t use those backup apps while migrating your shop.

Although migrating your online store from Shopify to WooCommerce is a risk-free and safe process with no chances of loss of data, it is still better to be careful about what you are doing and stay on the safe side.

Now that you know what you need to consider before migrating, let’s get to the actual process. 

How to Migrate From Shopify to WooCommerce

It’s time to start moving your store from Shopify to WooCommerce. Check out how to get your store migrated to WooCommerce with WordPress in the step-by-step guide below.

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Step 1: Set Up WordPress

You can install WordPress through several installation methods, depending on your hosting type. For instance, if you have managed WordPress hosting, it’ll automatically set up a CMS for you when you create a new website. However, if your web host doesn’t offer automatic WordPress installation, check out your host’s control panel, which will give you access to a software installer. Using that installer, you can set up your WordPress in a few minutes.

If that doesn’t work for you, you can manually download WordPress. On WordPress.org, the software is available to download for free. It also comes with a “five-minute installer” that gives you a tutorial of the entire process once you upload files to the server.

Once you’ve downloaded WordPress, it’s time to download WooCommerce.

Step 2: Download WooCommerce

Once your WordPress is active, you are able to access the dashboard, which allows you to control the settings of your website, including the layout, themes, content, and more.

Since you want to move your store to WooCommerce, you must install WooCommerce on your WordPress. 

  • Go to Plugins from your dashboard and click on Add New.
  • Type “WooCommerce” in the search bar. 
  • When it appears in the search results, click on Install Now and wait for the plugin to download. The downloading process will be happening in the background, so don’t leave that page. 
  • Once the WooCommerce plugin is downloaded, click on Activate.

WooCommerce is ready to go! You can start publishing your products on WooCommerce and sell them to customers. However, you need to export your product catalogue from Shopify to WooCommerce.

Step 3: Export Products from Shopify

Shopify lets you export your store’s data in a CSV format file. This file will include everything about the products, from titles to tags to variants to prices.

  • Log in to your Shopify account and go to Product > All Products to export this data. This list will show you all the products you have in your store. You also have the option to import or export the data.
  • Select the Export button from the top of the screen. 
  • Shopify will ask you which products you would like to export. Click on All Products and select the CSV for Excel, Numbers, or other spreadsheet program options under “Export as:” 
  • Once you click on export products, Shopify will compile all of the product data into a CSV file and send it to you via email. Depending on your inventory size, this email can take a while to arrive.
  • The email will include a downloadable file with all your products. Download this file on your computer as you’ll need it for the next step.

Step 4: Import Products Into WordPress

There are two ways to import products into WooCommerce. One is to use the built-in product importer by WooCommerce, and the other is through the migration service.

Let’s discuss both. 

  1. Built-In Product Importer

Downloading all of your product catalogues in a CSV file makes this step more straightforward. WooCommerce comes with a tool that will enable you to import that file into this program. 

The only downside to this method is that it will only import product catalogues. Aside from that, things such as customer reviews, customer order histories, and other customer and store data will stay with Shopify. 

If you still want to go with this method, here is how you can import your CSV file into WooCommerce.

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard and go to Tools > Import.
  • Look for the WooCommerce products–CSV–option and click on the Run importer.
  • WooCommerce will ask you to select the file you want to import. Select the CSV file you downloaded from Shopify and tap Continue.
  • The next page would give you several options for matching your product data from the CSV file to WooCommerce available fields. Go through the list of options and carefully decide which data you want to import into WooCommerce and which one you want to leave out. For instance, SEO title and SEO description don’t have corresponding options in WooCommerce, so that you can leave those out.
  • Click on Run the importer. It will take a minute or two to import your product data. You’ll be notified when the process is done.
  • After that, if you click on View products, WordPress will send you to the Products > All Products tab to see the items you have just imported. 
  • Since WooCommerce does not import product images, you’ll have to upload those manually. 

If any data is missing, you can rerun the importer to ensure you’re importing the right fields.

  1. Migration Service to Import Data

Migrating from Shopify to WooCommerce is a common action many store owners take. That’s why a lot of plugins are solely dedicated to this task. Using the migration tools, you can simplify the whole process and allow you to import/export data that doesn’t come in a CSV file, such as customer data.

With Cart2Cart, you can connect WooCommerce with your Shopify, and this tool will migrate each data point from one platform to another. Cart2Cart offers limited free migrations, which would enable you to move a part of your Shopify store to WooCommerce. If you want to move your store entirely to WooCommerce, with each data point, you’ll require access to the tool’s full features, which would require paying. The price will vary depending on the data you are importing.

Cart2Cart comes with an estimating tool on their site to give you an idea about what it would cost to migrate your website with all its data. For instance, migrating a complete Shopify store with 100 products would cost you around $120.

You can sign up on Cart2Cart and add it to your dashboard. The tool will ask you the source and destination, which in this case are Shopify and WooCommerce.

For this to work, you must generate a Shopify API key. 

  • Go to the Shopify dashboard and go to Apps. Scroll to the bottom and look for “manage private apps.” 
  • Click on Enable private app development if you haven’t already enabled it on the next screen.
  • Confirm your choice to allow the private app development, which will allow you an option to create a private app. This will generate the API password that Cart2Cart will require to export your store’s data.
  • Set up a name for your app and enter your email. 
  • Scroll down and give all permissions. When available, you will be using both “read and write” options or just read when the write option isn’t there. Generally, it’s not safe to give an app full permission. Be sure to not share the API with anyone and delete the app after the process.
  • Select the latest version of webhook API.
  • Click Save to create the app and confirm. The app will be up and running, and its API password will show up on the app details screen.
  • Copy and paste this API in Cart2Cart migration and enter your online store’s URL, then enter your WP login details of the admin account.
  • Once you enter those details, select CHOOSE ENTITIES.
  • Cart2Cart will take a moment to prepare the process and check the credentials. If the credentials are correct, the tool will ask which data you want to import from Shopify. It will also offer you a few paid extras for migration, including images, order IDs, and transaction IDs. Select whatever options you want and begin the migration process.
  • Depending on the amount of data, the process can take a while. Once it’s done, you’ll be notified with a success screen.

Now that you’ve switched your store from Shopify to WooCommerce, you’ll need to point your domain to WooCommerce now.

Step 5: Point Your Domain to WooCommerce

At this point, you should already have a full-fledged working eCommerce store in WooCommerce that includes all of the products you imported from Shopify.

Update your domain records because your current domain still points to Shopify. However, if you register a new domain, you’ll lose the customer base familiar with your Shopify store.

Changing the site a domain points to depends on the service you use to manage it. For instance, if you use the domain registrar, you will need to update your records there, but the process differs from one registrar to another. On the other hand, if your domain was directly registered through Shopify, you can edit your DNS settings.

Apart from that, some web hosting providers, including HostPapa, enable you to update your domain records through their dashboard. 

Step 6: Configure Your WordPress Permalinks

WordPress allows its users to create their URL structure, including for WooCommerce. By default, the WordPress URLs for WooCommerce look like this: 

yourWooCommercestore.com/?p=534

These kinds of URLs are not user-friendly, and they also don’t help the SEO department. 

To change it to something better, go to Settings > Permalinks > Product permalinks and select the option you prefer. We recommend using the standard structure that looks like this: 

yourWooCommercestore.com/product/sample-name

This URL gives information about the product category and the product the visitor is seeing. Once you’ve selected the preferred permalink structures, save changes to your WordPress.

Note: You must choose your desired permalink structure right when you start or migrate your WooCommerce store because changing it later can impact your SEO and create errors in the website.

Step 7: Redesign Layout

Your WooCommerce page looks nothing like its Shopify equivalent, right? That is because you are still using the default WordPress theme. 

When it comes to redesigning the layout of your store, you have two options – you can either recreate the style you had on your Shopify store, or you can start over and create something new with the WooCommerce template. 

Both approaches are valid, and they both contribute to your store’s growth and expansion.

You can use the built-in Block Editor on WordPress to customize your store. 

Step 8: Configure WooCommerce Settings

Before you start accepting orders and selling your products to the customers, you need to configure your settings on WooCommerce.

Some things you need to configure are:

  • Payment options
  • Shipping options
  • Security settings
  • Product settings
  • Email notification options
  • Tax options

You must have remembered the configurations of your Shopify store. These are similar to that. However, they are more controlled. Check out WooCommerce plugins for WordPress that can make your day-to-day operations smoother. 

Your store should now be set up and running. 

Managed WordPress Hosting

Migrating your online store from Shopify to WooCommerce can be time-consuming. Some people don’t know about CSV files; others don’t know how to give permissions to generate the API key. If things go wrong, your migration process can suffer and damage your store. 

That is why we recommend you to sign up with our fastest managed WordPress hosting. HostPapa’s team will take care of migration, configuration, and all the operations for you, while you focus on what matters: growing your store.

Key Takeaways 

Migrating your online store from Shopify to WooCommerce is a time-consuming task. You not only have to export-import your products and customer data from one platform to another, but you also have to design the layout from scratch and configure settings. 

Luckily, it’s all worth it. WooCommerce and WordPress open you up to more opportunities for growth and expansion than Shopify. They’ll never run out of features for you.

Julia Keys

Julia is a Content Coordinator for HostPapa, with a special focus on editing copy and all things blog-related. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Oscar-nominated movies, and drinking iced lattes.

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