So you’re thinking of making the jump from Shopify to WooCommerce. Especially for those without a technical background (which is most entrepreneurs who have gone with Shopify), migrating to a new eCommerce platform can seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as you think.
What’s most important is that you understand why you’re moving to WooCommerce, the benefits you can now take advantage of and the extra challenges these benefits may come with. Below, we’ll discuss all of the reasons why it’s a good idea to make the move.
Migrating from Shopify to WooCommerce: The Benefits
In terms of market share, WooCommerce is nearly three times larger than Shopify. It’s flexible enough that it can fit the needs of startups but can also scale to suit large businesses.
- More Control
With WooCommerce you gain more control over your website. It’s open source, so you have more customization options. Customization is what allows you to create a stronger brand identity and set yourself apart from your competitors.
Where do you have more control?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): WooCommerce allows you to edit every aspect of your SEO, no matter how technical it is. Because it’s WordPress based, high-quality content can be easily published.
Backing Up Your Site: With Shopify, you have to pay to backup your website. With WooCommerce, there are plenty of free backup solutions. Be wary: free backup solutions can often cause more issues than they solve, and if you’re worried about integrity it’s sometimes best to go with a paid one, regardless of platform. Free options are there, though, on WooCommerce only.
Payment Gateway Integration: Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer payment gateway integration options. However WooCommerce allows you to integrate with many more niche gateways, which can be especially useful if you want to appeal to a target audience in a certain location. Shopify charges businesses for the use of third-party gateways, WooCommerce doesn’t. These extra charges can be very tough for startups trying to make a profit.
- Customization Options
Shopify is known for its simplicity. The drawback of this simplicity is that it’s restrictive when it comes to customization. Shopify maintains full ownership of their own code, in other words, you can only customize with what options Shopify has provided you. WooCommerce does not have this drawback; WooCommerce is open source, meaning the source code and the customization of your eStore is at your liberty. However, this also means that you need to be careful—editing your source code should be done by those with technical expertise. Business owners who are unsure how to customize may just end up breaking their store.
A lot of customization comes from plugins and store themes, which can be created by WooCommerce developers to meet the optimal requirements of your business. To find customization, the WordPress directory has about 54,000 options for site design, functionality as well as marketing optimization.
Customization is only a positive if you can take advantage of it. Otherwise you may as well have stuck with Shopify. Customization is where non technical business owners may begin to struggle or become prone to making mistakes. If you want to make the most of customization, it’s recommended you hire an expert WooCommerce developer. To do this, be sure to pick companies that are well reviewed and have plenty of years of industry experience. Distinguished development companies like CodeClouds are what you should aim for—always check they have a strong body of previous eCommerce work.
- Pricing Control
WooCommerce is free. Your base expenses will concern site hosting, your domain name and any paid extensions you’d like to use. Only downloading the extensions you need means that your not paying for any pointless functionalities that you’re not going to use.
With Shopify you pay a monthly cost for a plan, meaning you’re paying anywhere between $29.99-$299.99. You are paying extra for any additional features that you want. Some features are only available on the advanced Shopify plan. Any add-ons you want will also increase your monthly fee and you are charged transaction fees when using an external payment gateway, this adds up with a lot of transactions.
With WooCommerce, the greater control and flexibility you gain will both save and cost you money. Flexibility and customization however is a better return on investment, establishing you with a point of difference amongst competitors.
- More Product Variations
Shopify limits the amount of product variations you can have to 100. If you’re wondering what that looks like, just imagine you’re selling hats: the hats may come in a few different styles, sizes and colours. Medium Red Bowler Hat is one, as is Large Red Bowler Hat, and Large Yellow Top Hat, and so on. As you can imagine, you don’t need many different hats before you’ve got well over 100.
With WooCommerce you can have as many product variations if you want—flexibility! With WooCommerce it’s very easy to add new manual variations and edit them when you have a lot of variable products.
- The WooCommerce Community
As stated earlier, WooCommerce has a much larger market share than Shopify. As you can imagine the community is a lot bigger and continuing to grow! Every year WooCommerce business owners and developers have meetups all over the world.
Remember, it’s open source: each WordPress or WooCommerce update is the result of effort from hundreds of volunteers. The big benefit about a large and active community is the potential to find problem solves using the support forums. Support forums welcome both simple and complex questions or problems to be solved by the WordPress community. For the less technical, it’s likely you’ll find your problem has already been experienced by someone else and the solution will be waiting for you.
All in all, the community is inclusive and supportive, rather than snobby and competitive.
Quickly: How to Migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce
Firstly, you’ll need to cover the basics you need to use WooCommerce: choosing a hosting plan, installation and activation. Use this 5 step getting started guide from WooCommerce.
- Migrating Your Site Manually
Doing things manually can seem scary, but it’s actually quite simple, here’s how to do it.
- Export your Shopify data from Shopify Data. This means all data concerning customers, orders, and products. From the Shopify Admin you’ll need to go to Products > All Products > Export.
- From your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to WooCommerce > Products.
- Click Import. Using the built-in CSV importer, import all the files you previously exported from Shopify and click Continue.
- The Column Mapping screen window will appear. WooCommerce will automatically try to match column names with your imported files, however you may need to do this on your own. To match things manually, use the dropdown menus to the right of each column.
- Click Run The Importer and wait.
- Rinse and repeat for the rest of your CSV files.
- Hire a WooCommerce Developer or Expert
A developer will easily migrate any of your Shopify stores and all of your data. This is cost and time efficient, especially if you’re also looking for customization work in your new WooCommerce store—you can get both services during one hiring period. If you’re at all unsure or if you’re having issues moving on your own, it might be best to just throw some money at the problem and have a professional fix it for you.
If you decide not to move away from Shopify, you may want to consider building a custom Shopify checkout, allowing you to reach better conversion rates by having complete control over the checkout design and process. The custom checkout options include social proof widgets, upsells, and more.