We have had an increasing number of requests for our expertise with migrating eCommerce stores from Volusion to Shopify so we put together this primer.
Migrating your eCommerce store is always a big step but it doesn't have to be a stumble. If you are currently using Volusion for your online shop and are thinking of moving over to Shopify, you're probably curious about what to expect.
The top three questions that most eCommerce business owners ask are:
We’re Shopify experts, and many of the stores we build are on Shopify, or use headless, custom built solutions. There are a number of reasons that you may be considering moving from Volusion to Shopify and we encourage you to do as much independent research as possible. If we had to choose just a couple it would be:
While this article tackles migrating from Volusion to Shopify, the basics can be used for any cart migration.
Just a quick google search for “migrate from Volusion to Shopify” will give you hundreds of results ranging from “Hassle-free migration in minutes” to horror stories about migrations that took months with significant data loss and SEO ranking losses.
There are aspects of a migration that can take only a few minutes, but the reality is that unless you’re fully prepared up front, it’s going to take a while, and should be managed systematically and with careful consideration.
One app cannot handle your entire migration. There are apps that can manage specific aspects of your migration when they are set up correctly and if your incoming data is formatted correctly. Formatting the data correctly is the important part, and in our experience, it never is. Every store is different, every store has a unique way of displaying, navigating, filtering and tagging products. You might only have ten products and three collections (product categories) on your current store, so at first glance it might appear to be simple, but when you factor in your tags, variants, pricing structure, images and other asset as well as customers, orders, discounts, reviews, and all your CMS pages, it can start to look overwhelming very fast.
The actual migration of data can take anywhere between a week and a month. It all depends on the integrity of your data, and the amount of time it will take to prepare the data so that the import is successful. If you have the luxury of some time, we would encourage you to sign up for Shopify well in advance of your planned migration and choose a professional theme from Shopify Themes. The more time you spend in your new environment, the easier the actual migration will be. Choose a theme that gets you as close as possible to your existing store branding and look for advanced functionality, like product tabs, digital media display functionality and even checkout customization on more advanced Shopify plans.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to import your product data, or recreate it from scratch on Shopify. If you’re using an app like Cart2Cart all the data will be imported and you can even import reviews, customer data and order data. Our caveat is that this is usually the point where we’re asked to step in for many migrations. The incoming data has to be impeccable (it never is) and formatted exactly right (it never is) or there could be massive inconsistencies once the data is in Shopify. By way of example, Cart2Cart does not migrate customer accounts to Shopify, only customer data is imported to the Shopify database. You’ll have to let your customers know to recreate their account on your Shopify store, at which point the data will be merged based on your data import.
If you have between 10-50 products, we’d recommend recreating the products in Shopify. Not only is a migration a great time to improve your product descriptions, categorizations and front-end design, it’s a perfect time to improve product photography and make design improvements.
Often the longest part of the migration process is redirecting all your old Volusion URLs to the new Shopify URL pages. You have to redirect EVERY URL.
Because each shopping cart uses different url structures, you won’t be able to maintain the url structures that were used in Volusion—in fact, you wouldn’t want to retain the old Volusion urls even if you could because they are very SEO unfriendly (i.e. www.domain.com/article?316).
You are going to need a tool to manage your redirects. We recommend a program called Screaming Frog to download a complete list of your current urls from Volusion—free for under 500 pages.
Once you have a list of your old domains, you'll want to use a redirection app like Easy Redirects by ESC to handle bulk uploads. But make sure to check and redirect EVERY URL from your old site to a page on your new one.