This article is not going to focus on how or why you chose Shopify, or why you’re now considering migrating from Shopify. We cover this in an earlier article Shopify vs Woocommerce and it covers reasons why you might want to migrate from Shopify to Woocommerce.
What we want to provide here is our expertise in how this can be done, having followed the process for a client last year. This is a case study of the Mister Smith Interiors website that had reached certain limitations in Shopify, namely that the 1000 tags limit was impacting the users ability to search for products, that pricing products by the metre meant we couldn’t add the products to a Google feed and that bulk updating was becoming very difficult for the product scenarios they had.
Mister Smith are primarily sellers of fabric and wallpaper, with a shop in Brighton, and an e-commerce shop. They also offer design and fitting services and work with some of the most well known brands in the textile and wallpaper industry.
The purpose of the migration was to improve the functionality and scalability of the shop whilst maintaining the design that we had, within Shopify, so the main focus was on migrating over 5000 products and 15,000 variations from Shopify to Woocommerce.
This was new to us and so we started with the obvious, install a plugin, claiming to be able to do the job and use the Shopify API. If only it was that simple! This approach worked for customers and orders, but converting the product collections into categories, simply didn’t work. The differences were too intricate and we had to find an alternative approach.
How We Did It?
The answer was to export all products, from Shopify, into a csv file and then create a new database table, on the Wordpress site, that we could load the shopify csv file into. It meant we had access to all the data we needed and then an ability to script the import process ourselves. We built a custom import process, that allowed us to move row by row, determine whether it was a parent product or variation, find out whether the attributes already existed, create if necessary and similarly categorise products correctly, by brand, material, colour etc. we could transfer SEO descriptions and importantly setup which categories would allow to sell by the metre.
Wordpress allows us to import images from a URL and so we could ask the script to pull the image from Shopify and import that too!
Once we had tested the import across the range of categories and scenarios we cleared the database and started with a fresh import of all Shopify products. As you may imagine calling the script to run through 15,000 variations, including the importing of all those images can’t be done in one go, so the final step was to create a scheduled task that would deal with batches of 50 products at a time. It meant managing server resources whilst also allowing the task to take place in the background, leaving us to focus on other things.
If you’re considering a migration from Shopify, in our experience, ask a developer to create an import script based on a csv export. It’ll ensure you don’t have a headache of trying to manually edit products once in your shop and it’ll save you time in the long run. If you’d like any advice please get in touch.