Shopify Migration Checklist: Platform Migration Guide

Shopify remains in the top three eCommerce platforms in the United States. Estimates reveal that it has more than two million daily active users, contributing almost $320 billion in global economic activity. Selling on this robust platform makes sense, but there are several things you should know first about migrating to Shopify.

Following a Shopify migration checklist can simplify your transition. This comprehensive guide explores the ins and outs of moving to the Shopify platform. You'll learn about the advantages of re-platforming, some essential factors to consider, and how to construct a detailed migration plan.

Why Should I Migrate to Shopify?

Migrating your store to Shopify offers several advantages. You and your visitors benefit from an intuitive, speedy, secure, and scalable platform that provides iron-clad security. This support builds and strengthens customer relationships and helps you grow your business.


Many online shoppers are familiar with Shopify's interface. Even those who've never used it find its point-and-click setup user-friendly. Sellers enjoy its intuitive dashboard with drag-and-drop functionality to build and edit their eCommerce platforms. With the platform's 99.8% uptime, you and your customers benefit from its reliability.


Shopify has several features in place to ensure fast load times. Its Storefront Renderer minifies and caches JavaScript and CSS files, helping deliver store content as fast as possible. Shopify also has a proprietary content delivery network, distributing traffic through servers closest to a visitor's location.


Shopify can accommodate virtually any size store or business. As your enterprise expands and introduces new product lines, adding each new offering is easy: Click on "add product," enter the appropriate details, and save. You're done!


Customization is another key strength of Shopify. Besides extensive visual design options, the platform allows you to optimize your content with SEO. While you can craft your written content to improve your ranking, Shopify offers critical features such as page redirects and custom URL slugs.

Finally, Shopify works with an expansive collection of third-party apps and integrations. Along with free and paid apps available in its store, Shopify allows integrations with CRM, ERP, and payment gateway solutions.


Shopify integrates security measures to keep your and your customer's data safe. The platform has built-in SSL certificates for all stores it hosts, with frequent updates deployed to maintain and strengthen security. Shopify also boasts PCI DSS certification: The platform meets strict security standards for organizations that process, store, and transmit credit card data.

How Long Does it Take to Migrate to Shopify?

shopify migration

Reaping benefits from a Shopify migration requires a solid and structured plan. Ultimately, your total time to migrate Shopify depends on how you carry it out:

  • By yourself or with assistance from a third-party vendor.
  • Manual configuration or automated setup.
  • Data transfer manually or via apps.

Depending on your desired setup and digital assets, your migration could take a few weeks, several months, or up to a year and a half. Transferring products, orders, customers, and other information may only take a few hours or perhaps several days if you have a significant amount of data.

The rest of the time needed includes planning, setting up your Shopify account, designing your user interface, and other pre-migration steps such as downloading and reviewing your old data for errors and duplicates.

How Much Does It Cost to Migrate to Shopify?

The costs of migrating Shopify can vary. The platform doesn't charge users to migrate their data. However, your overall expenses depend on your current platform and business needs.

You must purchase a Shopify subscription, one of the steps in creating and setting up your account. Plans currently cost:

  • $29/month for Basic.
  • $79/month for the mid-tier Shopify subscription.
  • $299/month for Advanced.
  • Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 per month.

Shopify bills these plans yearly.

Your other migration costs may include hiring experts to assist with your migration. If you choose to go it alone, you must account for the time and labor spent by you or your staff to complete tasks such as downloading and formatting information, designing and setting up your store, migrating your data, and completing wrap-up tasks before going live.

How Do I Transfer Items From one Shopify to Another?

Depending on your situation, you could need to migrate data from one Shopify store to another. This may be the case with company mergers, sales, ownership transfers, or rebranding. Some steps are the same as migrating to Shopify from another platform.

Navigate to the Products, Orders, or Customers menus in your old store's admin panel, then select the Export option. For products and customers, you must choose one of four options:

  1. Current Page
  2. All
  3. Selected
  4. Those matching your search or filters.

If you're exporting orders, you can also select by date. For best results, select the "plain text CSV" option when saving your data.

Once you have your CSV files, you can upload them through your new store's admin panel. Download the Import app from the Shopify App store, then choose Import store in the Apps menu and follow the on-screen prompts.

How Can I Prepare to Migrate to a Shopify Store?

Migrating to Shopify is a complex process. However, following a diligently constructed plan can simplify parts of the process and avoid time-wasting and costly errors. Use the Shopify setup checklist in the following sections to develop your migration plan.

If you're working with a third-party vendor specializing in Shopify migration services, be sure to review this checklist with your migration specialists. You can customize and tweak this list to meet your organization's specific needs.

Sign Up for a Shopify Account

Your Shopify store setup checklist begins with creating an account. You'll enter your email address and password first. Next, choose a username and your preferred online store name. Keep your login credentials secure: You'll need them later during the setup and migration phases.

Once you've entered the initial details, provide other details requested by Shopify. Have your billing information ready: You'll also configure your payment gateway and enter sales tax information. Finally, you'll select your shipping settings and pick your store's URL.

Create Your New Store

Setting up your online store is the next phase in your Shopify checklist. Here, you'll choose a store theme. There's a wide range of free and paid options available. Whether you rely on your coding skills or work with a designer, you can use custom CSS to fine-tune your store's look.

Select Data & Services to Migrate

While design and aesthetics are essential to an optimal user experience, data migration is also vital. Now, you'll gather the data you wish to transfer to your new Shopify storefront. Most eCommerce businesses migrate several types of data:

  • Customer information
  • Purchase histories
  • Product data
  • Product images

Other data to transfer may include blog posts and policy information. You can make things easier on yourself by purging old and inaccurate data at this stage. Don't forget to consider any apps, software, and services you require for your eCommerce platform. If any of these are specific to your current platform, you must select similar tools compatible with Shopify.

Choose a Migration Method

shopify migration method

Your chosen services and data transfer methods influence the time, effort, and funds needed to complete your migration. Sellers typically choose from four migration methods: copy-paste, CSV files, third-party apps, or Admin API.

1. Copy and Paste

You could copy and paste your data manually, but this approach typically takes the most time. On the upside, you can transfer all your data this way — including web pages, blogs, and product reviews.

2. CSV Files

Migrating via CSV files allows you to transfer product, customer, and historical order information. "CSV" stands for comma-separated values: Each distinctive piece of data is set apart from others by commas.

While CSV files are in text format, you can generate and open them in spreadsheet applications such as Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or LibreOffice Calc. You can also spawn them from your current eCommerce platform. The CSV files you export must follow Shopify's recommended format. Using a Shopify CSV template as a reference can make this process much simpler.

3. Third-Party Apps

Besides expanding your Shopify store's functionality, third-party apps can streamline the migration process. There are apps available to handle all types of data transfers ranging from product and customer information to blog posts and product reviews. Some examples include Migration Pro, LitExtension, and Cart2Cart.

Shopify Plus sellers can use the Transporter app, which imports CSV files containing customer, product, and order data.

4. Admin API

Shopify's Admin API offers advanced features to make the migration process simpler. API stands for application programming interface — the definitions and protocols necessary to construct and integrate application software. APIs permit a product or service to communicate with others and share essential information. Admin API contains modules that interface with different components of a Shopify store:

Each of these enables information transfers to populate data in your new store:

  • Products: Product API
  • Customers: Customer API
  • Historical order data: Order API, Transaction API
  • Gift cards and store credits: Gift Card API
  • Blogs: Blog API, Blog Article API
  • Pages: Page API

Prepare Services & Data for Migration

Before you transfer data, it's wise to complete a few preparation steps first. As part of your eCommerce migration checklist, these steps can save you time, effort, and headaches after the big move.

  1. First, remove protocols from store assets like images, stylesheets, and theme styles. This ensures that your assets use protocol-independent URLs after migration, permitting them to load through secure connections.
  2. Your next steps should include checking your data and correcting inaccuracies as you find them. You should also perform a complete backup of your data.
  3. Lastly, you must authorize essential access for third-party apps and vendors before migration.

Export Your Data

The process for exporting your data differs by which platform you're currently using. Keep reading for quick directions on exporting from Squarespace, Etsy, and WooCommerce.


Before you migrate from Squarespace to Shopify, export your products by selecting Inventory and Export as CSV under the Commerce menu. For orders, choose the Orders and Export as CSV options also located in the Commerce menu.


Most data export functions are in Etsy's Settings, Options, and Data menus. Save your product data by selecting Currently for Sale Listings and Download CSV. For your customer and order information, select Orders, the appropriate Month and Year options, and Download CSV.


Exporting data from WooCommerce is simple. Navigate to the admin page and locate the Tools menu. Choose Export, All Content, and Download Export File from the drop-down options.

Import Data Into Shopify

You should follow your Shopify import customers process after ensuring the CSV files you've created are correctly formatted. You can use Shopify's Import app to transfer this data. Download the app from the store first, then navigate to your Shopify admin panel and choose Import store under the Apps menu.

The Import store command launches a wizard that helps you finish the process. Follow the on-screen instructions carefully. Upload your products first, followed by your customers and historical order data. You must upload them in this exact order. Upload any remaining data after these items are complete.

Review & Update Your Data

Hopefully, you reviewed your data, corrected errors, and removed duplicates before migrating it to Shopify. However, it's still wise to check your data after your upload. Again, review for any errors or duplicates. You can also manually key in any missing data or tags as needed.

Configure Your Redirects

A 301 redirect is permanent. It's a server-side redirect that forwards visitors from one URL to another. Meanwhile, it also allows link equity from the old page to transfer to the new one.

Using a 301 redirect enables both Google and users to find your new page quickly. Because it maintains your original site's ranking power, this also helps ensure that your page doesn't lose rank in Google's search engine results.

A Shopify 301 redirect automatically takes your customers from your old online store to your new eCommerce platform. With proper setup and enhanced eCommerce Shopify features, your customers enjoy a seamless and improved user experience.

Confirm Final Details

After setting up your Shopify 301 redirects, you can perform additional configuration and cleanup tasks. You'll likely need to place products into categories and run test orders to confirm everything is working correctly. Now, all that remains are your marketing and scheduling your store's launch.

What Else Should I Know About Migrating to Shopify?

shopify store

Besides hosting and providing functionality for your online store, Shopify offers several other great features. You'll want to examine these options before constructing your migration plan.

Email Forwarding

With email hosting and forwarding services, you have store contact email addresses where customers can reach out to you with questions. Whether you purchase a new domain through Shopify or transfer an existing domain, you can set up multiple email forwarding addresses for free.

The platform doesn't provide email hosting, but you can elect to have email forwarding Shopify services go to your existing email addresses or a third-party email hosting provider.

Domain Transfers

If you already have a domain on your existing eCommerce platform, you'll also need to transfer it. Using 301 redirects Shopify takes care of moving users to your new store while transferring ranking power from your old site. However, you can also transfer and connect your existing domain to Shopify.

You can also register a new domain through a service like Namecheap or GoDaddy. In either case, you must wait 60 days after registering your domain, transferring to a different provider, or updating your registration info before you can move it to Shopify.

As you prepare to move an existing domain to Shopify, it's helpful to review a domain migration checklist. You'll want to confirm your domain's eligibility and review your registrar or provider's transfer policy before proceeding. If all looks well, you can log into your domain service's account to unlock and begin the transfer.

When you give Shopify your email address to create an account, make sure that address isn't on the domain you want to transfer. Once you've performed these steps, log into your new Shopify account and begin the transfer process.

Your eCommerce Partners

Migrating to Shopify with a trusted partner can make the process go easier and smoother. elk marketing delivers proven and effective SEO, marketing, and web development solutions to help grow businesses like yours. Let us help build your online eCommerce solutions.

Complete our Contact Us form to get started. We look forward to discussing how we can help your enterprise reach its goals.