A Step-by-Step Guide to Migrating to Shopify Plus

We'll guide you through the process of migrating to Shopify Plus, highlighting its advantages and addressing common migration challenges.

Migrating to Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is rapidly becoming a top choice for businesses looking to scale up their eCommerce operations. This platform stands out for its ability to handle increased traffic and transactions seamlessly, ensuring reliability during peak periods.

If you're thinking of migrating to Shopify Plus the key benefits include extensive customisation options, allowing for a unique customer experience and brand representation. Additionally, its compatibility with a wide range of apps and tools enhances its functionality, particularly in areas like analytics and inventory management.

Security is another strong suit of Shopify Plus, offering Level 1 PCI compliance and regular updates to safeguard customer data. The platform's user-friendly interface and robust support system make it accessible for both seasoned eCommerce professionals and newcomers.

In this article, we'll guide you through the migration process to Shopify Plus, highlighting its advantages and addressing common migration challenges.

How to Migrate to Shopify Plus

Understanding the Need for Migration

As businesses grow and evolve, so too do their eCommerce needs. Many businesses reach a point where their current platform no longer supports their operational, marketing, or sales requirements effectively. Recognising the signs that it's time to migrate to a more robust platform like Shopify Plus is crucial for continued growth and customer satisfaction.

Challenges with Current Platforms

  • Scalability Limitations: If your current platform struggles during high traffic periods or cannot handle an increasing product range, it's a clear sign that you need a more scalable solution.
  • Lack of Customisation: Limited options for customisation can hinder your ability to provide a unique and branded shopping experience, which is essential for standing out in a crowded market.
  • Integration Issues: Difficulty integrating with essential third-party apps and tools, or a lack of available integrations, can significantly hamper efficiency and growth.
  • Inadequate Support: If your current platform doesn't offer the level of support needed, especially in terms of dealing with technical issues or providing guidance for growth, it's time to consider a switch.
  • Security Concerns: Older platforms may not adhere to the latest security standards, putting your business and customer data at risk.

Signs It's Time to Migrate

  • Frequent Downtime: Regular website outages or slow loading times can lead to lost sales and a poor customer experience.
  • Increasing Costs: If maintaining or upgrading your current platform is becoming prohibitively expensive, moving to a more cost-effective solution like Shopify Plus can be beneficial.
  • Unmet Business Needs: Whether it's the need for advanced analytics, better inventory management, or enhanced marketing tools, if your current platform can't meet these needs, migration is the next logical step.
  • Demand for Better User Experience: As customer expectations evolve, providing a seamless, intuitive shopping experience becomes paramount. If your current platform limits this, considering a migration is advisable.

Recognising these challenges and signs is the first step towards a successful platform migration.

Pre-Migration Planning

Effective planning is crucial for a smooth transition to Shopify Plus. This phase involves a deep dive into your current website's setup and clearly defining your migration objectives. Here's how to approach this crucial stage:

Conducting a Website Audit

  • Inventory Analysis: Evaluate your current product listings, descriptions, images, and categories. Identify what needs updating or restructuring.
  • Customer Data Review: Assess your customer data, including order histories, contact information, and preferences. This ensures no critical data is lost during migration.
  • Performance Metrics: Analyse your website's current performance metrics. Look at load times, conversion rates, and user experience aspects that need improvement.
  • SEO and Content: Review your SEO standings and existing content. Ensure that migrating preserves your SEO rankings and all vital content.

Setting Migration Goals

  • Performance Enhancements: Define specific performance goals like faster load times or higher conversion rates.
  • Feature Expansion: Identify new features and functionalities you want in Shopify Plus, like advanced Customisation or improved analytics.
  • Customer Experience Improvement: Aim for a more intuitive and engaging user interface that enhances the overall customer journey.

Assembling the Migration Team

  • Roles and Responsibilities: Assign clear roles, such as project manager, data specialist, developer, and content manager. Ensure each team member understands their responsibilities.
  • External Support: Consider hiring Shopify Plus experts or consultants for specialised tasks where in-house expertise is lacking.

Setting a Timeline and Milestones

  • Timeline: Develop a realistic timeline for the migration process. Account for auditing, data transfer, testing, and go-live phases.
  • Key Milestones: Break down the project into key milestones, like completing the audit, finalising the new site design, completing data migration, and launching the site. This helps in tracking progress and ensuring timely completion.

A well-structured pre-migration plan not only sets the foundation for a smooth transition but also aligns the migration process with your business goals.

Choosing the Right Migration Tools and Partners

Selecting appropriate migration tools and partners is a pivotal step in transitioning to Shopify Plus. This choice can significantly influence the efficiency, cost, and success of the migration process.

Overview of Popular Migration Tools

  • Shopify's Store Importer App: Directly provided by Shopify, this tool supports migrating product, customer, and order data from several platforms to Shopify.
  • Cart2Cart: A widely used tool that offers a seamless and automated way to transfer your store’s data to Shopify. It supports various platforms and allows for selective data migration.
  • LitExtension: This tool is known for its ability to migrate a vast array of data types and offers a user-friendly interface, making the migration process straightforward.
  • Excelify: Ideal for handling bulk imports, exports, and updates within Shopify, Excelify can be particularly useful for complex data manipulation tasks.

Each tool has its unique strengths, so it's crucial to assess your specific needs and choose the one that aligns best with your migration requirements.

Importance of Choosing Experienced Partners or Agencies

  • Expertise in Shopify Plus: Experienced partners have a deep understanding of Shopify Plus's capabilities and limitations, ensuring a smooth transition.
  • Custom Solutions: They can provide custom solutions for unique business needs, which might not be achievable through automated tools alone.
  • Troubleshooting and Support: Professional agencies offer ongoing support and can swiftly address any issues that arise during the migration process.

Evaluating Migration Partners

  • Testimonials and Reviews: Look for feedback from previous clients to gauge the quality of service and customer satisfaction.
  • Case Studies: Examine case studies to understand how the agency has handled similar migrations in the past. This can provide insights into their approach and effectiveness.
  • Expertise and Certifications: Check for certifications and expertise in eCommerce and Shopify Plus. This indicates a higher level of knowledge and skill.
  • Post-Migration Support: Ensure that the partner offers robust post-migration support to address any post-launch issues or further Customisation needs.

Choosing the right tools and partners is not just about the technical aspects of migration, it's also about finding a team that understands your vision and business objectives.

Data Migration

Data migration is a critical component of moving to Shopify Plus. It involves transferring essential data such as products, customer information, and order histories from your current platform to Shopify Plus. The process must be handled meticulously to ensure data integrity and minimise disruption to your business operations.

Cataloguing Essential Data

  • Products: Compile a comprehensive list of your products, including descriptions, images, prices, and SKU numbers. Consider categorisation and how these will translate in the new Shopify Plus environment.
  • Customers: Gather all customer data, such as contact details, account information, and purchase history. This step is crucial for maintaining relationships and ensuring a seamless transition for returning customers.
  • Orders: Document past and current orders, including order statuses and payment histories. This data is vital for customer service and ongoing order management.
  • Other Data: Don't forget to include additional information like blog posts, reviews, and any custom data fields unique to your business.

Ensuring Data Integrity and Backups

  • Data Integrity: Before migration, cleanse your data to remove any inaccuracies or duplications. This will improve the quality and performance of your new Shopify Plus store.
  • Backups: Create comprehensive backups of all data. In the unlikely event of data loss during migration, having a backup ensures you can restore your store's information quickly.

Mapping Data to Shopify Plus

  • Field Matching: Identify how each data field in your current platform correlates with fields in Shopify Plus. This includes matching product categories, customer details, and order information.
  • Data Transformation: Some data may require transformation to fit Shopify Plus's structure. For instance, you might need to reformat date fields or convert product categories.
  • Test Migration: Conduct a test migration with a subset of your data. This will help identify any issues in the mapping process and allow you to make necessary adjustments before the full migration.
  • Validation Post-Migration: After migrating, thoroughly check the data in Shopify Plus to ensure everything has transferred correctly and is functioning as expected.

Data migration is a delicate process that requires attention to detail and careful planning. By cataloguing essential data, ensuring its integrity, and meticulously mapping it to Shopify Plus, you lay a strong foundation for a successful platform transition.

SEO Considerations

Maintaining your search engine rankings during and after migrating to Shopify Plus is essential. A successful migration includes not only transferring content and data but also preserving the SEO equity you've built over time. Here’s how to address SEO considerations effectively:

Maintaining URL Structures or Setting Up Redirects

  • URL Consistency: If possible, maintain the same URL structures on Shopify Plus as your current platform. This consistency helps preserve your search engine rankings.
  • 301 Redirects: For URLs that must change, set up 301 redirects. This step is crucial for guiding search engines and users from the old URLs to the new ones, thereby retaining SEO value and ensuring a seamless user experience.

Ensuring Metadata, Alt Text, and Other SEO Elements are Transferred

  • Metadata: Ensure that all page titles, meta descriptions, and keywords are transferred accurately to the new platform. These elements are critical for maintaining search visibility.
  • Alt Text for Images: Transfer the alt text for all images. Alt text is not only important for SEO but also for accessibility.
  • Structured Data: If your old site used structured data (like schema markup), make sure it's correctly implemented on Shopify Plus to enhance search engine understanding and potential rich snippet appearances.

Monitoring Website Rankings During and After Migration

  • Pre-Migration Benchmarking: Record your current search rankings for key terms and overall site traffic. This data serves as a benchmark to measure the impact of migration.
  • Regular Monitoring Post-Migration: Monitor your rankings closely after migration. It’s normal to experience some fluctuations, but they should stabilise over time.
  • Analytics and Webmaster Tools: Utilise tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track traffic, user behaviour, and any crawl errors that might impact your SEO.
  • Addressing Issues Promptly: If you notice significant ranking drops or technical SEO issues, address them promptly. This may involve tweaking redirects, adjusting metadata, or resolving crawl errors.

By carefully managing these SEO aspects, you can help ensure that the migration to Shopify Plus does not negatively impact your website's visibility and ranking in search engines.

Design and User Experience

The migration to Shopify Plus offers an opportune moment to evaluate and potentially enhance your website's design and user experience (UX). Whether you choose to retain your existing design or opt for a fresh look, ensuring compatibility with Shopify Plus's theming system and a mobile-responsive design is crucial. Here's how to approach this:

Deciding on Design Continuity or Redesign

  • Existing Design: If your current design is effective and resonates with your audience, you can opt to retain it. Ensure that it integrates seamlessly with Shopify Plus's capabilities.
  • Redesign: A migration can be the perfect time for a redesign, especially if your current design is outdated or not performing well. This offers a chance to revamp your brand's online presence and improve user engagement.

Adapting to Shopify Plus's Theming System

  • Theme Selection: Shopify Plus provides a range of themes that can be customised to suit your brand. Choose a theme that aligns with your desired aesthetics and functionality.
  • Customisation: Utilise Shopify's Liquid templating language for more advanced Customisations. If you're not familiar with Liquid, consider hiring a Shopify expert.

Ensuring a Mobile-Responsive Design

  • Mobile-First Approach: With the increasing prevalence of mobile shopping, ensure your design is mobile-responsive. This means it should look and function well on devices of all sizes.
  • Testing on Multiple Devices: Test your design across various devices and browsers to ensure a consistent and smooth user experience.

User Experience Testing and Feedback Loops

  • User Testing: Conduct user testing to gather feedback on the usability and intuitiveness of your site. This can involve tasks like navigating the site, finding products, and completing a purchase.
  • Feedback Implementation: Use the feedback to make iterative improvements. Pay special attention to navigation, page loading times, and the checkout process.
  • Continuous Improvement: Post-launch, continue to gather user feedback and analytics data to refine and improve the user experience continually.

By focusing on design and UX, you ensure that your store not only looks appealing but also provides a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience, which is crucial for customer retention and conversion.

App and Integration Migration

Transitioning to Shopify Plus involves not only moving data and redesigning your store but also ensuring that your essential apps and third-party integrations are compatible with the new platform. This process is crucial for maintaining operational continuity and leveraging Shopify Plus's robust ecosystem.

Evaluating Current Extensions or Apps for Compatibility

  • Compatibility Check: Review each app and extension you currently use to determine if they are compatible with Shopify Plus. This includes functionality checks and performance assessments.
  • Prioritisation: Identify which apps are critical for your business operations. Prioritise these for early migration to ensure key functionalities remain uninterrupted.

Discovering Equivalent or Improved Apps in the Shopify Ecosystem

  • Shopify App Store Exploration: Browse the Shopify App Store to find equivalents to your current apps. Often, you'll find alternatives that are either similar or offer additional functionality.
  • Upgraded Features: Look for apps that not only replace but also enhance the capabilities of your existing tools. Shopify Plus often supports more advanced applications that can streamline operations and improve customer engagement.

Integrating Third-Party Systems

  • CRM and ERP Systems: Ensure that your customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems integrate seamlessly with Shopify Plus. This integration is vital for maintaining customer data and operational efficiency.
  • Email Marketing Tools: Check the compatibility of your email marketing tools with Shopify Plus. Integration here is key for effective customer communication and marketing campaigns.
  • Other Integrations: Don’t forget other integrations like payment gateways, shipping and fulfilment services, and analytics tools. Ensure these are compatible and integrated smoothly with your new Shopify Plus store.
  • API Use: Utilise Shopify's robust API for custom integrations if standard integrations are not available or if you require more tailored solutions.

The migration of apps and integrations to Shopify Plus should be a strategic process, ensuring that each tool enhances your eCommerce operations and contributes to a seamless customer experience.

Testing the New Setup

Before officially launching your new Shopify Plus store, thorough testing is essential. This process involves setting up a staging environment, conducting comprehensive tests for functionality and user experience, and refining based on feedback.

Setting Up a Staging Environment

  • Creating a Mirror Site: Set up a staging environment that mirrors your new Shopify Plus store. This is a safe space to test without impacting your live site.
  • Data and Functionality Replication: Ensure that this environment accurately replicates your store's data, functionalities, and integrations. This includes products, customer data, apps, and any custom features.

Comprehensive Functionality and User Experience Testing

  • Functionality Testing: Check every aspect of your store’s functionality. This includes product searches, navigation, cart addition, checkout processes, payment gateways, and post-purchase functionalities like order confirmations and email notifications.
  • User Experience Testing: Assess the overall user experience. Ensure that the site is intuitive, visually appealing, and aligns with your brand. Pay special attention to the mobile experience, as this is increasingly important for eCommerce.
  • Load Testing: Simulate high traffic to your store to ensure that the site remains stable and performs well under pressure. This is critical for assessing the scalability of your Shopify Plus setup.

Gathering Feedback and Making Necessary Adjustments

  • Internal Feedback: Have your team, especially those involved in customer service and order fulfilment, test the site. Their insights can be invaluable in identifying issues and areas for improvement.
  • External Testing Group: If possible, gather feedback from a group of external users. They can offer a fresh perspective and may identify issues that internal testers might overlook.
  • Iterative Adjustments: Use the feedback to make adjustments iteratively. This could involve tweaking design elements, refining navigation, or resolving any technical issues.
  • Documentation of Issues: Keep a detailed record of any issues and how they were resolved. This can be valuable for future reference and for understanding the impact of changes made.

Thorough testing in a controlled environment is key to ensuring a smooth transition to your new Shopify Plus store. It not only helps in ironing out any kinks but also provides assurance that your store will provide a positive user experience from day one.

Launch and Post-Migration

Successfully launching your new Shopify Plus store is a significant milestone. However, the work doesn't end there. Post-launch, it's vital to monitor performance, address any issues, and continuously optimise for better results. Here's a guide to managing this critical phase effectively.

Planning a Smooth Launch Strategy

  • Soft Launch: Consider a soft launch, where you initially open the store to a limited audience. This allows for real-world testing and helps identify any last-minute issues.
  • Communication Plan: Inform your customers about the change. This can include email notifications, social media announcements, and updates on your website.
  • Launch Timing: Choose a launch time that minimises disruption. Avoid peak shopping times or seasons where high traffic is expected.

Monitoring Website Performance and User Behaviour

  • Performance Metrics: Closely monitor website performance metrics like load times, downtime, and error rates. Shopify Plus provides tools to help with this monitoring.
  • User Behaviour Analysis: Use analytics tools to track how users interact with your new site. Pay attention to navigation patterns, conversion rates, and any points where users drop off.

Addressing Post-Launch Issues and Optimising for Performance

  • Issue Resolution: Be prepared to quickly address any technical issues. Having a dedicated team or support from your migration partner can be crucial here.
  • Performance Optimisation: Based on initial observations and data, start optimising your site. This could involve adjusting layouts, improving load times, or refining the checkout process.

Gathering Customer Feedback and Continuously Improving

  • Customer Feedback: Actively seek customer feedback through surveys, feedback forms, and direct communication. Understanding their experience and expectations is key to ongoing improvement.
  • Iterative Improvements: Use the feedback and data collected to make continuous improvements to your store. ECommerce is an ever-evolving field, and staying adaptable is crucial for success.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with new features and updates in the Shopify Plus ecosystem. Regularly updating and innovating your store ensures that you remain competitive and meet evolving customer needs.

Launching your Shopify Plus store is just the beginning. By monitoring, optimising, and continuously engaging with your customers, you can ensure that your store not only meets but exceeds expectations, driving growth and success in your eCommerce venture.


The journey of migrating to Shopify Plus, while intricate, is a pathway to substantial benefits for businesses seeking to scale and enhance their online presence. A successful transition to this platform not only boosts your eCommerce operations but also unlocks new possibilities for growth and customer interaction.

The key advantages of this migration include enhanced scalability to handle increased traffic, improved user experience through robust Customisation, and operational efficiency thanks to a plethora of integrations and tools. Furthermore, Shopify Plus provides top-tier data security and compliance, ensuring that both business and customer data are well-protected.

Staying updated with the evolving eCommerce landscape and leveraging the full potential of Shopify Plus are essential steps in maintaining a cutting-edge online store. Engaging with the Shopify community, continuously assessing your store's performance, and experimenting with new features are vital practices for ongoing improvement.

In essence, migrating to Shopify Plus is more than just a platform change, it's a strategic move towards a more efficient, secure, and competitive online business, setting the stage for sustained growth and customer satisfaction.


Ready to take the next step in your eCommerce journey?

Absolute Design, an award-winning Shopify partner based in Nottingham, is here to help. As a leading Shopify Plus agency, we have the expertise and experience to guide you through every step of your migration to Shopify Plus. Contact us today and let's transform your online store into a thriving digital success story.

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