How to Migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce: A Step-by-Step Guide

March 9, 2020

The Bolt Team

Ecommerce store migrating to a new platform

Learn every step of migrating your ecommerce store from Shopify to WooCommerce, so you can have it up and running in no time.

Migrating your ecommerce store – including products, customers, and orders – is a big task that requires precision. You don’t want to lose any data and you need to ensure that the transfer happens smoothly and accurately. The more you can migrate, the less you will need to reconstruct yourself.

We cover the entire Shopify to WooCommerce migration process to make sure you do it right. Continue reading to learn about each of the following topics:

Before we get into specific steps, we’ll cover the benefits of migrating from Shopify to WooCommerce and compare the two.

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Pros and cons of switching to WooCommerce: things to consider

According to BuiltWith, WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms currently being used by online retailers. An analysis of CMS market share found that WooCommerce is almost triple the size of Shopify. 

WooCommerce is an open-source software tool, which lets you have full control over your website and gives you the power to customize freely. This flexibility allows you to bring your vision to life without limitations. Anyone can access, copy, modify, and change source code as they wish. Create the exact store you want with deep customization options. In contrast, Shopify’s closed source tool ensures standardization through Shopify’s centralized control, but does not allow the same flexibility with creativity and personalization.

The base versions of WordPress and WooCommerce are both free to download and use. You will be in charge of your domain name, hosting your site, and enhancing your ecommerce website with features through the use of extensions. This allows you to get additional features while controlling costs to stay within your budget.

There are a number of pros and cons to using WooCommerce for your ecommerce platform:

WooCommerce Pros:

  • WooCommerce is open-source, and completely free to access
  • As an open-source tool, it is 100% customizable by accessing source code
  • Because of its design and formatting, WooCommerce offers great flexibility with the design, layout, and management of your ecommerce store
  • As a popular ecommerce platform, it has a large community that can be leveraged for customer support and innovative designs, use cases, and ideas

WooCommerce Cons: 

  • As an open-source tool, it does not have a dedicated customer support team
  • Requires some knowledge of two platforms (WordPress and WooCommerce) for efficient administration
  • Multiple plugins can hamper site performance and speed
  • Ongoing maintenance is the responsibility of the store owner

A comparison: the main differences between WooCommerce and Shopify

Quickly compare the main differences between the platforms below. If you’re looking to save money and have some experience with ecommerce sites and replatforming (or want to learn how to manage your site hands-on), WooCommerce is an ideal platform.

Table comparing the main features of Shopify and WooCommerce

Preparing to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce

WordPress and WooCommerce are both free, but that isn’t all that is involved in keeping your ecommerce site running. Since these are open-source, you will have to purchase the other things you need separately:

  • Domain name ($10 – $20 on average a year; depending on domain)
  • Domain hosting ($5 – $25 monthly; but can go much higher for more unique services)
  • Design themes ($40+ per theme; free templates sometimes available, but often require attribution)
  • Plugins / extensions (subscription based fees; some free plugins with limited services available)
  • Developer fees ($20 – $150 per hour depending on the quality of the developer and difficulty of the task)

When making choices for each of these, consider the big picture, what you can afford, and the real needs of your business. Scale as needed to add features, but don’t waste money on features that won’t help you advance your business early on. An open-source tool gives you control over your budget and the features you need, but a full-service tool will often include these, at a higher cost.

Install WooCommerce to WordPress

If you’ve already installed WooCommerce to your WordPress dashboard, you can skip ahead.

Before we cover the steps for migrating, let’s make sure you have WooCommerce installed properly. It’s simple and quick to do.

From your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to “Plugins” along the left column and click “Add New.”

Screenshot of Plugins button open and Add New highlighted

Click in the Search bar along the top right. Type “WooCommerce” and initiate a search.

Screenshot of Add Plugins screen with WooCommerce entered into search

Find the extension in the plugins marketplace, and click “Install Now” to download and install the WooCommerce plugin.

Screenshot of Add Plugins screen with WooCommerce app up and “Install Now” highlighted

The plugin may take some time to install. Once installed, click “Activate” to turn the plugin on.

Screenshot of WooCommerce plugin with Activate highlighte

Next, follow the configuration process you are presented with to complete setup. When done, you’ll be ready to migrate your Shopify data to your new WooCommerce store.

Choose a hosting plan

While WordPress and WooCommerce are free, you will need to pay for website hosting separately. There are a few main things to consider when trying to select a provider:

  • How many websites and pages will you be running from one server?
  • What level of security does the host provide and how much liability do they assume?
  • How much customer support is available when you will need it and what is the quality of service?
  • How much uptime does the server average?
  • Is the service scalable to match your traffic; can it handle any influxes?

Hosting costs can range drastically, from as low as $3.99 a month to over $5,000; it all depends on how much data is on your site, how much traffic you get, and how much flexibility you need at peak times. As a smaller business, you will be able to use a cheaper service, scaling up as your traffic grows. Most hosting services will also offer a free trial period so you can decide if you are satisfied with the service.

WooCommerce and WordPress recommend Bluehost, SiteGround, and Pressable for beginners, as these hosting services are easy to use and will meet basic performance needs. If you are looking to run a larger ecommerce store, you may want to work with a team with expertise in WooCommerce.

Below are some of the more commonly used hosting services so you can compare:

Host ProviderAbout / Features
SiteGroundGreat customer support
High-quality performance that meets traffic needs
Competitive pricing
Set up for WooCommerce out of the box
SSL Encryption available to keep site secure
PCI compliant servers
Easy to use and manage, for beginners and experts alike
BluehostOfficially recommended by WordPress
Affordable WooCommerce plans
Ready for installation and operation out of the box
SSL certificate keeps customers safe on your site
Dedicated IP address to manage your site from
Free online setup call to have you up and running seamlessly
DreamHostWordPress dedicated hosting with services designed specifically for WooCommerce
WooCommerce and Storefront pre-installed for out-of-the-box use
Performance that scales to handle traffic spikes and attempts at hacking
VaultPress automatically backs up information
SSL certificate secures site for customers
Liquid WebWooCommerce comes ready for installation out of the app; with the Storefront and Astra Pro theme
Comes optimized for mobile
Free SSL certificate to keep store data safe
Includes additional plugins, such as IconicWP and Beaver Builder page builder for enhanced capabilities
Experts available to help with store setup
Can get automated PCI compliance scans to ensure you meet standards
KinstaPowered by Google Cloud Platform, it is a premium hosting service
It’s cloud infrastructure is designed to handle ecommerce sites and deal with traffic surges
Designed to be optimized for speed, the tool is easy to use and transfers quickly
Multiple backup options to ensure data is stored safely in the event of data loss
Free SSL certificate to ensure customers have a safe experience
Full service, 24/7 support with automated uptime checks to ensure fast site speed
WP EnginePremium managed hosting designed to handle high traffic sites
SSL certificate included to ensure customers can shop safely
Integrated CDN so that it operates fast globally
Staging environment built-in that allows you to test store before publishing
Automatic backups keep data safe in the event of a loss
Genesis framework of tools included, offering enhanced features and design capabilities
PantheonPowered by Google Cloud Platform, it can handle high levels of site traffic
Faster performance with monitored uptime
Global CDN helps pages load fast
Dev, test, and live environments so you can test pages before they go live
Domain renewed and managed by Pantheon team

Design your site

In some cases, you are able to transfer much of the design from the old ecommerce site. By copying product variants, categories, and more, you can retain much of the formatting and organization you had on your Shopify site. 

This is also a great time to upgrade your site design, as you are already transitioning. If you plan to make changes soon, now may be a great time to change your design. As WooCommerce and WordPress are extremely popular, there are many themes and design templates available. Most of these can be easily downloaded, uploaded to your site, and customized to fit your brand and style using the WordPress Customizer.

Start by searching the WooCommerce Theme Store for themes that suit your design needs, as these themes will work seamlessly with WooCommerce. As an open-source tool, you aren’t limited to these themes, as many other templates are available and will operate well with your store. You can also search to find designs for your product type, industry, or features. If you really want to stand out, you may benefit from finding a less common theme.

How to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce

Making the decision to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce can be difficult, and the process itself is no less overwhelming. It’s important to transfer all of your data accurately, without losing product, customer, or order data along the way. You also want a simple, seamless process with limited steps. The more complicated it is, the more likely something can go wrong.

There are a few different ways to migrate Shopify to WooCommerce, and you will need to choose the right fit for your comfort and skill level. Below are the three ways you can migrate store data:

  1. Manually migrate store data
  2. Use a data migration app
  3. Hire a professional

1. Manually migrate store data

Manually export data from Shopify

You can manually migrate data from Shopify to your new WooCommerce store, including customers, orders, and products. Although it may seem a little time-consuming, manually migrating your website information is free and relatively straightforward. 

To do this, you will first need to export the CSV files for each (customers, orders, and products). You will then import these files into your WooCommerce store. 

From your Shopify admin, select “Products,” and then click “Export” above the product list.

Screenshot of Products page with Export button highlighted

The “Export products to CSV file” window will pop-up. Select “All products” under “Export” and “CSV for Excel, Numbers, or other spreadsheet programs” under “Export as.” Once you’ve chosen all options, click “Export products.”

Screenshot of Export products to CSV file popup with Export products button highlighted

The exported CSV file will be emailed to the email address registered to your account.

Repeat the process for customers and orders as well:

Screenshot of Customers page with Export button highlighted
Screenshot of Orders page with Export button highlighted

Manually import data to WooCommerce

From your WordPress dashboard, click on “WooCommerce” to access your WooCommerce store. Next, select the types of content you are importing. For this example, we will import products. Click “Products.”

PRO TIP: This process can be repeated for each type of content you are looking to import: products, orders, and customers. Be sure to select the appropriate section according to what you are importing.

Along the top, select “Import.” You can then use the built-in product CSV importer, which will make the importing process much easier and more accessible.

Screenshot of WooCommerce Products page with Import button highlighted

Click “Choose File,” which will prompt a file explorer window. Select the CSV file that you want to import (in this case, the product CSV file), and click “Continue” to proceed.

Screenshot of Import Products screen where you will be prompted to Choose File

Next, you will advance to the Column Mapping screen. WooCommerce will automatically match column names according to the Shopify CSV file you uploaded so your WooCommerce product fields are correct. We recommend double checking that these were pulled correctly, and potentially input some manually. You can manually adjust these columns by clicking the drop-down menus to the right of the rows.

Next, initiate the import process by clicking “Run the Importer.” This may take some time to process. Wait until this is completed and then repeat for the other data types you need to migrate.

Screenshot of Column Mapping screen with options available

Repeat the steps for orders and customers.

2. Use a data migration app

Rather than manually migrating products, customers, and orders, you can use an import application, which will make the process simpler and more accessible, especially for beginners. These apps can be downloaded and installed, and then automate and streamline much of the migration process for you.

WooCommerce recommends using the Cart2Cart extension, which breaks the migration process down into 3 easy steps. Preview the process with a free Demo Migration to see exactly how it will work. Your Shopify store can also remain operating while the migration happens so you don’t lose out on sales from down-time.

With the Cart2Cart plugin, you can easily transfer different types of Shopify data from your store:

  • Product information (names, descriptions, SKUs, prices, weights, and variants)
  • Product categories (names, descriptions, URLs)
  • Customer information (names, emails, addresses, etc.)
  • Order information (IDs, dates, statuses, quantities, discounts, and shipping details)
  • Coupon information (names, codes, discounts)
  • Blog post information (titles, descriptions, dates, URLs, content, and images)
  • Page information (titles, dates, URLs, and statuses)

Cart2Cart’s tool is also ideal for SEO, as you can use it to set up 301 redirects for your URLs. This will help you keep the domain authority you’ve built up and keep customers going to your most up-to-date pages. We have a step-by-step guide for migrating from Shopify to WooCommerce using the Cart2Cart app below, to give you an idea of migrating using an app.

3. Get a professional to migrate store data

If you aren’t confident in your technical abilities, you may want to rely on a professional to ensure your migration is done correctly and completely. If you have a developer, you can get them to do it for you, as most will be familiar or experienced enough to figure out the process.

As WooCommerce is an open-source platform, there is no customer service direct from WooCommerce. However, you can connect with WooExperts, who have all been hand-picked by WooCommerce because of their high-quality work and experience with WooCommerce. You can leverage these experts to get support as needed, as well as from the broader WooCommerce community. Filter the WooExperts page by country to help you find a professional that’s near you.

Migrating from Shopify to WooCommerce using Cart2Cart

To start, you will need to download the Cart2Cart app from WordPress. You can find it here.

From the Cart2Cart site, select the Source Cart to be “Shopify,” and select the Target Cart to be “WooCommerce.” 

Screenshot of Cart2Cart site with Source Cart set to Shopify and Target Cart set to WooCommerce

To advance, you will need an API password from your Shopify store. Navigate to “Apps” and then click “Manage private apps” along the bottom.

Screenshot of Shopify Apps page, with Manage private apps highlighted

Click the “Create a new private app” button.

Screenshot of Private apps page with Create a new private app button highlighted

Input the title of the app; we recommend labelling it Cart2Cart under “Private app name.” You can also input an “Emergency developer email” so that the developer is easily accessible in the event of a problem.

Next, change the permission status of all the available entities from “No Access” to “Read and write” (or “Read Access” if “Read and write” is unavailable). Check the box to “Allow this app to access your storefront data using the Storefront API.” When done, click “Save” to proceed.

Screenshot of Create private app page with available options highlighted

After saving these settings, Shopify will generate an API password for you. You can find these details under “Admin API,” where you will see your API key, Password, Example URL, and Shared Secret.

Screenshot of Apps page of where to find Admin API key

Copy the API password and paste it on the Cart2Cart interface. Then click to choose entities that you want to migrate under “Select entities for migration.” In this case, you will select all. When ready, click “Next” to advance.

Screenshot of migration process with all entities selected for migration

The migration will now be processed, which may take some time. Wait until the migration is complete.

Screenshot of migration in process, showing the step you are on, the completed steps, and the steps left in the process

Once the migration completes, you will get a summary of the results of the process. Here, you can check the list of migrated entities to ensure the transfer was completed correctly.

Screenshot of completed migration page with demo migration results

3 best tools to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce

There are a number of applications available that will facilitate the migration process for you. Using a replatforming app simplifies the migration process and ensures that you transfer all necessary data. Below is a list of the best tools to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce.

1. Cart2Cart

Screenshot of Cart2Cart header image

Cart2Cart is recommended by WooCommerce to manage your store switch from Shopify to WooCommerce because it makes the process extremely accessible and easy to follow. By breaking it down into simple, condensed steps, the process is accessible to beginners. It also automates much of the process to make it quick and convenient.

Cart2Cart will perform the migration while allowing the Shopify store to still run in the background. This means you won’t lose out on sales while performing the migration.

Best used for: Easy-to-use, automated migration

2. LitExtension

Screenshot of LitExtension page with Shopify to WooCommerce migration selected

WooCommerce is designed on WordPress and used primarily by beginners, so it’s designed to be intuitive and easy to learn. LitExtension makes the migration process extremely easy by walking you through each step. Transfer product, order, and customer data from Shopify or Shopify Plus and get access to dedicated support 24/7.

As an open-source product, you may not have reliable support when following manual instructions online; LitExtension experts can help guide you through the process if you are having difficulty.

Best used for: Reliable, secure data transfer for beginners

3. S2W – Import Shopify to WooCommerce

Screenshot of S2W Import Shopify to WooCommerce plugin page

As a WordPress plugin, S2W is extremely easy to download and install to your dashboard, facilitating the migration of your products, orders, and customers from Shopify to WooCommerce. You can transfer product variants so that inventory and pricing will be transferred as well. With images, categories, and more being transferred, you will save time having to sort and organize your data after transfer.

The pro version gets you access to more features, such as transfering shipping zones and methods, tax information, blog content, coupons, and more. While you can do this manually, using S2W will ensure that there is no loss and you retain all the organization you’ve done previously.

Best used for: Free version meets basic migration needs with unlimited product transfers; great for beginners

Now that you’ve completed the store migration process and are up and running on WooCommerce, you’re ready to start selling! Hopefully, this guide helped you migrate your store data safely, securely, quickly, and without loss. With a few final touches, you should be able to process customer orders.

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ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.