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It is common practice for businesses to migrate from one eCommerce platform to another. In most cases, migrations happen from other platforms to Shopify or Magento since the two are the most advanced eCommerce solution providers. 

Some businesses may also opt to migrate from Shopify to Magento or from Magento to Shopify for various reasons. Whatever reasons you have for wanting to migrate your store, here are 5 things to know before migrating to Shopify or Magento:

1. Core Target Audience

Both platforms were developed to serve different categories of end-users. Shopify was developed to serve small-scale businesses and business owners with limited eCommerce expertise. 

It is, therefore, user-friendly, with most of the themes and plug-ins working on a plug-and-play basis. However, as a SaaS, you use most of the solutions as they are, with limited chances of customizing them.

The majority of Shopify users are dropship startups, traditional small businesses, and aspiring entrepreneurs who are new to the eCommerce game. There are about 1 million small-scale eCommerce stores on Shopify.

You will also find about 5,300 Shopify Plus large-scale customers. These comprise of businesses that began small on Shopify, but even after growing, they still find that Shopify serves their eCommerce interests adequately.

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On the other hand, Magento's core target audience includes mid-sized businesses and major brands. These businesses may have migrated to Magento after realizing they needed a more robust platform with more options for customization.

Magento is a feature-rich open-source platform where customers take control of what they can develop for their clients. You can even develop mobile-friendly solutions to suit your business needs.

It works well with large-scale businesses that may need advanced solutions tailored to their unique eCommerce interests.

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2. Cost

The cost of migrating to and using Shopify or Magento depends on your business needs and how much you are willing to pay for advanced solutions. You can manage your costs by installing extensions gradually and choosing only the extensions that you need.

With Magento, you can choose the free Magento Community Edition and then pay for services like web development, hosting, themes, SEO, graphics, and maintenance. In this case, the cost will depend on the extensions you choose and your maintenance cost. Note that Magento does not have an in-house maintenance team. Whenever you experience a breakdown in your eCommerce store, you pay your developer to work on it.

Big brands opt for the Magento Enterprise Edition with an annual subscription fee of about $22,000. Such brands are ready to pay for the freedom to customize their stores and scale-up without limitations. 

Magento allows tailor-made extensions, and you can have as many as your business needs. You can develop your unique ones or use third-party extensions that cater to your eCommerce needs.

Shopify is a hosted platform. They are in charge of your hosting, and the hosting fees form part of the monthly subscription you pay.  You will get a Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced Shopify, or Shopify Plus payment plans depending on the size of your business.

While Shopify may seem cheaper than Magento, it has several hidden costs. In addition to your monthly subscription, you have to pay a monthly fee for some themes and Apps, which in the end translates to hefty amounts.

Shopify vs Magento Usage StatisticsWhichever platform you want to migrate to, remember to work with a reliable agent like Transcend Digital to ensure you do not lose any data. Your immigration agent will also help you deal with post-migration problems like extension incompatibility.

You have taken time to build your eCommerce site, and you would not want to compromise the safety of your data. You can save time and money if you go through your data to discard what you no longer need.


Dive deeper: How To Plan And Budget For an eCommerce Platform Migration


3. Limitations

Any eCommerce platform comes with some form of limitations. With Shopify, you are limited on the type of extensions you can use. As a SaaS solution, you do not have access to the codes, so you cannot tailor-make the extensions or themes.

Shopify makes an effort to rectify these limitations by introducing Apps for different solutions. The downside is that you have to pay monthly subscriptions to continue using the Apps, which translates to a high cost. 

Since they are in charge of site maintenance, you have to wait for their technicians to work on your store whenever it breaks down. You may have to wait for hours to have your site repaired, which can be inconvenient for large stores.

Magento has overcome these limitations by allowing users to develop or incorporate the extensions that work for their business models. They also allow users to hire developers to maintain and repair their sites whenever they experience a breakdown.

4. SEO

SEO is significant for your eCommerce site to rank on search engine result pages, generate leads, and increase your sales. Both Shopify and Magento support SEO. They have easy-to-implement SEO configurations and APPs that can improve your site's organic presence.  

However, Magento is ideal for advanced SEO optimization since it offers personalization options, including for your SEO configurations.

5. Time

Migrating your platform will disrupt your operations. Migrate when the traffic to the site lowest. Inform your stakeholders about your planned migration so that they can accept it and appreciate any changes it may cause.

Now you know what to consider when migrating to Shopify or Magento

The need to migrate from one eCommerce platform can be triggered by different reasons such as dissatisfaction with the current platform or the need to move to a more flexible platform. Most businesses migrate to Shopify or Magento from other platforms since these two are the biggest eCommerce platforms globally.

Before migrating to Shopify or Magento, consider the costs associated with each platform, limitations and, the core target audience for each of them. Besides, take into account how the platform allows you to optimize your site to rank on search engines, generate leads, and increase sales. Migrate when the site is not busy to minimize disruptions to your operations.

Contact Transcend Digital, and we will give you a free consultation on the best way to migrate your eCommerce store.

Vidya Chokkalingam

By Vidya Chokkalingam

Chief Technology Officer. Technology executive and product manager focused on consumer-facing & B2B web companies, big data plays, cloud-based platforms in U.S. and international markets.

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