With Magento 1’s ‘End of Life’ now on the horizon, there’s never been a more important time to evaluate what you really want and need from your ecommerce platform.
Despite the uncertainty you may be currently feeling, this state of flux in the ecommerce world can actually be taken as the perfect opportunity to find a more reliable, scalable and better-fitting solution for your business.
To unlock your store’s full ecommerce potential, ask yourself “What are my business’ core needs and requirements?”, “How can I reduce my operating costs?” and “Which platform can I rely on to help me optimise the speed, functionality and design of my online store?”.
Enter Shopify Plus
At Swanky, we champion Shopify Plus as the most cost-effective, easy-to-use, scalable and reliable ecommerce platform on the planet.
And in 2020, this driving force behind thousands of Aussie businesses’ online success is demonstrating its value – both locally and internationally – like never before.
Take JB Hi-Fi, for example. They’re currently the biggest retailer on Shopify Plus and the seventh biggest retailer in Australia, with their total annual revenue currently exceeding $7 billion. After switching to Shopify Plus, JB Hi-Fi’s online sales in Australia alone increased by more than 18% in the second half of 2019!
Today, I’ll be exploring all things replatforming; from why you should consider an ecommerce migration and what the migration process entails, to the incredible results so many Aussie businesses have seen since moving to Shopify Plus.
Why do Swanky Australia champion Shopify Plus?
As certified Shopify Plus Experts, Swanky are proud to recommend the platform as the best ecommerce solution on the market for high performance without the price tag.
Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons we love Shopify Plus – and how it compares to Magento in six of the areas that matter most. Along the way, we’ll be adding some expert insights from our Toowoomba-based team – as well as a few of Shopify Plus’ valued Aussie merchants.
#1 Shopify Plus is reliable
As any Aussie merchant using Shopify will testify, one of the most prized characteristics of the platform is it’s unmatched reliability. Shopify’s 99.98% uptime rate – which comes as a result of the platform’s unlimited bandwidth and global network of servers – means your site won’t fail you even during your biggest, busiest trading days.
On the other hand, self-hosted platforms like Magento often can’t handle huge spikes in traffic – and have been known to crack under the pressure of a flash sale, campaign or product launch.
“Ecommerce has grown into a strength, and Shopify Plus is that platform and that safety net. I never have that feeling of, ‘Is it gonna work?’ Even in our million-dollar sales days, it still powers through and can bring it home.”
Simon Beard, Co-Founder of Culture Kings (Australian luxury streetwear store)
#2 Shopify Plus is scalable
Shopify’s reliability won’t just keep your customers happy. It’ll have you beaming too – as enterprises running their sites on Shopify are growing 126% year-over-year on average.
This success is largely due to Shopify’s innate capacity for accelerated growth, which has led hundreds of widely loved Australian brands (such as Frank Body, Koala and Budgy Smuggler) to trust the platform with their ever-growing enterprises.
Instead of worrying about how your Magento store will cope with an influx of eager customers, hosting your site on Shopify Plus allows you to simply enjoy watching your store scale as your traffic continues to grow.
“As a UX Designer, I love creating stylish, trendy and sophisticated websites, and honestly, for that, Magento can be great. But since focusing on conversion rate optimisation, what I’ve quickly recognised is that often pretty doesn’t beat functional, and finding the balance of the two is what really helps businesses scale.
The fact that 90% of Swanky’s new stores on Shopify and Shopify Plus are seeing an increase in conversion rate straight ‘out of the box’ highlights to me that scalability and elegant simplicity are more important than overly complex functions – no matter how trendy they might be!“
Jess Paroz, UX Designer at Swanky Australia
#3 Shopify Plus makes automating business processes simple
Another benefit of choosing Shopify Plus over Magento is that you can automate many of your everyday tasks within the platform; minimising the time you have to spend programming and managing the back-end of your store.
For example, Shopify Flow allows Shopify Plus merchants to automate almost any routine business management process you can think of, while Shopify Plus’ exclusive Launchpad feature will allow you to automatically schedule and monitor sales, releases and content changes on your store.
An example of a Shopify Plus flow. Image Source: Shopify.com
“As a Digital Project Administrator, I spend a lot of time helping clients define and improve their information architecture. In doing this, I’ve been able to really leverage Shopify Plus’ incredible automation suite; Shopify Flow.
Shopify Flow allows us to automate product tagging; adding products to the correct collection page as soon as they’re created. We can then apply filters to these category pages based on variant titles for size, colour, style and so on. For large inventory businesses or release based brands regularly dropping products, this level of automation saves hundreds – if not thousands – of hours of labour each year.”
Paul Davis, Digital Project Administrator at Swanky Australia
#4 Shopify Plus is cloud-based
Shopify has been a fully-hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) product since it burst onto the market 14 years ago. Unlike Magento, Shopify’s infrastructure was always designed to be cloud-based, which means merchants using Shopify Plus benefit consistently from 99.98% website uptime, speedier page loads, 24/7 priority support, up-to-date security patches and continual platform updates.
Essentially, it’s Shopify’s job to keep your store online, safe, transacting and improving – all for a consistent monthly fee (its SaaS configuration means that all hosting costs are included within your monthly plan without traffic volume fees).
Whilst Magento Commerce Cloud (part of Magento 2’s offering) is a fully-hosted solution, some Magento merchants are responsible for their own hosting, security patches, website development and store customisation (which comes with a host of extra price tags). On a self-hosted platform, hosting fees increase with the more products and visitors you acquire – something to keep in mind if you have ambitious growth plans! Hosting packages also affect the speed of your site, which could be a problem during busy trading periods.
“What I love about Shopify is the ability to quickly and easily create customisable themes that anyone can go in and change without worrying about breaking anything. Shopify can be less flexible in some regards but this creates a typically more stable and maintainable website.
Not having to worry about keeping Shopify stores online and transacting, we have more time to work on what matters most for our clients – optimising the customer experience through data-led A/B testing to ultimately boost RPU (revenue per user).”
Andrew Newman, Lead Developer at Swanky Australia
#5 Shopify Plus is speedy
As Shopify Plus has a cloud-based infrastructure, its storefront has been shown to load 2.97 times faster than other leading ecommerce solutions. Shopify also boasts an ultra-fast page response time of 80 milliseconds on average.
It’s worth noting that a Magento store could theoretically load more quickly than a Shopify site – if you’re willing to invest a large amount of resources into the project – but with Shopify you’re leaning on a naturally speedy infrastructure, while with Magento you have to optimise and pay extra to get there.
“Most companies would kill for our velocity. The speed with which the development team at Koala is able to deliver solutions, from ideation to production, is triple what I’ve seen anywhere else.”
Richard Bremner, Head of Technology at Koala (Australian luxury bedding store)
#6 Shopify Plus is affordable
What makes Shopify so much more affordable for enterprise-sized businesses than other ecommerce platforms like Magento is the large number of functions and features included within the flat monthly price.
With Shopify, all of your basic development, security and business management tasks will be automatically taken care of – at no extra cost to you. However, with self-hosted solutions like Magento, you could easily find yourself battling a whole host of unforeseen bills that aren’t covered by the platform’s original price tag.
“With Magento, our ongoing management and maintenance costs were out of control yet our store simply was not performing. Since switching to Shopify Plus, I can honestly say my team and I are now sleeping better at night. Our inventory, POS and online store are all syncing and life is good again!”
Sean Venturi, Director of Venroy (Australian leisurewear brand)
Magento to Shopify Plus Aussie success stories
Australia is currently one of Shopify’s fastest-growing markets, with thousands of Aussie businesses choosing to migrate to the platform each year.
Here are just three of the Aussie brands that have been scaling rapidly since choosing to trust their Shopify Plus with their online stores:
Beard & Blade are now a multimillion dollar company with a global footprint – and they have Shopify Plus to thank for it.
“Switching to Shopify Plus has been remarkable. We’ve been doing record sales since switching. This was unthinkable when we were on Magento.”
Adriano Salemme, Marketing Chief at Beard & Blade
For years, luxury Australian streetwear brand Culture Kings have been rapidly gaining popularity with music, sport and fashion lovers alike.
However, since switching from Magento to Shopify Plus, Culture Kings have grown their empire significantly; upping their year-over-year growth by 40-60% each year since replatforming and opening four global storefronts which offer three different international currencies.
“Shopify Plus — what it really did is allow us to focus more on our art side, rather than being so bogged down in the science side, which was not our forte. It really enabled us to scale, knowing that we had this platform that delivered, that can grow with us.”
Simon Beard, Co-Founder of Culture Kings
Combining low-key beachiness with high-quality linen fabrics, Venroy are a Sydney-based leisurewear label that have recently taken Australia by storm.
Although they originally launched on Magento’s Enterprise platform, Venroy are now committed to Shopify Plus – and they haven’t looked back since.
What does an ecommerce migration look like?
Once you’re feeling confident that Shopify Plus is the right platform for your business, it’s time to start getting familiar with what a replatforming project actually involves.
To help you figure things out, we’ve put together a migration ebook talking you through the ins and outs of every stage of an ecommerce migration. It’s called ‘From Magento to Millions: Everything You Need to Know About Migrating to Shopify Plus’ – and we’d thoroughly recommend it to any business looking to make an informed decision about moving their store to Shopify.
For now, let’s summarise what the six key stages of an ecommerce migration should look like, from a Shopify Expert’s point of view:
Stage 1 – Data review:
Our aim at this stage is to learn more about your brand and identify both the strengths and the limitations of your current implementation. After verifying the scope of your migration, we’ll begin reviewing all of your data that is to be migrated. We’ll define your number of source records, test your source system’s data sets and queries and identify supplementary resources.
Stage 2 – Consultation:
With your business’ specific needs and goals in mind, we’ll then conduct a website tool review to discuss with you which website features you want to keep hold of. We’ll also discuss whether or not you would like your new store to be a duplicate of your current website or a fresh new design, and help you explore opportunities for new functionality to drive further growth.
Stage 3 – Design:
When crafting new Shopify Plus stores, our team of digital experts believe in design which is beautiful yet functional, working to drive conversions and provide a user-friendly experience for your customers.
Stage 4 – Development:
We’ll then categorise all tasks into a roadmap. We can then use this roadmap to create, code and modify a seamless new Shopify website, onto which we’ll safely transfer all of the data from your original store.
Stage 5 – Migration:
Secure data migration:
We’ll transfer your business’ customers, orders, products, reviews, loyalty points, shipping rates, taxes and any other specified data across to your new website. .
We’ll maintain your brand’s search rankings throughout the transition by analysing your existing content and ensuring that the elements of it that are important for your search rankings are transferred.
Stage 6 – Testing & launch:
Both before and after your website launch, we’ll review and test crucial components of your store’s performance – such as your site speed, digital architecture and your user journey. This is primarily to ensure that we have provided the highest quality product – and have optimised your website to engage customers and ultimately drive sales.
You’ll find much more detail about the process in our ebook, but ultimately, if you’re interested in migrating to Shopify, we’d recommend starting by defining your business’ ecommerce goals, outlining your platform requirements, researching different ecommerce solutions and then talking to agencies who have experience working with businesses just like you.
Whatever you decide to do, we’d recommend beginning the migration process as soon as possible, as projects like this take time and it’s important to get them right.
Starting today, take the time to consider switching to a stronger, more scalable, more secure platform like Shopify Plus. We thoroughly believe that the only time you’ll look back is to appreciate how far you’ve come.
Contact our Shopify experts in Australia
If you’re an Australian business looking for help with your store migration, our team at Swanky Australia would love to hear from you!
We’re passionate about helping ambitious, high-growth brands unlock their potential and achieve their ecommerce dreams. Just check out some of our Aussie replatforming success stories to see some of the amazing results we’ve generated for our clients!
Please get in touch with one of our friendly ecommerce experts at Swanky if you’re interested in finding out more.