Migrating to Shopify from Magento: The Results of our $50,000 Redesign

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Last December I announced we were migrating our eCommerce store, Right Channel Radios, from the Magento shopping cart to Shopify.  Not only were we migrating platforms, but we were also pouring $50,000 into a complete overhaul of the brand and the website design.

After close to half a year’s worth of work, we launched the new website in late January.  The results are officially in and I’ll be sharing them in today’s post.  I’ll also be sharing loads of before-and-after pictures, as well as some of my thoughts on Shopify vs. Magento.

Hope you enjoy this sneak-peek into our redesign and migration process.

Disclosure:  After making the decision to migrate to Shopify, I approached them about sponsoring the podcast which they’ve done since the beginning of November.  I’ve also worked with them on numerous projects in the past. 

Doubling Down on Brand

To survive in eCommerce, I believe having a strong brand will be absolutely crucial in the coming years. That could mean having a lot of name recognition as a reseller, or creating a proprietary product. Because I think it’s becoming increasingly important, strengthening our branding image was an integral component of our redesign.

On the branding front, we started with design.  Listed below is a picture of our old homepage.  While it’s not terrible, it certainly isn’t going to win any design awards, is a bit dated and uses a very odd color scheme.

 

The Old Homepage

Old-Homepagen

 

In our new site design, we wanted a much more modern and contemporary feel. Instead of the Halloween feeling orange and black colors, we wanted something that better matched our core demographic and niche:  35-60 year-old men who enjoy the outdoors.  This meant darker, more masculine colors and a site feel that hinted at dusty roads, old guns, cigars and glasses of good whiskey.

 

The New Homepage Design

New-Homepageg

 

Narrowing Our Niche Focus

As part of strengthening our brand message, we also decided to better focus in on our core customer.  Traditionally, we’ve sold radio equipment to anyone with a vehicle.  But we realized that our primary expertise lay in helping customers with heavy-duty vehicle radio needs – owners of pickup trucks, construction equipment, 4x4s, etc.

We worked that new focus into all aspects of the redesign, including our product copy, the tech documents and even our logo.

Our old logo was a generic radio tower that worked well for a generalist radio shop.  But our new logo is vehicle specific, and particularly representative of our new truck/4×4/heavy-duty focus. You can see a comparison of the old and new logos below.

Logo-Comparison

Making Our Company Human

With the new site, we wanted to humanize our company to let people know they were working with real people, not eCommerce robots hiding behind the internet.  So we invested a lot of time into creating a new “About Us” video.

We had an “About Us” video from our old site, but it wasn’t terribly impressive.  It was fairly low budget and consisted of myself and Pat (our sales manager) talking to the camera in casual lumberjack flannel attire.

We did some user testing prior to the redesign, and one user specifically commented on how strange it was that our “About Us” video thumbnail had a picture of two random guys (ie, us!).  To quote him:  “Who are these random dudes?  I’m not really interested in them.  What I’m interested in is getting a CB and getting out to enjoy the trails.  You should show that.”

So we did.  We hired our friend Clay, a gifted videographer and the man behind the impressive off-roading series Expedition Overland, to shoot a new-and-improved “About Us” video.  Our goals were to create a video that spoke specifically to our new customer focus (heavy-duty, truck and off-road drivers), was short, employed impressive visuals, built rapport and conveyed brand confidence.

We also scrapped the video thumbnail of us in flannels for something a bit more clickable:  a rugged 4×4 working its way through the mud.

The New “About Us” Video

Spicing Up Our Copy

Stores that make the shopping experience fun, surprising and entertaining will be huge winners in the coming years.  Companies like Man Crates and Dollar Shave Club have had great success with this approach, and it’s a concept I wanted to incorporate into our strategy for strengthening our brand.

Stores that make the shopping experience fun, surprising and entertaining will be huge winners”

We decided to get bold and make our copy edgy, cheeky and fun to read.  Consider our order confirmation email.  Traditionally it had been very boring and standard, along the lines of  “Thank you for your order.  We appreciate your business.”

Nothing exciting there, which is a shame as confirmation emails are among the most highly opened emails.  So we took a cue from Derek Sivers at CD Baby and changed the copy on our order confirmation emails to the following:

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New Order Confirmation Copy

All was quiet today until the Right Channel warehouse intercom crackled to life:

“Listen up, people! We’ve got a new order for Mike from St. Louis…….”

….but no one could hear the rest of the announcement over the thunderous roar of applause. Champagne bottles were popped. Tears of joy were shed. “Don’t Stop Believing” rang from every speaker. Even Alan our peak packer smiled—and Alan never smiles.

Simply put, your order caused pandemonium and everyone is thrilled you’re now a customer. Thank you!

Once we clean up our celebration mess, we’ll be working to get your order packaged, shipped and on it’s way to you ASAP. If you have any questions or problems, you can reply to this email or contact us by clicking here. We’ll follow up with with tracking information as soon as your package ships so you’ll know exactly when to expect delivery.

————————————

After just a month, we’ve already had numerous people comment on how much they love this copy.  We carried this tone throughout all the copy on our site, and invested a lot of time in writing new, fun copy for our top 100 or so products.  Here’s an example:

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Some Cheeky Product Copy

If you’ve got a “Big Mama” on your vehicle (that’s trucker slang for a big antenna and, coincidentally, our nickname for Mike’s girlfriend), then you know how important it is to keep it protected under any circumstance. This Heavy-Duty CB Antenna Spring will keep the base of your antenna flexible, with just enough give so the road doesn’t take. 

————————————

Definitely not your run-of-the-mill copy.  And apologies in advance to any Mikes who happen to be reading.  Perhaps we should have used a more obscure name?

We also made the decision to stereotype our customers a bit, and wrote exclusively with a male audience in mind.  For example, we have gender specific copy that refers to “your wife” and other male perspective references scattered through the copy.  Will we offend some readers who are women?  We might.  But we’ll also connect more deeply with the 90%+ of our visitors and customers who are male.

Mobile

If I had to pick the #1 reason we embarked on our redesign, it’d be mobile.  Our mobile traffic has exploded over the last few years with phone and tablet traffic representing 44% and 12% of our traffic respectively.

Unfortunately, our site and mobile conversion rates hadn’t kept up. While it made up the lions share of our visitors, our conversion rate on mobile was 80% lower than desktop. That’s downright abysmal.  Over the last 18 months, the trend of increasing mobile traffic and a miserable mobile conversion rate weighed heavily on the overall business.  So it was a huge priority in the redesign. We ended up going with a responsive design to keep a single code base and make long-term maintenance easier.

….our conversion rate on mobile was 80% lower than desktop. That’s downright abysmal.”

Carson’s team at ShopifyCustom.com spent a lot of time tweaking the responsive design to maximize its usability.  For example, on the mobile version of the site we show a PayPal button at the very top of the cart page.  We don’t do this on desktop, but realize that PayPal makes mobile checkout much easier – so it’s something we prioritize showing to mobile users.

You can get a sense of the difference from old to new mobile experiences in the picture below.  The old mobile experience was just a rendering of our desktop site on a small screen, which was terrible from a usability perspective.   The new version is much larger and better optimized for less screen real estate:

Mobile-Comparison

Improving the Mobile Checkout

The checkout we had been using was the stock Magento checkout flow.  While it wasn’t terrible, it was by no means great.  The biggest problem was a confusing screen that all customers faced about logging in, continuing as a guest or creating an account.

Sometimes it took me a few seconds to figure out what the obvious next step was, and it was my store!  I know it was often confusing for customers.  You can see what it looked like below:

 

The Old Checkout Page

Old-Checkout

About half way through our redesign, Shopify rolled out their new responsive checkout.  Apart from being mobile optimized, it solved a lot of the pain points I had with our Magento flow.  A few of the things I specifically appreciated about it:

  • It asks for an email address as field #1 to increase the number of people you can send abandon cart emails to
  • It doesn’t ask customers to create an account until AFTER they complete their purchase
  • It boasts a very clean and straightforward one page checkout that pre-fills in the city and state based on IP address

Very cool stuff.  You can see what the desktop version of the checkout looks like below.

 

The New Checkout Page

New-Checkoutf

 

The desktop checkout improvements are great, but where I think it had the most impact was on mobile.

Entering personal and payment details is one of the biggest reasons why mobile conversion rates are usually much lower than desktop.  It’s a pain to enter all of that information via a small keyboard.  Combine that with our legacy clunky, non-mobile optimized checkout and you’ve compounded the problem.

The new responsive checkout solved both of those problems, and has made mobile checkout much simpler.  You can see the difference below:

Mobile-Checkout-Comparison

The Impact on Mobile Conversion

I’ll wait to share the final redesign results until the end, but I can’t resist sharing a teaser.  The changes above were responsible for mobile conversions increasing by a whopping 110%.  That’s more than a doubling of the sales from people shopping on their phones.  Tablet conversion saw a boost as well, although not as large, coming in at a 24% increase.

Doubling the conversion rate for our largest traffic source?  I was pretty excited about that.

Usability Improvements

As I wrote in my post on preparing for a redesign, we did a lot of user testing prior to the design phase.  Specifically, we were trying to discover where customers were having problems and pro-actively address those in the new site.  Here are a few of the changes we implemented based on that research.

Vehicle Recommendation Wizard

One of the biggest pieces of feedback we received was that users wanted a place to enter their vehicle information and get customized recommendations.  This is a pretty common thing in the automative parts industry, but something we’d surprisingly never thought of.  So it become a primary part of the redesign.

Leveraging Carson’s team’s expertise and Shopify’s customizable framework, we created a recommendation wizard and placed it front-and-center on the homepage, as you can see below.  Now it’s easy for customers to get customized recommendations for their specific make and model vehicle, something we traditionally had been doing manually via phone and email:

The Vehicle Wizard Page

Wizard-Homex

Wizard Results Page

Wizard-Resultsy

 

Category Pages

Our old category and product pages had a lot of information, but were hard to digest without reading paragraphs of tiny text. Definitely not the best approach for helping busy, impatient visitors quickly find what they’re looking for.

Our old category and product pages had a lot of information, but were hard to digest…”

So we redesigned both with an emphasis on simplicity & the ability to easily scan them. Our new category pages replaced paragraphs of descriptive product text with a single sentence highlighting the top strength of each product.  We switched to a grid format to show more products on each page.  And we added “Best Seller” badges to help point shoppers to the most popular products.

You can see the difference between the old and new pages below:

 

Old Category Pages

Old-Category-Pagel

New Category Pages

New-Category-Pagee

Product Pages

We followed a similar approach with our product pages in terms of making them simpler and easier to digest.  Pictured below is one of our old product pages, filled with information but not what I’d call digestable.

 

Old Product Page

Old-Product-Pageq

To make the new product pages cleaner and easier to scan, we did the following:

  • Put 1-3 bullets at the top of the page to quickly convey each product’s key selling points
  • Increased the text size for easier, no-squint reading
  • Placed videos front-and-center in the image placeholder box by default.  (Are replaced by images when thumbnails are clicked.)
  • Increased the size and prominence of the “Add to Cart” button
  • Added buying considerations (free shipping, technical help, etc) as checkmarks next to the “Add to Cart” button
  • Wrote story based, emotionally driven & cheeky copy and placed it above the nitty-gritty tech details.  The drier product specs are listed further down the page for people who really want to dive into them.

You can see our incorporation of all these concepts below in the new version of the product page:

 

New Product Page

New-Product-Pagej

A “Smart” Geo Detecting Shipping Calculator

One of the things I’m proudest of is the shipping calculator Carson’s team built for the new site. If you’re a store owner, you’re almost certainly aware that uncertainty around shipping costs is one of the largest reasons people abandon carts.  So having a shipping cost calculator is important.

But most calculators have two flaws:  1)  they make the customer manually enter their location and 2) they don’t sufficiently answer the question of when a package will arrive.

Most shipping calculators have two flaws:  1)  they make customers manually enter their location and 2) they don’t specify a delivery date”

We wanted a shipping calculator that solved both those issues. Our new shipping calculator uses your IP address to figure out where you are geographically, and automatically displays the shipping options to your location without any manual user input.

It also gives a concrete date to expect delivery by.  So instead of offering 1 to 5 day shipping (as we had previously been doing), customers can order confident in the knowledge that they’ll “Get it by March 15th”, making it easier to pull the trigger on time sensitive purchases. This is something Amazon does really well, and is actually the inspiration for our calculator.

You can see the calculator in action below:

 

Our Geo-Locating Shipping Calculator

Shipping-Calculators

“Help Me Choose” Buttons for Product Options

Another friction point with users was indecision and apprehension when it came time to pick options for a product or package.

A visitor would be ready to add something to their cart, but then realize they had to make one or a series of decisions in terms of selecting product options. We had all of the information detailing how to decide between different product options further down on the page, but customers rarely went looking for it.  Instead, they usually froze up and abandoned the purchase process.

No bueno.

To address this problem, we created a “Help Me Choose” icon and placed it right above product drop down options.  When clicked, it brings up a lightbox that contains information specifically to help the customer picking the right product options so they don’t need to go digging further down the page.

 

Pro-Actively Helping Customers Configure Products

Help-Me-Choosea

 

Switching to Shopify from Magento

Shopify-logoAs I mentioned in my original post about the redesign, we’ve been on Magento Community Edition for 3+ years and over that period I’ve realized it’s not the best fit for our eCommerce company.

It’s hard to administer, so you either need to know your way around a server or hire someone who does.  It’s difficult to customize, and ever more frustrating to upgrade. And it’s a massive resource hog.

Ultimately, I got tired of having to play system admin when all I wanted was a stable shopping cart that worked well, was easy to customize, and would automatically stay up to date.

Enter Shopify.  I’ve always been impressed with their platform, but now more than a month using it to run our store I can definitely say it was an excellent move.   Here are just a few of the things I’m loving:

No More Tech Worries

To get up-to-speed with Magento, I literally spent the better part of a month teaching myself UNIX and learning about the template structure.  Even then, I still never got fully comfortable and issues would pop up every 3-4 months where I’d need to spend hours researching and implementing a fix.

No more.  Since it’s a hosted solution, Shopify manages all of the server, upgrade and code maintenance issues.   I can’t wait to cancel my old, expensive Rackspace account where we hosted Magento and wash my hands completely of server and security maintenance.

Hosted, But Extremely Customizable

The biggest argument against using a hosted cart solution like Shopify is control.  With any type of hosted solution, you don’t have access to the underlying code and aren’t able to fully customize it to your needs.   And this is true:  with Shopify you don’t have true 100% control.

But I’ve yet to run into any real roadblocks in terms of things we couldn’t customize on Shopify with their impressive template engine and API.  Our geo-locating shipping calculator and custom vehicle recommendation wizard – both fairly complex features –  were both implemented within their hosted environment.  Pretty impressive.

Ease of Extensibility

On Magento, I was terrified to let anyone but myself install extensions.  Occasionally there’d be an extension incompatibility that wouldn’t work properly or bring down the site – so I didn’t trust anyone but myself to do it.  This made it harder for me to delegate and for my team to pro-actively run with implementing new features and functionality.

With Shopify, adding extensions is incredibly easy.  A couple of clicks and you’re done, and I haven’t run into any incompatibility or stability issues.

Simple & Intuitive Interface

While not terrible, the Magento admin interface is not what I’d consider intuitive.   Issuing a customer refund, for example, would require clicking through 2-3 screens to find a related billing invoice and using THAT to issue the refund.  Comparing Shopify vs. Magento, you simply click “Refund” right on the order page.

It’s been so intuitive that our team was able to hit the ground running on day one with almost no training.  With Magento, we literally had half a dozen SOPs related to how to cancel/edit/refund orders because the process could be murky.  Not an issue with Shopify.

And a Number of Other Things

There are a number of other things I appreciate as well.  Support has been solid, server response time is good, enhanced eCommerce analytics support for Google Analytics in built-in and Shopify Payments integration is really nice from a fraud detection perspective.

While I’m sure we’ll run into some minor quirks at some point (as with any platform), I’ve been really happy so far with Shopify and definitely have no regrets making the move from Magento.

The Results

Enough talk already!  What did all these sweeping changes do to our bottom line?

To calculate the results, I compared the conversion rate on our old site in January to the figures for our new site in February.  To ensure no seasonal bias, I compared the difference in conversion rates between Jan and Feb conversion rates in 2014 and adjusted accordingly.  Here are the results:

    • Change in Overall Site Conversion:  Improved by 41%
    • Improvements by Device:
        • Mobile Conversion:  Improved by 110%
        • Desktop Conversion:  Improved by 25%
        • Tablet Conversion:  Improved by 24%

While we didn’t quite hit my aggressive goal of a 50% conversion increase, it’s hard to be disappointed with a 41% conversion lift across the board.  I’m also optimistic that many of the long term brand investments we made will pay off over time to move us closer to – or even above – that 50% improvement.

One caveat to these numbers:  Traditionally, orders via phone haven’t been a meaningful part of our sales and we traditionally haven’t publicly posted a phone number.  For the first month post-launch, we did make our number more visible to ensure we could quickly find out about any site problems or usability issues.

Based on our analytics, about 4.5% of our orders came in via phone and I’d guess about half of those – roughly 2% – might not have been placed without our phone as prominently displayed.  So not an enormous number, but worth mentioning in the sake of full transparency.

Hiccups and Problems

I was thrilled with the overall results, but like any project of this size there were plenty of hiccups along the way.  Here are a few of the issues and/or problems we’ve run into:

Decrease in Avg. Order Size

Our average order size decreased approximately 4% with the new site.  This was especially surprising given that the “Add to Cart” flow we created emphasized related products, which we thought would increase the overall order size.

Our average order size is often highly skewed with large orders than can come in once or twice per month (or not at all), so hopefully this is just an off-month and not a long term trend.  We’ll be keeping an eye on it, as well as potentially split testing our “Add to Cart” flow in the future to see if we can turn this around.

Massive Drop in Pageviews per Visitor

Average pageviews per visitor plummeted by a shocking 45% with the rollout of the new site, and I can’t definitely say why.

Average pageviews per visitor plummeted by a shocking 45% and I can’t definitely say why.”

One potential theory:  our old Magento site fired up a new window/page whenever people tried to view an image while our Shopify store doesn’t do that.  This could perhaps explain the difference.

A decrease in pageviews isn’t always bad if you’re simply helping customers find products faster and more efficiently. But it still a slightly troubling shift, and one I’ll be diving more into.

Botched Order History Migrations

I’ve always used the service Cart-2-Cart for migrating customers and order histories without incident.  But sadly, this migration didn’t go quite as smoothly.

Our customer order records were transferred properly from Magento to Shopify except for the order date.  Instead of showing the actual order date, what was recorded was the date the order was imported to Shopify.  So all our past orders now appear as occurring on the 9th of January, 2015.  Not good.

Along the same lines, Cart-2-Cart didn’t transfer data related to whether a customer from Magento had an account or simply checked out as a guest.  Instead, all customers were imported as having no account so we had no idea who to create accounts for and who didn’t historically have one.

Fortunately, Shopify deals with orders, customers and accounts in a very forward thinking manner by linking everything to an email address.  So we were able to create workarounds to allow customers to create a new account and auto-import their old order history.  But between the botched order dates and run-around for account creation, I wasn’t as impressed with Cart-2-Cart as I have been in the past.

Impact on SEO / Organic Traffic

One of the biggest concerns people have when migrating platforms is losing their SEO rankings if/when URLs change.  Shopify uses a different URL structure than Magento, so taking a hit on the SEO front was definitely a major risk factor for our migration. Fortunately, we haven’t yet (knock on wood) seen any major impacts to organic traffic from the change to our URLs along with the corresponding 301 redirects.

Traditionally in past migrations, I’ve seen a 10% to 15% decrease in organic traffic for a 2-6 month window post-migration.  Other private forum members have experienced similar decreases as we discuss in this thread on the topic.  You can see the change in organic traffic from January compared to February below.  There was a small 2%ish change, but nothing significant.

Change to Organic Traffic Post-Launch

Trafficv

We used the Traffic Control App to manage our redirects and I was pretty impressed with it.  The app definitely makes for a nicer, more organized and efficient process than manually creating 301 redirects via .htaccss files which is what I’ve done in the past.

We also started using Yotpo as our product review service, which includes rich snippets integration on Shopify’s product pages.  I’m not sure exactly why, but once we moved over to Shopify/Yotpo nearly all our product pages starting displaying in the SERPs with rich snippets when in the past they almost never did.

So perhaps we did / are seeing a slight decrease in organic rankings, but one that’s been offset by a higher click through rate due to the increased number of rich snippets listings.  It’s really hard, if not impossible, to tell.  I’m just thankful that we managed the migration so far without any major SEO snafus.

Rich-Snippets

Am I Glad We Did This?

Ultimately, we spent six months and $50,000 on a redesign that didn’t increase sales quite as much as I was hoping for.  So am I glad we did it?

Absolutely.

While the 41% conversion boost wasn’t quite the aggressive 50% jump I was hoping for, it’s still an enormous boost to the business.  Our payback period on our investment will be under a year, and that’s just considering the increase in net income.  If you look at increased value of the business itself – that is, the increased amount I’d be able to sell the business for based on increase earnings – the investment has already paid off numerous times over.

The value on the branding front is hard to measure, but I’m confident our new site, message and approach will build up our name recognition and reputation over time.   Ultimately, this will lead to increased trust and sales in the long run.

And finally, with mobile growth showing no signs of slowing down, having a site that’s optimized to capitalize on that trend is enormously beneficial.  Instead of fearing the surge in mobile users we’re now in a position where we can benefit from it.  When Apple Pay or some other technology makes mobile transactions much easier (and it will, eventually), we’ll be ready to further take advantage of our highly optimized site.

Playing Devil’s Advocate

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, there are a few downsides to my decision and approach.  First, you could argue that I could have implemented a mobile friendly approach for significantly less money by simply installing a $250 mobile theme on my existing Magento store.   Perhaps this would have resulted in a lions share of the gains we experienced for – literally – less than 1% of the price.

I gave up having micro-level insights in order to more efficiently transform the website and brand into what I wanted it to be.”

It’s definitely a valid argument, and thinking back it would have been a good first step to try.  But ultimately, that approach would have been a short-term solution to a longer term problem.

It wouldn’t have addressed the other core problems we faced in terms of our desire to improve our branding, switch platforms and re-think our design.  And I can absolutely guarantee that a stock mobile template wouldn’t have been nearly as good as the one that was customized exclusively for our site.

Looking back, perhaps we could have taken a more incremental approach to see what worked and what didn’t.  But incremental approaches also take more time.  You can be more sure of an outcome, but it’s harder to make large, sweeping changes quickly.

I gave up having micro-level insights in order to more efficiently transform the website and brand into what I wanted it to be. Ultimately, at least this time, it all worked out in the end.

The Team That Made This Possible

There’s absolutely no way our new site would exist today without the help of an entire cast of people.

Carson McComas and his team at Shopify Custom did an absolutely incredible job of turning our vision into a website we’re really proud to call our own.  It’s hands-down the best contractor working experience I’ve ever had and I can’t say enough good things about his company.  If you need quality Shopify work, I’m not sure if there’s anyone better out there.  Thank you Carson, Jacob and Jennifer – you guys are amazing!

My team at Right Channel Radios and eCommerceFuel were also absolutely instrumental in getting this site launched.  Thanks to Pat Haggerty for his work producing awesome video content and with product and customer migration.  To Laura Serino for all her incredible work spicing up our copy as well as proofreading the site.  And thanks to both Kay and Sheral for their help with a myriad of migration related tasks.  Thanks, guys!  I’m a lucky man to get to work with you each and every week.

Thanks to Ed Hallen from Klaviyo, Talia Shani from Yotpo and both of their teams for providing in-depth technical support with the migration.  For email marketing and product review software, I can wholeheartedly recommend both Klaviyo and Yotpo as top-notch solutions.

And finally, thanks to the team at Shopify for their support both in the early stages of this transition as well with the nitty-gritty technical details of launching the site.  To Mark Hayes, Emma Craig and numerous Support Ninjas:  you guys do an incredible job, and have built an incredible eCommerce platform to be proud of.

And thank you, dear reader, for making it to the end of such a monstrosity of a post!  Hopefully you were able to take a way a few nuggets. As always, I’m more than happy to answer any questions or thoughts in the comments below.

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110 Comments

  1. Hey Andrew, Great read and glad your transition to shopify went so well! I have been considering a move myself but have always been concerned about the checkout and non branded SSL. How did you get around that? Also does Shopify charge more to have that dedicated SSL? Thanks, Jonn

    1. Thanks John! We are testing out Shopify’s premium Plus service which, among many other things, offers a branded checkout and dedicated SSL. It’s designed with medium to larger brands in mind and does cost more than the standard services while offering things like 24/7 red phone personal support, unique access to features and special API calls, dedicated SSL and more.

      I’d love to see dedicated SSL / checkout come to their standard plans, and will definitely pass that along next time I chat with Shopify. Again, thanks for reading!

      1. Had to look this up, didn’t know that Shopify took you to their domain at checkout. That might be a deal breaker for my customers. Shopify Preminum looks good, but yikes $995/month!!!

        1. Yeah, it’s definitely a premium price point and may not make sense for everyone.

          Part of the sponsorship package compensation I presented / requested from Shopify was a no-fee account. So when we came onboard, we opted to try Shopify Plus – both for the increased features and to give them feedback on the experience from a store owner’s perspective.

          In terms of support and onboarding, it’s been really impressive. We were assigned a rep who has been incredibly responsive in terms of helping with onboard, answering involved tech questions and getting any issues resolved ASAP (thanks Emma!). And there’s some really impressive features like a dynamic coupon API, where we can create dynamic coupons in an email auto responder series that expire after X amount of time.

          But like you mentioned, it is at a premium price point and won’t make sense for all companies and brands. It’s definitely geared toward medium to larger companies who many not have in-house tech and want a very, very responsive customer service experience as well as the premium features.

          1. So this is sponsored content by Shopify? I feel like that needs to be the first line of the article and is really misleading otherwise.

            For $1000/mo you could have been paying a Magento developer that actually knew what they were doing rather than “spending months learning UNIX”.

            The fact that you didn’t have a mobile compatible site and completely re-branded basically invalidates any kind of conversion increase by “switching to Shopify” as any kind of scientific statistic.

            For $50,000 you easily could have gotten that rebranding done on Magento with a responsive design (probably 50% of that cost actually). And I’m betting you would have seen the same or better conversion increase.

            The title of this article should be “I didn’t know what I was doing with Magento so I convinced Shopify to give me thousands of dollars of free service by writing a case study about them”.

  2. Terrific post, which I plan to share in Ripen eCommerce’s weekly newsletter next week. That being said, you have a typo in your confirmation email (its versus it’s; Once we clean up our celebration mess, we’ll be working to get your order packaged, shipped and on it’s way to you ASAP)… Thought you might want to know.

    1. Thanks Lauren! It’ll be an honor to be included in your newsletter! The weekly Raven email blast you guys do is something I really enjoy getting. I’m pretty brutal when I go through my inbox in terms of deleting, but “This Week in Online Retail” from you guys always gets opened and read. 🙂

      And appreciate the heads-up on the typo. It’s fixed! Thanks for reading, and let me know if there’s anything I can do / help with / clarify as you’re drafting up next week’s newsletter.

  3. Thank you Andrew, this was the best explanation on Magento and Shopify I’ve read in a long time. I’ve been debating on using Magento for the future and now I’m seeing that you made the switch over to Shopify it’s more clear to me that Shopify is the future. Thank you again for sharing this article with us.

    1. If you’re looking for a more retro feel, than the old site wins hands-down. But in terms of conversion, it’s hard to argue with the results. 🙂 Appreciate you reading regardless!

  4. Andrew, I don’t have the best attention span and very rarely actually read vs. skim. However, this one was different. Great insights with tons of “meat on the bone” so to speak. I’ll definitely take a hard look at Shopify and Carson’s company when I’m ready to roll out my next fence site.

    Thanks and good job!
    Josh

    1. Thanks Josh – appreciated! Hard to go wrong with a Shopify + Carson combo. Hope all is well in the Iron Fence world!

  5. Wow. What a great case study. By far the best post I’ve read on a site redesign.

    Thanks Andrew! You’ve inspired me to take a look at a redesign on our sites more seriously and you’ve laid out such a great blueprint on how to go about it.

    I’m excited to dive into this and fortunately, I’ve got the private forums to go to for backup.

    Congrats on the redesign, you’ve been working hard on it! Each year, I like to ask myself, what did I do last year that was truly great.

    In 2013, you sold TrollingMotors.net, in 2014, you completed an incredible redesign of RightChannelRadios.

    What’s next for 2015?

    1. Hey Derek! Awesome hearing from you, and thanks for the kind words and comment. And hope it’s helpful as you’re looking to do redesigns in the future. Man, they’re sure a boatload of work but it’s pretty nice when they turn out positively in the end.

      For the rest of 2015, the #1 priority will squarely be improving the private forums and the community there. From improved onboarding to eCommerceFuel Live 2015 to masterminds to building our a reviewable service member directory, Laura and I have a ton we want to accomplish. 🙂

      After that, I’m also looking to expand into a proprietary product – either creating our own line of products for Right Channel or something else entirely. I think owning your own product will be crucial in the coming years, and we’re a bit behind the curve on that front.

      Thanks for asking! What about you? Any big plans in store for 2015?

  6. Very impressed with your overhaul on your site. Amazed by the $50k price tag, but it looks great, modern, and extremely functional! Loved seeing the comparisons and love ya’lls new logo – congrats!!

  7. Great write up Andrew as always! I wanted to ask since moving to Shopify are your maintenance costs are lower per month vs paying for web hosting? I know Shopify has an all in one monthly fee and curious if the price difference vs having a VPS is cheaper? Plus not having to worry about admin issues is a bonus!

    1. Thanks Phil!

      We were paying about $350 / month ($300 – $400 depending on them month) for a Rackspace server to host Magento. When you compare that to Shopify’s Unlimited plan ($179 / month) as well as about $150 in recurring app fees we have you come in at around $320, so under that by just a touch. Of course, you don’t have to worry about servers, security, support, etc.

      As I mentioned to Joshua above, we negotiated a no-fee account as part of their becoming a sponsor of the podcast – so we opted to try their premium white glove Plus plan. If you go that route, you’d definitely be paying more but you’d also see a much higher level of service and responsiveness.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Holy cow that is some pricey hosting just for Magento itself! I guess you were right of it being a resource hog, and it makes the $179 deal look very tempting! I’m just debating for an auto parts store to go with shopify or magento but looking at some of the auto car parts stores from shopify does not look aw inspiring as some of the magento themes offered. But yes learning Magento can be a steep curve especially when having a basic background knowledge of woocommerce as it is a big step! I assume you paid that much because you were probably getting like 1k visitors daily to handle the load!

        Thanks for the insight and for taking the time to answer my inquires, keep up the great work been a fan of your show for awhile! I want to be on your “First sale” section of your show one day, but I figured the niche I picked was not “Celebratory” enough so perhaps for my next project 😉 cheers!

  8. Hi Andrew,
    We had a very similar experience moving from Magento CE to Shopify. It’s been great. We also use Yotpo (which really increased our conversion rate, we have a high priced product and it built confidence), and the same redirect service.

    I wonder if your 40% drop in page views is related to your 40% uptick in conversion rate. People found what they wanted and they don’t need to hang around, whereas your old store may not have ‘made the sale’ so to speak as quickly. When we changed a few things and our conversion rate went up quite a bit, I remember our page visits also went down.

    Are you doing a blog? You could exchange equipment for someone to share their vids weekly of them on the road. It would really help build credibility, particularly if you can find a really compelling personality.

    I really like the new design!! It’s great, and thanks for the breakdown. I love ecommerce fuel forums, and all you do there. It’s really helped us ENORMOUSLY in bringing our streams to the next level.

    1. Thanks Marie, appreciated!

      Good to hear the Magento -> Shopify migration was a success for you guys, too. Between that and our using Yotpo a lot, sounds like our migrations had quite a bit in common.

      Really interesting to hear the pageview experience from your side, and good to know it happened to someone else. Theoretically I can see it, but a 45% drop is just such a large number it really gave me pause.

      Also great tip on the blog – we’ve thought about that, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Adding it to my ever growing “to-do” list. Thanks for the comments, and glad you joined the private forums – been great having you as a member. 🙂

  9. I have struggled to find a cart or website system that works it is very frustrating so will look at what you did to see what works, thanks. On your site I like the simplicity of the redesign but to honest I like the colors and graphics of the old site better. I dont think the big banner stating free shipping is graphiclly pleasing for that valuable web realestate. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Thanks Rob, very interesting to hear. I do know some folks aren’t huge fans of the more monotone color scheme (gray, red) and I can understand that. In terms of the header, perhaps we’ll A/B test that to see if we can improve it.

      Thanks for the thoughts.

  10. Very helpful information Andrew! I would agree that Magento is very bloated for the average store and upgrades are tedious. I am curious if you and your team ever thought of using something like WooCommerce? Very simple code base and both coding and design changes are very straight forward. The appeal of the self hosted model is great, but unfortunately I fall into that 5% in that my products are customized and I need to b able to easily allow for that.

    1. Thanks Steve! We never seriously considered WooCommerce, no.

      While I’ve never given it a fair shot and really dove into it, I’ve always been a bit dubious that it’s built-on WordPress so you have some inherent limitations. For our primary business, I prefer to have a platform that’s built 100% from the ground-up to function as a store vs. taking a CMS and converting it into an eCommerce platform.

      Again, haven’t used it so maybe I’m really off-base and I know WooCommerce powers a lot of great, successful stores. But that was my thought process. Probably should spend some time checking it out so I’m better informed.

      1. I just like to quickly chime that woocommerce met my needs very well for a small one-two man team startup! I was impressed with the low operating costs and the customization was to my liking despite some obvious limitations, however, I have a friend who has a basic shopify store and he says my woocommerce store is definiately more in options. I’m dabbing with magento right now as a test bed and can see its a big leap in tech know how compared to woo. But this article has raised some eyebrows that’s for sure!

  11. thanks…great write up and thanks for being open about your site and process. i’m not in this field but have always enjoyed reading your blogs

  12. Wow, Andrew, outstanding post! As I mentioned to you before, we just completed (went live between Christmas & the New Year) our own, strikingly similar, migration and design update project with Municibid (at about the same cost). I could probably copy and paste this and find and replace “Right Channel Radios” with “Municibid” and would be the same story. haha (of course I would not do that.)

    This has inspired me to write up my own evaluation of our migration/upgrade. It’s too early to tell impact to dollars and cents, but we have seen general improvements across the board. I’ll keep you posted if I can ever get anything written.

    I was also very concerned with SEO as 80% of our traffic is long-tail keyword google searches. We made the transition (also with a new URL structure) without an issue, which I was thrilled about.

    Again, great post!

    1. Thanks Greg, appreciated! Very cool to hear the similarities, and so glad your migration worked out well too. If you end up doing a write-up, please let me know. I’d love to read it.

  13. Andrew,

    The new site looks much better, but it also looks much more generic. I have mixed feelings about these hippster flat style designs personally, but I am also all about making money so if it works , it works… Its not about personal feelings its about what the customers feel comfortable using and seeing.
    I tried to warm up to shopify, but I just couldn’t make it work for our store. we have too many categories and to many products. I like their development cycles and reinvestment into the tech, big change compared to where we have been and where we have landed since our migration started.

    what is your conversion rate sitting at? I am really wanting to pull ours up by 50-70% with our migration.

    1. The category structure definitely is a bit different in Shopify, and based all around tags vs. static category hierarchies. It took me a while to get the hang of it and wasn’t a huge fan at first, but it actually makes for some pretty powerful dynamic categorizations once you get a feel for it and I’ve come to like it.

      Good luck with your migration if you take the plunge.

  14. Thank you andrew for sharing such cool information with us. I scanned the whole articles and bookmarked it for later read. I can conclude that the main important type of any successful business is the way how you treat your customers. you can changed lots of things without badly affecting the main value of your business like design, logo, selling model whether it is drop shipping business or regular retailing and all other changes. many people afraid of changing or editing their store’s logo for the reason that customers remember the old logo and this is totally incorrect, I think smart businesses let their customers remember them by their products and services and not just the logo or design. finally cong andrew for your new look site.

  15. Great post. Site looks great. We are still running our eCommerce store on “Oscommerce MS2.2”. Just the thought of moving to a different platform gives us the chills. Maybe one day we will get the courage to move.

    Good Luck with your site.

  16. Hey Andrew,

    My personal opinion is that the site look, feel, and logo went way down. I think your first layout was better. Not sure it was worth the 50k.

    Peace

      1. Ha, brilliant Joe! I didn’t get it at first and then remembered the reference to Mike’s lady in the article above. Well played!

  17. Hi Andrew,

    Great feedback and thanks for sharing. As one of the Magento product leaders I’d love to get more insights on how we can make our platform more compelling.

    Did you consider upgraded to Magento 1.9.1?

    It sounds like easier/safer upgrades, simple – intuitive user experience, better performance ( to lower hosting costs ), and better checkout ( or at least much easier to customize ) would make a big difference in your decision.

    Could we setup a call to discuss?

    Thanks,
    Chuck

    1. Hey Chuck! Thanks for your comment and taking an interest.

      I did a series of upgrades from Magento 1.4.x (I think) to 1.6.1 and it was just a nightmare. No official documentation, database issues, and a lot of trial-and-error troubleshooting. So after that experience, I wasn’t really interested in attempting another upgrade. Granted, I was trying to do it myself and a seasoned pro probably could have done it much more efficiently, but that was my experience.

      Apart from that, the biggest roadblock for me with Magento was the template system. Of all the carts I’ve used, it was hands-down the most confusing. Not only did you have template files with the code, but you had really confusing XML files for layout that – after years of tinkering – I still didn’t full understand how they worked.

      So between the upgrades issues, the template issues and growing tired of simply administering our own server and code base I was ready to jump ship.

      Hope this helps.

      1. It does – the article and the feedback are quite valuable, thanks in large part to the rich detail and objective approach. Best wishes as you continue to tinker!

  18. Truly awesome post! There are so many nuggets in there I will have to read it again with notepad in hand.

    I love your feedback that the About Us video/ page really should be About You – the customer.

    Your results will continue to accrue … You may not have hit your big goal in the first month, but I am sure that by the end of the year you will be very pleased with the results.

    Thanks for giving us so much to chew on with this post. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Dana, really appreciated! And hope you’re right on the accrual front, would love to see this turn into a snowball that picks up steam over time.

      Hope all is well with you!

  19. Can’t tell you how stoked I was to see your email in my inbox this morning – you didn’t disappoint! Glad to see you guys have gotten some well-deserved traction. I’m in the process of a Magento > Shopify conversion as well and am interested in hearing whether there were other customer migration solutions you considered and, in hindsight, wish you had tried. Also nice work on the intro vid – can’t put my finger on it but your delivery is Mark Cuban-esque – not a bad thing in my book.

    1. Awesome, thanks Nathan! And glad you liked the video! I’ll gladly take any comparison to Mr. Cuban, as remote as it may be – that guy is awesome.

      Sadly, I don’t know of any other customer migration solutions, so didn’t think of any. I haven’t looked for any in a while since the last two migrations went pretty well with Cart-2-Cart – so there may be some out there – but I don’t know who they are. If anyone happens to know a good alternative to recommend, would love to hear it here in the comments.

      Thanks for reading!

  20. Great post Andrew, new site looks modern, and really slick. Your about us video looks super pro too! If I was after a CB I’d talk to you guys for sure!

    Just a quick one, when moving from Magento, was it possible to export your customer’s passwords? Everyone I’ve spoken with says it “Can’t be done!”. Even Cart-to-cart which you reference said “no”. Any tips here would be greatly appreciated.

    All the best!

    Michael

    1. Thanks Michael, really appreciated!

      As far as I know, it’s impossible to export your passwords. I’m a bit fuzzy on the tech details, but I think they are hashed and encoded so you can’t see the raw text. So sadly no tips here, I think if / when you migrate having a good password reset path for customers is just something you have to do.

      Hope this helps, and it’s been great having you in the private forum!

  21. Thanks Andrew, incredible improve. Let me ask you some about database transfer, how long to complete transfer.
    Best,

    1. For our migration of customers and orders, it took about 3-4 hours (roughly) to move the data over via Cart-2-Cart. Hope this helps!

  22. Great write up Andrew. The difference between your old and new sites on mobile are dramatic. Even with phone screens getting bigger it’s still going to be critical to have a site that’s easy to shop on mobily. It’s only taken one month for your numbers to show that.

    So what are you doing with all the free time you have now that this monster project is done?

    1. Thanks Carole, appreciated! And free time? I wish! Lots of big plans for investing in and improving the private forums this Spring. That’s my #1 priority for the next 6 months going forward. 🙂

      Hope all is well with you!

  23. So, roughly how much costs a video like your new “About Us”? I liked the simple and straigth to the point design. I’m curious, did all shots were made specifically for this video or somehow you resorted to stock footage?
    Thanks for your posts, they are really helpful.

    1. Hey Fransisco! The video cost us $1,500, and I was really happy with that price point.

      We lucked out a bit as the guy who shot it for us a) was a friend and b) was experienced shooting off-road videos. He had a lot of footage of off-road vehicles, which he very generously allowed us to use for the video. Some of those shots, like the one at the end with the vehicles driving off into the sunset form a Quadcopter, would have cost us much more otherwise.

      Hope this helps!

  24. The new site looks GREAT, Andrew! I especially love the cheeky email and product copy.

    Thanks for the shout out – all the credit goes to our awesome Support and Customer Success teams : )

    1. Thanks Talia! You know yet if you’re going to be at IRCE? If so, let me know – would be good to meetup.

      1. We will definitely be there (we’re speaking!), but I don’t know if I personally will be. Either way, the team would love to meet you in person so I will set something up!

  25. Hmmm interesting stuff. How do you feel about the URL structure in Shopify? And canonoicalisation?
    I asked as i’m currently searching for a new platform, but i can’t seem to find one that ticks all the boxes.
    No products on the home page of an ecommerce store – have you noticed any changes in UX and conversions?

    1. URL structure in Shopify works great. Apart from a couple things that are fixed (like having “category” and “product” in the URL for those items), it’s fully customizable. Shopify does a good job of setting rel=canonical for product pages that appear in collections with different URLs, always pointing back to the master product so you don’t get lots of duplicate content. We did have to insert a rel=canonical for category page URLs with filtered options selected, but that was fairly easy to implement.

      Per the UX and conversion changes: check out the 5,000 word blog post above that covers them in detail. 🙂

  26. THANKS!
    i am in the EXACT same process as you.. so funny and strange.
    using traffic control for 404’s

    leaving WP for shopify.

    so far also hugely impressed with shopify.

    your posts and podcast are a big help as always (actually more helpful lately :P) and couldn’t be more timely. amazing.

      1. maybe too personal and tacky of me to ask. but are you comfortable with saying your monthly website costs? i want to utilize a LOT more apps, but the monthly costs stop me.

        obviously i will pay for anything that pays for itself – but it takes a while to realize this sometimes and do something smart.

        thanks again

  27. I loved this article enough that I made it a ‘must read’ for my team. I definitely think your design was a big improvement. We were evaluating a move to Shopify last month, but pulled the plug because of the checkout limitations. BTW, we pay $40 a month for our hosting of Magento and feel it’s capable of speed/loading that a moderate amount of demand requires. I would love to see more data after 6 months of your move. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Will, hopefully they get some value out of it as well. Who are you using for Magento hosting at $40 / month? I think a 6+ month follow-up would be awesome as well, will try to remember to do it.

      1. We are using SiteGround.com for our hosting. We don’t have a dedicated rack, but from our speed tests the configuration we have is right for our traffic volume.

        I’m curious Andrew, did you use a user testing tool on your old website or the new site? I’m about to start a trial with UserTesting.com and was curious if you had best practice insights or any recommendations for how to perform your user testing?

        Thanks!

        1. Yep! Used UserTesting.com for pre launch (on old site) and post launch (on new site) UX testing. Happy with them, a good value for the price.

        2. I’d try to get users who are as close to your user demographic as possible. With their trial, I believe they let you set filtering questions so you can ask, for example, only for testers who are X ages, are interested in X, etc. Helps a lot to make sure you’re getting testers who are representative of your actual visitors.

  28. Andrew, congratulations on your new site! We were surprised to see your average order values decrease as well. This is actually a key performance indicator that Bigcommerce merchants see increase when they join our platform.

    Bigcommerce has a great video on how increased AOV can help you spend less and earn more with your ecommerce business: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdnfrZEjCNY&index=17&list=PLwTYtMwfzbe5Sfir_1ymSdVf1oBDDpAff

    Let me know what you think!

    *I am the social media marketer at Bigcommerce

    1. Thanks Leah, appreciated! As a quick update, for March 1-10th our average order size is actually up 10% from our old levels – so like I mentioned in the post, a good chance it’s not a symptom of the site or platform but likely just too small of a data set to make any long term conclusions with.

      Interesting video on AOV, but I didn’t see anything specific and unique to the Bigcommerce platform that helps merchants increase their AOV. Is there something in particular you were alluding to that isn’t available on Shopify either in the core version or as an add-on?

      Thanks for reading!

  29. Hi Andrew,

    Nice job and great recap of the process! I love the clean and refreshing look of your new site and was curious which template you ended up using. I know you did lots of customization but if I recall correctly you started with a base template from the theme store right?

    Thanks!
    Josh

  30. I am curious. Did you guys ever evaluate BigCommerce while you were in the process of evaluating Shopify? Of so, I would love to know why you decided to not go that route.

  31. Hi Andrew, I really like the new site design! Did you use a base theme in Shopify and then have it customized or was it built from scratch? If you used a base theme, can you share which one? We need to redesign, as well, and your new site has definitely provided some inspiration, thank you!

  32. Great read. I have to agree Magento is a beast. I’m really surprised with the amount of $$ you put into everything that you didn’t simply hire a pair of developers to build you a custom shop.

    1. I can see where you guys are coming from. Magento is a beast, but being a techie, so I can manage darn near everything myself. I do agree it is more involved than Shopify from just glancing at a demo Shopify store. And although I’m a techie I see the merits that the ease of use Shopify seems to offer.

      1. that said, I think I’m stuck with Magento at the moment. Had I know of Shopify when I started I would have gone with that.

  33. I would say that Magento is a nice platform for designing a website. But today, Shopify has given far better features in their services with which an ecommerce website can be designed easily. Good to go with. Nice info

  34. Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing. I loved the podcast on this one and the personal note on the confirmation page is stellar. I appreciate you reading it on the podcast. The new website design is GORGEOUS!!!!!!! Glad to hear conversion rates are up so high, but certainly not surprised. The new design is killer.

  35. Hi Andrew,
    Great writing. Your experience with both of the platforms are seems good. Your new web design is awesome specially the colors and i like it. Shopify is great but Magento services are also good.

  36. Yae. That’s a great comparison her for magento and shopify. But the price seems to high for the conversion. I am new to the ecommerce field. And I heard about duceplus.com and its benefits. Shall I look for the service apart from magento and shopify. Is that more reliable.. Can anyone could explain me.?

  37. Well it presents some insights into how well you have designed your new website.
    However, I think none of the points truly present a picture of comparison between Shopify vs. Magento.
    Your post’s heading tells we are going to read about shortcomings of Magento and advantages of using Shopify.
    There are none presented in this article.
    Whatever has been done on the new website can be done using Magento as well.
    New home page design..? very much possible using any cart, not just Magento or Shopify.
    New Logo..? Not relevant when we are talking about comparison between carts.
    Responsive design..? again not relevant when we are comparing carts.
    Nice to see that your business is gaining because of new website, but please do not hold Magento responsible if you faced any issues in past.

    Regards,
    Divakar

    1. Agreed, the only insight that can be taken from this article is non-technical people will benefit from a hosted solution which is an obvious point to make.

      You changed too many variables to attribute any change in conversion to a particular platform. If you wanted a true comparison you should have designed your shopify store with the exact same design and feature set or better still, split test both platforms for a month.

    2. Thanks Divakar & Nate for the great points. I was thinking the same, and being the owner of a Magento store, I was a bit disappointed in the article. It didn’t help me all that much as I am considering converting to Shopify. I am a techie, so Magento isn’t that hard for me to manage.

      Some of the things I am interested in knowing is how the shipping calculations work in shopify since that is an area I feel Magento is a bit lacking. I also like the idea of a fast hosted solution with SSL already built in. All the redesign stuff can be done on any platform.

      I think perhaps, I may split test a Shopify store replicated from my Magento store and see what the main differences really are.

  38. Hi, Andrew! Thanks for sharing this amazing experience! Personally I prefer Shopify to any other CMSs, to Magento also. That’s why, it’s quite interesting for me to read this review. As well I appreciate all your eCommerce reviews I ‘ve read before greatly, I’ve got so much helpful information for my eCommerce research.

  39. Hi Andrew,

    Excellent article. Can’t imagine how much time this took you to put together. It is very kind & generous of you to share like this.

    I was already pretty set on it but now I’m even more certain that Shopify is perfect choice for my small business needs.

    Also agreed cheeky copy is the best for these and many customers like ours as well.

    Liking the new look.

    Super Video too.

    Last thing please.

    What’s are the best articles you have read about social media and getting it all organized & done correctly to promote your company the right way?

    Including which app would make it easiest as well for Shopify?

    I was reading about HootSuite for example as the top app for Shopify. Seems like a great choice for organizing everything all in one place. Are you using it already for your site?

    Thanks for sharing everything & warmest regards from Thailand,

    Matt

    P.S. The Website will be up once we get Shopify up and running.

  40. Well explained article! Magento and Shopify have their own best features! Magento is a free, open-source platform to develop large e-commerce websites whereas Shopify is commercial CMS. Magento platform is designed for larger websites whereas Shopify is best platform for small sized e-commerce businesses

  41. Thanks Andrew – quality info post.

    Q: What in your mind is the base sales channels (Facbook/. YouTube) to promote products on? Also, whats your view on paid versus organic SEO or social media?

  42. $50k is a lot of money and I too would expect an increase with any eCommerce effort, but I think completely overlooking and not implementing at the very least a responsive theme on your Magento platform before migrating makes me scratch my head. The complexity of your catalog screams Magento. I was on your site a few days ago, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at the source code. What a migration! Looks wonderful!

  43. The article heading is very misleading. Producing a polished website optimized for the website’s user base could have been accomplished using magento, and would likely have seen the same net increase. Further, the additional costs for companies not sponsored to make the switch have not been taken into account. This article is more “Why Creating A Strong Online Presence Is Important For E-Commerce Sites”, and less “Migrating To Shopify Will Increase Returns”.

    Disclaimer: I do not use shopify or magento.

  44. Hey Andrew,

    Instead of migrating the platform, you should have tried a Magento responsive theme. Some of the best responsive themes are available for around $100.

    You would have been able to customize the theme to any extent you required. Having thousands of extension will certainly have a risk of running down into the wrong one. But that needs to be taken care of. As a developer, we don’t add features directly on LIVE we always have a staging env.

    I don’t see any extraordinary features which shopify offers that are absent with Magento. To be frank $50K for just a redesign is not what I would have considered spending.

  45. This article is misleading. The old site you have looks like an old version of magneto. You are comparing an old mageneto site with a new shopify framework, that’s not an even comparison. If you directed more money to the SEO and just upgraded your magneto to a responsive framework you probably would be 40k better off with a site that you actually own. Shopify does not bring in more customers. A descent campaign does. And my experience with shopify is that there are always quirks with the responsiveness. It works but i dont think its that great. Its so obvious most of the time that its a cookie cutter site. You have complete control on an opensource platform. You have supercharged SEO tools at your disposal which are cutting edge. You own your data. You can move your shop. You can make it ultra fast. You can change your template. I have developed sites for over 15 years and I am not aligned commercially to any platform.

    1. Hi Ray,

      I developed sites on Magento (Community and Enterprise) and also Shopify. For me Shopify is just for Amature business persons, who dose not have big requirements and also does have enough funds to build a Web Team. Just to make your web-present, even without any technical guy, anyone can build a site on Shopify. But if you need to think your business seriously, the you have to move with any of the Big E-Commerce platform and that wont be Cookie-Sharing.

      Thanks,
      Dan Lewis

  46. Have been driving traffic by pop-under on one of my sites from a newcomer network http://ads1k.com/ and some days are better than the others. Anyone has any idea on how to improve the visitors flow?
    For those who are not here yet, pop-under opens your pages on somebody else ‘s site.

  47. Hey Andrew,

    At first its really a nice article. I am developing and maintaining both Magento and Shopify sites for my clients. I do trust on Shopify platform, when you have less product and simple category structure. But when you have 100K products with n level of category structure and also SEO friendly structured URL, sorry to say, but Shopify not really ready for that!! You explained about designing, ohh, its a very simple task for a Magento Web Designer to make the deign as you need, even that will be in your control. You can change any page as you want, even you can show two separate content for Web and Mobile users. However, in Shopify, you dont have the power to change anything after the Cart page. Even the complex category structure not working Shopify site.

    The most important aspect is, what is your business requirement? If you just want to make a simple web-present, then Shopify is best for you, but if you seriously want to think about your Business and if you have future Plan for that, then definitely Magento is your Choice. You can do anything with this monster. Its all yours!!

    Nevertheless, its a nice article and I enjoyed reading.

    Thanks,
    Dan Lewis

  48. While I agree that Magento has a huge learning curve, I’d like to point out that switching frameworks has nothing at all to do with the design of your site.

    I’ve developed many, many magento sites that are both responsive and mobile friendly all around (emails, admin section, etc).

    It also looks like you used stock checkout in magento, which is terrible anyways. There are other checkout solutions that cost no more than 300 dollars as well, if you don’t go the custom development route.

    I just hate to see anyone make a rash decision with their ecommerce store, based solely on a theme and branding upgrade 🙂

  49. Interesting. But I am still not sure why Shopfiy. If you invested 50,000$, I believe you could have done the same on Magento or Prestashop or WooCommerce. It would have cost less (as other have pointed out as well).

    Apart from the conversions, what other benefits have you noticed about Shopify?

  50. This article analyzed about Shopify and Magento in March 2015. Now something changed or business and developer have different opinions, so keep calm with your turn. In my opinion, I think more about Magento.

  51. I think it’s fair to say that the result and the process could have been done building on Magento. The story isn’t really a platform comparison, but a good insight into the design proces and redesign of an e-commerce platform. I like the story and recognize a lot of the weird metrics in your analytics. We’ve all been there; pagedrops per visit, drops in sessiontime, lower average order value etc. In my experience it will always take a few months before you can really see the results of the improvements you’ve done in design, usability and performance.

  52. I experienced the same issue, learning linux and dealing with server issues. However, going to Shopify forces you to pay for upgrades that are built-in to Magento, pay for skins and plug-ins and extras that are free or much cheaper for Magento. But mainly the idea of going to a closed proprietary format like Shopify (they close and you’re closed too along with your $50,000 site), rather than Magento which I can move from server to server whenever I see the need to switch or upgrade hosting. I simply cannot fathom relying on a closed-source system to sleep well a night, never knowing if my site will be there in the morning or if Shopify has a multi-week outtage. We had our Magento store on Hostgator, moved to ServInt and now over to eComLane.com where our site is managed and has never operated faster or handled demand quite so well. We also keep backups, so if/when we chose to move to another host, it’s as easy as upload a backup and change DNS. Putting that much money and trust in Shopify… not sure I’d risk my company’s funds and future with another company’s locked software.