With over 14,000 of the world’s leading brands trusting Shopify Plus every day, more and more eCommerce brands are considering a switch to Shopify Plus.

However, for those brands currently on a custom platform, a jump to Shopify Plus - the most scaled commerce platform on the planet - still seems risky. So today, we’re getting the inside scoop on migrating from a custom platform from Leigh Mardon, COO of blubolt. Keep reading for advice on what brands can expect during the migration process and his top tips for getting the most from Shopify Plus. Let’s get started!

Why might brands be reluctant to leave their custom eCommerce platform?

There are many things to think about when you move from a custom platform to Shopify, which can lead to some brands being reluctant to take the first step. Often, custom solutions are embedded and integrated deep into the business. They have been built up over many years, making migration feel scary or risky. A lot of brands have an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude, and this means they miss out on the benefits of moving to Shopify.

Migration often ends up being not just an eCommerce project but a complete digital transformation. Finance, customer support, sales and marketing are all impacted. Though this is necessary in the digital world - making changes and moving forward is how businesses evolve - it’s understandable why this could feel like a big undertaking. The sheer scale of the task can also put some businesses off, as there are certainly cost and disruption elements to consider.

What is driving businesses away from custom platforms towards Shopify Plus?

Many factors are causing businesses to think twice about continuing with their custom platforms, especially with the benefits of using Shopify.

1. Doing more for less.

For example, the ongoing cost of maintenance and support for a custom platform is often more than a business can manage on a long-term basis. Looking at Shopify Plus’ information on pricing, brands can quickly see that they can do more for less with the platform while also keeping ahead of the pack in terms of eCommerce development.

There is also a lot of frustration surrounding custom platforms, as they tend to take longer and cost more than initially intended.

2. More in-house control.

Leading on from the above point, brands are also gravitating toward Shopify Plus as it enables them to easily change and update their website in-house rather than being heavily reliant on an external agency.

3. Staying ahead of the eCommerce pack.

On a custom platform, keeping pace with industry innovation is a time-consuming and expensive business. So by migrating to Shopify Plus, brands can leave that hassle behind and take advantage of Shopify’s relentless innovation programme, which offers eCommerce experiences like Shop Pay, the best-converting checkout on the internet.

4. Frustration with the existing platform.

For a lot of brands, there is an eventual realisation that there must be better options out there. The situation gets so bad, and with eCommerce a vital part of any business, they're forced to consider a better-performing platform.

What hurdles do retailers face when migrating from a custom platform?

One of the main hurdles businesses face is understanding that you can’t replicate what you already have exactly. But that's not a bad thing!

Starting from scratch is an opportunity to look at the business's current online needs and how to meet them best. It’s also an opportunity to improve things and make life easier for you and your team. So think big rather than simply creating a similar eCommerce presence on Shopify and hoping for the best.

Begin by determining what the custom platform is doing for the business, and this means unpicking every individual element. This can be time-consuming - especially as emails, marketing systems, and eCommerce systems all need to be thought about - but it’s the ideal way to decide if migration is needed. It’s essential for a retailer to look at their business and understand what needs to change. With this information, it’s much easier to see how migrating to Shopify could benefit.

It can also be hard to say goodbye to your existing custom platform agency, especially if you have worked with them for several years.

What should brands consider before moving from a custom platform to Shopify Plus?

1. Planning.

Businesses need to plan the migration well, at a time when they are thinking straight and can dedicate a decent amount of time to ensuring everything goes smoothly.

2. Agency partner.

It’s essential to choose the right agency partner and work with a team with experience in this type of migration. Choose an agency that is up to the challenge, proactive and able to complete the job to a flawless standard.

3. Budget.

There is obviously a cost associated with migrating from a custom platform to Shopify, and you need to budget for this. Factor in a complex design and build, accessing data and any unique features needed from Shopify. Migration is a long-term investment, and eventually, you will have a website that performs better and is far more cost-effective to maintain than a custom platform.

4. Functionality.

Carefully consider what is required and avoid getting carried away. Start with what is crucial, then move on to what is desirable. Every custom tweak you make costs you time and money to launch and then an additional cost to maintain.

5. Processes.

Be realistic about the process, and ensure your agency partners have a realistic time frame for delivery of the new Shopify site and allow enough time for thorough testing. Remember, it takes longer than usual when migrating from a custom platform.

Why choose blubolt for your Shopify Plus migration?

If a team is qualified to advise you on the pros and cons of migrating from a custom platform to Shopify, it’s blubolt!

We’re the only accredited Shopify Plus Partner agency that's built our own proprietary platform, bluCommerce, so we know all there is to know about making the switch from a custom platform. Head to our About Us page to find out more.

We've also successfully migrated brands from custom platforms to Shopify Plus, including Adnams, Robert Welch and Mistral. For all of these projects, we made the migration process seamless and straightforward while also maximising the potential of the Shopify Plus platform.

Migrating from a custom platform might seem like a time-consuming and complex process, but in the right hands, everything is a lot less daunting!

Fancy a chat about your eCommerce store?

We're a personal & proactive Shopify Plus agency that designs, builds & optimises beautiful bespoke eCommerce solutions to help your brand grow faster. Explore our expert Shopify services and browse our client work for Shopify inspiration. Alternatively, get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to help!

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