While it’s not unusual for us to move Magento stores to Shopify, we don’t often find ourselves migrating a Magento-WordPress combo. In the past, we’ve worked with clients who melded Magento with WordPress — and usually with poor results — but this combination is not as common as it once was.

Gownies.com came to novusweb having suffered through a very expensive and recent overhaul of their unique niche brand as a Magento store integrated with a WordPress-powered home page and content component. The owners — two wonderful ladies located in the US and Europe — have another brand on Shopify and knew they preferred its simplicity over that of the Magento mash-up. And who better to complete this migration than one of the leaders in this particular capability: us.

Apart for the usual data migration and configuration considerations of a project like this was the added requirement that the new Shopify store look as close as possible to the design of a store built on two other platforms. Of course, each platform constructs its pages differently and each has it’s own integrated management tools. It was not possible to simply copy over a few CSS files, the images and a bit of HTML.

Keeping It Simple

When building a Shopify store for a defined brand, we rarely, if ever, use a purchased theme. Themes offered by designers are hit or miss in terms of coding quality, as well. With Shopify stores, themes are also customizable by using a backend configuration panel. These panels are not standard among theme developers, either. Some do a great job making it easy for merchants to handle configurations; others simply “don’t get it.”

We prefer to take a very simple, free theme framework from Shopify — “Supply” in this case — and create the branding and configuration customizations needed for the merchant. In other words, instead of buying a complicated theme that we might have to strip or re-code for our purposes, it’s easier to start with a solid, simple framework and built up.

We also like building the customization panels that our clients can use to change and update content themselves. There’s no reason a merchant should have to pay us to change out a slider image on the home page!

And a Wiki, to Boot

I’m not sure we’ve ever mentioned this before, but for most of our merchants, especially those with unique procedures and processes, we provide a password-protected Wiki. This online tool is our “Owner’s Manual” for our clients, and serves as a living, changeable web site that merchants and their staff can refer to as needed. A typical Wiki will include, among a whole host of entries, step-by-step guides for adding products, guides for creating content, and specific instructions for setting user permissions.

Providing a Wiki follows our continued mantra of empowering our merchant clients as much as possible. If we can make it easier for them to operate their online store, they will have more time and energy to devote to other activities that could drive increased sales.

Bret Williams

Bret is the a co-founder and the Managing Partner of novusweb®. He is also author of several books on Magento and e-commerce and is sought as a speaker and trainer. Bret has been crafting internet innovations since 1995.