When you first began your eCommerce store, you had to choose between a variety of different content management systems (CMS). As they are the base of your entire company and store, it’s not an easy consideration to make. While there are many available to choose from, the 2 most popular are Shopify and WordPress/WooCommerce, so in many cases you’ll choose one of the two.
While there is no definitive answer for choosing which is the better option, the right choice for you likely depends on your situation. Are you new to eCommerce? Do you want to get up and running ASAP, or do you want to make it perfect? What does your budget look like?
All of these questions are crucial to deciding to start with Shopify or WooCommerce – but since you’re here reading this article, the most important question for you is:
Why Cancel Shopify for WordPress?
Shopify is a great platform for beginners that bundles everything you need in one place – hosting, catalogue & currency support, checkout, and more – and makes it fast and easy to setup an online store even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. However, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’ve outgrown Shopify – after all, few platforms allow for more customization than WordPress.
Think of it like this:
Shopify is a type of “starter kit” for online stores, providing everything you need right off the bat for a monthly fee. They make it easy to get setup, but you’ve only got a few options for each aspect of your website’s customization. Is it convenient? Yes. Does it limit you to a degree? Absolutely.
WordPress/WooCommerce is a set of blocks. With WordPress as the base, you can add on building blocks that do just about anything you want. WooCommerce itself is a plugin for WordPress, and on top of it you can add all kinds of extensions to increase functionality. Now, starting with all those blocks and building something special is harder, but something from scratch is almost always going to be more impressive than something from a set – when done correctly.
So, if you’re looking to switch from Shopify to WooCommerce, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find a step-by-step-guide on how to cancel Shopify and move onto WooCommerce to take your store to the next level.
1. Planning the Switch
Switching over from Shopify is harder than starting with WooCommerce from the start, but if you prepare yourself beforehand you can make the swap much easier. Before you make the change for good, consider the following.
Check With Your Partners/Marketers
If you’ve had your website online for a while, you’re probably setup for search engine optimization, conversion tracking, and on-site marketing strategies that help you get clicks. However, when you move your website over to WooCommerce from Shopify, you’ll have to reestablish all that on-site work to ensure you don’t lose too much keyword power.
If you’re working with a SEO firm (which we recommend for the switch), alert them that you’re looking to make the change so that they can prepare your new website for a seamless transfer. Social media marketers or other marketing teams you work with should also be alerted so that they can point ads to the correct page on the new site.
One of the main reasons Shopify is beginner friendly is because it includes hosting for your store. Hosting is necessary because it’s what houses the files that makeup your website so that it can be seen online, but WooCommerce doesn’t include hosting. So, you’ll have to source your own hosting when you switch from Shopify to WooCommerce. However, this also comes with the benefit of better control over your website and hosting because you (or your developer) can make custom changes yourselves.
When searching for a host, look for those who offer custom plans or a variety of plans to ensure that you have enough processing power to handle your expected traffic. You don’t want to overpay for 100,000-person traffic capacity off the bat! Plus, many providers let you upgrade as you need.
In many cases, providers that offer WordPress managed hosting are best because their servers are optimized to work with the WordPress CMS for optimal security and speed. Plus, they usually have 1-click WordPress installs that make it even easier to get started.
You’ll also want to secure a SSL certificate from your host (or a third party). This is the green lock that shows up on your address bar when you’re on a secure website and is one of the best ways to give customers peace of mind.
2. Getting Started with WordPress and WooCommerce
Once you’ve prepared yourself for the Shopify WooCommerce conversion, it’s time for the new site to start taking shape. While you don’t have to worry about these steps if you’re working with a web developer, you’ll still want to familiarize yourself with WordPress so that management is easier.
Install WordPress and Theme
In order to use WooCommerce, you need to start with WordPress. Installing the CMS is easy these days with many hosting providers offering one-click installation. However, if you don’t have the luxury, you can install it yourself.
After getting the base setup, you’ll need to put a “skin” or “style” onto the site in the form of a theme. Themes control the majority of your visual and technical details on the front and backend of your website. There are free themes available through WordPress, or paid themes that offer extra tools, styles, or templates to make your life easier. It’s your choice whether you’d prefer a free or paid theme, but in general a paid theme is likely going to make it easier to get what you want from your site.
If you’re using a default theme within WordPress, simply choose it from the “Theme” tab on the “Appearance” ribbon on WordPress. If you’re using your own, press “add new” and upload the .zip file you downloaded from the provider to install the theme. Once it is ready, click “Activate” and you’ll be ready to start customizing.
Contrary to popular belief, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress – it doesn’t come with it. You’ll need to navigate to the plugin page to get your hands on it.
Simply click the “Plugins” tab on the WordPress ribbon and go to “Add New” to access the plugin marketplace. From here, a quick “WooCommerce” search in the search bar in the top right will point you to the plugin where you can “Install Now” to get it installed. Activate it afterwards and you’re ready to learn how WooCommerce works.
Complete WooCommerce Setup
In order to get started with WooCommerce, you’ll have to complete a first-time setup with their Setup Wizard. It will take you through each step, which includes setting up your location for tax charges, your shipping preferences, payment methods you’ll accept, and more. This sets the base for your store so that once it’s complete, you shouldn’t have to worry about most of the settings in the future unless something about your business changes.
Completing setup will add the WooCommerce tab to your WordPress ribbon as well as the “Products” catalogue where you’ll keep your products. Within WooCommerce’s settings you’ll be able to tweak checkout, shipping, and other business information as well as review everything about your store from sales to customers to order emails.
Install Additional Add-Ons
WooCommerce’s main advantage over Shopify is its customizability, so you can make the most of that by adding other plugins to your website once WooCommerce is installed. Whether you go for a third-party plugin like Handsome Checkout that helps you sell more products or just want to add a new payment method for your customers, you have the ability to make your store unique.
If you bought or downloaded a plugin from somewhere other than the WordPress marketplace, upload the plugin by pressing the button labeled “Upload Plugin” and choose the file you received.
If you’re adding something from the WordPress marketplace, just find what you’re looking for and press “Install Now”. You’ll also need to activate it on the next page.
3. Completing the Transfer
Your store is looking spiffy, you’ve got all your masterfully crafted text on its pages, and you’re eager to start seeing what WooCommerce can do for you. You’re getting closer! You just need to do a few more things before you’re ready to start selling.
Add or Import Products
Depending on the size of your Shopify store, you’re going to need to find the best way to transfer your products over.
If your catalogue is small, adding the products one-by-one is always an option. This lets you get a better grasp on how WooCommerce works, and lets you have the most control over the product information. However, it can take a while, so it’s not recommended for stores with more than 10 items.
Adding a Product:
1) Navigate to the “Products” tab on your WordPress ribbon (just below the WooCommerce tab) and hover over it to reveal the “Add New” option. Click it.
2) Enter the product name and description in the two main text boxes.
3) Go to the bottom right of the screen to choose a category for your product. This will allow it to be included with similar products when you or customers sort by the product type.
4) Scroll down to the “Product Data” section where you can enter the price, manage inventory, provide shipping specifications, and more. There are a LOT of options here, so play around with them to decide what the best settings are for the product.
5) Click the blue “Publish” button in the top right box to set the product live.
Importing Products from a CSV
The easier way to bring all of your products over from Shopify is through the product importer feature of WooCommerce. First, you’ll need to get the product information from Shopify, then it can be easily imported.
Exporting Products from Shopify
- Navigate to the admin panel in Shopify
- Choose the products tab and find “Export”
- Select the products to transfer
- Choose the CSV file format (Excel will work) and click “Export Products”
- Retrieve the file link via Email
- Download the file to your PC
Importing into WooCommerce
- Navigate to “Add New” option under the “Products” tab.
- Press “Import” at the top of the screen to open the import wizard.
- Choose the file you downloaded and hit continue.
- Map your product fields from Shopify to the relevant field in WooCommerce (name, product type, price, etc.).
- Run the importer until it tells you the import was completed.
- Click “View Products” and review each product to ensure nothing went horribly wrong in the transfer.
Transfer Your Domain from Shopify to WordPress Hosting
When you start with Shopify, you’ll usually get both your domain and hosting from them at the same time. This means that if you want to cancel Shopify but still want to keep your domain, you’ll need to transfer it.
OpenSRS is the domain provider that Shopify primarily uses, so you’ll need to go to their domain manager to make the necessary changes before transferring ownership.
Preparing Your Domain for Transfer
- Login to your OpenSRS account.
- Go to “Domain Locking” and scroll down to “Disable”. This unlocks the domain so that it can be transferred. However, it can take up to 24 hours to complete, so plan ahead.
- Find your domain authorization code – the code that proves domain ownerships – by going to the “Domain Extras” tab. Copy it – you’ll need it shortly.
Transferring to the New Host
- Login to your hosting account and find the “Domains” tab/page.
- Select “Transfer” and enter the domain you’re looking to transfer.
- Enter the domain authorization code that you received when preparing your domain.
- Complete the purchase (if necessary) or follow the instructions for requesting the transfer.
- Follow your provider’s steps for transferring the domain – they vary by the host, so contact their support if you need additional help.
Redirect the DNS Servers to the New Host
In order to display your website to visitors, the server that holds the website information needs to know where to send it to be found online. While with Shopify you were sending it from OpenSRS to your domain, your information is now hosted elsewhere – so you need to route it accordingly.
To do this, you’ll redirect your DNS (domain name servers) from the new host to your domain.
Redirecting Your DNS to Your New Host
- Login to your new hosting account.
- Manage your domain names or find domain settings.
- Find the Advanced DNS settings and add a new record.
- Add the “A Record” with the IP address your hosting company provides you (the location where your website information is stored).
- Delete existing URL redirect records.
- Add the domain you’re pointing to in the “Domain” box next to “CName Record”
- Save your changes.
- Check DNS Checker to verify it works.
4. Cancelling Shopify
You’re almost there! It’s a bit of a process to switch from Shopify to WooCommerce, but once everything is squared way with your new store, it’s time to close down the old one. But first…
Uninstall and Unsubscribe from Apps
You likely won’t be going back to Shopify after WooCommerce, so there’s no reason to keep paying for their features. Be sure to uninstall any paid apps, cancel memberships, and remove everything that has a fee for use to save yourself from headache. After you close your store, you’ll have a MUCH harder time cancelling things!
Remove Your Domain from Shopify
Your domain is currently hosted on Shopify, but your new web host is taking that role over. That means you don’t need the domain on Shopify anymore, so you can remove it to avoid any complications when you switch from Shopify to WooCommerce.
Go to your Shopify admin panel, choose “Online Store”, then click “Domains”. You’ll see a button or icon that says “Delete Domain” – click that, confirm the action, and get ready for your final goodbyes!
Close Your Store for Good
To say goodbye, simply login to your admin panel and find the settings option. Click “Account” and then “Store Status” to bring up the closure page.
Click “Close Your Store” and authorize the action with your password, then verify it one last time by clicking “Close Store”.
Just like that, you’re done!