Migration from the Salesforce Commerce Cloud (earlier known as Demandware) to Shopify Plus has become a huge trend currently, with Shopify improving its platform offerings in the e-commerce market and showcasing itself as a low-cost platform option.

Just a few years ago, we witnessed an upheaval in the smaller brands going for Salesforce Commerce. Still, now these are looking for alternatives to be more agile and flexible in developing new features and having more control over their e-commerce store. Some examples of recent migration are Gaiam, Crabtree & Evelyn, Hypnotik, and The Cambridge Satchel Co. We have engaged with the retailers operating on Salesforce Commerce Cloud and have moved to Shopify Plus. After the discussions, we decided to write this post for critical considerations.

You must know the significant benefits of migrating to Shopify Plus, with the two most important factors are agility and total cost of ownership. There will be some compromises as well, but the benefits are also significant. In general terms, Shopify is a straightforward and lean e-commerce platform compared to Salesforce. A migration will require you to go through several aspects differently, and especially the 3rd parties play an essential role in the Shopify environment. The general Shopify Plus build will probably have 10-15 core apps and 3rd parties, while Salesforce Commerce Cloud has hardly any.

Essential Points to Consider while migrating from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to Shopify Plus

a. International Store Setup + Separate Price books

This is an essential consideration as Salesforce Commerce Cloud comes with a robust offering of managing multiple stores and multi-currencies. You can develop different stores and price books (which will be used for other currencies), which you can easily manage through the admin panel.
In Shopify Plus, you may not get a like-to-like situation as individual stores operate independently, and currencies can be managed through a fixed conversion. However, the fixed price multi-currency features are going into beta now. You can even use a 3rd party app called Reach for separate price books.

In Shopify Plus, each store will have its separate setup, apps, product IDs, API Keys, etc., but manageable. Also, there are many 3rd party Shopify apps available that can reduce the overall effort. E.g., there are synchronization apps available to help with exchange or update between stores. You can even integrate PIM to get help with product data; many apps like Excelify make CSV imports easier. It is possible to manage themes at the global level.

Many people find managing multiple stores a roadblock on Shopify Plus, but this is not something you should be worried about as there are many 3rd party solutions available.

b. Nuances of Product / Catalog data

shopify-upload-product-csv-edit-productIn Salesforce Commerce Cloud, different product types allow complex relationships between products & variants. It supports the grouping of variants, product sets, bundled products, allowing to increase complexity within products, and there are options for advanced configuration of effects (beneficial for fashion stores). Then come the advanced product attribute settings, which let you manage sizing, color, etc. In short, the product management section of Salesforce is quite strong and supports a high level of complexity.

Shopify is quite different and is based on a single product type that can be extended through variants or tagging. Product variants are something you will require to manage things like sizing, color, and others. Variants can carry independent values for stuff like SKUs, images, etc. Standard product fields include descriptions, type, barcode, MPN, GTIN, etc.

Instead of product attributes, you can use tags so that a standard product will have titles like:

  • Brand: Adidas
  • Material: Wool
  • Gender: Women
  • Sale: Yes

These are the small examples, but this is a general way of how the product would be managed in Shopify Plus, and then they can be used for filtering, smart collection rules, front-end bits, merchandising logic, etc. There will be meta fields to store additional data like specifications, text content, videos, etc. We recommend our every client use meta fields.

For product relationships (which are allowed in Salesforce), you can use theme logic and tags for linking different products. The Shopify scripts are also being used for bundled and tiered pricing, etc.
In the Catalogue management, Salesforce Commerce Cloud has the edge over Shopify Plus, but Shopify Plus is perfectly managed when you get accustomed to its format and principles. In terms of freedom, you have more in Shopify than other platforms like Salesforce and Magento. You can make an error, but you can architect different solutions without any developer involvement.

We recommend moving product configuration to React.js or Vue.js for a faster, cleaner experience that also scales beyond the variant limit of Shopify.

c. Payments

In the community of Salesforce Commerce retailers, they prefer a 3rd party payment gateway like Adyen. Adyen is commonly used with the Salesforce Commerce Cloud but is not suitable for Shopify Plus as no direct integration is available. But that doesn’t mean that Shopify is limited to payments integration. Numerous 3rd party payment gateways can particularly have been easily integrated with Shopify. Stripe and Worldpay are trendy among Shopify payments.

A significant portion of Shopify users uses Shopify Plus on at least their primary stores because of its simplicity and how well it integrates into the platform. There are fixed rates of Shopify payments, but still, you can negotiate a little bit.

There is a very different scenario in Shopify payments compared to Salesforce, but Shopify payment has never disappointed our clients and us. They have all the functionalities that a 3rd party payment gateway should offer. Some capabilities are only available within Shopify and via the API.
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d. Less core functionality and more focus on apps

This is one of the essential differences between Salesforce and Shopify Plus. In Shopify Plus, your e-commerce team will be more dependent on Shopify apps, which isn’t any demerit. It is just entirely different.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud has showcased itself as a platform with powerful in-built native features and functionalities for sections like catalog management, search, promotions, merchandising, gifting, international markets selling, marketing, etc. On the other side, Shopify is like a shell that is developed through apps and third parties.

A few features which are in-built in Salesforce Commerce Cloud, but you have to use a 3rd party app in Shopify are:

  • Filtering: We use Boost Commerce as a high product filter and search for Shopify stores. It is highly flexible and feature-rich.
  • Gift Cards: Although Shopify natively supports gift cards, if you want to send them directly to the recipient, you have to use an app.
  • Imports: For imports, we generally use Excelify for richer and faster imports or exports
  • Search & Product recs: Salesforce has Einstein across product recs, search & categories. In Shopify, you would use 3rd parties like Klevu or NOSTO.

e. Migration of Data

From the discussion till now, it is evident that there will be completely different data structures here. For migrating your existing data, you have to spend a lot of time in spreadsheets. In some fields, you just have to change the headings, but specific attributes will require much work.

Customer and order data are almost the same, and Shopify has limited fields compared to Salesforce Commerce Cloud. For customers, you have to use a 3rd party app for custom fields, ensuring that you can pass all your data. “Title” and “Date of Birth” are two examples of areas that aren’t used natively in Shopify.

Migrating orders in Shopify is tricky, but things are almost the same whenever you are relocating. There will be a lot of manual work in this, but we always suggest integrating order data.

f. SEO Flexibility

Shopify is also entirely restricted for the SEO side with fixed URL structures. You can’t edit the robots.txt file. Neither it supports multi-site offering or hreflang etc. However, these are significant issues but can be addressed through workarounds.

Salesforce is relatively weak for out-of-the-box features in SEO, but it is highly flexible and fully optimized with work. During the migration, SEO is one of the biggest things that you should focus on. There will be a lot of changes as the URLs will get change. If you plan and manage this well, it can be done well but require considerable time and effort.

g. API & Integrations

Shopify comes with a standardized set of APIs, which is nice to work with. The APIs are appropriately structured and documented, and they are also easy to work with & meet multiple standards needs.

Many people say that there are limitations in Shopify API, but we have never encountered any issue as such. We believe that Shopify APIs are better than most expect them to be. For significant integration, many Shopify Plus stores use a 3rd party platform/service like Celigo, integrator.io, VL Omni, Patchworks, High Cohesion, etc.

In Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the people mostly use Mulesoft, an enterprise version of these integration platforms. They differ in services and operating and are generally used to integrate ERPs, WMSs, OMSs, etc.

Wrapping Up

This article has gone through several aspects of migration from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to Shopify Plus. Both the platforms have their specific limitation and many benefits. At Emizentech, the best ecommerce development company, we have expertise in Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Shopify. Thus, we can give you the best migration consultation and perform the complete migration meeting your expectations. Let us know your requirements.

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CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.