How to make the switch from Squarespace to Shopify

When people start selling a product online, they often turn to Squarespace as an easy-to-use commercial platform, which does not require special knowledge in creating websites and is quite intuitive. However, once the intensive growth of website product assortment occurs, they need more space to organize the trading process, as the more popular the web store becomes, the more products one adds to the sales list. This is when Shopify comes into play. So, to make things easier for you, aspiring entrepreneurs out there, you are welcome to take advantage of our ultimate guide to make this transition smooth and successful.

Common concerns

If you are still somewhat hesitant as to why you need to make this switch to Shopify happen, let us dispel all your doubts by enumerating a number of reasons, after which you never ask this question again and do the right thing i.e. choose Shopify.

Content and Commerce Management

This is the first and main concern you might have. But, oh God, I wish all problems were solved this easily. To become an efficient manager of your content, Shopify’s Javascript Buy SDK is here to give you a helping hand with Shopify e-commerce integration into your website. With this, you get Shopify’s powerful cart and e-commerce system combined with the CMS of your choice.

But, maybe, e-commerce is your actual pain. Once again, the solution is on the surface: your content will need to be served by Shopify. This can be achieved with theme customization, complete with sections and blocks. Press pages and lookbooks when utilizing Shopify’s blogging platform. And voila, either of your concerns no longer matters, simply bear in mind that you need to choose your main focus and adapt Shopify to your requirements.

Interface

Having used Squarespace with a rather simple interface, Shopify, at first glance, might seem to be complicated. But it will not require more than a couple of hours to figure out how the system works. Shopify is a ‘pure’ eCommerce builder and, compared to Squarespace, which was designed to build non-eCommerce websites, it better suits if  you want to create a more advanced online store, offering a wide range of features and tools: simple content editor, ready-to-use working environment, ready-made templates, integrated e-commerce features, drag-and-drop building tools, etc. Thus, you get a broad spectrum of custom editing solutions to build and manage a whole online store.

Shopify Overview

Pricing

Let me start with the good news here! And the good news is that Shopify has packages at different price points, suitable for different types of businesses.

While Squarespace limits the pricing options to four, Shopify decides to add an additional option - hence make them five. These include Shopify Lite at $ 9 per month, Essential Shopify at $ 29 per month, Shopify at $ 79 per month, Advanced search at $ 299 per month, Shopify Plus with additional features for large businesses starting at $ 2000 per month. Shopify also makes it cheaper if you decide to pay an advance over a long period of time. A 12-month subscription draws a 10% discount, while 24 months qualifies you for 20%. By and large, although Shopify plans are more expensive than the ones at Squarespace, they deliver more eCommerce features to build a high-quality webshop. Moreover, the plans are to meet different requirements, which make them more flexible if compared to Squarespace plans.

Benefits

Fasten your seat belts and hang on to your hats - you are about to explore some of the greatest benefits of Shopify.

Design

Shopify has advanced design options for a pattern. The themes there are created by design agencies and are true representations of current and future trends. In addition, Shopify offers a “live” theme setting that helps you change your chosen theme depending on your desire. The number of customizable parameters you receive with a particular Shopify theme depends on the theme you choose. The more advanced is your theme, the more settings you have.  

Customer Support

Shopify is really big on customer support. And people just love to have this feeling of being taken care of. No matter which tariff plan you decide on, the company has full 24/7 customer support, which includes telephone support, chat and email support. Another great form of help offered by Shopify is access to a significant support system directly through their website, including user forums, tutorials, and frequently asked questions.

If you are just starting your journey as an online retailer, Shopify has created something called Ecommerce University. Here, users gain access to e-books, videos, and guides, thus exploring all the possibilities of their own online store.

Payment Getaways

Shopify offers a much wider selection of payment options than the majority of website builders. While Squarespace supports only two options, Shopify comes with more than 100 integrations, consequently, facilitating transactions, possibly from every angle associated with a website on the ground.

Apps and third-party services

Shopify has its own eCommerce marketplace with a range of add-ons and widgets for your future online store. The selection of apps includes solutions for analyzing, reporting, payment processing, loyalty programs, social media marketing, etc.

Apart from the app store, the system can integrate with a range of third-party services. A good solution for those who crave for extended website functionality thanks to Zoho, Zendesk, QuickBooks or other integration opportunities.

Marketing

Shopify has all the vital marketing tools on your disposal. Their basic package includes SEO features and advanced eCommerce analytics that tell you how your customers are finding you online – information that can inform your inbound marketing efforts. For instance, let’s say you learn that the majority of your unique visitors discovered your website by searching for “the best white wine from Italy”. You could then create a blog series about that topic, and feature your best-selling Italian wines on your homepage. See how that works?

Apart from the integrated SEO tools, Shopify adds some essential marketing tools, such as discount codes, custom gift cards, social network integration, targeted email marketing, store statistics & a coupon engine.

How to setup a development store

Taking into account that you have a trial period functionality in Shopify, your creative soul is free to create and explore as many development stores as you like. This is how you get the things started:

1. From your Shopify Partner Dashboard, click Development stores.

2. On the Development stores page, click Create store.

3. Enter the details about your new development store.

4. When you’re done, click Save.

Once created, a development store will open in your browser. You can also log into existing development stores from the Development stores page in your Partner Dashboard.

Now the building begins.

How to migrate products from Squarespace to Shopify

Exporting steps

The first thing you need to do is export your data from Squarespace. Don’t forget to keep your Squarespace site live whilst completing this step. In the Home Menu, click Settings.

  1. Click Advanced, and then click Import/Export.

  2. Click Export.

  3. Select Products from the Export Site menu.

  4. Click Download. Your products will download as a products.csv file.

So easy, right?

Importing steps

There is a whole bunch of ways how to get your products imported, whether it’s through an automated service offered on the app store, or manually entering small product catalogs.

Without further ado, here is a guide on how to import your Squarespace .csv product file to Shopify:

Steps:

  • 1. Go to your Shopify admin and choose Products tab.

  • 2.Click Import.

  • 3. Click Choose File in the Import products by CSV file window.

  • Locate your CSV file, then click Open.

  • Click Upload file.

  • A confirmation letter from Shopify will be sent to your email address as soon as your CSV file is uploaded.

How to migrate blog content from Squarespace to Shopify

Exporting

I am pretty sure the next stop you will want to do is export the content from your website including blogs, text and image blocks, and pages.

You are welcome to use our guide below.
1. In the Home Menu on Squarespace, click Settings.
2. Click Advanced, and then click Import / Export.
3. Click Export.
4. Click the WordPress icon.

Note: Click this icon even though you are going from Squarespace to Shopify, not Wordpress.
5. If you have more than one Blog Page on your site, a “Select Primary Blog” message will appear. Only one Blog Page can be exported.
6. Select a Primary Blog from the drop-down menu, and then click Export.
7. Wait for the export to process, which may take you to wait for a few minutes.
8. Download the exported file.
9. When the export is complete, a Download option will appear. Click Download to save the .xml file to your computer, or click Clear to erase the export.

Importing

For Shopify Plus members there is a possibility to use the Transpoprter App and comm and-line tool to import their content into Shopify.

First thing you need to do is decide the way you will migrate your content and in what order. You have a few options here :

1. Copy-paste your content from your old site.

2. Use existing migration apps from the Shopify App store.

3. Develop an app that uses the Admin API.

4. Migrate your content manually with the help of CSV files.

How to choose a Shopify theme

Creating a custom theme for Shopify, thanks to which your online store will stand out from the mass of competitors, is a responsible task as the visual representation of your business is of great importance.

We recommend using search and filtering options for this aim.

  1. There is an option to search by theme feature, which you can find with the help of the top bar search field on Shopify Theme Store, for example product filtering, video, related products, etc.

  2. You can also search by collection to be able to discover themes with a desired style or layout, or by industry. In order to do that you need to go to the Shopify Theme Store. Click “Collections” or “Industries”, and then select a category.

How to switch your domain

The main condition is that your Squarespace domain has been registered for at least 60 days. Then, the transfer can happen.

Step 1 - Unlock the domain

  1. In the Home Menu, click Settings, and then click Domains. You can also press the key while any panel is open and search domains.

  2. Click the domain you want to transfer.

  3. Scroll down and uncheck Lock Domain.

Step 2 - Get transfer key

The Get Transfer Key button will appear at the bottom of the panel after unlocking the domain.  Click Get Transfer Key and copy the transfer key that appears. You'll provide this code to your new domain provider to authorize the transfer. Your provider may also call this an “EPP code” or "authorization code."

Step 3 - Transfer the domain

To transfer your domain away from Squarespace, send your new domain provider the transfer key you just copied.

Steps:

  • From your Shopify admin, click Online Store > Domains.

  • If this is the first domain that you're connecting to your Shopify store, then click Connect existing domain, then click transfer in your domain:

If you already have a domain connected to your Shopify store, then click Transfer domain:

  • Enter the domain that you want to transfer to Shopify. Do not include www. at the beginning of the domain.

  • Click Next.

  • Click Verify domain.

  • If the domain is ready to be transferred, you see DOMAIN UNLOCKED. Click Next to continue.

  • In the Verification code box, enter the authorization code, or EPP code, that your domain provider gave you.

  • Click Next.

  • Click Buy and transfer.

  • Check the email account associated with your domain for an email from your domain provider. The email varies by domain provider, but you need to approve the domain transfer by clicking a link such as Confirm Transfer or Approve Transfer:

After you've approved the domain transfer, it takes up to 20 days for the transfer to be complete. You will receive an email from Shopify confirming that your domain is transferred.

How to redirect your urls for SEO

When migrating from a Squarespace store, you don’t want to lose any of the website features or links. You would want to minimize or avoid the loss of SEO ranking from the page changes.

This is how you can manage your redirects:

  1. Make sure to backup everything.

  2. Find your sitemap on Squarespace.

  3. Convert it to a CSV and download.

  4. Upload the file to Google Sheets (to make it safe).

  5. Create the SEO redirects.

  6. You have 3 courses of action:

    • Forward it to the same page on the new site, i.e About Page to About Page, Red Shirt to Red Shirt

    • Combine it with another page. This is just like forwarding it to the same page, but maybe you combined your About Us and Contact Page, or you no longer have Hoodies but you still have Sweaters. Just send it to the most similar page.

    • Send it to the homepage. Do not ignore it or else it will give a 404 error. As we stated, Google hates 404s and it will negatively impact your SEO ranking.

Tools you can use to automate the process

There is a whole lot of various tools which contribute to automating the migration project.

Spare some time to review some of the tools we recommend, they are definitely worth your critical eye.

1) Litextension. This tool provides you with a high level of security and accuracy while transferring your Squarespace store to Shopify. A few minutes – and the connection between the two carts is established.

2) Cart2Cart is another time and energy-saving service you should consider. In just 3 steps the transfer is completed and your nerves are preserved.

By and large, if you aim at creating an internationally acknowledged online store and attract traffic from other countries, Shopify will be a good tool for implementing a plan to reach the western world and fulfill your wildest dreams!

CommerceSupport Team