Read this case study to learn how The Clay Pot, a jewelry store in NYC, completed a successful migration to Shopify from Magento without a drop in traffic or conversions.
About The Clay Pot
The Clay Pot started as a pottery studio in Brooklyn, but evolved into a jewelry store in the 80s when founders Sally and Robert Silberberg hosted a wedding ring show featuring the work of local artisans. The family-owned business, now run by the founders’ daughter, Tara, has become one of the most talked about jewelry stores in New York City. The Clay Pot remains dedicated to artisans and designers from all over the United States.
The Clay Pot approached Stikky Media in November of 2018 to optimize their website and run some Google Ads. Their e-commerce store was powered by Magento, a popular open-source e-commerce platform. Over the years, The Clay Pot site had grown into a slow-moving, behemoth structure, with faulty links, multiple redirects, images that wouldn’t display properly, a cumbersome navigation with a deep, nested architecture and a problematic synchronization with their Google Merchant account. The site hosted approximately 1,500 products. By the time The Clay Pot asked for Stikky Media’s help, the problems had grown to a point where they were causing a substantial loss of business.
Our job was first and foremost to get the site to a stable place so the Christmas season would not be a complete bust. Tara then also asked if Stikky would prepare and implement a migration to Shopify in the new year. Shopify is a hosted all-in-one e-commerce service, and Tara was hoping to reduce the development and maintenance head-aches for The Clay Pot.
Stabilizing the Magento Site
The most immediate and critical problem was to fix the synchronization of Magento and the Google Merchant Account. A Google Merchant Account is a dynamic list of products that can be used to create a variety of Google Ads. The problem was with The Clay Pot’s Magento XML feed; the XML feed, which is dynamically generated by Magento, was not updating the price, and was missing some values while others were incorrect. Furthermore, The Clay Pot did not want every single product in the feed, but only specific items. Our developers got to work, and fixed the problems with the feed, so our Google Ads guru could ramp up their ad campaigns. We also optimized their meta data and fixed the broken links.
As a result, The Clay Pot 2018 Christmas season was completely respectable, keeping pace with the previous year, and at times surpassing it in some metrics.
Preparing for the Shopify Migration
We then turned to preparation for the migration to Shopify. The secret to a successful migration without a loss of traffic or ranking is in the preparation. Website migration is a very challenging technical process, with potential for things to wrong at every turn. Not only does all the data transfer need to be done correctly, but provisions need to be taken so that redirect errors do not occur. It’s imperative that Google can index the new site quickly and efficiently.
We first created a detailed document for The Clay Pot so they would be aware of the process, which would allow us to collaborate productively. Shopify is an all-in-one service, but there were still many decisions to be made by The Clay Pot such as choosing a theme, providing feedback on design customizations and approving specific apps that would be involved in the migration and the functioning of the new site.
On the technical side, Stikky Media created a spreadsheet to map the old URLs to the new site. This is a critical step in any site migration in order to avoid broken links, 404 errors, and the ensuing loss of traffic and ranking. We recommended using specific apps to do the heavy-lifting of the transfer, to which The Clay Pot staff agreed.
The other major component to prepare was the Shopify XML feed to sync with the Google Merchant Account. For this we again recommended an app to do the heavy lifting; while recognizing that there would be some development and fine tuning to get it right. There is always some friction when creating and doing the initial sync of a product feed due to the multitude of data points and products being pulled.
The Steps in Migrating to Shopify Smoothly
The first step was to set up a dev store in Shopify — this is free for development purposes. After choosing a theme, performing customizations and importing the data from Magento, the dev store was transferred to The Clay Pot’s name so that The Clay Pot could initiate payment with Shopify. Once payment was made, theold domain was pointed from the old store to Shopify and The Clay Pot went live.
Due to the meticulous planning, the migration went absolutely smoothly. The only problem was that because of the size of the site (7 GB), and Shopify’s restriction on the number of calls per hour (so their servers don’t crash), the migration of data was excruciatingly slow.
The Clay Pot did not experience any drop in traffic or conversions after the migration, as is very often the case. As well, the Shopify XML product feed to their Google Merchant Account synced without problem. There was virtually no down time and The Clay Pot did not lose any business in the migration.