Do it Yourself – How to Migrate Subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce? – The Ultimate Guide

The fact that you’re reading this blog makes it clear that you’ve decided to migrate the subscription-based offerings of your e-commerce platform from Shopify to WooCommerce

You must have already scoured the internet for specific blogs to help you. But most articles are about general store migrations from Shopify to WooCommerce.

You would hardly find any that talk explicitly about subscription migration. And this is exactly why we’ve put together this guide.

A few months back, one of our clients, who ran a profitable store, asked us to help her migrate subscriptions from Shopify to her new WooCommerce store.

She had initially tried doing it on her own. But unfortunately, there was some kind of error with regard to the mapping of data during the transition process.

As a result, she lost a large amount of user data pertaining to recurring payments and renewal preferences. 

But this should not deter you from getting your hands dirty. If anything, doing it by yourself will help you get a closer perspective on your own product – a good thing to have. 

And for all that matters, we will guide you through the entire subscription migration process in a step-by-step manner. Be assured that you aren’t the first one to migrate subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce, and certainly won’t be the last. 

Note: There are many advantages that WooCommerce offers to fast-growing small and medium-sized businesses like yours in comparison to Shopify, which makes it worthwhile to migrate from the latter to the former. We will talk more about it in the next blog.

Nonetheless, as already seen, migration of stores from Shopify to WooCommerce can be a tough task in itself. And we are sure, you must have doubts regarding it. In one of our next blogs, we will talk broadly about steps to migrate to WooCommerce from Shopify. 

But in this blog, we will be dedicating our focus to one aspect of this huge problem – how to migrate your existing store subscriptions or recurring payment-based products from Shopify to WooCommerce all by yourself

Need assistance while making the shift? 

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But before we get there, let’s briefly brush up on a few things – just to make sure you are on the right track.

What is a Subscription?

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As you may already know, a subscription is an agreement between a seller and a consumer wherein the latter has to pay a periodic recurring amount for accessing products or services.

Netflix is a great example.

In the context of eCommerce, a subscription order is quite different from a normal purchase order. A normal order is fulfilled only once – when it is bought. 

On the other hand, a subscription is a recurring order that continues over time if the buyer doesn’t stop/pause it. 

Because of its larger scope, subscription data, in addition to normal order data, also includes additional data components like billing cycle, customer preferences, subscription timeline, trial period, etc. – data that is interlinked and prone to omissions. 

Migrating this data is difficult. And this is why subscription migration is cumbersome.

Note: If you are someone who isn’t migrating to WooCommerce, but is building a subscription-based model from scratch, you may find this handy.

Why is it important to migrate subscription data?

Now you may ask me – “If it is difficult to migrate subscriptions, why should I do it?”  When migrating stores from one platform to another, Shopify to WooCommerce in this case, subscription data has a major role to play, which makes it important for you to transfer it. 

Let us see why:

1. Greater capability to predict revenues

Can you, as a merchant, guess what is the minimum guaranteed revenue you are likely to draw in over a period of time? Let’s say next month. Mostly no.

While your normal orders are all instantaneous, subscription data helps you estimate how many confirmed sales you are going to have over a period. It is a sneak peek into the future and gives you headway to take decisions around operating expenses and investments.

2. Invaluable subscriber data to engage users & boost sales

Data is the fuel on which businesses run. Consumer subscription data provides information about recurring spending habits, choices, etc.

This customer history makes it easy for you to manage and boost user purchases through carefully analyzed offers, engage them with relevant products suitable to their needs, and ultimately boost loyalty.

Above all, a subscribed user mentions your business to their acquaintances more frequently than a normal customer. This helps you discover potential customers with no added costs.

Note: If you are in the process of migrating subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce, you may already have come across a lot of challenges. 

  • Firstly, Shopify does not have a simple way to export data to a WordPress-supported platform. There are minute technical details involved even while importing subscription data from Shopify. 
  • Secondly, in comparison to normal order data, subscription data contains extra information about billing periods, payment cycles, payment gateways, etc. which are all interlinked. Any omission during transfer may severely impact your active subscriptions. 
  • Tools involved in subscription migration from Shopify to WooCommerce don’t have a lot of flexibility and can effectively solve only about 40% of your customization needs, and that too at expensive prices. 

As a general rule of thumb, there are some important facets that you should follow while migrating your subscriptions to WooCommerce in order to ensure a fail-proof transition. Check it out here.

What are the things to consider before you migrate subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce?

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If you already have a functional WordPress site, or a WordPress site with WooCommerce added to it, then most of your task is already cut out. In case you haven’t already done this, then make sure you execute the following things before moving ahead. 

  • Find a web hosting provider for your Content Management System (CMS) and choose a plan. There are many service providers for this. Find some here.
  • Back up your Shopify store to prevent data loss during the transition. Shopify doesn’t offer backup functionality in general, so you may use tools from the Shopify App store like Rewind Data, or manually by exporting data in the form of CSV files.
  • The next step is obviously to install WordPress. Most hosting companies provide one-click WordPress installation, so check that out. Alternatively, download and set up WordPress yourself, which is actually quite simple.
  • Post that, you need to install WooCommerce from WordPress plug-ins, and set up your store. This will involve picking a theme and customizing your store by transferring all your products and related customer data from Shopify to WooCommerce. The latter can be done manually, with the help of an agency like WisdmLabs, or by using dedicated tools for import and export. Learn all you need to know about it here. 

Note: A complete overview of all the things you need to know while migrating to WooCommerce from any external platform can be found here.

Additionally, in our next blog, we will give a step-by-step approach to migrating your store from Shopify to WooCommerce. 

Does this sound overwhelming?

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The Final Task – Migrating your Subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce

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Now that you have successfully done all the groundwork, you are finally in a stage to accomplish your ultimate goal – migrate subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce. 

But you might be wondering why you have to do this separately, given that you have already migrated your product and customer data while storing set-up. 

This is primarily because the normal migration tools described above, or even manual importing techniques (through CSV) aren’t simply designed for doing it. 

As stated earlier, they operate on normal product and customer data. But subscription data, because it is recurring, is a bit more complex than that. 

To handle that and seamlessly transfer it requires added finesse. It is, therefore, necessary to execute this step separately, so as to ensure that there are no glitches in your active subscriptions, and more importantly, no revenue loss.

Now there are broadly 2 methods of doing it. And we will take a look at them both.

Want to ensure a successful migration from Shopify to WooCommerce?

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1. Migrate Subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce using Tools

Although a few, certain migration tools and plugins help you migrate your subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce seamlessly. They simplify the transition for you by automating the whole process and enabling you to port data which can’t normally be done with a simple CSV file. 

  • WooCommerce Subscriptions Importer Exporter – Freely and openly available to all, this tool backed by WooCommerce & WisdmLabs is dedicated to subscriber migration.
  • LitExtension – This is a paid tool that helps you migrate subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce, and for that matter, from any platform. 

The main advantage of these tools is that they allow you to keep your existing store running during this migration without any site downtime, i.e. you can continue receiving new orders even as you are importing the old ones from your former store.

These tools come with certain drawbacks though. 

  • Firstly, these tools are usually a one-fits-all kind of a solution, with no consideration for the unique requirements of your website – i.e., they provide you with limited flexibility to customize your store – roughly about 40% of what you need.
  • Secondly, many of these plugins are free only up to a certain extent. After the requisite freemium limit has been breached, it can get expensive really quickly.
  • Lastly, despite all the ease, these tools require some technical expertise, without which it would be difficult for you to operate them.

This brings us to the second method.

2. Migrate Subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce Manually 

Although a bit tough, migrating subscriptions manually on your own is a good thing to do. It gives you a deeper understanding of your store schematics and saves you extra costs. This is precisely what this whole blog is about. Let’s deep-dive into it. 

What are the Prerequisites for Manual Migration?

  1. You must have created all your Products, Customers, and Coupons on WooCommerce or imported them using a third-party tool/plugin.
  1. There must be a clear mapping of Shopify and WooCommerce data points (either Product IDs or Variation IDs). What this essentially means is that if there is a field named Price for a product on your Shopify store, there must be a field on your WooCommerce store with a similar name so that both can be linked.
  1. Lastly, you will require the following tools to execute your manual subscription migration:
  • WooCommerce Subscriptions Importer Exporter
  • WP All Import Pro
  • WP All Import Pro – WooCommerce Addon

Steps to Migrate your Subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce

All the prerequisites achieved, let’s cut to the chase now. Let me elucidate the steps in detail to you in an orderly manner.

  1. Export your Subscription data into a CSV file
  • Normally, it is easy to export Shopify data in the form of CSV files by using Shopify export functionality. But, Shopify doesn’t provide a default subscription feature and it is accomplished by a third-party add-on.
  • Shopify Subscriptions add-ons like Bold and ReCharge can help you with this.

Refer to this link for more information.

  1. Add the WooCommerce Product ID field in the subscription sheet
  • This is the field that is essential for mapping your products across both platforms and can be essentially found on the product mapping sheet.

If you feel stuck during the process, feel free to reach out to us.

  1. Add Billing and Shipping data (if they don’t already exist in exported subscription sheet)
  • Having exported the customer data into a CSV file, add the billing and shipping fields to the subscriptions sheet by mapping through email or subscriptions ID (if they exist).
  1. Add Stripe (or supported payment-gateway provider) Customer ID and Source ID (if they don’t already exist in the exported subscription sheet)
  • Having exported customer data into a CSV file, add the payment-gateway customer ID and source to the subscriptions sheet (if they don’t already exist) by exporting the payment data and mapping them through email or subscription ID (if they exist).
  1. Format the subscriptions sheet as mentioned in the CSV Formatting Guide of the WC Importer Exporter plugin
  • While formatting the subscription sheet, make sure that the following details are correct in the sheet –
    • Subscription Start Date
    • Subscription Next Payment Date
    • Subscription End Date
    • Subscription Status
    • Subscription Billing Period and Interval
    • Product Details ( WooCommerce ID, name, price, etc )
  1. Rename the field subscription id to shopify_subscription_id
  • This will be required to get the precise mapping of Shopify subscriptions and WooCommerce subscriptions after migrating subscriptions onto WooCommerce.
  1. Import the addended subscriptions sheet using the WC Import Exporter plugin by following the steps as mentioned here (Steps 1-10)
  1. Get a mapping of Shopify and new WC subscriptions IDs
  • To find the mapped linking of old Shopify subscriptions and imported WooCommerce subscriptions, simply run the below SQL command, which uses your pre-saved Shopify Subscription ID to scan through results and fetch you your new ID.
  • SELECT `meta_value` as “Shopify Subscription ID”, `post_id` as “WooCommerce Subscription ID” FROM `wp_postmeta` WHERE `meta_key` LIKE ‘shopify_subscription_id’;

Congratulations, you have successfully migrated your subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce. 

But hold on. The task isn’t complete yet. 

You have simply migrated all the subscription data. What about the active orders against these subscriptions? Shouldn’t we be importing that as well? 

Steps to Migrate Subscriptions Order Data  

This is a rather straightforward process and is very similar to the process we followed above.

  1. Export Orders data into a CSV file
  • Export Orders data from Shopify. Make sure that exported orders file contains the Shopify subscription ID field which will help us map the order against the corresponding WooCommerce subscription ID which we fetched in Step 8 of the Subscription Migration process.
  1. Add the subscription_renewal column to the orders sheet
  • Add and fill it by importing Woo Subscriptions IDs (as mentioned in Step 8 of Subscriptions migration)
  1. Add the order_status column to the orders sheet
  • This helps you track the current WooCommerce order status with respect to the existing order status column of Shopify in the sheet
  1. Add the product_exists column to the order sheet
  • This can be done by simply comparing the SKUs of the order sheet and product mapping sheet.
  1. Import the orders sheet using WP All Import:
  • Please follow the WP All Import WooCommerce guide to Import orders.

With this, we have finally come to the end of a successful orders and subscription migration from Shopify to WooCommerce. 

If you’re still a bit confused with all the technicalities that went into play while executing the transition, that is not surprising at all. Many of these steps rely heavily on coding snippets, maneuvering queries on sheets, and proper mapping.

In case you feel that they don’t really suit you, or if you need help/guidance doing it, there is always a third method available.

Migrate Subscriptions from Shopify to WooCommerce – Get an official WooCommerce Expert

Migrating subscriptions to WooCommerce manually, or even using a tool, is somewhat risky. There is always the looming threat of an error given all the technical prowess needed. 

Thus, one of the easiest and safest options to migrate is with the help of an official WooCommerce Expert. Not only are they trustworthy, reliable, and efficient, but they also save you a lot of time and effort on the transitions. 

Although not the cheapest method of the three, it is certainly the safest approach.

As trusted WooCommerce experts and official migration partners with over 3000+ projects under our belt, we at WisdmLabs have always strived to deliver the best results for our clients, no matter what the challenges are. 

Feel free to reach out to us for a fail-safe migration or if you need any assistance during the process.

Get In Touch Today

Happy to help 🙂

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