Shopify is a very popular eCommerce platform, and for this reason many new business owners start their websites on it without full awareness of its limitations — or its alternatives. Often, once Shopify store owners get more familiar with running an online business, they realize Shopify isn't meeting all their needs. Missing features, transaction fees, and growing expenses in the form of "must-have" apps can all contribute to the decision to leave Shopify for greener pastures.
The best alternative to Shopify is 3dcart. It offers everything Shopify store owners wish they already had, and at a lower price, too. With more built-in features included in every plan, and no transaction fees, you'll be less reliant on third-party services and suffer no penalty to your profits for using your choice of payment providers. This is why migrating from Shopify to 3dcart means saving money from day one. Plus, with more tools and features at your fingertips, you'll have an easier time running your store and serving customers overall.
Of course, you may have reservations about switching platforms. You've put a lot of work into your Shopify store and you don't want to lose progress — or customers! — in the transition. This guide will walk you through the process of migrating to 3dcart from Shopify without losing any data or sales.
Start by signing up for a 15-day free trial of 3dcart. It takes only a few minutes and doesn't require any credit card information, and you'll have a chance to familiarize yourself with the software without paying a dime. 3dcart's interface is somewhat similar to Shopify's, but there are some differences in where certain types of options are located. If you need help understanding how to use 3dcart, you can contact us for support at any time — our fully-US-based support staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even during holidays.
When you feel ready to start your migration, choose a 3dcart plan that matches the needs of your business. Several 3dcart eCommerce plans are available, offering an affordable range of options for businesses in different stages of growth. 3dcart doesn't lock you into a contract, so you can change your plan at any time.
There are a few factors you should take into account when choosing a 3dcart plan. First, take a look at our Pricing page, where you can view each plan side-by-side and compare all the features in each. Compare these features to your current Shopify plan.
You should also take into account any apps you're currently using on your Shopify store. The Shopify and 3dcart plans themselves are mostly similar in price — for example, both 3dcart and Shopify offer a $29/month plan. However, on Shopify, your monthly costs may be much higher because of the apps you need to run your store. How much higher? You would need to spend $80/month on your $29/month Shopify plan to have all the features 3dcart's $29/month plan includes by default. If any of your Shopify apps serve the same purpose as a built-in 3dcart feature, you can scratch that app off your list of expenses right now.
You may end up saving so much money by getting rid of apps that you could actually get a higher-tier 3dcart plan than your current tier of Shopify plan, and still end up paying less for 3dcart than for Shopify. Ultimately, what's important is that you choose a plan that's right for you. As a final note on 3dcart plans, we register a free domain name for your website as part of every package. If you don't yet have a domain name because you were using the .myshopify.com subdomain issued to you by Shopify, you can get a free domain name when you sign up with 3dcart. If you already do have a domain name, you'll need to connect it to your 3dcart store when migration is finished. We cover that step at the end of this guide.
Tip: If you don't have many products or simply prefer to do things manually, you can skip the product migration in steps 3 and 4, and simply create the products manually in your 3dcart dashboard. However, you will still want to migrate your customers, which we cover in Step 5.
You can load all your products into 3dcart by using a CSV file, which is a type of spreadsheet. First, you'll need to export your products from your Shopify store, which you can do within the Products menu of your Shopify dashboard. For complete instructions, visit Shopify's product export Help page.
Depending on how many products you have, your CSV file will be either downloaded through your browser or sent to you via email. Once you have the CSV file, you'll need to make some changes to the headings in the document to match 3dcart's format. You can see the correct headings by downloading a sample CSV file from your 3dcart dashboard.
Since Shopify limits the number of options you can have per product, you may have needed to split some products into multiple listings. For example, a shoe retailer might have a type of athletic shoes available in choices of size, color, upper material, and sole material. Shopify only allows 3 options per product, so that shoe retailer would be forced to split that single product into multiple products to allow for that fourth option. 3dcart lets you have unlimited product options and variants, so you'll no longer need to split product listings like this. If you needed to do so for your Shopify store, you may want to edit your CSV to combine these products for import into 3dcart. You'll be able to add your unlimited options later.
Before you import the CSV into 3dcart, upload your product images either through the File Manager or via FTP (FTP is best if you have a large number of images). Now you can add each image's location on your 3dcart website's server to your products on the CSV file. This will automatically attach the images to the products when you import the CSV.
Now, you're ready to start importing. Depending on how complex your products are, you may need to do multiple imports of different CSV files. Start by importing your product CSV into 3dcart. If your products have any options or variants, those must be uploaded with a different CSV. For more information on the different imports your products may require, learn how to import Product Options via CSV into 3dcart, how to import Advanced Options via CSV, and how to import product inventory counts.
While the idea of working with CSV files can seem intimidating, it's not as difficult as you might think. Since 3dcart lets you update so much of your store's information through CSV imports, once you're comfortable with CSV files you'll find them extremely valuable for saving the time it would take to make lots of manual changes.
Copying your customers' records from Shopify to 3dcart is also done via CSV, but it's much more straightforward than migrating your products. Start by exporting your customer list from Shopify. Once you have the exported CSV, visit your 3dcart Online Store Manager and navigate to Customers and then Customer List. On this screen, you'll be able to download a sample CSV file just like you did with your products. Use the sample customer CSV as a reference and change the headings in your Shopify customer CSV to match 3dcart's format. When ready, you can import your customers into 3dcart.
If your Shopify store didn't have any extra pages, now is a great time to make some. You need an "About Us" page and policy pages at the very least. These pages are often the first things new visitors will look for.
If you had a built-in blog on your Shopify store, your best option is to copy your blog posts over into your 3dcart blog. You can backdate the posts so they maintain the original posting dates as shown on your Shopify website.
Customization is the fun part — you get to play with themes and decide how your ecommerce website will look. We're only doing it so late in the process because sometimes it helps to add products, categories, extra pages, and other parts of your site before you choose a theme, because then you can get a better look at how that theme will affect these different elements. However, if you want to customize it at a different point in this process, feel free!
You can't directly copy a Shopify store theme to 3dcart, but there are so many options available in our theme store that you're sure to find a look you really love. Since 3dcart themes don't use the Liquid markup language, only HTML and CSS, it's easier to get a custom design as well.
Now is also a good time to customize your Store Settings, which cover the name, slogan, and other details of your store. The Store Language section includes even deeper customization by allowing you to adjust the exact wording of all the text on your website, including system messages, the footer, and other content.
If your Shopify store was using any integrations with third-party software, you'll want to integrate the same software into your 3dcart store. Both Shopify and 3dcart integrate with different types of business software for shipping, accounting, inventory management, and more. This is another case where you may end up unexpectedly saving money, as some of Shopify's integrations require paid apps that you can replace with built-in integrations in 3dcart. Of course, you will still need to pay any fees associated with the software itself, but paying for the actual app that performs connection to your online store may no longer be needed.
3dcart has more options than Shopify for both shipping and payment processing. Shipping will be quick and easy to set up on your 3dcart store — just add the proper basic information to your Shipping Settings and then add your carriers in Shipping Methods. 3dcart has better support for more shipping carriers than Shopify, so you'll be able to display real-time rate calculations and print labels in your dashboard for a wider variety of carriers.
Payments can be slightly more complicated, but only if you were using Shopify Payments. If this is the case, you'll need to set up a new payment method to accept credit cards as Shopify Payments can't be used outside of Shopify. Since Shopify Payments is based on Stripe, it may be easiest for you to set up Stripe in your 3dcart store, but 3dcart is integrated with more payment providers than any other eCommerce software, so you have tons of options available.
If you were not using Shopify Payments, you can still use your existing merchant accounts and payment processors on 3dcart by selecting them in your 3dcart Online Store Manager, including alternate payment methods like PayPal. The best part is that unlike Shopify, 3dcart will never charge a transaction fee for using the payment providers of your choice.
Finally, 3dcart's built-in tax manager makes it easy to charge the correct taxes on your sales no matter where your customers are located. Be sure to set this up before you go live!
Unlike Shopify, 3dcart includes hosted email accounts with every plan, meaning you don't have to get an email for your business from an outside service. The number of email accounts depends on your plan, but you'll always have at least one. These emails automatically include your domain name, like "yourname@yourwebsite" as opposed to the name of a provider like Outlook or Gmail. Having your domain name in your email is a mark of professionalism and will help customers take your business seriously.
If you weren't using custom emails before, now is a great time to start! If you were already using custom email addresses from a third party (like your domain registrar or an email provider's paid business option) for your Shopify store, you can still use them with 3dcart in the same way.
When you feel that your 3dcart store is ready to launch, you'll need to point your domain name to it. If you already have a domain name, log into your account with your domain registrar and change your DNS settings to connect it to your 3dcart store. If 3dcart registered your domain for you when you signed up for your plan, you can contact 3dcart support to have this change made for you. It can take up to 48 hours for the DNS changes to go through, but it often happens much more quickly than that.
Completing this final step means your new and improved eCommerce store is online and ready, and you can now run your business with all of 3dcart's powerful features and tools at your fingertips. Congratulations — just don't forget to cancel your Shopify account!
If you want help, please contact 3dcart for a free Migration Consultation. Or, if you're brand new to 3dcart, contact 3dcart Sales to receive a coupon for a free Shopify data migration in which our experts will handle most of the process for you.