November 25, 2021
Emmanuel Umukoro

Over the last few years, B2B practices have become a prominent eCommerce trend, resulting in fierce competition in the mid-level and enterprise eCommerce industry. Shopify has struck the right chord with merchants by offering them a low-cost, easy-to-use, and low-code solution to help improve agility. As a result, there has been an uptick in big brands migrating from Salesforce Commerce Cloud and BigCommerce to Shopify Plus. With Shopify constantly improving its offering and representing a significantly lower-cost and no-code platform choice, hence migration from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to Shopify Plus is fast becoming a trend, and perceived as an upgrade.

If you’ve been following my Shopify Plus articles, you already know some of the main advantages of switching to Shopify Plus, with budget-friendly ownership cost and agility (as things that can take weeks, only requires a few hours with Shopify Plus) being the top two.

Generally, migrating from Salesforce to Shopify Plus will require that you consider a few things, especially with Shopify Plus integrating with multiple apps that enable it to perform more extensive functionalities than Salesforce that has too little integration and hence limited features. In this article, we will discuss the major things you need to consider and the main difference between each platform.

Separate price books and International store setup

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is robust and offers to manage multiple stores and individual currencies. The idea of both separate stores and separate price books (which you can use for currencies) is provided by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, can be managed with ease through the admin interface at various levels.

On the other hand, each store operates almost individually with Shopify Plus, and currencies are only managed through a fixed exchange rate. This isn’t something to worry about though since the fixed price multi-currency features are going into beta, and you can always achieve separate books through a third-party app.

This idea of stores operating individually is equally a great approach to achieving the same thing since each store will have its own product ID, API keys, separate setups, apps, and so on. With the use of various third-party apps and approaches, merchants can easily manage the difference and minimize the associated overhead.

For instance, there are sync apps for passing/updating data between stores, you can use your ERP more effectively, a third-party PIM can help with product data, lots of apps have the ability to work across multiple stores and there are solutions to help make CSV imports easier. You can then also manage your themes at a global level.

Nuances in product/catalog data

There are a variety of products in the Salesforce Commerce Cloud that allow for complex relationships between different products and variants. It supports the grouping of variants, packaged goods, and feature sets, allowing for some complexity in product data and items like advanced configurable products that are especially useful for merchants in the fashion industry.

On the other hand, Shopify is different from this and is based on a basic form of product that is then extended by variants and tagging along with meta-fields. In the case of Shopify Plus, product variants are predictable and are commonly used for sizing and color differentiation sometimes. For things such as images, stock-keeping units, and so on, variants can have individual/separate values. You will also have a set of standard fields against the product for things such as barcode, product type, description, and so on. Then Instead of product attributes, you can then use tags like:

  • Material: wool

  • Brand: Adidas

  • Gender: women

There are many more tags but the main product data in Shopify usually looks like that and is used for items such as front-end bits,  filtering, rules for smart selection, merchandising logic, and more. As external data points, you also have metafields that can be used to store extra data, such as videos, richer text content, specifications, and so on. It will use metafields on goods for almost all of our customers.

You will typically use theme logic and tags to clearly communicate between different items for things like product relationships, e.g. color (which Salesforce allows for). You will then also use scripts from Shopify to allow things like bundling and tiered pricing, etc.

In terms of catalog management, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is in great competition with Shopify Plus, but when you get used to Shopify Plus, you will find its formats and values perfectly manageable. You can also use any of Shopify’s import/export solutions/apps to manage data migration for your products. I like how much flexibility merchants enjoy with Shopify data when compared to other platforms; it is easier to build various solutions without the need for developers.

To build a quicker, cleaner experience that also scales beyond the variant limit of Shopify, some Shopify users prefer to switch the product configuration to Vue.js or React.js.

Payments Processing

Most Salesforce merchants resort to third-party payment providers, and that’s one of the reasons migration to Shopify Plus can be a challenge since they like to retain their payment processors which doesn’t seem to integrate properly with Shopify. The majority of Shopify Plus merchants on the other hand use Shopify payment on their primary store because of its multiple benefits and deep integration. And that doesn’t stop Shopify Plus merchants from using alternative payment processors. The best part is the rates for Shopify Payments are set, but you can bargain for a price reduction if you can show them you're losing money by migrating to their platform.

Generally, Shopify payments offer all the technical compatibilities and key functionalities that third-party payment processors provide.

Native  features vs apps

The difference between Shopify Plus and Salesforce is that while Shopify is more of a skeleton greatly improved by multiple apps and integrations, Salesforce Commerce is rather marked as a solution with native features. The native feature however can be sometimes limiting when compared to Shopify’s rich app store that allows for a lot more flexibility beyond what the platform developers can offer.

Migrating Data

Migrating to Shopify Plus from Salesforce might require sufficient technical support and some time on spreadsheets since they have different data structures, although you will only need to modify some headings while their attributes will need more.

Order migration is generally complex when switching platforms, and the same is true for Shopify. A lot of manual effort might be involved, and that's why many merchants compromise here, but it is crucial to move your order details. However, you can always use Importer software to speed up your data migration process.

Since Shopify has fairly fewer fields than Salesforce Commerce, order and customer data will likely be the same. To ensure all data is accurately moved, you may require third-party apps to enable custom fields when it comes to customers’ data. 'Date of birth' is an example of a field that Shopify does not use natively. If the need arises you might also need to consider how to migrate stuff like opt-in data (against customers).

Flexibility in SEO

SEO is arguably the most important thing to consider during migration as there will be several changes with the URL structures and international domains. 

From an SEO point of view, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is weak out of the box but can be optimized. The same applies to Shopify due to its fixed URL structures, but there are ways to address it too.


Integrations and APIs 

Shopify has a relatively consistent set of APIs available across its platform making it easier to work with than most platforms. Its API meets the most common needs, and the best part is that they are extensively and well documented online.

Generally, Shopify's APIs are better than most people assume, but Shopify Plus stores can always use third-party services.

Final Thoughts

Working with merchants looking to scale their business has taught me that most of them choose Shopify Plus over Salesforce mostly because of its better pricing, agility, and low code, which is great for robust business resilience, particularly for those who wish to focus on growth.

Migrating can be challenging, and the possibility of something going wrong is high. This is why I often recommend that merchants use the help of agencies like Ecomtarget who help build build conversion-focused e-commerce stores and assist growing brands to migrate error-free.

Feel free to write me at if you need any assistance or have questions.

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