Shopify to PostgreSQL – How to Move Data Instantly

on Tutorial • February 27th, 2020 • Write for Hevo

The advent of the internet and the cloud has paved the way for SaaS companies like Shopify to simplify the cumbersome task of setting up and running a business online. The businesses that use Shopify have crucial data about their customers, products, catalogs, orders, etc. within Shopify and would often need to extract this data out of Shopify into a central database and combine this with their advertising, ads, etc. to derive meaningful insights. PostgreSQL has emerged as a top ORDBMS (object-relational database management system) that is highly extensible with technical standards compliance. PostgreSQL’s ease of set up and use has made it a very lucrative option to host data from systems like Shopify. In this blog, we are going to learn how to move data from Shopify to PostgreSQL.

Introduction to Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps businesses to create online stores and sell their products. They also have an online retail point of sale system (Shopify POS) where merchants can sell their products in person. It is designed for all businesses regardless of their sizes. Shopify provides a set of tools and services such as payment gateways, shipping, marketing, and customer engagement so that users can grow their business easily.

Shopify has built-in capabilities that allow users to analyze customers’ data. However, businesses/organizations need to store this data in a database because it allows them to gain in-depth insights by combining other organizational data with Shopify. This allows them to leverage the power of a full-fledged database (or sometimes a data warehouse) and overcome the limitation of Shopify analytics. 

Introduction to PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an open-source and powerful object-relational database system. It not only uses SQL language but also extends it with many features that stores and scale very complicated data workloads. It has a strong reputation due to its proven architecture, data integrity, reliability, extensibility, robust feature set and dedication to a rich open-source community. 

Method of moving data from Shopify to PostgreSQL

Data can be moved from Shopify to PostgreSQL in two methods:

Method 1: Using the Shopify APIs and PostgreSQL commands to build a script

Method 2: Using a ready to use Hevo Data Integration Platform

The above two methods will be covered in detail in this blog. In the end, you will have an option to choose the best based on your needs.

Shopify to PostgreSQL: Moving Data Using Custom Code

The Shopify platform is completely exposed to developers through the Shopify API. Businesses can extract data from Shopify using the API endpoints exposed by Shopify. 

The Shopify API can be accessed using HTTP/CURL/Postman as the API follows RESTful architecture principles. 

Shopify API Authentication

Shopify has two types of applications: private and public apps. Based on the type of application, the means to authenticate the API call would change. 

For example, you don’t need to authenticate private apps with Oauth because they will only function on individual apps. For us to get data from Shopify, we would only need access to private apps. As a next step, you would need to login to your  Shopify admin or Partner dashboard to get private app credentials. You can use this API key to extract data from your Shopify account. 

Shopify Endpoints

All possible touchpoints of e-commerce are exposed by the 35+ Shopify API endpoints. Below are some of the most important resources covered by these endpoints: 

  • Order Details: These set of APIs allow you to extract data on orders placed, cart abandonments, refunds requested and more
  • Customer Details: These APIs allow you to retrieve customer data
  • Product Details: These APIs allow you to retrieve the details of the products listed on the Shopify store.

Click here for a complete list of endpoints available.

Let us now look at a sample API call to extract data on the products listed on your Shopify store. We need to make an API request to the like this:

GET /admin/api/2020-01/products.json

In response to the above API call, Shopify will return a JSON object with a list of all the products listed on your Shopify store.

Additionally, Shopify allows you to filter the results based on dates. Therefore, in a continuous data extraction process, it’s possible only to pull the new data available. This can be done by including created_at_min and created_at_max parameters in the GET request. 

Preparing Shopify Data for PostgreSQL

Before loading data to PostgreSQL, you will need to define a data model or schema that describes the data you want to load. PostgreSQL is a relational database and organizes data in tables. Just like any other SQL database, it has a collection of different data types.

The best strategy to load data from Shopify to the PostgreSQL database is to create a schema that will map each API endpoint to a table. Map each key in the Shopify API to a column of the table. You should also ensure the right conversion of Shopify data to PostgreSQL data types. 

For example, if a string is returned from an API call, convert it to VARCHAR with a defined max size or a TEXT data type. If these cases are not handled, then the process can break, leading to loss of data. 

Loading data from Shopify to PostgreSQL

Data can be inserted to PostgreSQL using the INSERT command. This is the most straightforward way of inserting data into a PostgreSQL database. However, this loads the data row by row and does not scale with large volumes of data. 

The recommended way of loading large data sets into a PostgreSQL database is using the COPY command. It copies data from a file in a file system accessible to the PostgreSQL instance. This method loads large data sets into the PostgreSQL database in less time.

Shopify to PostgreSQL Using Custom Code: Limitations and Challenges 

  1. Infrastructure Maintenance: Shopify has rich APIs and may continuously update or change them. So, you will need to invest in time and an engineering team to update and maintain the ETL code regularly. 
  2. Real-time Data: The above approach works if you have data to be loaded in a batch fashion. Many times this is not what businesses need. If your use case is to bring data from Shopify and load to PostgreSQL in real-time, you would need additional lines of code to implement that. 
  3. Ability to Transform Data: The current method does not allow you to clean, transform or enrich the Shopify data. For example, let us say you would want to standardize time zones to effectively calculate sales or if you want to convert currencies to a specific denomination, these tweaks are not achievable using the above code. 

The above limitations can be overcome by using a completely managed platform such as Hevo to move data from Shopify to PostgreSQL.  

Shopify to PostgreSQL: Exploring a Simpler Alternative – Hevo Data

Hevo is a fully managed data integration platform.  Data can be loaded from Shopify to PostgreSQL without having to write any code. This can be done in just two steps:

  • Authorize and configure your Shopify data source
  • Configure the PostgreSQL database where the data needs to be loaded

Advantages of Using Hevo:

  1. No Data Loss – Hevo has a  fault-tolerant architecture that ensures data is reliably moved from Shopify to PostgreSQL.
  2. 100’s of Out of the Box Integrations – In addition to Shopify,  Hevo brings data from other sources such as Databases, Cloud Applications, SDKs, and so on into PostgreSQL. This gives you the flexibility and scalability required to grow your business.
  3. Minimal Setup – Hevo is easy to set up and use. It has a visual point and click interface that will allow you to start moving data from Shopify to PostgreSQL in minutes.
  4. Automatic Schema Detection and Mapping – The schema of incoming Shopify data is scanned automatically by Hevo. Hevo handles any changes seamlessly by incorporating the change on PostgreSQL. 
  5. Exceptional Support –  Hevo provides 24/7 email and chat support so that you always have someone who can reliably navigate you through any issues you may face.

Sign up for a 14-day risk-free trial with Hevo. This will give you an opportunity to experience Hevo’s simplicity and start moving data from Shopify to PostgreSQL instantly. 

What are your thoughts on moving data from Shopify to PostgreSQL? Let us know in the comments. 

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