A lot of merchants we work with are concerned about moving to Magento 2.0 and when they should do it, so we decided to share our perspective. The reality is, since Magento 2.0 is a complete migration, it can be an expensive undertaking; it’s important to understand your options, what you need to consider before the move, and whether you should move now, wait or try something completely different. Because the migration is a major technical consideration, we are going to place some focus on the non-technical concerns that marketers and non-technical owners need to think about.
Migrating to Magento 2 from Magento 1 primarily involves four (4) components: data, extensions, themes, and customizations. Treat this migration as if you were moving to a completely new platform. It is important to prepare your new system based on the requirements that Magento and your development team recommend. During your preparation, take a step back and consider if an open source ecommerce platform is still the right solution for you. Because we’re unbiased and advise merchants on all platforms, one of the things that we’ve seen are honest entrepreneurs being hustled into more complex solutions simply because they have the budget. This migration is a great opportunity to reflect on this and potentially make a change. Feel free to give us a call if you’d like to discuss this further.
If Magento is still the best solution for you, then let’s get down to brass tacks. It is important to know that Magento will still support Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13 and 1.14 until November 18. While that seems like a long time, it really isn’t. Many developers and extension developers have already begun shifting the older Magento version into support mode. Since most Community Edition users get little to no support, this isn’t news to them, but for EE users this could be a different story, especially when it comes to security patches, which could be a risk to all merchants.
Advantages of Magento 2.0
There are several advantages to moving to Magento 2.0. Magento has added some awesome features that make it a more advanced ecommerce platform than the previous version.
More Advanced API
Many merchants have had to customize Magento’s API due to limitations. The advantage of Magento is the ability to customize the solution to solve problems that aren’t there. This isn’t necessary now with the Magento 2.0 API that virtually covers every endpoint a merchant would need. This is a big plus when it comes to connecting and doing unique functions with ERPs, new software and custom apps.
For our non-technical audience, this means that if there are solutions that you would like to add into your business and speak back and forth with your ecommerce platform, you have more opportunity to do this now, more than ever. Building this “middleware” can sometimes be expensive, but may be necessary depending on your business. In most cases you won’t need to build any custom integrations with Magento since most platforms integrate with it already, and that won’t change. As a matter of fact, you should be seeing more functionality being built by solution providers who currently integrate with Magento.
Not having responsive design in this day and age is virtually insane. Over 50% of all website visits are from mobile devices and by 2020 nearly 50% of all orders are expected to be from mobile devices as well. Currently, some Magento customers have to use third-party solutions to solve their mobile conversion problem, but not any more.
To check to see if Google considers your website mobile friendly, click here. Google’s tool helps dig into the details on this, as it’s a big deal for search engine optimization, bounce rates and conversation rates as well.
Faster Page Load Times
Magento has been notorious for slow page load speed. This can be due to caching as well as bad Magento installs from developers who don’t truly understand the platform. Unfortunately, this can affect SEO, bounce rates and overall conversions as well. We have advised clients and helped them find new developers because they have experienced as much as a 40% decrease in traffic due to an overly sluggish Magento install.
Magento 2.0 solves this problem by leveraging Varnish Cache, a web application accelerator. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It can speed up content delivery by a factor of 300 – 1000x, depending on the architecture of your Magento install.
Finally, with Magento, it’s important that you work with developers who truly understand the solution, as it can be tricky. Because Magento 2.0 has some major changes, it’s important to either give your internal development team the resources they need to figure out the new solution, or find a developer specifically with experience working with Magento 2.0.
Prep for the Migration
Before jumping into your Magento migration, we urge you to start with an Audit of your current system and make a plan. Take a look at all of the customizations you’ve done (across the full-stack) and the extensions you currently use. Write them down on a Migration Scope document (could be easier in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel) and make sure each customization and extension on your Magento install:
- Is compatible with Magento 2.0
- Currently exists in Magento 2.0 (in an acceptable form)
- Has a clear last support date for Magento 1.0
- Is critical to migrate (take this opportunity to part ways with useless code)
After this is completed, have a detailed discussion with your technical team to find out the best date, based on your findings, to make the move. Don’t wait too long, but don’t rush into a migration earlier than you have to. Remember to consider your sales season. A full migration can sometimes take 6 months to a year, so be prepared to wisely invest your resources.