Since its release back in 2007, Magento has held its position at the top of the eCommerce platform tree for over a decade now. It’s estimated that nearly 30% of all eCommerce websites are built on it and that figure is only set to grow as more businesses take to the world wide web to sell their products through Magento.
There is however a big decision on the horizon for those currently using the platform as Magento development is about to cease – Magento 1 is entering into its end of life.
Towards the end of 2018, Magento confirmed that its original platform would remain supported until June 2020 to allow businesses around the world at least 18 months or so to choose their next steps.
This wasn’t unexpected news. When Magento 2 was made publically available back in 2015, this was the signal to retailers that there was a three-year deadline about to kick in – something set out in the original agreement released by Magento. The current platform would enter end of life and any store using it would need to migrate across to Magento 2 (or an alternative platform) in order to stay secure and up to date.
To the relief of many businesses though, support for older Magento platforms will be extended into 2020 to give stores more time to get their plans in place for life after Magento 1.
Magento 1 Is Finally Winding Down
It’s fair to say that the original Magento platform has had a fantastic lifespan, far longer than was expected for sure.
The latest Magento version 1.9 was released way back in 2014 and for an open source product to still be receiving security patches and updates 6 years later is an amazing effort. Let’s not ignore the significant investment being made into Magento 2 during this same period.
We should also applaud Magento for delivering on the promise they originally made in 2017 whereby a minimum of 18 months notice would be given for the end of Magento 1 support. This has given retailers a big cushion of time in which they can plot out their next steps and make a decision on which platform to use for the next 5 years or so.
Now, the end of Magento 1 doesn’t mean the end of your store – far from it. Even though ‘end of life’ means any ongoing support for the original Magento platform will stop, your store will still exist – however, you won’t be able to get any security updates or patches for your site which leaves you in a difficult position.
Magento 1 entering its end of life phase doesn’t mean the end of your eCommerce store – far from it. Magento 2 is a sizeable upgrade and can deliver new functionality to take your site to the next level.Tweet this now
Although the actual lack of updates in itself isn’t a scary proposition, there will be an unavoidable impact on your store. With no ongoing Magento development, your site will quickly become a huge risk to your business as you’ll lose access to the latest security patches – this means your site almost immediately becomes vulnerable to a wide range of hacks and data breaches.
As an eCommerce business, you have a duty of care to protect and secure all your customer data in a safe way. Without the ongoing protection, regular Magento development updates and security patches provide, your out-of-date site will be full of gateways for hackers to abuse, leaving you in breach of modern data protection laws.
When a product enters ‘end of life’, it wouldn’t usually be immediate cause for concern. In most cases, this title is given to products that have come to the natural end of their useful life. In terms of Magento, the consequences are a little more serious. The original platform will still exist but without updates, therefore making it unusable for any large eCommerce business that is serious about the way it operates online.
Don’t panic though, because one thing you do have is options. Read on to find out more.
Options For Current Magento 1 Users
With all of the above in mind, we are firmly of the belief that the only way to guarantee long-term security for your customers is to replatform to Magento 2 before the official end of life date in June 2020. Staying on the original Magento platform, if you’re in any way concerned about the long-term stability of your business, isn’t a viable option.
Switching to Magento 2 before the end of life date will also ensure any risk to your business and your customers is kept to a minimum as you’ll benefit from any remaining security updates and patches before your switch ahead of the support cut-off date.
In Magento’s experience, platform upgrades can be a time for innovation and positive digital transformation in organisations, for example looking at features that are working well but also what features need to be improved and support your business goals moving forward whilst giving you a competitive edge. Now is definitely the time to start the conversation with us and your agency – we are both ready to support merchants along what will be a rewarding journey.
Of course, you don’t have to move to Magento 2 if you don’t want to or if cost is an issue – you can migrate to any of the popular eCommerce platforms before time runs out. Bear in mind though that moving your site will be a big project involving a lot of work regardless of the platform you choose, but it’s likely that workload will be increased if you move away from Magento and onto a different platform.
Because they are intrinsically linked, the migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is significantly more straightforward than replatforming to another outside eCommerce system like Shopify for example. Everything within Magento 1 can be migrated across to Magento 2 including orders, customer information and product data so the headache is somewhat reduced.
If you choose to move away from Magento during this end of life phase, be aware that you may not be able to take everything with you. What you can take will depend on the platform you choose to move to.
Move To Magento 2 Using An Agency
Unless you have a dedicated in-house team of designers, developers and project managers, replatforming is going to require the help of a highly-skilled and experienced agency – just like us!
Be aware that you won’t be alone in looking to make the move to Magento 2 either. Thousands of other businesses up and down the country will be assessing their own options and making a decision on replatforming.
The closer we edge to that end of life date in 2020, the busier eCommerce agencies like ourselves will become and you don’t want to miss the boat – that’s why securing the best possible deal now makes perfect sense.
Replatforming from Magento 1 to Magento 2 isn’t something that can happen overnight. To minimise disruption to your eCommerce store, you should set aside a few months to make sure the move isn’t rushed.Tweet this now
One of the key things to remember here too is that replatforming isn’t something that happens overnight.
A complex eCommerce site will require significant Magento development at various stages of the move and this can take months to complete. Agencies like us here at Media Lounge will only have a finite number of slots available to businesses that are keen to replatform to Magento 2 before the support deadline, but finding the right slot is also crucial. If you want to see which build slots we have remaining before the support deadline runs out, get in touch and we can run through the remaining options.
As an online retailer, you obviously don’t want to be going through a site transition during your busy season, or around key trading periods like Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas. By planning your move ahead of time in a quieter period for your business, you’ll be able to undergo the replatform safe in the knowledge that you’ll be ready for action when sales start to pick up.
At this stage, there’s no need to panic – you still have plenty of time to do your research and gain a better understanding of what Magento 2 can do.
Meeting with an agency like us is just the first step of the replatforming process, and remember that this isn’t just moving your site from one platform to another – it’s a perfect opportunity to make big design changes, optimise the user experience and fine-tune your checkout procedures.
You want to start life on the new platform with the best eCommerce website you can create.
Should You Move To Magento 2?
This is the big question, and it’s very difficult to answer without knowing your particular business needs and what you specifically require from your eCommerce solution. From our perspective as an agency, we believe Magento is the world’s leading eCommerce platform for good reason and it’s ideally suited to helping you be the best at selling online.
An update from last year released by Joe Ayyoub, Director of Support Operations at Magento, said that ‘the time to upgrade to Magento Commerce 2 is now’.
Although he is slightly biased of course, that message does ring true – time is slowly ebbing away before Magento development support ends completely so you need to make your decision sooner rather than later.
Let’s also not forget that Magento 2 is a significantly more complex eCommerce platform when compared to Magento 1 for a variety of reasons. While this is occasionally problematic in terms of configuration, it does open up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of what can be achieved using this platform. The sky’s the limit in terms of functionality and room to grow – one of the biggest benefits behind choosing to stay with Magento 2.
If you were considering a cheaper but more restrictive eCommerce platform, the best option out there would probably be Shopify. A site built on Shopify is fully hosted which means you’ll never have to worry about installing security patches or keeping your platform up to date as this is all handled behind the scenes by their team. However, this hands-off efficiency means there are limitations to what Shopify can do from both a functionality and long-term growth perspective.
When you take a moment to look at what’s new in Magento 2, it’s fair to say it’s a sizeable upgrade on the original Magento platform. Big improvements have been made across almost every element behind the scenes, from page building and architecture to customer segmentation and content scheduling.
Moving to Magento 2 brings with it more than just long-term store security – it’s an opportunity to evaluate and refresh your online offering. Successful sites should take the chance to tweak their design, make functionality improvements and provide a better user experience.Tweet this now
Some of the important updates that could directly influence your eCommerce business include:
Improved Performance – Magento 2 has been built in a more efficient way and therefore operates on average 20% faster than Magento 1 stores. This is crucial in achieving more sales as research has shown that customers often give up and leave sites that load slowly. Also, site speed is a factor in achieving a higher rank on search engines like Google.
Streamlined Checkout – The original Magento platform was often criticised for its lengthy checkout process which features six distinct stages. This has been trimmed significantly on Magento 2 with just two stages now required to checkout in full. Again, complex and drawn-out checkout processes are another area that customers have grown frustrated with, so this is a welcomed change.
Mobile-Friendliness – With over 60% of all eCommerce transactions coming via smartphones nowadays, it was crucial that Magento 2 could deliver the optimised performance on mobile that Magento 1 was never truly able to provide. All sites built on Magento 2 are mobile-friendly as standard and enjoy greater performance on older smartphones too.
Improved User Interface – Perhaps one of the biggest updates has been to the admin interface in the backend of Magento 2. Navigating around Magento 1 was challenging, especially if you weren’t very technically minded, but the layout of the new Magento 2 admin panel has been reorganised and makes managing your store much easier.
As you can see, Magento 2 isn’t just a tweak from the old system – it’s a total rebuild from the ground up. This is why it’s not possible to simply upgrade your old Magento 1 site to the new Magento 2 platform in the same way you currently do when patches are released; you should really be treating this changeover as the move to a completely new platform.
The time to move to Magento 2 is now. The teething issues experienced with early versions have gone and it’s now a very stable platform. Store owners should ideally look to plan the switch now in order to be ready with a new site ahead of June 2020. Although it comes at a price, the switch to M2 adds a lot of new features and the sooner you switch, the sooner you can benefit from these. In the long-term, moving now means you have more time to make use of Magento 2 ahead of the inevitable move to Magento 3.
Actions & Next Steps
Despite the fact that Magento 2 has been available to online retailers for a number of years already, there will inevitably still be a rush to migrate away from Magento 1 when the end of life date deadline finally reaches us in June 2020.
Magento has already extended its original support cut-off deadline based on user feedback, as well as the fact that the original timetable would put significant pressure on the limited number of qualified Magento developers around the world. With relatively few experienced developers available, the likelihood that store migrations would fail would be far too high – why would Magento want to give its customer base a reason to leave for a rival platform?
If you’re still operating on Magento 1, the time to move is coming up.
The new date in 2020 should give businesses more time and confidence to upgrade platforms. The migration pathway has been set out very clearly and any retailer that still has yet to sit down and have a frank conversation about their future should be doing this sooner rather than later. Merchants that don’t act may miss out as agency build slots begin to fill in the run-up to the deadline, so planning ahead really is crucial.
The first step to success is to get in touch with an experienced Magento development agency like us! We’ll lay out the entire Magento 2 migration process in full so you can see the challenges involved and what’s required. Our team have already successfully completed a number of Magento 1 to Magento 2 migrations so you can rest assure you’re in safe hands.
To find out more, get in touch or drop us a message!