At the last count, around 1 in 10 eCommerce websites globally are powered by Magento and that number is continuing to rise.
All of those users are currently facing a bit of a conundrum – should we go through the process of migrating across to Magento 2, or should we stick with Magento 1?
It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask, especially as there is not a lot wrong with the original Magento platform. You can still run a successful eCommerce business on it without issue. The only problem is that its lifespan is coming to an end in 2020.
The announcement regarding the end of Magento 1 support follows Adobe’s $1.6bn takeover of the eCommerce platform, and it’s this acquisition that could transform the entire ecosystem surrounding Magento in the future.
At the time of writing this article, Magento is a standalone eCommerce solution – however, there is definitely scope for this to change, potentially becoming part of Adobe cloud-based technologies.
So is it time to jump ship? Well, Magento 2 has been available since 2015 so any teething problems have been resolved and the transition from M1 to M2 should be seamless.
Magento 1 vs Magento 2
Originally designed as a flexible and scalable eCommerce platform, the first release of Magento saw huge popularity because of these characteristics – they were something that other platforms struggled (and still struggle) to replicate effectively.
As time passed and the growing demand for additional features and more flexibility increased, the developers at Magento unwittingly created quite a complex interface that isn’t exactly user-friendly. The M1 platform also still lacks a couple of key elements offered by competitors, such as inbuilt performance optimisation and mobile responsiveness as standard.
Not only were there issues behind the scenes, but customers were complaining about the sub-standard load times they were experiencing – this was directly impacting site sales as business was regularly being lost.
Something had to change – and they have with Magento 2. At a glance, the new platform provides:
Improved Performance – When compared to M1, Magento 2 operates on average 20% faster which is key in stores achieving more sales and ranking higher on search engines.
Improved User Interface – One of the biggest things to change (and so often labelled as one of the biggest pain points of Magento 1) is the admin interface. For those of us who are little less technical, navigating around an M1 store was unnecessarily challenging. Thankfully Magento 2 has been dramatically reorganised and streamlined to make managing a store quicker and easier.
Streamlined Checkout Process – Magento 2 brings a fantastic new checkout system that only involves 2 stages, rather than the original Magento’s 6 stages.
Mobile-Friendly – Magento 1 was never truly able to deliver optimum performance on mobile devices, but with over 60% of eCommerce sales coming via a smartphone, this had to change. Magento 2 has made mobile responsiveness a priority and all sites are now smartphone-friendly.
The list of benefits is greater than just these few points, but there are too many to list! This does raise an additional question however…
Is Migration To Magento 2 Mandatory?
Although this isn’t official, the short answer here is – yes.
When June 2020 rolls around, Magento 1 will be unofficially dead in the water.Tweet this now
If you want to maintain a reliable, secure and functional eCommerce store, you should seriously be considering the migration to Magento 2. Your Magento 1 store will be fine for now, but when support stops and the updates dry up, you will instantly be vulnerable to hackers who will target these sites.
When June 2020 rolls around, Magento 1 will be unofficially dead in the water.
Things To Consider Before Migrating To Magento 2
Moving to Magento 2 is a big step and shouldn’t be undertaken without the appropriate planning and structure in place. While there are plenty of good things to shout about regarding the new version, there are a few things you should bear in mind before migrating:
Magento 2 and the migration process won’t be quick or easy. To develop a project of this nature takes a lot of forethought, as your existing site cannot simply be lifted onto the new platform. You’ll certainly need an experienced developer who has worked on both versions of Magento previously, as well as an understanding of what to expect – some developers out there have labelled this type of migration as ‘a complete rebuild of functionality’.
Secondly, you can’t migrate your existing Magento 1 theme. Themes are the designs behind your site within which the various structures and layouts are coded – when you move from M1 to M2, the existing Magento 1 theme will not work as the frontend coding is different.
Depending on how much development and customisation your existing Magento 1 theme had originally, there could be a sizeable amount of work here when recreating a similar theme on Magento 2. The easiest way to avoid this is to select and install a new Magento 2 theme straight from the marketplace – but in doing this, remember that you’ll still need developers to tweak things to your liking.
If you’re a thriving eCommerce business looking to continue using the Magento platform, you should really be thinking it’s ‘when’ and not ‘if’ you switch to Magento 2.Tweet this now
Third on this list is extensions, and yep you guessed it – Magento 1 extensions won’t work on Magento 2. Again this is because of the change in frontend and backend coding within the newer version of the platform.
If you have existing extensions that you’d like to keep on your new store, these will either have to be replaced by similar Magento 2 extensions or recreated from scratch by a seasoned Magento developer. Whatever option you choose, you’re going to need to go through all your extensions and make a decision on each one.
Last but by no means least, there is the migration process. The fact of the matter is that Magento 2 will eventually be superseded by Magento 3, Magento 3 by Magento 4 and so on – so you’re going to have to migrate your store every few years to maintain support and stay secure.
This will obviously be much less hassle if you utilise Magento Enterprise Cloud since all the server updates and maintenance issues are not in your control, but this is a much more costly solution.
To summarise, the end of Magento 1 has pretty much now been confirmed with the discontinuation of ongoing support in June 2020. If you’re a serious eCommerce business looking to continue with the platform, you should really be thinking it’s ‘when’ and not ‘if’ you switch to Magento 2.
While there are some obvious pain points when migrating to the new platform, Magento 2 delivers some sizeable benefits that are well worth the initial struggle. We’d obviously suggest a thorough scope of your requirements before jumping versions, so drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help!