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Everything You Need To Know About Migrating To Magento 2

Birds Migrating
  • Written By Chris
  • Posted August 15, 2018
  • 6 minutes Read Time

Following the announcement from Magento that they will be discontinuing all forms of support for Magento 1.x versions in November this year, there are now hundreds of thousands of businesses with a rather important decision to make.

Does it make more sense to stick with the original version of Magento where things are set up exactly how the business requires them, or should they bite the bullet and make the jump to the new Magento 2 platform for ongoing support?

What’s The Current State Of Play?

According to data from trends.builtwith.com, of the ~420,000 sites globally currently running on Magento, less than 4% of them are using Magento 2 – this equates to around 20,000 sites that have successfully migrated across between the two platform versions and most of these are within the United States.

This means that there is still a huge percentage of the global Magento audience trying to weigh up whether migrating to Magento 2 is both viable and the most appropriate course of action for the business. The good news for these businesses is that support is available for at least 18 months as the upgrade process for even a small eCommerce website can take 3-6 months as a minimum.

Is Migrating To Magento 2 Worth It?

This seems like a straightforward answer, but there are a few factors to take into consideration for eCommerce businesses that are keen to switch platforms.

Magento 1 versions already have significantly limited capabilities when directly compared to the upgraded Magento 2 platform. For businesses that do make the move to the newer platform, they’ll enjoy:

  • Enhanced security features including several payment gateways
  • Up to 50% faster loading time
  • A more user-friendly admin panel
  • A raft of new B2B and B2C features
  • An immediately responsive platform across all devices
  • Better flexibility for personalisation and easier extension updates

There are also some risks that come with choosing to stay on Magento 1.x – most of them relate to security and a lack of ongoing updates. When the cut-off for support finally comes to an end, Magento 1 stores will become easy targets for site, server and spam attacks, not to mention the potentially hidden capture of customer details.

When the support for Magento 1 stores finally comes to an end, they will become easy targets for site, server and spam attacks.

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Furthermore, there will still be the existing issues that have haunted the original Magento platform since its creation – slow performance, a clunky admin panel and ultimately an increasingly more difficult website to navigate. Combine all these factors together and businesses that aren’t brave enough to switch to Magento 2 could see traffic and sales figures plummet.

When you consider all of this, it almost feels as though migration to Magento 2 is a matter of if and not when.

Potential Downsides

To add some balance to this argument, we’re going to take a look at the potential drawbacks of moving across to Magento 2.

As a Magento 2 partner, we’re obviously inclined to praise the newest version of the platform and its many benefits, but there are a couple of potential banana skins for eCommerce businesses considering the move.

The most obvious of these is the cost. You’ll obviously need to choose the most appropriate edition for your needs and while Community Edition is free, the Enterprise Edition license alone can set you back tens of thousands of pounds every year.

One last side note worth highlighting is the fact that Magento 2 is new, so there are a few small bugs and stability issues that are still present within the code. Technical difficulties can arise from these, but Magento developers are working round the clock to patch and resolve these bugs sooner rather than later.

When To Migrate

You’ll need to hire an agency (like us :D) or source a highly-skilled developer that can help you migrate your store successfully. Get this wrong and you could lose everything your site has built so far, especially from an SEO perspective.

Get a site migration seriously wrong and you could lose everything you’ve built so far, especially from an SEO perspective.

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It’s also important to remember that a store migration takes time – to coordinate and execute everything correctly usually takes around 3-6 months as a minimum. Smaller stores with fewer specific requirements may be faster, larger sites with unique extensions will take longer.

You need to bear this in mind when choosing the best time to migrate to Magento 2 as you don’t want to miss out on the busiest few months of your year because you’ve got issues with your store thanks to a rushed migration.

The ‘right time to migrate’ will be different and unique to every business. You need to take a lot of factors into consideration, but we believe moving to Magento 2 now will pay dividends in the long run.

Here’s an example to help you out. Your successful eCommerce store sits on Magento 1.x at the moment, but there are issues and limitations within the site that prevent you from scaling to the next level as a business. Instead of investing both your time and money into limping along with this site, it would make more sense to start the migration process now.

You’ll be in a better position down the line commercially and financially.

Magento 2 Migration Checks

Before choosing to migrate to Magento 2, grab a pen and write down all your business goals for a new site including how Magento 2 specifically can help you achieve them.

Once you’ve got this list, you can plan out the migration process and ensure all of your requirements are met at each stage of the change.

We’d suggest keeping track of:

  • New store functionality – choose which features are business-crucial and how you plan to implement them.
  • Existing store management – freeze any investment into your existing site during the migration period.
  • Overall migration plan – review the themes and extensions used on your current site and mark what goes, what stays and what needs to be added.
  • Consider a demo store – if you’re unsure about jumping straight between platforms, it may be worth building a demo version of your store before pushing things live.

As we edge ever closer towards 2019 and beyond, businesses around the world need to take a step back from the day-to-day running of their online stores and make a judgement call on whether now is the time to move platforms.

Web developers, marketing teams, business development executives, UX specialists – everyone needs to be involved in the discussion. If all the key departments within your business feel as though migration is beneficial, you can plan a strategy to make the move with minimal disruption to traffic and sales.