Magento 2 launched back in late 2015, a new upgraded version of their popular ecommerce platform. It’s safe to say that their new platform wasn’t universally loved by developers, with a host of teething problems. This meant that not all users of the first version were immediately keen on a Magento migration.
Competition for ecommerce platforms has increased over the past few years, with solutions like Woocommerce and Shopify making significant gains in market share. To combat this, Magento had to step in to improve their latest product to remain competitive.
Over two years later, and many fixes on, we look at if you should consider migrating to Magento 2. We’ve been performing Magento migrations for clients, and do the pros outweigh the cons?
Reasons to Migrate to Magento 2
1. Improved backend admin
A common complaint about Magento 1 was that the admin section was difficult to navigate for non-technical users. Sure, if you had in-house developers and marketers to look at each minute detail, then it wasn’t a concern.
But not all companies have those resources available to them. if you’re a small operation with only a few employees, it’s crucial that the system that is in place is easy to use.
- Overall their design received a massive upgrade with a clean, simpler layout
- The admin interface is more user-friendly, with tools and settings easier to find. Also, the process of creating products for your eCommerce site was simplified
- Editing your site from a mobile device improved, with the admin optimised to work on tablets and other smaller screens
Magento 1 was designed to be a very flexible platform, which made it a popular eCommerce solution. The problem was that a degree of user-friendliness was sacrificed to have this flexibility. Magento 2 has done a lot to fix that issue.
2. Improved speed
Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.
That’s an old internet joke, but it has a ring of truth – nobody likes slow-loading websites. Which is why a Google study found that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
If that happens to your own site, then it will also affect your website rankings on Google and other search engines. Bad usability leads to users leaving your site. Search engines recognise this, and thinks that users are having a bad time on your site. This could result in your site ranking lower in online searches – affecting your site traffic, and leading to less sales / conversions.
After all, why would they recommend a site that people are not enjoying?
We’ve worked on plenty of Magento 1.9 websites, and depending on the level of customisation that we were asked to implement, the sites could feel like they were powered by a potato.
Various comparison and speed tests have been run on Magento installations, with Magento 2 found to be faster by as much as 50% in some instances.
The base Magento 2 uses full-page caching (previously only available in Magento 1 Enterprise Edition). This helps your product, category and CMS pages display much quicker by improving the manner in which all the data loads from the server. This also leads to less strain being put on the server, and reductions in bandwidth usage and lag. This is optional, so remember to enable it in your store configuration.
3. Better shopping experience
The entire shopping experience has been improved with Magento 2.
A base Magento 1 site didn’t offer the best performance on mobile devices. So if your site layout wasn’t customised, it’s possible that more than half of internet users had a difficult time navigating your online shop from portable devices.
As mentioned earlier, Magento 2 sites are much faster, so there’s less chance of users getting frustrated and leaving for a competitor site to find the products they are looking for,
There are also out-of-the-box integrations for more payment gateways, like PayPal and Worldpay. This makes it easier for shoppers to use their preferred method of payment. Previously this type of integration required third-party extensions and added development.
Checking out is a key part of the whole shopping experience. Long, convoluted check-out processes are a unnecessary obstacle to making sure your users seal the deal. It’s like you’re almost asking them to not give them your money.
According to the Baymard Institute, an average of 69.23% of users abandon their shopping carts before completing purchases. While Magento 1 didn’t have the most complex check-out process, it did need a bit of simplification.
Magento 2 takes you through ONLY 2 stages after selecting to check out:
- Shipping – You add your name, address, and contact details
- Review / Payments – Look over your order for the last time, and select your preferred method of payment
Compare this to Magento 1 – which took you through 7 stages:
- Method – do you want to complete your purchase as a guest, or log in with an account?
- Billing – your billing and contact details
- Shipping – enter the address where the parcel should be delivered
- Shipping method – pick your preferred shipping method
- Payment Method – Select how you would like to pay for your order
- Review and submit order – Finally you can review, and complete the purchase if you are happy with all the details
It’s a no-brainer which check-out process most users would prefer to use.
4. Goodbye outdated tech
For backend users, the uploading of multimedia (like photos and videos) was handled by Adobe Flash, an outdated component that is being completely phased out by the end of 2020. Most browsers does not have Flash installed by default, which has led to site administrators struggling to update their content.
5. Easy Data Migration
Magento released a data migration tool that can import all your stores data to a new Magento 2 installation.
But be warned – there have been instances of data being overwritten on the system you are importing to. It’s good practice to always remember to make frequent backups.
6. Future Upgrades
Since Magento 2 is the latest version, it will be supported by Magento and the many talented contributors over at GitHub with software fixes, upgrades and security patches for years to come.
Originally support for Magento 1 would have ended on 18 November 2018. But luckily in mid 2017 Magento announced that they would still support their first platform, and announce any changes 18 months in advance.
While this is good news for those running on Magento 1, this just means that there is more time for everybody to move over to Magento 2, which is the company’s future. Magento 2 is their main focus and will be receiving fixes and upgrades going forward, as opposed to just security patches.
7. Now is the best time to migrate
I mentioned earlier that the Magento 2 launch was not as smooth as hoped. After a host of fixes and enhancements, we’re now on version 2.2.2, the most stable and complete Magento solution.
While we would not have recommended an immediate migration on launch, the current version is the best possible one you can install.
Why some users are not considering a Magento migration
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to migrate, but it’s not a quick / easy process. Because of the differences between 1.x and 2.x, a lot of planning and development is involved.
1. Your Magento 1 theme can’t be ported
Yes Magento makes it easier for your data to be ported, but your theme and customisations can’t be. Because of the difference in the two platforms, a new theme will have to be built from scratch.
But because Magento 2 offers a simpler experience, you are probably getting rid of a lot of unnecessary ‘bloat’. Simplifying the entire shopping experience for your users is crucial.
2. You can’t migrate extensions
Extensions can’t simply be transferred, so new versions will have to be implemented. Extension developers, as well as the Magento community, are working to create Magento 2 variants of their extensions.
Though there weren’t as many extensions available for Magento 2, the selection has grown rapidly over the last year. There are now more Magento 2 extensions available than there are for Magento 1 (1,536 vs 1,398 – 22 January 2018).
If your favourite extensions (or suitable replacements) are not available, speak to your developer about creating an alternative solution.
If you’re still not sure about whether you should migrate to Magento 2, consult a Magento web development company to assess your website. It’s worth investigating all of the pros and cons before making your final decision.