Migrating your platform from Magento 1 to Magento 2
Magento has become the go-to option for flexible, affordable ecommerce deployments. Thanks to its free Community edition (now rebranded as Magento Open Source), and relatively shallow learning curve, thousands of businesses recognise its adaptability and ease of use.
Magento has recently achieved Leader status in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Its Enterprise edition (Magento Commerce) allows large businesses to explore its full functionality, and is scalable to practically any size of deployment. As an Enterprise partner operating a dedicated Magento practice, this comes as little surprise to the team at Salmon, a Wunderman Commerce Company. We’ve been developing Magento platforms that are driving high impact (think: conversion uplift, enhanced site performance) in short timeframes for leading brands such as Audi, Habitat and Punch Taverns.
Over the last decade, Magento has built up a formidable reputation as the most popular ecommerce platform in the world. The new version, Magento 2, was due for release in 2011, but it took an additional four years for the developers to perfect and release it. In our view, it was well worth the wait.
END OF LIFE - TIME FOR CHANGE
Despite Magento 2 being available since 2015, many businesses are still using Magento 1 - and we think that’s a mistake. Moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 requires a careful, considered approach, but Salmon has the expertise to make it simple.
And the need to switch is increasingly urgent. Magento will end support for version 1 in November 2018*, with only selected Enterprise clients being eligible for a two-year support extension.
That’s a big deal. Running any unsupported software is highly risky, particularly when the software that isn’t supported is such a fundamental part of your operation. And that’s one of the main reasons we recommend moving to Magento 2 in good time.
This matters because:
- After November 2018, security patches won't be produced for the original Magento versions
- The company won't add new features, either
- Eventually, Magento 1 will be vulnerable to breaches and hacks as the code goes more and more out-of-date. That could lead to fines, revenue loss, and breach of trust
- Any businesses that have moved on to Magento 2 will soon have an innate advantage over those that have not
THE KEY BENEFITS OF MAGENTO 2
The original version of Magento cemented the platform as a global leader. Magento 2 offers a huge leap forward in flexibility and functionality. Once businesses see what it offers, they don’t think twice about moving over to the new version:
- Once Magento 1 is out of development, all of the focus will be on the new version 2. That includes the focus of developers of third-party extensions. It’s rare that any business would run Magento without any extensions, so upgrading to version 2 makes sound business sense
- You'll be able to use the latest extensions, as well as benefiting from updates to the extensions that your business relies on. All of the extensions that appear in the Magento 2 marketplace will be reviewed and approved by official Magento developers, so you’ll see fewer bugs
- The core code within Magento 2 has been expanded and improved, and that translates into a smoother experience for customers. Performance in Magento 2 is noticeably better, helping to potentially shave precious seconds off loading times, which could aid conversions. The checkout process is also much simpler, which customers love
- Behind the scenes, the indexing in Magento 2 has been improved, and there’s a new staging and preview feature so that administrators can check listings before they go live. Streamlined processes means that your catalogue is easier to manage, saving you precious time
Magento 2 takes advantage of updated tools, languages, and technologies, including PHP 7, MySQL clustering, PHPUnit, full page caching, and more. From a technical perspective, taking advantage of the newest technologies is the best way to future-proof your online store.
The new integrations for Magento 2 aren’t live yet. But we think that they’ll present a compelling reason to upgrade when launched:
- Bluefoot CMS integration is due early 2018
- Temando Shipping and Facebook Shopping will be integrated from version 2.2
- Business Intelligence will be integrated sooner - from version 2.1 onwards
- In-built B2B features and ElasticSearch are available in Magento Commerce v2.2
For any growing ecommerce business, these integrations have huge appeal that could transform the way you interact with your customer base.
MIGRATION IS SIMPLE WITH SALMON
Many retailers are twitchy about changing the software that underpins their store, and for good reason. A small glitch in your operations could see your online store slow down or - worse - experience a serious outage.
So there are sometimes good reasons for sticking with what you know. And Salmon can sympathise with businesses that don’t rock the boat when it comes to their chosen platforms.
It’s really important to note that the move from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is not a one-click operation; it involves changing database structures, themes, and working with a new API. It’s a migration, not an upgrade, and it must be expertly managed to avoid problems.
How can you approach this without leaving yourself wide open to data loss and downtime?
GETTING THE RIGHT SUPPORT
Magento has its own Data Migration tool. But it’s important to fully understand how this works before you go ahead with the migration to version 2; it’s not quite as simple as it first looks.
It will migrate customers, catalogues, orders, shipment, and your core configuration. It won’t migrate custom data, media files, admin rights, and various other technical aspects of the installation you already have.
To ease the process, Salmon has developed its own bespoke version of the Magento 2 Data Migration tool that will migrate standard and bespoke data. All but the very simplest of Magento installs benefit from this additional safety net, and it would be crazy not to take advantage.
At a higher level, Salmon can offer two different migration solutions for ecommerce businesses making the wise choice to migrate over to Magento 2:
- Salmon creates an exact replica, with all the same features and themes. The customer experience, and the functionality, is identical. But you have the safety of ongoing updates beyond November 2018, which is crucial.
- Salmon creates an improved store with the same data, using digital intelligence analytics to establish what is working and what isn’t on your Magento 1 store and feeding that into your Magento 2 deployment. This offers the opportunity for conversion uplifts, traffic increases, and faster processing of transactions - the best solution for users and administrators.
Neither of these options ends there. There are training implications - and technical complexities - with both.
That’s why the right delivery partner is crucial to success, whichever Magento 2 migration procedure you decide on.
Magento 2 is set to lead the ecommerce market, just as the original version of Magento broke new ground in the sector. Many people in the development community have been seriously impressed by Magento 2 already.
At Salmon, we believe it is truly the platform of the future, with the best feature set on the market. And we are keen to help your business leverage the power and speed that it provides.
We’re experts in Magento, and have a proven track record of safe, effective migrations to Magento 2. Visit our Magento platform page to find out more.
* Magento is offering extended support until June 2020 as long as licenses are extended to align with that date.