Upgrading to Magento 2

by Podsix
16 October 2019

Not a day goes by where we don’t receive a bulk email from a service provider or a dashboard notification from Magento loudly proclaiming that it’s time to upgrade to Magento 2. You’ve most likely already heard similar announcements and we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone. We’ve had several customers approach us panicked that their website will suddenly stop working after reading about how Magento 1 won’t be supported after June 2020. This is a reasonable reaction if your business is built around this platform, however, remain calm, the sky is not falling yet. The reality is that your Magento 1 website will continue to function after official support ends, which means you can continue on with business as usual, however, this issue should not be overtly ignored.

Why is Magento 1 Ending Official Support?

Magento 1 is fairly old - while there’s nothing wrong with that, the technological landscape of eCommerce has changed drastically over the years. This means that Magento 1 is no longer equipped to compete with the modern principles of framework design and there are many legitimate issues with maintaining a system this old. You can find many articles that properly address the technical differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2, showing the measurable differences that prove the inherent superiority of Magento 2. However, as a business owner you should have a concern that is far greater: customer expectations have also changed drastically over the lifespan of Magento 1. When it comes to eCommerce, you should be focused on customer stickiness and offering a better user experience to increase conversions. This is one of the main reasons why Magento 1 falls short and why you should consider making the move. From a user experience perspective, Magento 2 offers several advantages:

  • Faster Page Load Times
  • Better Overall Customer Experience
  • Improved Product Search
  • Streamlined Customer Checkout
  • Emphasis on Mobile Shopping
  • Wide Range of Tools for Marketing and Reporting

We still have a lot of love in our hearts for Magento 1, but it simply cannot compete with Magento 2 in these areas.

When Is This Happening?

Now(ish). To be clear, the Magento 1 Community Edition will continue working after June 2020. Official support will no longer continue, but your site will remain operational. So when I say now(ish), I’m putting emphasis on the ish. NOW is the time to consider your business goals regarding your Magento 1 website as it relates to your critical business processes. NOW is the time to make a plan. Magento 2 is not a simple upgrade, it’s an entirely new system. This means any custom Magento 1 functionality will need to be rewritten for Magento 2. This also means that any paid extensions you’ve purchased need to be repurchased and may not necessarily be compatible with Magento 2. The same can be said of themes and custom designs.

Let’s make this a little more relatable. Ask yourself this, which one of these sounds like your business as it relates to Magento?

  • 1.We have a simple site using a basic catalog with unmanaged inventory that just works.
  • 2.We have a moderately complex site with integrations into several third-party services.
  • 3.We have an aggressively complex site containing many custom modules written by multiple contracted developers which integrate into a homebrew ERP powered by an old access database hiding in an off limits closet that manages to continue running if you don’t touch anything.

If you fall into the first or second case, my recommendation is yes, you should probably make the jump to Magento 2 right now. The scope is easily defined, the investment will be manageable, and the gains provided by Magento 2 should quickly produce a desirable ROI.

If you’re the third case, I promise we’re not here to shame you. Every growing business has had “that system” that nobody wants to talk about, mostly because nobody knows exactly what it does or how it works. Regardless, it may be time for a friendly intervention from a migration specialist like Podsix. If you have a complex Magento 1 installation, now is the time to plan, plan, plan! Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the optimal state for my business applications?
  • Which system behaviors and conditions are critical to my business?
  • What can be left behind?
  • What functionality have we always needed but lack?

We understand the thought of starting over on a new platform is not a pleasant one. The silver lining here is that you have the chance to redesign your business processes with all the knowledge you’ve gained as your business expanded and matured. It can be a fresh start to leave behind previous missteps and enhance your successes. Ask yourself, if you had this chance, what would you do differently?

How Can We Make the Switch?

Over the years, we’ve learned that a project’s success hinges more on deliberate planning and open communication rather than speed or expediency. Our job is to help you consider and understand all options and how they will impact your business before we act. To us, this means making the switch a less painful process. When meeting with your developer, or a new development team, the process may look something like this:

  • 1. Meet with your team to discuss the project requirements
  • 2. Audit your current site and dataset
  • 3. Scope and estimate the work involved
  • 4. Build out the site design and required functionality
  • 5. Test, test, test
  • 6. Sync your existing data
  • 7. Launch

After the transition, your developer or new development team should hang around to monitor your new installation to ensure that everything is working correctly before letting you get back to business as usual. Magento 2 was not perfect when it first released, but has since matured into a product that can truly drive your eCommerce growth. A successful migration requires substantial planning regarding the critical operations of your business and should not be understated. If you’re interested in learning more about the migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2, schedule a free consultation today!