The time has come. Last call for migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2

"He who moves not forward, goes backward” - the author of this quote, so eagerly used by business coaches today, is a well-known writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Of course, when he penned these words, the 18th century German author did not actually refer to selling on the Internet, but the idea has remained unchanged for years - whoever does not adapt to changes, has no chance to survive. E-commerce is no exception. Consumer behaviour is changing, the market is changing, and so do the technologies. Therefore, following trends and looking for new solutions to optimize work or increase sales conversion is the bread and butter of all merchants.

In every developing online shop there comes a moment when the current version of the platform, on which it is based, does not keep pace with the growing needs of customers or market requirements. So, it is the right time to think about changing the system or upgrading it to a new version. Retailers have been facing such a challenge (or in other words - opportunity) after the end of the Magento 1 support was announced. Yet, apart from the difficulties that have to be dealt with when migrating the system, a wide range of new chances opens up for entrepreneurs. How to recognize when the best moment for migration is? What is the best strategy to adopt? And what are the advantages of the new version? Let's find out.

Why should you migrate now?

At the beginning of 2017, Magento announced that it would stop supporting the first version of the system in November 2018 (Magento 1). What does this mean in practice? No official support, no platform development, no security patches, no new features. The conclusion is simple - merchants who decide to stay on M1 take a lot of risk. Simply put, for big players, the transition from Magento 1 to 2 is not only a matter of choice, but also a necessity to stay on the competitive market.
Joe Ayyoub, Magento Operations Support Director, issued a statement in September 2018 (i.e. two months before the originally planned deadline) and assured that software support will be provided for Magento Commerce 1 and security patches for Magento Open Source 1 by June 2020. This is the response to the needs of merchants, for whom the first date - November 2018 - was too short to prepare the store for migration. 

What if you decide to stay on Magento 1?

In theory, the transition to a newer version of the platform is not obligatory yet. In practice, however, this means that any problems that occur in the old version will have to be dealt with on your own. Therefore, it is worth knowing the risks involved in the decision to stay on Magento 1 and make a pros and cons balance. Below, we present in just a few brief points the most important threats that may affect merchants who decide to stay on M1 or delay the decision to migrate.


Weaker security


In June 2020 Magento will stop the delivery of security patches for Magento 1 Community and Enterprise, which means no protection to recently found vulnerabilities. Even before this deadline, in December 2018, all the technologies below PHP 7.0 will not be updated, so there will be no new security firewalls for the software. In other words - by staying on Magento 1 you expose your shop and your customers to highly risk.



No module updates

Since Magento 1 is left without support, a large number of its modules will become out of date. This should not be surprising - most of Magento's developers will be focused on building and improving Magento 2. It is worth considering that many of the Magento 1 modules are crucial for the proper performance of the platform, and without their updates, the site may not work right.


Limited numbers of developers

The number of certified Magento partners compared to the shops built on this platform is very limited. The longer merchants delay the decision to migrate, the less experienced implementation agencies will be willing to take up this challenge in such a short time. In addition, fewer and fewer certified developers will want to participate in Magento 1 projects. Companies prefer to spend their training budgets for employees on getting to know the new version better and obtaining certificates for Magento 2.


Short time

Very near deadline is one of the main factors deciding about moving to a new version of the platform. When the announced end-of-life for Magento 1 comes, it may turn out that many stores will not manage to migrate. Such process takes from 3 to 7 months, depending on the number of developers involved. It should also be taken into account the complexity of your store, the number of extensions, functionality, the number of SKUs and many other factors influencing the time needed to make a thorough upgrade.

What does the whole process look like?

Migrating from Magento 1 to 2 will not be a simple, fast and cheap process - it is best to clarify this issue from the very beginning. It is also impossible to resolve it with a single click - it just doesn’t work like that. Remember that Magento 2 is a completely different system than Magento 1.

The risk associated with not migrating to M2 is so high that for many merchants the main question about the migration should not be whether  but when. It is therefore necessary to take into account not only the complexity of your system when setting the date of release of a new version, but also sales peaks in the industry - then it is best to focus on ongoing tasks, and leave such large projects as migrations for a “less busy” period. 

Magento 2

When planning the migration, but even before its implementation, it is worth following the steps below:

  • Make a full backup of the store - together with databases, files, system information. 
  • Create a clone of the first version of Magento, which will be used during the migration.
  • Perform an analysis of shop contents and make the decision whether all of the information there is still needed.
  • Check whether the extensions used in Magento 1 are also available for Magento 2 (e.g. in the Marketplace).
  • Transfer data from the Magento 1 clone.
  • Remove unnecessary or outdated data (old passwords, logins, product browsing history).

After going through the entire preparatory stage, you can focus on the actual migration - and its process can be divided into four main parts:


Theme migration

Keep in mind that it is not possible to migrate a theme from Magento 1 to 2. You need to create one that meets the needs of both system users and customers from scratch. You can do it yourself or buy one of the ready-made templates from Magento Marketplace (remembering that this one will never be fully customized).


Extensions migration

Extensions are an important component of an efficient shop - they provide new functionalities or enhance those already available. Therefore, you should install the selected extensions, bearing in mind that the extensions from Magento 1 will not work on Magento 2. However, a great number of extension providers for Magento 1 have also created equivalent versions for Magento 2.


Customizations migration

There are cases that a customized code used on M1 is compatible with M2 after a little help of Code Migration Toolkit. However, taking into account the differences in the structure of Magento 1 and 2, the migration of the code may involve additional work of developers.


Data migration

We are at the end of the road - you still need to transfer your data and settings to Magento 2. For your convenience, use Magento 2 Data Migration Tool - with this tool you can migrate such important data as products, orders, categories, store settings and configurations, etc. Bear in mind that some data can be inconsistent after migration, so it's crucial to verify data consistency at each stage of development.

How can you benefit from migration to Magento 2?

Thanks to the applied technologies, Magento 2 better adapts to the customers’ needs, improves their shopping experience, which directly indicates higher sales conversion. It improves overall performance and security. It also gains with faster and more intuitive administration panel. Magento 2 is also adjusted to the omnichannel and mobile environments. These arguments should be enough to convince all those who hesitate to migrate. Of course, there are more advantages to it - not only customers, but also merchants, e-commerce managers and developers can benefit from it. How? Below we present the main perks of the transition to Magento 2.

Increasing website's speed and performance

  • Faster server response time for all activities on the website. 
  • Increased database flexibility and scalability to cope with peak sales workloads.
  • Higher speed compared to Magento 1 thanks to full-page caching, which Magento offers with Community and Enterprise versions. 
  • Magento 2 uses Varnish cache and provides a good Full Page Cache as well as load balancer on many application servers.
  • Faster loading of the store's websites such as CMS pages, listings (category, search results) and product's page.
  • Faster check out of clients and guests. 
  • Magento 2 is able to process 117% more orders than Magento 1 using the same server resources.
  • Magento 2 supports 2.1 million page views per hour.
  • Improved indexer that increases search results relevance
  • Minified JavaScript, CSS and HTML and compressed images to reduce file size for faster loading.

Simplified and shortened path to purchase

  • Magento 2 allows to continue shopping without having to fill in a login or registration form.
  • The content is tailored to customer needs, thanks to cross- and upselling tools or product recommendations.
  • Easy integration with payment platforms and shipping companies.
  • Order summary on one card eliminates the risk of error by the customer, e.g. when choosing a shipping method, which significantly improves the customer experience.
  • Reduced number of steps in shopping cart check out (from six to two) - less risk of cart abandonment. 

Mobile friendly & responsive design

  • Design adapted to mobile devices with any screen resolution. 
  • Magento 2 PWA Studio for better mobile experience to boost conversion rates and increase engagement.  
  • Tools for customising content and adding local preferences.
  • Building and managing all channels with one code base, one deployment and app.• Innovative commerce and CMS theming.
  • Purpose-built developer tools for fast prototyping, helpful debugging, rich feedback, and increased productivity.
  • Administration panel adjusted to touch screens makes it easy to manage a shop from a phone or tablet.

Intuitive and user-friendly admin panel

  • Magento 2 Admin Panel has been completely redesigned bearing in mind usability for the beginners as well as advanced users.
  • It makes it easier to find information, navigate through all sections of the panel, and thus ensure more efficient site management. 
  • The extended M2 dashboard shows: sales volume from the beginning, recent orders, average order value, main search terms, best-selling products and key customers, deliveries and quantities - which allows you to monitor the status of your business in real time. 
  • The panel can be adjusted to individual needs, which increases the efficiency of managing products, orders and customer data.
  • Uploading new products to the panel is simplified by four times faster import. 

More efficient website management

  • Ability to handle more daily orders and SKUs.
  • Easier creation and management of content on the website.
  • Improved search and SEO components. 
  • Alignment with omnichannel strategy - the new engine is adapted to combine on- and offline sales.
  • Easier scalability - Magento 2 allows you to scale your database for optimization during busy periods, such as holidays or sales.
  • Enable more than one administrator to create and edit information on products without data conflicts. 

More advanced reporting

  • Updating of the report page in real time. 
  • Advanced reporting functions available in Magento Admin allow to create twenty reports, including the number of orders, AOV (average order value), number of registered accounts, or orders for products (including bestsellers). 

Tools for marketing automation

  • With the built-in Dotdigital tool users can connect customer data, powerful insights, and automate intelligent messages across email, SMS, social, and more. 

Wide range of B2B functionalities

  • Efficient management of company accounts - possibility of categorizing and organizing customer’s information as needed.
  • Fast purchase by entering the SKUs or uploading a CSV file with the required data. 
  • Possibility of creating various lists of frequently purchased products and assigning them to specific clients. Items from a requisition list can be easily added to the shopping cart or moved or copied from one list to another.
  • In the backend of Magento 2.2, there is a segment for quote requests. Retailer can filter selection, use the search function to find different quotes and customize them.
  • Better management of purchasing conditions for B2B customers.
  • Customized catalogues and price lists - makes it possible to control prices, products, and categories shown to customers; to create different price lists, and to assign them to B2B clients.
  • Updated API enables ERP integrations for different features.

System architecture based on the latest technologies

  • Magento Core architects and developers have improved the technological stack by adding several technologies, including Composer, AMQP, REST API, ElasticSearch. 
  • Magento 2 supports only the latest versions of PHP - 7.1 and 7.2 These versions contain performance improvements, which have a significant impact on increasing the speed of the store.
  • System for better diagnosis of problems for Magento support.
  • Possibility of split databases into e.g. orders, catalogue (database sharding).
  • Reduced unnecessary search engine operations on the client's side thanks to the improved JavaScript. 
  • The Magento approach with PWA Studio through open source on Github will allow development teams to familiarize themselves with additional resources and technology required.
  • Better caching for static content; native support for CDN.
  • Ready-made tools for easy creation and implementation of a store in the Magento cloud infrastructure.
  • Enhanced algorithms (SHA-256) for passwords, making them less vulnerable to dictionary types of attacks.

Improved SEO components

  • Creating search engine friendly URLs.
  • Snippets that improve search results in SERPs.
  • Native support of XML sitemaps.

GDPR compliance

  • Magento out of the box helps meet GDPR requirements.

Extensions

  • Conflicting extensions. There are many extensions to Magento on the market offered by external companies. However, the problem arises when two extensions overwrite and try to change the same functionality. The problem could have been solved manually, but this resulted in a lot of work and resources. In Magento 2, instead of overwriting the code, plug-ins enable its interlocking. Magento Marketplace Quality Assurance team ensures that submitted modules are not vulnerable to conflicts with other modules both with Static Code analysis, as well as manual Code Review. 
  • Cheaper extensions. Installing and updating new extensions has become easier and cheaper. Composer has an impact on lowering the cost of implementation, because as a package manager it is responsible for the package being installed and being up to date.

Taking into account all of the above, it is clear that Magento 2 offers much better solutions than Magento 1 in all aspects. It is a more technologically advanced platform, which is perfectly suited for mobile and omnichannel environments. Despite the unquestionable benefits of moving a store to M2, the process itself will not be completely painless - and you should be prepared for that too. 

Preparing for the better solution

Migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is a great opportunity for merchants to move their store a few levels higher. In such a highly competitive environment as today's e-commerce industry, they should choose solutions that provide customers with a better shopping experience, and people on the other side of the screen with better store management system. By migrating to a newer version of the platform, the store is provided with greater security against hacking attacks (and e.g. leakage of customer data), and its efficiency and scalability are improved.
Each process, such as shop migration, is also an opportunity to diagnose the condition of the shop - to explore what worked and what did not in the previous version - and to develop good practices for the future.