Why should I move from Magento 1 to Magento 2? I finally got M1 setup exactly the way I want it. Do I really have to move to M2?
The reality is, as a Magento 1 store owner you need to start looking at M2 and at least begin planning. The decision on when to move depends on many factors and your business situation. You’ll find the most important elements to consider below.
After reading this article you’ll have a better idea of what’s happening with M2 and where you sit as a M1 website owner. In addition to my experience, I roped in some industry friends and colleagues for their thoughts on this topic. These are peeps working deep in the M2 trenches every day.
What would happen if I just stay with M1? The answer is simple, you will be either hacked or become incompatible with the latest technologies and trends.
M2 has current development efforts by Magento and Magento Partners to improve functionality and eliminate bugs. Less and less companies develop new M1 extensions and are phasing those extensions out.
Most extension developers are focusing their efforts on M2. You are more likely to get a new functionality or a new feature up and running if you are on M2.
You’re getting the latest, current technologies with M2. Why do I care? M2 utilizes the latest and popular technologies like jQuery library, KnockoutJS. M1 doesn't support jQuery natively and has a not-so-widely-used Prototype library as its core element. Plus, M2 uses composer to manage packages which makes shop maintenance so much easier.
Magento 2 is truly heaven for the right developer. It’s much more complex and extendable/customizable than M1. A lot of development tasks are easier and faster with the M2 codebase. Writing M2 extensions are simpler and less time-consuming.
With M2 you’ll get increased performance and reduced server load when deployed properly. Dotmailer is now baked-in to the latest version of M2 with some incredibly powerful marketing automation features.
Dotmailer is included in Magento Commerce 2.2+ core software so you can have access to a robust Email Marketing solution without worry about integration.
Here are just some of the key features:
- Create campaigns easily from inside the Magento interface
- Single sign-on
- CRM connectors
- Synchronization of historical customer and order data
- ROI tracking within Magento site
- Rescue customers’ abandoned carts using triggered campaigns
- Omnichannel automation – email and SMS
Looking from the technological side, Magento 1 is simply outdated. It's based on PHP 5.6, which is slower, less secure, and being phased out.
The new M2 infrastructure, matched with new server solutions enables Magento 2 to increase performance, stability, and security.
M2 will be adapted to new technological solutions like Progressive Web Apps. Google is fickle and has recently shifted its attention to the mobile experience, PWA’s may be the next essential trend in e-commerce. M2 is ready.
You’ll notice a monumental difference in the CMS of Magento 2 Commerce Edition. Magento purchased BlueFoot CMS and built it into the Commerce version. This allows you to create and publish super attractive landing pages quickly. This is great for creating rich content for SEO targets easily without leaving Magento.
Magento 2 Commerce has some rich B2B functionality. Commerce has Account Based Purchasing that make it easy for regular customers to reorder and save quotes.
You can also setup credit limits, deals and allow your customers to submit orders via CSV upload. There’s also a custom catalog and price list feature to offer some advanced account pricing options.
Elastic Search is a great feature with M2. Search was always a rough spot with M1 and you had to either get an extension, SAAS integration or setup SOLR.
M2 now comes with this powerful onsite search that’s easy to setup and scalable. Elastic Search also indexes in the background, so the customer experience won’t be affected.
Magento 2 has Varnish Support! On top of the full-page cache and performance improvements of M2, Varnish is now supported natively in the Commerce version. This means it’s even easier to get blazing fast page loads out of Magento.
November 18th, 2018 will be here before you realize, and that is the end of life date for Magento 1. Magento 1's end of life means it will stop being supported, no security patches will be released for any security flaws that arise. M2 is continually being updated and officially supported by Magento and actively developed and improved upon.
Being mobile ready is extremely important and will only continue to grow in importance.M2 has a greatly improved mobile experience to increase purchase conversions and enhance the overall user experience.
The built-in One Page Checkout for M2 improves ease and speed of checkout flow. In the past with M1 you had to install a 3rd party checkout extension and tweak and configure to have a decent checkout, Magento clearly solved this with M2.
M2 Quick Reference List
- More stable in general - Framework Improvements, less meltdowns, less throwing stress balls at your monitor in frustration.
- Registration Confusion Solved – Improved account creation journey.
- Extension wild west is over – More controlled, reliable extensions and developers.
- Faster Load Times – Support for advanced server technology and Varnish (Commerce Only).
- Admin Interface – Optimized for Tablet and Mobile use.
- Advanced CMS (Commerce Only) – Quickly create attractive landing pages within Magento.
- Faster Configurable Products - Creating Configurable Products is faster up to 4x faster.
- Dotmailer baked in – Powerful ESP Suite comes stock (SAAS Fee’s Apply).
- M2 simplified the Admin – Settings are nested for a cleaner more manageable interface.
- Admin Stability - Redesigned with improved support for Multiple Editing by Admin’s.
- Elastic Search - Now standard for Commerce Edition.
- PHP 7 - Optimized for modern server resources, improved performance.
- Optimized 1 Page Checkout - Solid Paypal integration, streamlined, actually works, less bugs.
- Improved Mobile Experience – Mobile Optimized, Google now highly values mobile experience.
- Video Embedding - Native support for embedding videos.
Magento Migration Planning
Make sure you get some professional help if you’re making the migration leap from M1 to M2. Hire a reputable, experienced development team that’s dedicated to making sure the move goes smoothly. Invest a significant amount of time in the planning process and make a list of the extensions and custom functionality so it's clearly outlined. This way you’ll have less confusion, paint a clear picture of your requirements for your dev team, making development more efficient and less costly.
The Easy Button for M2 Migration?
No. Unfortunately with new tools and capability comes a complete rebuild. Given, you're data will port over fairly easily. However; any functionality and customizations you've done to Magento will require some work.
Let's face it, if you're using Magento that means you're customizing the heck out of it. Your reward for this is a ton of work moving to M2. The only easy button for this is contacting an agency to do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on your business instead of tech.
Don't try this at home kids... I find many Magento users I talk to are trying to do this themselves with a lite dev on staff...and from my perspective that's crazy. It always ends up badly at best and speed to market is costly. It's also a ton of pressure for your in-house dev unless he's truly a badass.
It's the same story I see with inexperience e-commerce retailers trying to setup Magento 2 CE, for the first time. They go through the Magento trials by fire, it's expensive on many levels and painful. If you don't have the money to hire the right help, wait till you do.
Moving from M1 to M2 (Extensions)
M2 is finally coming into the spotlight and becoming more mainstream. That said, you’ll find some of the oddball M1 extensions lurking in Magento that aren’t available for M2. In most cases you’ll be able to find a suitable replacement, but you may need to have your dev team re-create them for M2.
Why don't you see tons of random extension developers on M2? Magento has raised the bar and requirements. M2 developers are now held to a higher standard of compatibility which is great for reducing extension conflicts. Magento has also mentioned to me that they want to limit the overlap of extension offerings in the marketplace.
Magento will carefully audition and screen out overlapping or duplicate solutions that don’t really offer a clear advantage over one another. Extension developers are still free to post extensions on their own websites aside from the Magento Marketplace.
This article covers most of the key points that really move the needle for online retailers looking at M2. In 2017 Magento hired around 100+ new people, has been experiencing serious growth and truly innovating.
The recent purchase of Magento by Adobe could really take M2 to the next level. Adobe has quite an arsenal of serious publishing tools, and resources that are highly complementary to Magento and I’m personally excited about what’s next.
We’re huge Magento fans at Sharp Commerce and it's our preferred e-commerce solution. Simply put, Magento makes it easy for us to increase sales for our customers.
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