There are few decisions more imperative to the success of an online retailer’s business than the choice of platform that they make on which to run their store and, for many, Magento makes the logical choice based upon their requirements.
With Magento recently releasing the long-awaited Magento 2, it left a lot of retailers in limbo and not quite knowing whether it was the right thing to do for them to upgrade to the latest version or remain on their current Magento 1 platform.
This is a decision that a lot of online retailers have faced recently and many more will be taking this into consideration in 2017 so we decided to do something to make the decision a bit more straightforward here at Pinpoint and have devised the Definite Guide For Upgrading From Magento 1 to Magento 2 and, for good measure, have included some compelling reasons why you should make the change.
A big decision
Needless to say, most retailers on Magento 1 will have been on that platform for some time and will have grown accustomed to its intricacies and nuances and will have an understandable reluctance to make a sweeping change like changing to a updated platform.
In addition, there is the associated costs that can be associated with an upgrade, such as porting over custom modules, rewriting integrations and so forth and there are currently some concerns about the stability and readiness of M2 but, that being said, there are a whole host of benefits to be witnessed from making the change from M1 to M2 that really are likely to make it worthwhile in the long run.
The Magento ecommerce platform was first released back in 2008 and whilst not all the retailers utilising it today will have been on it for that long, it still represents a big business decision for any online store to make the transition to the newer platform from Magento but it is one worth considering when you factor in all the benefits it could have on your sales and user experience.
Magento 2 has had a fairly tumultuous start since it was first released with what can best be described as a steep learning curve for new users, as was to be expected, but things have really begun to settle down now and its core features and new benefits are really starting to yield dividends for those retailers who have already made the transition from M1 to M2. There is a general sense amongst the M2 community that the platform is now really beginning to find its feet and the feedback suggests it is so much more stable now than when it first launched.
If you’re currently in the position of deciding whether or not you should be making this move to Magento’s new, improved platform, hopefully can help grease the wheels for you here at Pinpoint – as we’re currently working on four Magento 2 projects of various sizes and now a lot about the intricacies of the upgrade – and will outline the key benefits that the latest platform has compared to its predecessor.
Key benefits of upgrading from M1 to M2
This is the crux of the conversation in as much as online retailers are only going to make the move from Magento 1 to Magento 2 if there are sufficient benefits and advantages in doing so. The benefits for retailers are many and varied and include the fact the visual merchandiser has been rebuilt in EE edition and it now offers M2 EE Cloud which is on a par with Demandware in terms of delivering scalability.
At Pinpoint, we are familiar with the ins and outs of Magento 2 and know that it has delivered an awful lot of new features to ecommerce stores that will make for much improved sales and usability in 2017 and beyond. For example, there have been some recent acquisitions on behalf of Magento such as the Bluefoot CMS which look as though they will improve the overall usability of the platform in the near future and plenty of exciting new additions expected in Q3 and Q4 of this year such as the B2B extension for EE which is expected to drop with version 2.2.
But what exactly are the main benefits of making the leap from M1 to M2? Well, let us outline those that we think are most compelling below (but it’s important to note that most of these advantages are with the Enterprise Edition of Magento 2):
Improved scalability to enhance growth
The ability to scale quickly and effectively is a must for most online retailers today and this is an area in which M2 particularly excels. Delivering a robust platform which makes is simple to ramp up your performance to deal with enterprise levels of traffic to the site at key times throughout the year such as Black Friday sales or Christmas, it is noticeably more straightforward to scale your online store with M2 in comparison to Magento 1. And it’s important to remember that, in all likelihood, you’re going to need to make the transition at some point and doing it sooner rather than later means you’re not wasting money on your current store.
Magento 2 is able to deliver this improved level of scalability to users of the platform by offering separate master databases for checkout, an improved order management system and products and support for MySQL Cluster. The reason why this is important for retailers is because it makes dealing with heightened search volumes straightforward through the use of powerful new Elasticsearch technology.
This increased level of scalability will be central to the growth strategies for many online retailers in 2017 and forms one of the key reasons why a large number of ecommerce stores will be looking to upgrade their Magento platform over the next 12 months.
Increased customer loyalty
Repeat customers are the holy grail for online retailers and if you can get a consumer to come back to your store time and time again, you’re certainly doing something right from a usability point of view.
Magento 2 builds upon the foundations of M1 and delivers a much improved platform for improving customer loyalty levels and makes it easier for ecommerce stores to retain their customer base. With M2 you are able to hook customers through a number of new features such as the introduction of customer reward points systems, wish lists, gift registries and a capacity to create private sales events to entice consumers back for repeat custom.
If you’re looking to really increase your brand loyalty in 2017, a move to Magento 2 might well be one of the best means of achieving it because of the excellent selection of customer loyalty options it provides. This is a large improvement over the functionality of M1 in this regard and the ability to really provide a better user experience for consumers on M2 is likely to have a positive effect on your sales and customer loyalty.
More sales and conversions
What online retailer wouldn’t want more sales and conversions in 2017? Well, a move to Magento 2 can be the catalyst for achieving this uptick in sales this year and the new features introduced in M2 will play a fundamental role in this.
More effective and advanced customer segmentation make it possible for online retailers to more effectively target promotions and marketing activity and deliver the sorts of deals and offers that will resonate with the consumers that they have.
An increased capacity for sales and conversions is likely going to be the most compelling reason for an ecommerce store to make the switch from M1 to M2 over the next few months but because of wholesale changes to the structure of the new platform from Magento, achieving these results is a genuine reality.
With Magento 1, support was often an issue for online retailers when they had problems with the platform which they were struggling to overcome. Steps have been put in place with M2 to make this a thing of the past and it now offers a dedicated support platform for retailers that offers advice and solutions to customers.
The amount of time spent troubleshooting problems on Magento 1 is something that any ecommerce manager is likely to be only too familiar with so you’ll be pleased to hear of the introduction of dedicated account managers with M2 and a raft of specialised diagnostic tools which can be used to identify and remedy any problems that you may be having with the platform.
Having the peace of mind that M2 offers a much more comprehensive level of support to its users is something that will appeal to retailers considering making the move and less time spent on fire-fighting problems means more time on important aspects of online retailing such as your sales and marketing endeavours. The improved support in place for Magento 2 is a real benefit that makes the transition that bit smoother.
Better productivity levels
An online retailer will need to ensure they remain as productive as possible in order to achieve their sales targets and a move to Magento 2 helps to deliver the tools that are required to enhance productivity levels of your ecommerce store.
With M2 you have the ability to create, review, and schedule site changes much more quickly than is possible with Magento 1 and, crucially, you won’t need any IT support because using the new content staging and preview of M2 is so straightforward and user friendly – something which certainly can’t be said for the backend of Magento 1.
New features like automated sorting rules and the ability to optimise the way in which product categories are arranged are just some of the ways in which M2 will help make your online store more productive and streamlined and these features will make the decision to switch from M1 to M2 justified when it starts to lead to increased conversions and sales as a result.
Streamline your store deployment
With Magento 2 you will find a number of impressive features right out of the box (with EE) that make deployment a much more simple and straightforward process for your ecommerce store.
M2 has an Enterprise Cloud Edition which is a Platform-as-a-Service that delivers not only a great set of deployment tools for you to use but also has best practices with leading industry technologies in mind to ensure their effectiveness and guarantee a simplified deployment process.
This is an important factor when making the decision to move from M1 to M2 because this simplifying of deployment will lead to overall reduced costs for ecommerce stores and this is something which should certainly be factored in when you’re weighing up whether to move platform.
The above are the top level benefits of making the move from Magento 1 to Magento 2 but in order to really understand why it will be advantageous to your ecommerce store, it will pay to look into a little more detail at some of the more specific advantages to be found from making the switch to Magento 2 Enterprise Edition.
Take a look at a few of the ones we think are worth making the switch for here at Pinpoint:
Improved payment functionality
Giving consumers as many payment options as possible and making the checkout process as streamlined as possible is something that inevitably leads to an increase in sales and there have been a number of noticeable improvements in this area for Magento 2.
For example, they recently announced a range of new PayPal and Braintree features which empower the retailer to streamline purchases and their business processes to deliver increased sales and conversions.
Paypal is now such a common means of making purchases and M2 realises this and delivers the functionality for consumers to order products quickly and effectively by customers to save their PayPal account as a payment option. This means they can bypass entering their PayPal ID and password in future checkout, a benefit which makes them much more likely to convert upon a return visit to your ecommerce store.
Given the importance of mobile search it was imperative this issue was addressed by Magento and in M2, you’ll an impressive range of responsive themes to choose from which make it quick and easy to an optimised store for any device type.
There are, of course, other benefits to having a responsive site on top of it being suitable for different device types. Google is pushing the importance of mobile optimised sites heavily so it will also have an effect on your SEO endeavours as well and this is another compelling reason why the move to M2 will be a worthwhile one for ecommerce stores in 2017.
Varnish page cache
Another small, but important, introduction to Magento 2 that may have you wanting to make the switch is the introduction of Varnish page caching. Capable of significantly accelerating your store’s performance online, Varnish page caching decreases response time and delivers pages to shoppers much faster which is imperative when looking for ways of increasing conversion – shoppers today are inherently impatient and won’t wait around for a page that is taking unnecessarily long to load.
Varnish caching is an important introduction for M2 as it reduces the load on your Magento server and the latest version of the platform provides Varnish configuration files out-of-the-box to make it extremely straightforward to set-up from the start.
The faster your online store operates, the more user friendly it is and the more sales you will potentially make. Varnish caching is one of the biggest benefits of M2 for online stores and you will witness a noticeable uptick in the speed your site operates if your make the switch to Magento 2 over the next few months.
It is the Enterprise Edition of Magento 2 that is really providing the incentives for online retailers to make the switch from the current platform and delving a little deeper, you can see some really imperative features within the Core Enterprise Edition of M2 that will likely prove the difference when making the decision.
We’ve picked a few of the more stand out ones that we think make the difference to retailers here at Pinpoint:
Ability to set promotions & pricing – Much more comprehensive tools at the disposal of M2 users such as the ability to create flexible coupons for specific stores, more advanced customer segments, time periods, products, and categories.
Enhanced SEO functionality – M2 improves upon its predecessor in a number of core ways so far as SEO is concerned. Some of the most important new features include automatically generated Google sitemaps, URL rewrites, ability to add structured data markups to product pages and the functionality to create SEO friendly URLs.
Improved Checkout – With Magento 2, you’ll see a number of improvements around the checkout such as the ability to show tax and shipping estimates in the cart, ability to offer guest and registered user checkout, functionality to save shopping carts to return to later and much more besides. These are all features geared towards improving your ecommerce conversions.
More Payment Gateway Integrations – There is a much more comprehensive range of payment gateways to integrate with in Magento 2 including PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, CyberSource and WorldPay. There are also other important features including the ability to securely pass credit card information directly from the client browser to the payment gateway, bypassing the Magento application altogether.
Better Shipping Options – Shipping is an extremely important part of running an ecommerce store and with Magento 2 you will receive much more control over this. It features real-time shipping rates from UPS, UPS XML (account rates), FedEx (account rates), USPS and DHL, functionality for order tracking from customer accounts or a configurable order tracking widget and much more.
Improved Reporting & Analytic Tools – Understanding where you’re doing well and areas for improvement is crucial to a successful online store and with M2, you will have a much more comprehensive set of reporting and analytic tools at your disposal to understand this. Within the admin, you will see reports on a large number of different areas including sales, tax, abandoned carts, best purchased products, coupon usage and search term reports to name but a few.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of reasons why migrating from Magento 1 to Magneto 2 makes sense for your ecommerce store and we’re experts in creating M2 sites here at Pinpoint and can provide help and support in making this transition as pain-free as possible.