About Magento 1

Magento was built as a flexible platform. Users can create stores with a variety of functions using pre-made extensions or by utilizing their coding chops. This is the beauty of a platform like Magento and one reason it’s so popular.

Unfortunately, focusing on flexibility didn’t make it the most user-friendly, high-performing platform. In addition, there have been many complaints of Magento 1 running slow. In response to this, experts have determined what makes Magento sites run faster, but this still couldn’t change the issue of core speed. To address these issues, the Magento team designed an upgraded platform: Magento 2.

Benefits of Magento 2

Magento 2 comes with features that make it a better platform overall. It competes with other top platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce.

Improved performance

Compared to Magento 1, Magento 2 will run an average of 20% faster. Faster site speed encourages more sales and increases website search engine optimization

Full-page caching built into the platform means pages load a lot faster, 1-2 seconds compared to the 5-10 seconds for non-caching pages. It can also better handle many catalog pages without slowing down. This makes it scalable for large stores and able to grow with an online business. In addition, updates within Magento 2 are designed to work a lot quicker, making it easy for Magento users to take advantage of new features as they’re released.

User-friendly checkout

The checkout process in Magento 2 is more streamlined, making it quicker and easier for customers to go from cart to completed order. It’s highly customizable and requires less steps and customer information. Reducing the checkout time is huge for reducing abandoned carts and increasing conversions.

When a customer goes to checkout, they are brought to a default guest checkout screen where they enter an email address. If this matches an existing customer, they are given an option to checkout faster with saved information. Guests can create an account in one click from the order Thank You page. These features encourage repeat customers. The majority of Magento 1 stores had to alter the checkout process in some way to make it more user-friendly. Now, better checkout options are built into Magento 2. This means every store built with Magento 2 will have a more intuitive checkout process by default.

Key integrations

Magento 2 also integrates a lot of popular extensions so stores have better functionality out of the box. This includes payment gateways like PayPal and Braintree. These are payment platforms the majority of Magento users choose to integrate anyway, so Magento 2 makes it a lot easier.

Better admin interface

The new admin interface is designed to help reduce the time managing an online store. It’s a lot more user-friendly and easier for new team members to learn.

Admin can able to customize the admin panel, so important business information can be accessed quickly. This makes each admin panel personalized for each user to increase productivity when managing products, orders, and customer data. Creating products in the admin panel is easier than before with 4x faster product import capabilities. The admin interface of Magento 2 now includes drag-and-drop layout editing. This means you don’t need extensive coding knowledge to modify an online store’s appearance. Create a beautiful store in half the time.

More mobile-friendly

Mobile responsiveness is key to improving sales, as more and more customers are shopping on Smartphone’s and tablets. The Magento team recognized this and made mobile responsiveness a priority in the core Magento 2 platform.

It comes with new responsively designed (and SEO-friendly) themes, integrated video, and easier checkout. These all improve the look and function of Magento stores on mobile devices, thus encouraging mobile sales. Bonus: In addition to the front-end of the site, the admin panel is touch-screen friendly so you can manage your store on the go.

But…change is hard!

It might seem like Magento2 isn’t becoming prominent quickly. Although customers are steadily moving to Magento 2, there isn’t a huge rush of websites crossing over to the new platform. There are several factors contributing to this:

  • Magento 1 users don’t want to rebuild website

Since Magento 2 is an inherently different platform, existing website running on Magento 1 will need to be rebuilt in order to switch over. Some online store owners aren’t ready for this yet.

  • They’re satisfied with the performance of Magento 1

If Magento users are completely satisfied with how the platform works for their store, they might not find a reason to migrate to Magento 2.

  • Magento 2 extensions aren’t plentiful yet

Extension companies are slowly transitioning to Magento 2, so it’s possible a Magento 1 doesn’t see a Magento 2 version of their favorite extension, so are waiting to switch over. Even though there are certainly users wary of the change, extension companies banking on a slow transition and a lot of life left in Magento 1 may be putting all their eggs in one basket. The more others talk about the advantages of Magento 2, the more likely existing businesses will try it out as a platform. This means companies without Magento 2 extensions will likely fall behind.

The move – smooth or painful?

But, as it is clearly noted over there as well, theme and code customizations (which include 3rd party extensions) will not be transferable, meaning they would need to be redone on Magento 2. So, extra investments would need to be made in the visual and functional revamp. This should, in my book, be treated as a good thing because:

  • it can give you some new ideas and make you re-think your business as a whole
  • You will be able to get rid of some of the legacy code
  • You can improve the overall usability of your site

Is it worth it?

It will be. And the main reason is the change itself – for Magento, there is no going back. Yes, they will be supporting the older versions for several years – and this is why you are in no need to jump the gun if you’re doing ok right now and you don’t have any plans to be a market leader or pioneer of sorts in your niche.So if you are making active plans not to get left behind, even if you are staying put with Magento 1.x for the time being, consider these action items:

  • start thinking about what you’d like to improve on
  • make a list of extensions you are not actively using (or have no idea what they do)
  • Open up the conversation with your solution partner about your (and their) plans for Magento 2

Upgrade considerations

Four things define the complexity of any upgrade:

  • Core differences between upgrade versions,
  • Custom code compatibility with new version (if core files are overwritten the effort will be greater),
  • The number of extensions and their compatibility, and
  • The complexity of integrations.

However, no two upgrades are the same, and the more investigation work carried out beforehand, the more accurate the timelines and estimates will be.

Quality assurance (QA) testing time must also be factored in to ensure all main user journeys (customers and admin users) are not negatively impacted by upgrade work.

An upgrade project, be it Magento 1 or Magento 2, is a good opportunity to strip out any obsolete code, unused extensions, and redundant functionality. It’s also a great time to review which bits of functionality are actually needed. Chances are you have some functionality that isn’t used enough to justify spending budget on upgrading extensions, or carrying out work to ensure compatibility. The more that can be dropped, the less there might be to upgrade, which means a lower cost.

Upgrading Magento 1 Extensions

Since the Magento 2 platform is so different, it requires existing extensions to be re-built. As more and more customers move to Magento 2, they will demand their favorite extensions become available. If extensions aren’t upgraded, customers will move elsewhere to find what they need.

When should I upgrade to Magento 2?

This depends highly on your current site and its current condition – bottom line is, if your site is performing well (running smoothly, orders are coming in…), and you’re using a version that’s not really outdated (I’d say anything before1.8 CE and 1.13 EE would be considered quite outdated), there is no rush, but you can (and should) start exploring Magento 2, ask your solution partner to give you their thoughts and start doing some basic plans.

If you’re on an older version of the software or even on a newer version but having serious performance issues, and on top of that you have a number of 3rd party extensions installed, now would be a great time to plan for a revamp. If you are starting a new site, I would say, go for it! Definitely! New optimized code base, performance upgrades, and streamlined customization is something to embrace wholeheartedly.

The decision gets a bit more difficult if you are looking at the possibility of upgrading an existing site. Magento 2 includes a data migration tool for existing Magento 1 sites, but all extensions, customization, and theme needs to be rewritten. This can be a massive undertaking if your website has a lot of customization.

Major vendors responsible for the most popular Magento extension have already released some of the extension upgrades that now support Magento 2.0, but it will take some time for the very large body of existing extensions to be updated.

As of this blog post’s publishing date, Magento’s official position is that they will support older versions of Magento for three years after the release of Magento 2.0. This means that security patches will be available for older sites up to the end of 2018. This may be subject to change. Companies prolong their support, only if they assess that it is in their best interest to do so.

At this point, there is no urgency in upgrading existing Magento 1.x sites to 2.0 but long-term architectural plans need to include this upgrade when creating the road map. A few things to remember are that Magento will stop supporting Magento 1 in the near future, there have been no new features deployed since earlier this year, and the community is already shifting its attention away from Magento 1 to Magento 2. All these factors mean it’s almost impossible to avoid an eventual move to Magento 2.

Conclusion

Although some have reservations about moving to Magento 2, it’s clear this platform was designed to provide a better experience for customers and admin. It maintains the flexibility Magento is known for, but adds some important, useful features. The new version is able to grow as businesses grow. It’s fast with a streamlined checkout process to increase conversions and encourage repeat customers. Experts believe businesses will move to Magento 2 from either Magento 1, other eCommerce platforms, or to start brand-new online stores. To keep up, the wealth of extensions available must be upgraded to the new version.