It’s no surprise businesses love working with Magento. Built in PHP, this open-source eCommerce platform has, for many years, provided elegant and streamlined eCommerce solutions for retailers around the world. If your business is currently using Magento 1, however, you should be aware that as of November 2018, new features for the the program are no longer being offered. What’s more, from June 2020, Magento 1 will no longer be supported. So, if you want to continue working with the best platform, you should seriously consider moving to Magento 2 now.
What is Magento 2?
Magento 2 was released in 2015 and, in my opinion, is a much sleeker and higher-performing platform than its older sibling. A common misconception many people have, however, is that this is a simple upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, Magento 2 will feel very familiar to administer but if you look under the hood, you’ll find a completely different engine. So, it’s not a case of pushing the “upgrade” button and bingo-bango-bongo!
Your design can be migrated, but it will need to be recoded as a Magento 2-compliant theme. Your team will need to rebuild any custom modules and re-purchase Magento 2 compatible versions of any commercial modules. If you’ve previously added any customisations, you’ll need to migrate those too. Now, I know this sounds like an immense amount of hassle but trust me, it’s worth it.
The benefits of Magento 2
One of my favourite things about Magento 2 is its improved page load times. The Magento team have installed a number of enhancements including:
- Pre-integrated page caching (Varnish) and Ajax Cart for faster out-of-the-box performance with minimal tuning
- Extensive backend improvements, including optimisation for PHP 7, for faster admin performance and support for more concurrent product and order updates
- Master databases for key subsystems – including order management, product management, and checkout
What does this mean in plain English? Basically, your system will be able to handle more traffic and pages will load 30-50% faster, which means your site will be able to process more orders per hour, improve user interaction, and increase add-to-cart times.
Boosted conversions and sales
Everything about Magento 2 is geared towards creating a seamless path-to-purchase for your customer. And, considering mobile commerce continues to grow at a rapid rate, this improved usability is crucial. You can expect:
- Responsive design reference themes for seamless multi-device shopping
- New features including content staging and preview for promotion-testing
- “Elasticsearch” which supports 33 languages out-of-the-box, and is easier
- Enriched product merchandising with the ability to add HD video content from YouTube and Vimeo
- PayPal in-context checkout and saved credit cards, resulting in faster checkouts and easier PCI compliance
Streamlined backend for business users
Another feature I love about Magento 2 is their improved data views and filtering functionality. Always needing to refer to your developer can be a time-consuming process, but the new Magento Admin Navigation is perfect for just about anyone on your team. It includes:
- Drag-and-drop tools to customise and save admin panel views of crucial product, customer, and order data
- Step-by-step product creation tools, making it easier to manage new and existing product information
- Improved product importing and exporting to support upsell and cross-sell products
- Data safeguards that now allow multiple users to work on product data simultaneously
It’s time to make the switch
It might seem intimidating to make the switch to Magento 2 but the effort is well worth it. Furthermore, I encourage you to take this as a chance to overhaul your site and improve its overall business functions. In fact, this is exactly what we at The Playhouse Group did for our clients King Living and Taylors, resulting in significant traffic and sales increases for both!
Another factor to keep in mind is that a project of this sizes typically takes 4-6 months depending on the complexity of the site. In fact, it could take up to 8 months if you’re using this as an opportunity to completely overhaul your site, optimise your content, and add new features and functionality. When we account for the funding and planning stages, the time for you to look into moving to Magento 2 is now – I’ll even go so far as to say that if you haven’t started planning by mid-2019, then you’re falling behind the rest of your competitors.
I mentioned customisations earlier and I know you might be hesitant to move to Magento 2 because of the hassle of migrating these across. What I can tell you is you’re not alone. To quote a wise old sage (alright fine, I’m quoting An American Werewolf in London), “Stay on the path”. The upgrade path, that is. Look at using out-of-the-box functionality and commercially available modules before considering a customised or bespoke solution. I can all but guarantee that anything you are considering has already been globally rolled out in some way, shape or form. We can help you navigate these functions and reduce your customisations, so you won’t have to worry about expensive and time-consuming development updates in the future.
So, are you ready to take the leap to Magento 2? Get in touch with the team at The Playhouse Group and find out how we can help you improve your sales.