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Are You Ready to Transition from Magento Commerce 1? What You Need to Know About Making the Move.

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Magento announced last September it will stop supporting Magento Commerce 1 in June 2020.  It may be one year off, but it’s not too soon to start the transition from the enterprise edition to Magento Commerce 2 or an alternative platform that’s fully supported. Why imperil your web store (and brand reputation, for the matter) – and risk losing customers who defect after they experience issues you cannot resolve due to lack of support?

Updated Architecture

If you think it’s simple to make the switch to Magento 2, think again.  A common misconception is that this transition is an easy upgrade. In reality, Magento 2 is a new platform altogether. It leverages the latest PHP language, site architecture concepts and, when using Magento Commerce Cloud, a modern three-tier architecture that allows for easy development, site staging and production environments while still offering local development.

This updated architecture allows for easier development management and deployment while also offering a wide array of enhanced features not found in Magento 1.

Important New Features

Out-of-the-box platform features are an important consideration for any business. They answer the fundamental question: What do I get for my investment?

With Magento 2.3 (the current release as of this writing), the functionality growth from Magento 1.x is extensive. A few key improvements can be found in the newly released page builder functionality, along with enhanced promotion and search capabilities, and a robust B2B module.

The page builder functionality is an extension of Magento Commerce. It allows users to drag and drop content elements with live-preview capabilities to create different layouts and pages without HTML and CSS. Magento natively has a number of features defined for the page builder but also allows developers to extend existing elements or create new ones that align with brand goals.

With Magento 1.x, many stores looked to extensions to improve search and promotion capabilities. Magneto 1.x utilized a basic SOLR search solution but with Magento 2 Commerce you now receive Product Elasticsearch natively. The promotion engine has also improved with more common promotions out of the box such as cart pricing capabilities and promotion scheduling. With these enhancements, customers can now look to brand-specific extensions from a controlled extension marketplace versus common place eCommerce functionality improvements with a new site launch.

Tasks to Consider When Transitioning

One of the more challenging hurdles is the first one and that is simply evaluating your current Magento 1.x store and understanding what needs to be brought over to your new Magento 2 store and what may need to be replaced.

Magento has built solutions for data migration from Magento 1.x to Magento 2. With the migration you will need to determine how much information from your existing store you want to bring across. Do you need all of the orders, customers, products or is this an opportunity for you to “clean house” and remove old records?

Extensions are more challenging. Magento 1 extensions, whether private or purchased, were developed for a different architecture. With the migration to Magento 2, you will need to review the extensions currently on your site and determine if they are still needed based on the updated functionality, whether you need to account for scope of the solutions to be rebuilt, or if another extension compatible with Magento 2 could be found. The good news is that the Magento Extension marketplace is now curated. Where you could not be sure of the quality and compatibility of the extension with Magento 1.x, Magento has worked hard to develop an extension marketplace on par with competitors and to help the overall community.

The last of the large items to consider with your migration is the theme itself. The Magento 1.x theme is not compatible with Magento 2. The good news is Magento 2’s LUMA theme comes with modern best practices built into the solution. With this transition, take time to consider if you want a site refresh. Since the theme must be built, now is a good time to make the update rather than trying to “lift and shift” a design that has not been updated in the past few years.

Conclusion

Making the decision to migrate to Magento 2 is not easy. Early adopters of Magento 2 encountered struggles that have caused many to pause in their consideration of the upgrade. These challenges have largely been resolved with the most recent releases and should not be a barrier to your migration. The features and architecture of Magento 2 can help move your brand forward. With the sunsetting of Magento 1 support, now is the time to make the move so you are not rushing in early 2020 to define a path forward. Take the time in the next year to make your move properly.

Need advice on making the move? Contact LiveArea with your questions.

Author

Alexandra Wood
Alex has worked in eCommerce for over 8 years supporting large multi-$100M companies and those just starting out. Today, she leads Small-Medium Business Solutions at LiveArea. When not working you can find her cheering on her sports teams and enjoying good weather with friends on a patio in Dallas.

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