Autumn is the time for migration

Announced back in 2018, Magento 1’s End of Life certainly made a few merchants’ skins crawl. And rightly so, as not only they were left out from critical updates and support, but they found out that their online stores would no longer receive security updates, leaving them vulnerable to hackers. At the same time, many payment providers announced that they would not support stores on Magento 1 after the EOL. The conclusion is simple – merchants who decide to stay on Magento 1 do it at their own risk.

Let’s put it plainly… moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 requires extensive development work, which takes months, and can be fairly expensive. For many merchants and e-commerce sites, the end-of-life deadline simply isn’t working out, mostly due to the costs, timelines, resources, and uncertainty involved, and often because the timing isn’t right for their business. And it’s ok… this is a decision no-one should take lightly. We have worked with Magento 1 for several years now, and have seen it be a success factor for many large multi-million dollar businesses. In theory, moving to the new improved platform is not obligatory, yet, but in practice, the decision of staying means that any problems that occur will have to be dealt with on their own, so, it is worth knowing the risks involved.

First of all, stopping the delivery of security patches for Magento 1 Community and Enterprise means no protection to recently found vulnerabilities. Moreover, all the technologies below PHP 7.0 will not be updated, so there will be no new security firewalls for the software. In other words – by staying on Magento 1, you expose your shop and your customers to high risks.

As Magento 1 sites are no longer PCI compliant, many payment providers have already gone on record advising merchants to upgrade to the new platform. Moreover, as most of Magento’s developers will focus on improving Magento 2, many of the old modules, which are crucial for the good performance of the platform, will become out of date and might not work right. Not to mention that agencies prefer to spend their training budgets for employees on getting to know the new version better and obtaining certificates for Magento 2, therefore leaving fewer certified developers who will want to participate in Magento 1 projects.

The benefits of running your online store on a Magento 2 platform are immense. Thanks to the applied technologies, Magento 2 better adapts to customers’ needs, improves their shopping experience, which directly results in higher sales conversion. Magento 2 supports 2.1 million page views per hour and features an improved indexer that increases search results relevance. The design is adapted to mobile devices with any screen resolution. It also features the Magento 2 PWA Studio for a better mobile experience to boost conversion rates and increase engagement.

Magento 2 offers much better solutions than Magento 1 in all aspects. It is a more technologically advanced platform, which is perfectly suited for mobile and omnichannel environments. But despite the unquestionable benefits of moving a store to Magento 2, the migration is not an easy process. It will depend on your business needs and current project size and can take anywhere from 3 months to 9 months, therefore it is necessary to take into account specific variables like resources and busy periods like sales peaks in the industry.

Here are the high-level steps and processes needed to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2:

The process starts with the migration of products, product attributes, categories, orders, customers, promotion rules, and static content.
This step is performed using Magento’s data migration tool. It’s generally a smooth process and the only data that will require additional work is data coming from customizations and extensions.

The migration is a good opportunity to clean up your database. In general, many Magento 1 databases contain old data, gathered over the years, so cleaning up your database not only helps speed up your site so it loads faster but can also clear up significant space in your database so it runs more efficiently.

The team will then take an inventory of all extensions and customizations and will review which of them are essential for a seamless customer experience, which ones need improvement, and which ones can be phased out.

As with extensions, customizations cannot be simply migrated and they will need to be rebuilt. The developers should now have a clear idea of all the needed features, and things like creating a more personalized customer experience, the company’s expansion plans, and marketing strategies, all need to be taken into account at this stage.

Magento 1 themes cannot be migrated, therefore the options here are either to re-build them into a Magento 2 themes if clients are happy with the current UI, or take the opportunity to redesign the user experience. That could be the case with a design that is old, one that is not mobile-friendly enough, or simply a design where the customer experience is not as smooth as possible.

The process ends with training. Magento 2 has one of the most modern and intuitive admin panels available so your admin team must receive comprehensive training in using the new platform to make the most out of it.

Deciding on your partner for what is essentially a new build of your eCommerce platform can seem overwhelming. Our recommendation is to look for an agency that has the necessary expertise and has done a good number of migrations that are in production mode. We also recommend that the agency is a Magento partner, the team members are Magento certified and demonstrate experience and in-depth knowledge of the platform.

If you have any questions about our services, please contact us or drop us an email at hello@oak3.agency. We’re here to help! Oak3 is a Solution Partner for Magento, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!