Tomasz Stachera

Senior Solution Architect | E-commerce Expert

Magento 1 support is ending in June. Here’s what you need to know about migrating your store to Magento 2

B2BE-commerceTechnologyCustomer Experience

After June 30, 2020, Adobe will stop supporting Magento 1 and official updates will no longer be provided. After this date, store owners will have to find and fix software errors on their own.

It will be more difficult to ensure the speed, convenience, security, and functionality expected by customers.

The easiest solution is moving to Magento 2, which offers continued support and some additional benefits. New technologies have given the platform higher efficiency and scalability. This has consequently changed the way it’s perceived by users. A simplified ordering process and access to more advanced analytical data promise a sturdy sales stimulus. It’s worth checking out how migration to Magento 2 may impact particular e-commerce areas.

Magento 2: A safe, speedy, and scalable platform

Magento 1 was written in PHP 5, whose old base architecture frequently resulted in poor efficiency and security issues. Hence, Magento 2 was created with the new generation of this language, PHP 7. This move has proved revolutionary for Magento, as the use of a completely new architecture and new design patterns have produced new applications that offer greater speed and safety.

Apart from PHP 7, Magento 2 is underpinned by the highest security standards, such as:

  • Password encryption with enhanced SHA-256 hashing algorithms.
  • Optional two-factor authentication during login.
  • Creating spare copies based on a dynamic plan.

The platform also uses AJAX, which means adding a product to a cart will not refresh the entire website. Thanks to buffer technologies such as Varnish and NGINX, frequently-used files will be stored in memory. Additionally, the new version offers significantly higher scalability, which derives from the use of MySQL 5.6 and other technologies. As a result, Magento 2 is about 20% faster than its predecessor and can serve up to 10 million views per hour. This is particularly important during peak traffic times, e.g. on Black Friday.

Improved UX and better functionality

Magento 2 ensures a more coherent user interface between the store's desktop and mobile versions. The mobile site can flexibly adapt to the client device's resolution and type. Also, replacing the default Magento search engine with Elasticsearch makes user navigation a lot easier. When the client enters a search phrase, a menu displaying suggested search results pops up immediately. Each product comes with a description, rating, price, and photo, which makes browsing products exceptionally smooth.

The processes for establishing accounts and placing orders have also been streamlined. New users can register right before closing their transaction and the purchasing process itself requires fewer steps. Both result in increased sales. Another feature – showing product photos with all products in the final order summary – will ultimately mean fewer abandoned carts.

   

Companies operating in the B2B space will appreciate the module (available in the Commerce version) offering functions to facilitate dealing with business customers. These functions include:

  • Advanced account management: Business partners can have special company accounts. This allows the e-commerce platform owner access to more detailed account information and enables the owner to allocate dedicated sales representatives to each account.
  • Multi-buyer company accounts: One client company account may be used by several buyers. This allows client companies to manage the roles and rights of different persons involved in the purchasing process.
  • Separate catalogues for individual client groups: Owners can simultaneously use separate catalogues for individual client groups; this is especially useful in the B2B2C model.
  • Enquiries: Client company account users may send enquiries, including requests for quotes/proposals, directly from the cart.
  • Placing orders through Excel files: Clients may place orders by uploading CSV files, which shortens order completion time.
  • New market expansion support: With just one installation, owners can operate in multiple languages and currencies, which facilitates international operations.

New administration panel

Magento 2’s updated administration panel has been adapted for touchscreens, which is particularly helpful while working away from your desk. Each administrator can personalize their panel to their own preferences, e.g. by setting up fast access to selected functions. Moreover, the "drag and drop" feature makes most visual changes without calling for any technical knowledge on the part of the administrator.

Additionally, Magento 2 allows companies to simultaneously sell products in multiple stores without multiple administration panels.

What you should know before starting your migration

Unlike a standard software update, migration is a multi-stage process. It requires the establishment of an entirely new platform to which all data from Magento 1 will subsequently be transferred. Shifting to the new version should be preceded by:

  • Making a spare copy of the store to date, along with all the relevant files, folders, and databases.
  • Cloning Magento 1 (to avoid using the existing store version during migration).
  • Validating the significance of the existing functions. The old platform may have many redundant functions that should be dropped in the new version.
  • Defining the functions that were not available in Magento 1 and should be implemented in the new platform.

To simplify migration, Magento 2 should be installed on the same server as the existing version. It is recommended you use the latest stable platform version. Otherwise, running a platform update will be necessary before the platform can be launched.

The migration process

Transferring your current store layout directly to the new platform is not possible. Yet, this inconvenience presents an ideal opportunity to refresh your existing store. One of two solutions may be used:

  • Purchasing a template: This option is cheaper and faster. However, it may cause problems when adjusting the template to your specific needs.
  • Creating a new template: This option is more expensive, but it offers full control and freedom in designing a modern e-commerce solution. Using the services of experienced designers increases the chances of getting an industry-specific layout.

Extension migration

Some extensions, particularly from renowned suppliers, have versions customized to both Magento 1 and 2. In this case, the Magento 2 version will have to be installed and configured in the new store.

If the extension developer has not prepared a version for Magento 2, you’ll need to search the Magento Marketplace catalog to find an extension with a similar functionality. Alternatively, you could have this functionality created from scratch by programmers.

Data migration

The next step is data migration. During this process, Magento 2 imports product, client, order, newsletter subscription, and other data from Magento 1. There are many tools you can use for this; thus, choosing the right solution depends on your specific implementation and especially on the quantity and complexity of your data.

For most cases, e-point recommends using the Data Migration Tool. This is an official Magento solution that sends data from Magento 1 to Magento 2. It also checks the compatibility between both platforms' database structures, tracks the data transfer progress, and sets up logs.

The Data Migration Tool divides the migration process into three modes:

  • Setting Mode transfers the system configuration and site settings.
  • Data Mode mass-migrates the database resources.
  • Delta Mode migrates incremental changes (changes since the last startup, e.g. new clients and orders).

The migration process ends with conducting data verification tests. These provide additional validation, proving the data import and the implementation of all platform functions have been successfully completed.

Starting a store

The final step before starting the new platform is configuring the server and domains. Appropriate address forwarding is particularly important if you want to maintain your previous search engine positioning post-migration.

The actual platform launch is usually conducted during night hours, as the store will remain closed for about 2-3 hours throughout the process. It’s a good practice to study Google Analytics reports and identify the times when visitor traffic is the lowest.

Your migration decision may determine your company's position online

Migration to Magento 2 is a key business decision – particularly because e-commerce’s importance will keep growing. As a result, moving your e-store to a new platform is an investment which could make or break your company's competitive advantage.

Going with an up-to-date solution (i.e. Magento 2) is the best way to avoid risks related to maintaining an obsolete technology. Plus, maintaining an obsolete technology is likely to get increasingly more expensive. Besides, Magento 2 opens up a world of new opportunities with excellent growth potential.