• Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2: Why It is So Inevitable For Retailers

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    Creating an unforgettable experience for its users is the top priority for every eCommerce leader. With that in mind, retailers pull all the strings to increase  the convenience for customers’ – from enhancing page load speed to delivering a mobile-friendly browsing experience.

    Given the unmatched compatibility and top-rated features it hosts, Magento continues to be the number one choice for over 524k merchants and the numbers continue to grow. We discussed the top Magento Enterprise Features Which Make it an eCommerce Leader in an earlier post, which you can always refer back to.

    Despite its popularity and flexibility, Magento’s version 1, has been continually under scrutiny for performance related issues, including a poor page load speed. The Magento team has since been on the lookout for solutions to this problem and recently launched the upgraded platform: Magento2.

    The new version has brought along a bundle of advantages over its predecessor, prompting retailers to consider migration. However, for any eCommerce player, it is imperative to first understand why this migration is crucial for you and when is the right time to do it in Magento development.

    When to Consider Migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2

    Magento 2 comes with numerous powerful features like improved mobile responsiveness, user-friendly checkout, multiple payment gateways and enhanced page load speed that promise to deliver a much better customer experience. However, despite all the aforementioned features of Magento 2 ( and others explained later in this article), migration from Magento 1 to 2 may still appear a difficult decision for many store owners. Since Magento 2 is an inherently different platform, existing websites running on Magento 1 will need to be rebuilt in order to switch over. Some online storeowners are not ready for it.

    If you were starting from scratch, the logical choice would be Magento 2. It is the version in which all the improvements and additional innovations will be made, and it will have more frequently updated security patches and similar.

    If you are using an older version of Magento and are having serious performance issues, as well as a number of third party extensions installed, you should strongly consider a revamp. Investing more on a website, which is not performing well, would be a waste of time and money. Magento 2 is very promising and has better features so investing in it will not only technologically boost your store but a revamp would give your store a new look and feel.

    If your site is performing well, and you are using a version that’s not really outdated (I’d say anything before 1.8 CE and 1.13 EE would be considered quite outdated), then there is no rush; you can first plan your migration. You should start exploring Magento 2 and get your site analysis done to know the challenges that may appear while transitioning from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

    Key Benefits of Magento 2 over Magento 1

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    1. Performance Enhancement

    Magento 2 is 20% faster than the older version. Faster site speed encourages more sales and increases website search engine optimization (SEO). There are many factors that result in speed optimization for the site:

    1.1 Full page caching allowing faster page loading

    Magento 2 comes with full-page cache by default. This means that Magento will cache category and product pages, as well as CMS pages, as if they were static HTML pages. This will load the pages a lot faster, 1-2 seconds compared to the 5-10 seconds for non-caching pages; making Magento 2 scalable for large stores and enabling them to improve their online business performance.

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    1.2 Better code quality and testing

    Advanced code design patterns were used when creating Magento. This will naturally guide developers into using those patterns and producing their own code in accordance with best practices. The Magento 2 platform is equipped an improved testing framework. It enables developers to automatically test the generated functionality more easily than before. The end result will be better quality code, which is easier to maintain, upgrade and test.

    1.3 Compatible with PHP 7

    Magento 2 officially supports the latest PHP versions (starting from PHP 5.5.x), including PHP 7. These versions already include new security fixes and improvements that directly affect a web store’s speed. It is recommended to use PHP 7 when building Magento 2 stores because PHP 7 is 2X faster than older PHP versions.

    1.4 Database optimization

    Magento 1.x sites with high traffic, used to suffer performance related issues due to table locking in the database i.e. some users actions lock some of the tables in the database that might actually impact other users actions. In a high-traffic situation, the system performance would get impacted by this and would result in user performance issues. Magento 2 brings with it database optimizations that correct this problem.

    1.5 Improved indexers

    The indexers processes have been improved such that refactored indexers won’t block the on-going processes since they will be working in the background. They come with more efficient updates and have been improved to speed up the query performance.

    1.6 Images compression

    It is now possible to optimize images directly on the server using Magento 2 built-in tools.

    1.7  Optimized JS

    Magento 2 has minimized and bundled JavaScript. Finally, we have modern solutions from the JS perspective that allow us to reduce unnecessary browser operations on the client’s side.

    2. User-friendly Checkout

    The new checkout process in Magento 2 makes the shopping experience far more convenient for the users. From cart to order completion, the new checkout process allows after and easier.   It is highly customizable and requires less steps and customer information. Now your customers do not have to provide their billing address and 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. The customers are able to create an account on the checkout success page.  These features encourage repeat customers. The reduced checkout steps can help in reducing abandoned carts and in increasing conversions.

    If this matches an existing customer, they are given an option to checkout faster with saved information. The customers are able to create an account on the checkout success page.  These features encourage repeat customers. The reduced checkout steps can help in reducing abandoned carts and in increasing conversions.

    3. Improved Mobile Responsiveness

    Magento 2 takes away the limitations of device changes. Regardless of what device is being used, the platform offers a seamless customer experience. The new responsive design reference themes, provide developers with an opportunity to create sites that will be supported by devices with any screen resolution. It loads quickly with amazing visual elements.

    4. A More Organized Admin Interface

    The admin panel of Magento’s first version was always criticised for its complexity. In comparison with Magento 1, the admin panel in Magento 2 is far more user-friendly. The new dashboard shows lifetime sales, average order, last orders, last and top search terms – helping to monitor your current state of business.

    It is a modern admin interface that allows users to easily navigate all parts of the admin panel, find information easier and manage the store more efficiently. Now, the admin panel can be customized as per your convenience. This personalizes each admin panel for every user, in order 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.

    5. Multiple Payment Gateways for Shoppers

    With Magento 2.0 you can present your products by sharing not only photos and descriptions, but also videos. This option means a lot to product retailers, but it is even more important for those who offer services. Photos cannot fully convey all necessary information about a service, and here video really comes in handy. The new simplified checkout process doesn’t require any one-step checkout extension to be integrated. Magento 2.0 has built-in integrations with popular payment gateways (PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, WorldPay (Enterprise Edition), CyberSource (Enterprise Edition)) that weren’t previously supported.

    The variety of payment options provides better checkout UX for your customers. Built-in features like RMA (Return Management System), personalization, gift registry and gift points, advanced customer segmentation, and better PCI compliance, make it an even more powerful platform.

    6. Enhanced Security

    Magento 2 has put a lot of focus on security and subsequently it has more secure information handling. With its main focus on securing user details and offering a secured checkout process, this new version will fulfill every crucial requirement of an advanced eCommerce store. Select any payment method to complete the transaction in the advanced eCommerce website and let the version secure your crucial details. High security will offer more protection.

    Expect these Challenges when you Migrate

    1. Compatibilities in PHP version

    Magento 2.x doesn’t support PHP version below 5.6.x. If you are going to upgrade your Magento 1.x to Magento 2.x, you have to take care of PHP supported versions because most Magento sites are running their Magento 1.9.x on PHP 5.4.x or 5.5.x which is no longer supported by Magento 2.x.

    2. Compatibilities in MySQL version

    Magento 1.9.x and Magento 2.1.x both supports MySQL 5.6. However, the Magento application version 2.1.2 and later are compatible with MySQL 5.7. Therefore, it’s better to upgrade your MySQL to version 5.7, you might also consider using MariaDB or Percona for better performance, as they are also compatible with Magento 2.1.x.

    3. Data migration limitations

    Magento provides the data migration tool, which helps you migrate your data from Magento 1.x to Magento 2.x but it has some limitations:

    • Data Migration tool migrates your data, including products, customer details etc. to Magento 2 but if you have customized the Magento core database structure through third party modules according to your need on an older versio of Magento then you will have to check and change the schema of your tables otherwise it will throw errors.
    • Sometime you have to change the PHP configurations or apache configurations according to your needs because in data migration there might be a timeout, data size exceeded etc.
    • You cannot migrate modules compatible with your older version of Magento to the new one. All custom modules need to be customized as per new Magento guidelines.

    Conclusion

    Trying out the newer versions is always a considerable choice for business owners, especially with today’s tough competition among businesses to deliver the best to their customers. Anything that can help create value for the customer becomes a top priority, especially in the retail industry. Magento has been a leading eCommerce platform gaining more and more merchant-users everyday.

    In order to deliver a consistently good customer experience, the websites need optimization and to offer new features to win over customers. Migration from Magento 1 to 2 is a key consideration for merchants.. Before reaching a decision, there are host of things to consider and benefits to evaluate.

    If you are looking for any assistance to migrate from Magento 1 to 2 or create digital solutions for better customer or employee engagement, we can help. Please contact us at info@netsolutions.com.

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    Shaveta Wadhwa

    About the Author

    Shaveta Wadhwa is currently working as a Tech Lead in PHP at Net Solutions. She has over 8 years of experience in PHP, working on ecommerce platform like Magento, CMS like Wordpress and Drupal, and frameworks like CakePHP and CodeIgniter. She is a Magento Certified developer who loves debugging codes and finds herself always up for problem solving. She strongly believes that a developer must be skilled in unit testing too and should take full responsibility in identifying and fixing the errors and bugs in the code. In her free time , she loves to try out new recipes.

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