Editor’s Note: The latest Magento version comes with new and improved features and security enhancements, making it a necessity for store owners to perform version upgrades. While most website owners back themselves to upgrade their Magento store, the steps can be time-consuming and often risky. For this reason, most Magento store owners look for a reliable Magento Development Company offering Magento Upgrade and Migration Services for a fast, secure process.
The eCommerce market is a constantly evolving digital space with merchants striving to accommodate varying customer needs, crucial for business scalability. To achieve this, e-store owners are always on the lookout for new features or modules to customize their stores and enhance the customer’s shopping experience.
Popular eCommerce platforms constantly revamp their technology to stay up-to-date with the latest features and improve security, and Magento is no exception.
Magento is among the best open-source platform currently available. It is a highly flexible platform with numerous built-in features that allow merchants to meet all their business requirements.
Why Shouldn’t Merchants Stay on Magento 1?
For uninitiated readers, Magento 1 reached its end of life (EOL) on June 30, 2020. What does this imply?
Adobe, the parent company of Magento, has officially ended support for Magento 1.x. This means that the platform will no longer receive official updates or security patches.
Merchants on Magento 1 are now responsible for maintaining their site’s security and PCI DSS compliance. Failure to do so will make their eCommerce site highly vulnerable to cyberattacks and security issues. In addition, there are numerous other implications associated with Magento 1.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of staying on Magento 1 is that you are no longer PCI compliant, a set of security standards most payment providers abide by. Most payment providers don’t support businesses that are PCI non-compliant.
As a result, you’ll have limited payment methods to offer, resulting in a drop in sales.
Potential Security Risks
Lack of security upgrades compromises your website’s security, exposing you to potential security threats. Besides, hackers are always looking for susceptible stores without the latest security patches, so the risks are real.
You can still opt for regular security checks, but the cost associated with such audits is higher than a Magento version upgrade.
Most Magento store owners rely on the latest plug-ins and extensions to enhance site functionality. However, with Magento 1 EOL, you are likely running outdated extensions, resulting in stability and performance issues.
These functionality issues negatively impact the end-user experience, reducing conversions and revenues.
What are the Benefits of Upgrading to Magento 2?
Magento 2 allows merchants to set up an elegant storefront by easily integrating with a plethora of extensions. The following part highlights some benefits that make Magento 2 the preferred choice of eCommerce businesses.
Seamless Customization Options for Developers
Upgrading to the latest Magento version offers countless viable features for developers to enhance store functionalities. Developers can leverage advanced tools, including Google Analytics, BigCommerce Analytics, and Inspect Let, automating processes, tracking product availability, sales, and more.
Improved Performance for an Exceptional Experience
The latest Magento version comes with an improved platform code, thereby offering numerous benefits for users. These benefits include quick website loading time, improved stability, and better optimization.
A fast website load time offers convenience and ease to the visitors
These factors boost the store’s efficiency and performance, increasing conversions and revenues.
Improved Admin Interface
Magento 1 store owners often found the original admin interface confusing, especially the first-time users. However, Magento 2 offers a highly responsive, intuitive, and user-friendly interface. Users can easily navigate the entire store catalog, irrespective of the screen resolution or device.
Seamless Checkout Process
A complex checkout process is a primary reason why many customers abandon shopping carts. To reduce this, Magento 2 has reduced its checkout process to only two easy steps instead of six. These two steps, including order review and shipping and payments, simplify the checkout process.
In addition, Magento 2 offers guest checkout options, eliminating the hassle of registering and logging in. These options allow users to control their entire checkout process, improving the overall customer experience and conversion rate.
Cyberattacks and malware vulnerability are a major concern for store owners. However, the latest Magento version includes built-in security patches with over 40 security enhancements. These patches are well-equipped to fix major bugs and loopholes while restricting malware and hacking attacks.
While upgrading from Magento 1.x to Magento 2 is the best option, the process can be pretty challenging, especially for store owners with zero or less technical expertise. However, we’ve prepared a comprehensive checklist to help merchants upgrade considering Magento 2 version upgrade. Following this actionable checklist will ensure a swift and hassle-free version upgrade.
Magento 2 Upgrade Checklist
There are a few fundamental aspects that Magento store owners must validate before the upgrade process. They should always opt for the latest, stable Magento version for upgrading. In addition, merchants must take note of the changes/customizations available with the new version.
Furthermore, there must be an appropriate testing environment/staging website for validating the update and store functionality.
The following part contains pre-upgrade basics that are essential for a successful Magento 2 version upgrade.
Audit Your Existing eCommerce Website
To keep pace with the latest trends, store owners need to implement the latest functionality and capabilities constantly. Implementing these additional capabilities is an ongoing process that increases the overall store complexity over time.
Hence, it’s vital to review your current store’s customization, configuration, extensions, and user experience before upgrading. Considering these factors will highly impact your project upgrade scope, cost, and effort.
The following part illustrates how merchants can classify their Magento version upgrade into three categories.
Simple Implementation Criteria
- Single Magento website without major customizations.
- Fewer data to upgrade, such as orders, product catalog, and customers
- ≤ 5 extensions and 0-4 integrations
Medium Implementation Criteria
- Up to 3 eCommerce websites with simple user customization
- Data for upgrade include orders, customers, product catalog with some customizations
- ≤ 10 extensions and 3-5 integrations
Complex Implementation Criteria
- 3+ Magento websites with comprehensive user customization
- Data include orders, customers, product catalog, and custom field types
- 10+ extensions and 5+ integrations
This information will help you determine your project complexity and plan your upgrade accordingly.
Audit Magento 2 Templates for SEO and Mobile Responsiveness
Considering mobile commerce (M-Commerce) makes up 54% of all eCommerce sales, merchants must prioritize mobile responsiveness.
With Magento 2, you enjoy the option to choose from numerous underlying themes that offer a framework for SEO and mobile optimization. Besides, the themes are highly responsive and user-friendly.
For these reasons, Magento 2 design templates drastically reduce efforts and costs associated with front-end UI/UX design.
Explore the Magento 2 Marketplace for New or Upgraded Extensions
Another vital aspect that eCommerce owners must prioritize is extensions. These software programs add features to your Magento store, expanding its native capabilities.
Most online store owners tailor these programs to supplement or replace custom development depending on your business needs. In addition, extensions can be integrated with other systems for enhancing the overall user experience, including site navigation, checkout page optimization, and payment processing.
It’s advisable to start with an in-depth analysis of your existing extensions. This allows identifying and retaining critical extensions that add value to your store. Besides, evaluating your extensions will help you eliminate outdated or broken extensions that might hinder the store’s performance.
You can also replace your current customizations with the Magento 2 in-built extensions. Leveraging the available extensions also eliminates the need to maintain custom code, thus reducing the overall development and support costs.
Evaluate Third-Party System Integrations
Third-party integrations are external systems linked to your eCommerce store using an application programming interface (API). They allow store owners to incorporate complex features quickly that otherwise take a few months to develop, reducing costs and efforts.
Ideally, you should review these third-party system integrations, including order and inventory management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM). A thorough review will help determine if these integrations continue performing seamlessly or if the Magento version upgrade will enhance their performance.
Note: Magento 2 offers conversion scripts to automate data migration, such as customers and orders, from Magento 1.x platforms. Utilizing these tools can reduce the Magento 2 upgrade cost while boosting efficiency.
Plan Your Upgrade Process
The store success largely depends on how well you plan the Magento 2 upgrade process. Merchants are required to invest their time, effort, and resources in performing version upgrades, so ensure your team and major stakeholders are aware of the process.
Here are three areas you must take into account for a successful transition.
Determine Your Project Scope
Developing a project scope is critical for seamless, on-time project delivery. It is a detailed description of the project’s needs and the expected outcome. In addition, a project scope defines the project boundaries and lists scenarios outside the team’s control.
A substantial project scope offers your team a clear understanding of the project size, scale, and complexity, thus reducing uncertainty.
Notify All Involved Parties
As mentioned, the Magento upgrade process is a significant development involving numerous changes. It usually spans throughout your entire organization, affecting your finances, marketing, customer services, and more. Hence, it’s fundamental to inform not only the team member but also other people who are most likely to be affected by the changes.
Clear communication is the need of the hour. Keeping involved parties aware of the upcoming changes will help them determine their impact and stay prepared.
Time Your Move
Always align the upgrade process with a non-compromising launch date. This means that you must avoid events or the holiday season to introduce any significant updates. Your team members might not be ready and preoccupied with other tasks, resulting in delay or unnecessary risks.
As a result, ensure that the project timing considers events and team schedules.
Moving ahead with the latest Magento version upgrade is crucial to staying relevant and competitive in the digital landscape. Besides, it is the best way to customize your store with new functionalities that best suit your preferences. While upgrading the Magento version may seem a daunting task, strategic and thoughtful planning will help you reduce risk and cost while ensuring business scalability.