Magento 1 will reach its official end of life in June 2020. We know, we know, you’ve already heard that sentence a thousand times over since Magento made the announcement last September. But hear us out, we’re not here to go over Magento 1 end of life again, we’re here to talk about what the ‘deadline’ means for you and provide some next steps which you can start acting on today.
The announcement was accompanied by the official advice to start planning a Magento 2 upgrade. Many merchants have already done just that. For others though, it’s not that simple, there are concerns or barriers in place preventing them from upgrading. That’s why we’re here to do what Sonassi does best - provide real-world solutions to Magento problems.
Let’s take a look at five common concerns merchants have about migrating and why they don’t have to be a barrier between you and Magento 2:
1) We can’t find a reputable Magento 2 developer
For an eCommerce business, their online store is their single most important resource. So, if you don’t have developers and designers in-house, we appreciate how daunting it can be to trust an external agency to completely rebuild your store.
Over the past four years since Magento 2 launched, there have been some horror stories of those who’ve botched their migration and suffered the consequences:
- Extended downtime
- Loss of data
- Inability to make edits
- Poor performance
When you look into each case further though the problem is almost always the same, and it’s not Magento 2. A wide array of issues are caused by mistakes in the rebuild - critical data wasn’t manually migrated, server requirements were underestimated, extensive testing wasn’t done, etc. Typically these mistakes come down to inexperience with Magento, or with M2 specifically.
So, how do you make sure you get an experienced developer and not someone who’s using your store build as an opportunity to learn Magento 2?
Ask for a recommendation
We don’t build Magento stores anymore, we host them, but our first seven years as a business were spent building high performance, stable and scalable stores. That background in development has given us an in-depth understanding of what is involved in a store build. It has also allowed us to build a partnership network with over a dozen experienced Magento agencies across the UK.
If you’re looking for a Magento 2 development agency, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a recommendation. Whether you need someone local, or who specialises in migrating large, complex catalogues, we can point you in the direction of a reliable agency that’s right for you.
Sonassi don’t just disappear after introducing you to a development team. We work together with our agency partners to ensure you are 100% satisfied with your new Magento 2 store. We provide build and test environments on our purpose-built Magento platform and then, when you’re ready to go live, we will spec up a server which fits your store requirements. Ensuring you get ultimate performance from day one.
Moving forward, we will continue to update you to the latest version of Magento 2 for as long as you're with Sonassi. We’re here to upgrade the whole eCommerce experience, not just the Magento platform. Our mission is to make stores as secure and fast as possible - then keep them that way!
2) We don’t have time to migrate before June 2020
First things first, every Magento store is unique so every Magento migration is also unique. Time to launch in Magento 2 will vary on a case by case basis. Just because you know someone who took 12 months to migrate doesn’t mean the same will be true for your store - size and level of customisation are big factors in migration timescales.
The good news is, the average Magento 2 build time has dropped as developers become more familiar with the platform. Going back a couple of years, you would have been looking at a 12-month lead time but now projects are regularly being completed in six months or less.
Get a timescale estimate
There’s every chance that nine months is more than enough time to plan and successfully execute your store upgrade. Sonassi have been working with Magento for over a decade and we’ve got long-standing relationships with some of the UK’s best development agencies. Get in touch and we will be happy to offer expert advice on the expected lead time for your Magento 2 store build. If we don’t think you’d be ready by June 2020, we’ll tell you that too.
We will take the time to understand your business and plan a timeline that fits, factoring in your busy periods and any dates which are closely tied to your revenue.
“If I was making a suggestion, it would be to start planning for an upgrade in January, begin the project in February, with a launch date in July 2020. Giving enough time for the store to bed in before the seasonal November/December peaks.”
This was Ben, our CTO’s, advice for retailers who are busiest over the Christmas period. Whereas if your peak sales occur over Summer or during the ‘back to school’ period, you may be looking to get a plan set in motion before the end of 2019.
Remember that June 2020 is just a date
We are passionate about responsible eCommerce - meaning we don’t believe in rushing through changes that will cause problems for you or your customers. We are here to help you plan the best course of action for your business, in your own time. It’s easy to get preoccupied with June 2020 as a ‘must-meet’ deadline, but there’s really no reason that you have to be fully migrated by then - something we’ve covered in more detail in our latest Magento 1 End of Life blog.
As an assurance to any Sonassi customers who will be running Magento 1 past June 2020, we have committed to working with the Magento community to continue providing security patches and sharing news of any updates with you. Longer-term, we will also make you aware of any changes in compliance or security which make upgrading to Magento 2 time-critical.
3) We don’t have the budget for a migration
Just as the timescale for migration is unique for every store, so is the cost. Before you write-off an upgrade as unaffordable it is worth getting a cost estimate. We can offer a free consultation on your options - just send us an email or give us a call.
Upgrading to Magento 2 is also an investment in the long-term future of your store. Although it might not feel like it at the time, the cost of a migration includes more than just the migration itself. You get security assurances, support for the latest versions of PHP and NGINX, plus access to new features like the PWA Studio. These will all keep your site securely up and running whilst allowing you to innovate and improve your customer experience for years to come.
Don’t let price be a barrier, there are several solutions available for reducing and spreading the cost.
Check if you are eligible for financial assistance
You can’t get much in life for free, but there is funding available specifically for Magento migrations. Of course, this funding is limited and won’t be an option for all merchants, but decisions are made on a case by case basis so it is an option worth exploring. For more information, please get in touch.
Set up a payment plan
The main concern surrounding cost is that you need to have £10,000’s available for a lump sum payment. To combat this, and make Magento 2 more accessible, we are working with our partners to provide manageable repayment plans:
Whether you opt for a 12, 24 or 36-month deal, by choosing a monthly repayment plan you can massively reduce the upfront costs. Avoid a lump sum payment and spread the expense over a timescale that suits your business.
Streamline your services
We know that, for retailers, the IT costs don’t end with your store development and hosting. There’s security scanning, firewalls, backups and data protection. Not forgetting leased lines and networking services for any physical stores you might have. Each service often comes with a different provider, terms and billing dates. Managing all of these separate components can act as a further barrier to investment in long-term projects like a Magento 2 migration.
That’s why Sonassi is pleased to announce that, as part of the iomart Group, we are now able to support your business beyond your web hosting! When setting up a migration payment plan, we can also build any of the additional IT services listed above into your package. Giving you high performance, simple solutions across your business in a single service. Our expert team will be happy to discuss your options when you contact us with your requirements.
4) We’re worried about stability and longevity
Another common concern we’ve heard surrounds whether or not Magento 2 is production-ready. Merchants don’t want to risk moving to a platform which might not be stable or won’t offer the same store functionality. At the same time, some are reluctant to make the investment in Magento 2 for fear that they will have to invest again in another new platform in the near future.
We completely understand where these concerns come from. Almost all new technology experiences bugs in the early stages. Even with extensive testing, there are issues which can only be identified once the tech is in use in the real world. Plus we now live in a world where technology is evolving at such a rate that the latest gadget is seemingly out of date mere months after you’ve bought it (mobile phone contracts, we’re looking at you). But these are not concerns which should be associated with migrating to Magento 2.
Take a look at the data
Magento 2.0 launched fully in November 2015 - that’s almost four years ago. Whilst some early adopters may have seen initial teething problems, there have been over 35 releases since then and we are now up to Magento 2.3. So it’s safe to say that any early bugs are long fixed.
Updates were released frequently from 2015 - 2017 providing bug fixes and new features.
In September 2018, Joe Ayyoub, Director of Support Operations at Magento, reported that there were
“over 8,000 new quarterly Magento 2 site launches on top of 30,000 existing Magento 2 sites.”
Adoption has continued to grow since then, with Land Rover, HP and Paul Smith among the big names who have opted to upgrade to Magento 2. Magento provides a range of case studies on retailers who are successfully running M2 in production.
That covers the stability concerns, but what about longevity? Simply put, Magento 3.0 won’t be on the cards anytime soon and investing in Magento 2 is a long-term solution.
By the time it reaches end of life, Magento 1 will have been supported for 12 years. That’s a long time in anyone’s terms but especially in the technology industry. So it’s pretty unrealistic to think that Magento 2 would be anywhere near its end of life after just four years.
Not only would it go against Magento’s previous record, but Magento 2 was actually in the pipeline for years before it was launched. An announcement was first made by Yoav Kutner, then CTO at Magento Inc., back in 2010 and development of Magento 2.0 then began in November 2011. Four years before M2 was finally launched.
The point we’re trying to get across is that if Magento 3 was anywhere on the horizon, we’d have heard about it already. We haven’t. Therefore it shouldn’t be a concern and you can upgrade to Magento 2 in the knowledge that you can enjoy your new store for years to come!
5) We’re worried about loss of performance
Last, but certainly not least, the fifth concern merchants regularly report is about maintaining their stores’ performance after migrating to Magento 2. There are some eye-opening statistics on the relationship between page speed and eCommerce - according to Google, 40% of visitors abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 79% of customers report that they are less likely to buy from the same site again if they were dissatisfied with its performance! Performance isn’t just limited to speed though. Merchants are also concerned about how a migration might affect their SEO (search engine optimisation) efforts.
Maintaining SEO and page speeds should definitely form a key part of your Magento 2 migration plan. In fact, these are exactly the kind of questions you should be asking before any form of migration or major website changes. Whenever you’re making a change to a website there is a chance SEO and speed will be affected, either positively or negatively. Fortunately, there are also steps you can take to reduce the risk of encountering any issues.
Work with experts
At the risk of repeating ourselves, working with specialist Magento developers really is the best way to achieve a smooth Magento 2 migration. Building Magento stores day in and day out allows them to develop extensive checklists for tasks and checks to complete during a migration. Stories of SEO and speed issues shared in industry forums typically come down to a simple task that was forgotten during the migration. Old URLs weren’t redirected, images weren’t optimised... By turning to an agency that’s tried and tested with M2 builds, you can get peace of mind that everything has been factored into the project.
Make use of M2 performance features
Combining an expert store build with the SEO and page speed friendly features available in Magento 2 has allowed many merchants to improve store performance, not just maintain it.
Some of the key features M2 merchants have benefited from include:
- PWA Studio
- Streamlined checkout process
- Mass settings for meta data on product pages
- Full-page caching
JH, one of our expert agency partners, has recently published a case study detailing how they worked with UK Meds, a leading online healthcare provider, to deliver a successful move to Magento 2. Take a look at some of the performance improvements they saw:
Host on a specialist platform
Optimising your store will take you so far in providing a high performance site, but hosting on a server that’s custom-built to your requirements can give you an extra edge. Sonassi is the purpose-built, lightning fast Magento hosting platform, 100% of stores migrated to Sonassi have significantly improved in speed.
Ready to take the next steps with Magento 2?
We’re here to support you at every stage to get more out of Magento in the long-term. Contact us to discuss your options in more detail and start planning your migration!