June 2020 marks the end of an era. With Magento 1 reaching End Of Life, retailers need to be aware of the risks and act now. To help you decide what to do, here are my suggested alternatives.
What does Magento End Of Life mean?
When major new software versions are released, older versions are maintained for a period of time. When that time is over, those versions are classed as EOL (End Of Life). At that point any bugs discovered in the software remain unfixed and the software is no longer developed, causing the software to age rapidly. Although for many, this is manageable, the biggest concern is that outdated software becomes vulnerable to threats.
When does Magento support reach End Of Life?
Magento 1 reaches EOL in June 2020, so if you are still using it, you should take action now to ensure you remain secure.
Magento EOL, what are my options?
This isn’t an exhaustive list covering all ecommerce platforms. The options I'm listing here are my recommendations based on platform experience and customer results.
Your Options Are...
1 - Migrating From Magento 1 to Magento 2
The sequel is an obvious choice for many, but what does Magento 2 have over Magento 1? Faster performance and a more secure and reliable platform are the instant wins. Lets face it, Magento 1 was a bit of a beast. It required a huge amount of hardware to run and the platform itself was bloated, somewhat of a sledgehammer you could say. The latest incarnation under Adobe’s wings has addressed many of these issues including architecture, cost, performance, security and of course support - this version is supported.
Magento 2 is still expensive. It is the most configurable and customisable option in my list, and for that reason it clearly is the correct choice for some. Take a look at our friends over at Urban Zoo whose Gamechanger platform utilises Magento 2 for ecommerce and uses this technology to great effect with some very smart and custom functionality for kit building and shirt customisation. This is a great example of Magento 2 put to the correct use and the sites produced by Urban Zoo are nothing short of exceptional.
Many retailers are using Magento 1 because they had no choice. At the time, agencies were pushing it as their platform of choice, it's what the agency used so you didn't get an option. Other platforms were in their infancy, but those competitor platforms have now come of age. A question you need to ask yourself is, do I really need to be on Magento? For most the answer is, probably not. Not any more.
My advice here is to go with Magento 2 if your products and your offering require a lot of customisation, and you need a flexible platform to achieve it. Whereas if you were using Magento 1 because it was the only choice, now is a great time to look at other options, save yourself some money and make your life a little easier.
2 - Migrating From Magento 1 to Shopify
The last few months, in the sectors that I operate in, this has to be the most popular choice when replatforming (a term commonly used when moving from one software platform to another). For many, Shopify is a refreshing change. Those moving from Magento 1 that were not making use of it’s extremely configurable and flexible nature are finding Shopify a very welcome breath of fresh air. Shopify have done a great job of making things simple, with users reporting that a lot of the work that they relied on an agency for, once up-to-speed, could now be achieved in-house.
Migrating from Magento 1 to Shopify is pretty simple. Tools like Cart2Cart can be used to move content data and images across (and these tools work for many platforms, not just Magento to Shopify). A big plus over Magento is the price. Shopify can be managed entirely in house by the retailer, although I wouldn’t recommend doing so. I'm sure you've more important things to be doing than building your own website. You should always leave this to the professionals, you may not think it but your time costs, use it wisely.
Shopify can be a little closed at times which is often a side effect of simplicity, so you may hit a few challenges, or have to make a few sacrifices if using this platform. Extremely fast turnaround times where you can have a new site up and running within a week is another huge plus for the platform. With Magento EOL looming combined with a pandemic, time and affordability must be taken into consideration and become key factors in the decision process. At the foot of this article, I've included a couple of Shopify success stories that have taken place whilst in lockdown.
I advise that if you sell complex products with many options, you may want to look at something more configurable. However, if your product is simple, the cost saving and simplicity of Shopify makes it highly recommended, and the number of Magento 1 to Shopify migrations goes to show this. Even when using an agency (check out our in-house agency who specialise in Shopify) the cost saving over Magento 1 is substantial.
3 - Migrating From Magento 1 to WooCommerce
Since its initial appearance as a temperamental Wordpress plugin, WooCommerce has come a long way over the years and now holds its head high and stands on its own two feet as a reliable and customisable ecommerce platform deeply integrated with Wordpress (the most popular website platform in the world).
WooCommerce sits somewhere in between Shopify and Magento 2. It isn’t as complex as Magento 2, but still offers a level of customisation and flexibility close to it. A level that certainly isn’t achievable with Shopify. The build process is more involved as you would expect from something more customisable and you’ll certainly need an agency to build your site properly (checkout our in house agency who also specialise in Woo). The additional resource costs, but the end result can deliver a more unique experience to your customers.
There are a couple of scenarios where I would choose WooCommerce. The first is if you are looking to invest a little more money into a more detailed and bespoke build to ‘buck the trend’, WooCommerce can give you that, but do choose your agency wisely. Secondly, if your products are a little on the complex side with many options and configurations, WooCommerce just handles this better.
4 - Migrating From Magento 1 to a Custom Platform
I’ve worked with a number of agencies who maintain their own ecommerce platforms, built and supported in-house. It goes without saying that when dealing with these types of agencies, their knowledge of the platform is the very best you can get, after all, they built it themselves.
Working with an agency who designed their own solution means you can help influence the direction of the platform. You can request tweaks to existing functionality, or suggest completely new features. That’s not to say you’ll get them added, but your chances will be higher than a number of the closed mass rolled out platforms.
If you are looking for a little extra hand-holding and to be involved directly with the team that built the platform that you are using, choosing a custom agency platform is a good option. An agency that I can highly recommend is Visualsoft who build websites on their popular in-house developed VSCommerce platform. A feature rich platform that is both customisable and simple to use.
Magento 1 migration help
With support ending in June 2020, I encourage Magento 1 users to reach out now. I’m available to discuss your requirement directly and help you decide on the best route forward. The following articles may be of interest...
- Huggle move from Magento 1 to Shopify
- Purple Menswear Choose Shopify
- Landers Outdoor Choose Shopify
- View examples of our own web work here
I hope you find this article useful. Thanks, Stu.
Stu Francis - CEO, Touchretail - 0845 466 0323