News and insights • Posted on 27 May 2016

Magento 2 vs Magento 1, why move?

The Magento landscape is changing – the launch of Magento 2 at the beginning of 2016 was big news for both those running the platform already, and also those wanting a brand new ecommerce website that looks stunning, whilst being fast, usable and responsive.

Something to keep in mind is that Magento 1 will be supported for 3 years (until the end of 2018), so if you’ve just had a Magento 1 site built don’t worry – you’re still good to go.

With the Magento 2 vs Magento 1 debate raging on, what does switching mean for those already using the platform, or those waiting to get on board?

No Migration from Magento 1

One of the biggest bits of news for those already on the platform is that there will be no migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2. In short, this means that you’ll be able to take your product database with you, but that’s about it. Because of fundamental changes, there’s no way to upgrade, so you’ll have to develop a new website in order to run the updated version.

Whilst this is obviously not ideal, it can have its wider benefits. It might be that your site is in desperate need of a redesign… in which case, bingo! This would be the opportune time to upgrade to Magento 2 (for the benefits we’ll mention below), and also to take some time to relook at the design of your site and address any issues you may have.

This could also be the case for SEO, in terms of restructuring your site to further optimise it and make the customer experience better. However, that’s something that needs careful, long-term planning.

It’s Quick!

One of the key benefits for those adopting Magento 2 is the improvements they’ve made in terms of speed. Whilst speed is an important aspect in the back end of the site when it comes to your productivity, it’s in the front end where more grunt really comes into play.

Site speed is a big factor in how your site ranks, even if it’s not in a direct way. As Arron pointed out in his Get Started with Google Analytics post, poor site speed can cause users to bounce which, in some cases, equals huge losses in revenue. Better load times should result in fewer bounces, allow people to navigate to more pages with ease and generally improve the user experience.

Happy Hosting

Thanks to Magento 2’s increased speed, you can start to expect lower hosting costs thanks to it needing a lower spec to run on. This point was backed up by hosting company UKFast, who also mentioned that Magento 2 is much more suited to cloud hosting than version 1.

All your Add-Ons in One Place

Magento will not be using Connect for the third party extensions anymore; instead, they are introducing their own Marketplace. This will work differently to Connect, with all of the extensions built by trained and approved companies and vetted by Magento before being added to the marketplace.

Equally, if an extension has a high number of complaints then it will be pulled. This should hopefully drive up the quality of the extensions, but it does mean a potential rise in cost as Magento take a cut of each sale.

The Best of the Rest

Other benefits to Magento 2 include order & return management, meaning you can also offer store credits and product exchanges rather than returns (meaning you keep the customer with you), as well as order tracking for customers. You can also now view and edit the shopping cart from a lightbox as standard, and they have introduced 2-step checkout as standard. This includes the ability to check out as a guest and sign up at a later date, which will hopefully reduce cart abandonment rates.

All in all, these are good improvements for Magento and certainly help push the platform forward as others around it continually improve their offerings. As mentioned though, if you’ve just had a new Magento site built don’t worry too much, Magento 1 will still be supported until the end of 2018. However, if you’re looking to update the design or structure of your site, it’s well worth considering moving to the improved Magento 2 platform.

Are you looking for an experienced Magento 2 agency? Give us a bell (and we’ll bring the whistles).

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Written by Andy McCaul

Co-founder and digital marketing guru Andy ensures all projects are shipshape, and that we generate the best return on investment for clients.

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