Wednesday 16th September 2020

Replatforming from Magento: How Can Shopify Plus Help?

Amba Wilkes

On June 30, Magento 1’s official end-of-life passed after many years of Adobe encouraging merchants to move away from the platform. As security updates are terminated, code begins to buckle, old extensions fail and hackers work to exploit vulnerabilities, staying on this platform presents risks to your business and customers. But yet, there are still nearly 98,000 Magento 1 stores live.

Undertaking a replatforming project can be daunting at best. But it’s also the time to take stock of your current business and future ambitions to decide which platform is the best for you. In this blog we’ll share insight on the risks Magento 1 presents and how Shopify could be a fast and safe route to securing your online store and sales.

Avoiding risk

Although your eCommerce store won’t have simply stopped to function after Magento 1’s end-of-life, continuing to use the outdated platform represents an unmanageable risk for your business and customers. Even if your Magento 1 online store is working fine for now, there are notable reasons to consider replatforming before irreparable issues take hold: 

  • No more support: Since end-of-life occurred, Adobe no longer handles support tickets for Magento 1. As many developers focus on newer technologies, the availability of Magento 1 trained developers will also likely reduce, making it even more challenging to get the support you need, when you need it. Developers that do remain will see a rise in demand and increase their costs accordingly.
  • No new functionality for your store: As Magento 1 extensions will no longer be offered in the Marketplace, you will be unable to add any additional functionality to your online store. This instantly puts a stop to any future progression as your business grows.
  • You will no longer be PCI compliant: The global security standard for taking card payments, your Magento 1 store will now be out of compliance with PCI-DSS. Unless you’ve invested, and continue investing, in the necessary third-party tools and new protocols, you will be liable for fines and investigations should a breach occur.
  • Increased chance of cyberattacks: Your platform version is easily detectable through publicly available data. People can easily crawl a site, injecting exploits to gain access to customer information. Now that official support has ceased, there will be people working to find and leverage vulnerabilities on the platform which could result in extended downtime or a huge fine.

As you have a responsibility to protect your customers’ data and payment information, the only option is to begin exploring a replatforming project. 

I need to replatform. What are my options?

Magento 2 may seem the logical replacement to Magento 1 but the new platform is very different to the original version. Incorporating a brand-new interface and added complexity, Magento 2 isn’t compatible with many Magento 1 plug-ins. This means even switching from Magento 1 to Magento 2 isn’t a simple upgrade, it’s a full eCommerce replatforming project. This makes it the ideal time to explore whether Magento remains the right platform to support your business. Magento 2 is certainly a positive step forward, but the added complexity means it’s better suited to eCommerce businesses with high revenues (over £5million) and complex integration requirements.

You may have chosen Magento some years ago when platform choices were limited. But now, with great alternatives available, a hosted eCommerce solution such as Shopify Plus has become a faster, easier and lower cost option - no matter the size of your business.

What are the most popular platform choices?

As moving to Magento 2 is essentially a replatform anyway, what other platform choices could potentially be a better fit for your business? Here’s an overview of some of the most popular alternatives…

Shopify

Shopify has experienced a meteoric rise to the top of the eCommerce platform charts. It takes care of hosting, SSL certificates and the rest of the technical set-up, so you don’t need to be a coding expert to get started. Their pricing structure is also very simple, so there are no hidden fees and you can easily plan the costs into your forecasts.

Shopify Plus

The enterprise version of the platform, Shopify Plus, boasts even more features and support than Shopify. Higher levels of customisation for product pages and checkout features, alongside enhanced functionalities for international eCommerce and automation of administrative tasks just a few of the extras this platform offers.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers plenty of features and a pretty easy-to-navigate interface. Like Shopify, BigCommerce is a hosted platform which handles all the software updates and maintenance for you. You’ll find everything you’d expect from an eCommerce platform, with add-ons to further enhance functionality, however, you may feel limited if you require high levels of customisation.

OpenCart

An open-source platform with over 13,000 extensions and 36 payment methods to customise your site as desired. This platform is free to download, upgrade and use, however, you will need to secure and host the site yourself. They also offer a cloud-based version called OpenCart Cloud.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a hosted platform like Shopify and BigCommerce but specialises in enterprise level stores. Salesforce is certainly an option to consider for high volume retailers. The platform can handle high volumes of traffic and sales, but with complex technological requirements, it may not be as fitting for a smaller or mid-market brand.

Bespoke platforms

A bespoke eCommerce platform is unique to your business allowing you to add increased flexibility to your site. Bespoke platforms often come with a higher build cost and means you’ll have to take on responsibility of hosting your store alongside updates and patches too. These costs can be unpredictable and pricey. On the other hand, there is no limit to the functionality that can be built for your business. All custom builds are designed exactly for your needs and with no restrictions.

There are many SaaS solutions, such as Shopify Plus, that give you customisable functionality out of the box. Take a read of our blog to see whether a hosted or bespoke solution may best suit your business needs.

Should I replatform to Magento 2?

Moving to Magento 2 may well be the right choice, but it isn’t always the best option for existing M1 merchants. Here’s why...

  • It’s an unknown choice: The newer version doesn’t share everything that its predecessor had, meaning you’ll have to spend time and money learning the interface, processes and adapting it to fit your business needs.
  • There are hidden costs: Magento 2 still faces many of the same gripes that merchants had with Magento 1. While the software itself can be free, you’ll still have to pay for high quality hosting, an SSL certificate, PCI compliance and a developer to implement them. You’ll also have to manage regular upgrades and demand spikes, ensuring your store doesn’t fail under the strain.
  • You’ll need an expert with experience in Magento 2: As Magento 2 is more modern and powerful, this also makes it more bloated and complex. Many developers who could just about manage Magento 1 will struggle with Magento 2, which means you may have a smaller pool of quality developers to pick from to support both your replatform and ongoing requirements.

Could Shopify Plus be a better alternative for my business?

In light of security vulnerabilities on Magento 1, you need a fast way to secure your online store. The speed, ease and scalability of Shopify could be the answer you’re looking for. Here’s why:

  • It’s tried and tested: Shopify was originally founded in 2004, so after 16 years of development it's a sturdy, reliable platform. Bugs have been ironed out and Shopify Plus runs quickly, without problems. As the platform handles hosting, all security patches are automatically applied to every store around the world without you having to do a thing. You’ll never need to click an upgrade button again.
  • Everything is included: Shopify Plus handles hosting as part of your monthly fee alongside security, updates, PCI compliance, tech support and everything else on the technical side. This means no worrying about demand spikes, hidden costs or security issues.
  • Fast and reliable: With unlimited bandwidth and 99.9% average uptime, Shopify is the perfect platform to go to market quicker and scale faster. You can instead spend your valuable time creating a memorable brand experience for your customers without being slowed down by technical hindrances.
  • Customise with apps: Shopify Plus will most likely offer everything you need as part of its core feature set. But, if you’re looking for extra functionality, you can add it at the click of a button thanks to their app store. This means you’re not paying for features you don’t need, preventing an overly complicated interface. Apps include integrations with popular email marketing services, social networks, loyalty schemes and analysis tools - all there to help you maximise your sales. If you need custom functionality, developers can build custom apps to accommodate this too so a flexible approach can still be taken to your online store.
  • It’s ahead of the curve: Shopify Plus regularly implements new technologies that you’d otherwise have to pay for a developer to add for you. Want to add Apple Pay to your Shopify store? It’s already there, without the services of a developer and for every Shopify store across the world.
  • There’s dedicated support: Unlike Magento, Shopify Plus has a dedicated 24/7 support team, so if you do have an issue, you can have an expert diagnose and solve it quickly. With this platform, there is a strong community of merchants who communicate both online and at meetup events, sharing their tips and experiences.
  • Create an end-to-end customer experience: Powered by a headless commerce, you can easily plug all your systems including your CMS, ERP, PIM or CRM to connect the online and offline shopping experience.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Shopify Plus can be up and running faster than many other platforms. Dependent on your brand and project complexities such as bespoke system integrations and functionalities, we typically advise four to six months to complete a full replatforming project. That being said, we have been known to complete projects much faster so we would always encourage contacting the team to discuss timeline requirements.

Don’t delay the inevitable

The one thing you can’t do, is nothing. Armed with this insight, you’re in a much better position to make the right decision for your business. It may be that you choose to move to Magento 2, or another platform like Shopify Plus, but having this information will help minimise risk.

As seen with countless other technologies, there will come a point where your online store simply won’t be able to function on Magento 1. Bugs will eventually become unbearable, operational costs too high and downtime too often. Although completing a replatforming project may be something you want to put off, the impact of switching will only increase as time goes on.

What next? If you have any questions about replatforming or are still unsure about the implications for your business, feel free to get in touch with our team who will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Statement and Shopify Plus

As the premier Shopify Plus eCommerce agency, we’ve been building Shopify Plus websites since 2014. An eCommerce agency founded by an eCommerce business, we have firm roots in retail, and this sets us apart. Our commercial background underpins everything we do, from research and design to development and optimisation.

We’ve continued evolving alongside connected retail, delivering eCommerce backed by retail experience and the powerful capabilities of Shopify Plus. A trusted partner to leading brands including NEOM Organics, Hotel Chocolat, Taylors of Harrogate and Slendertone, we hold an abundance of experience helping brands migrate from Magento. Find out more about the way we work by visiting our website or getting in touch with one of our eCommerce experts.

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