by Fatema Mulla
Any time after June 2020, Magento will cease support for eCommerce merchants using its version 1.x platforms. This means stores will no longer receive the security updates essential for keeping their sites safe, and you’ll need to transition your store to either Magento 2, or a different platform.
So with time and financial investment unavoidable, should you transition to Magento 2, or is this the perfect time to move to another platform such as Shopify?
After an original end-of-life date of November 2018 was removed, Magento has now updated to say support will cease after June 2020. With just over a year to go before support ends for good, it’s a good time to look at your options to secure the future of your eCommerce store.
Magento 1.x’s end of life is confusing to say the least, so we’ll run through the key worries Magento merchants have, and help you decide whether to take the plunge with Magento 2, or switch to another platform.
Key Questions Answered
So what are the key concerns of Magento merchants? The upgrading procedure for the platform isn’t exactly simple, and could take a significant amount of time. For eCommerce stores, spending too much time on one project isn’t ideal, especially when you need time to focus on sales and growth.
Here are the key considerations for upgrading:
How Quickly Can I Replatform?
The short answer? Not very quickly. As mentioned above, even the most basic of Magento sites would take some time to transition. This means you’ll need to start thinking about your course of action now.
Exactly how long your upgrade will take depends on the complexity of your store, the extensions you are using and the skills of your developer. You’ll also need to ensure that the transition doesn’t impact on your site’s SEO. A sudden drop because of a poorly executed transition might cut your traffic and sales.
When Should I Replatform?
Again, this question doesn’t have a simple answer. You could transition to Magento 2 now, but the platform is a rather complex and unreliable one, with many users reporting bugs and issues.
So migrating now is still risky and dealing with bugs will likely impact on your business. Having to handle constant issues and niggles isn’t ideal for eCommerce stores that need to focus on selling and growing a strong business.
So should you wait to upgrade? Waiting in itself is fraught with potential problems as well. If you wait until closer to Magento’s end of life, you’ll have to rush to meet the deadline and might end up with a store that’s undergone an obviously rushed transition.
You may also find that most Magento developers’ time has been booked up, as they will more than likely have a fair number of clients’ stores to replatform to Magento 2.
If you decide to go down the replatforming route, it’s a good idea to start this process as early as possible so you can ensure your store is in a strong position ahead of any major events.
If you have any more questions about replatforming, check out our blog to see our interview with eCommerce consultant Paul Rogers on the common questions surrounding replatforming.
What Version or Platform Should I Move To?
Deciding on which version to transition to is also a tougher question than it might seem.
The most obvious choice is to move straight to Magento 2. This gives you the very latest version available and means you shouldn’t have to worry about transitioning again (for a while at least).
As support for all versions from Magento 1.9 - 1.14 ends after 2020, staying on Magento 1 is just not a viable option as all versions will remain unsupported.
For many merchants, it may just be more beneficial to move to a new, more stable platform instead. This means you will (most likely) never have to worry about replatforming again.
Experiencing on site issues and errors seems to be quite a common problem for Magento users, and so if you’re worried about your store’s stability and security you may want to explore platform options.
Can I Carry on Using Magento 1.x?
The short answer is no. Having no security updates means your store would quickly become vulnerable to security breaches, errors and malicious attacks.
You could rely on Magento’s community to provide security patches into the future, which they may do. However, you’d have no assurances that support would continue or that threats would be addressed. Relying on community updates exposes you to unnecessary risk, and can be detrimental for your eCommerce store.
I’ve heard about issues with Magento 2, Should I Be Worried?
As mentioned earlier, there are still problems with Magento 2.
As Magento 2 is a feature loaded platform, many users have found it to be fraught with issues and bugs. Extensions aren’t always compatible, and as they are a vital component of most Magento stores, and provide key functionality, a lack of compatibility is worrying.
Magento 2 also represents a learning curve for merchants, with a different interface and layout. This means you may have to re-train your staff to use the new version.
All of this put together means that upgrading to Magento 2 may be a rather risky option for your eCommerce store, and could potentially just lead to more problems instead of providing you with a viable solution.
Time to Replatform?
So with all of these different issues around moving to Magento 2, could replatforming be the easiest solution? After all, you’ll have to invest the time anyway, and modern eCommerce platforms such as Shopify have some great advantages over Magento.
In our opinion, we find that Shopify - more so Shopify Plus - makes a great alternative to Magento. It’s suitable for stores of all sizes, is incredibly flexible and customisable, and is extremely reliable and secure.
It also takes significantly less time to replatform to Shopify than any other platform.
With now over 600,000 merchants on the platform, Shopify is becoming an increasingly popular choice for eCommerce merchants. Here’s why:
No Versions To Worry About
Both Shopify & Shopify Plus do not release updated versions of its software for merchants. Instead, every Shopify store always runs on their latest version, without any action needed from the merchant.
Your store would always have access to the latest features and technologies such as Apple Pay, Google Pay etc, without you having to do anything at all.
This means you wouldn’t ever have to worry about upgrading again and your store’s features would never become unsupported. It also means you’ll never have to re-learn your stores’ interface or re-train staff to use it.
Even if you start out on Shopify and eventually decide to scale up and move to Shopify Plus as your business grows, there will be minimal work involved.
Furthermore, Shopify & Shopify Plus takes care of any and all maintenance for you, so you won’t have to spend large amounts of time on any updates or maintenance work.
Shopify is a fully managed solution. This means everything on the hosting and security side is taken care of by Shopify themselves. You don’t have to worry about being security compliant and every Shopify + Shopify Plus store has the latest security updates.
All Shopify stores use SSL everywhere, even when the visitor isn’t logged in, for the best security. Additionally, they are all set automatically at the highest level of PCI compliance.
You won’t have to worry about exposing your store to threats, and you can rest easy that all of your customers are shopping in a safe and secure environment.
Furthermore, on Shopify Plus you are given added security and protection for all your multiple storefronts should you have more than one.
Manage and Monitor Your Store - Anywhere
Shopify offers an amazing suite of iOS and Android apps which allow you to monitor your sales, manage your products and view reports from anywhere on the move - providing you with unrivalled access to the information you need to grow and maintain your business, wherever you are.
Plus, like the complete Shopify ecosystem, these apps are being upgraded all the time, so you’ll continue to benefit from new innovations.
If you do choose to replatform your Magento store to Shopify, you’ll find a range of apps that will be able to fully replicate certain bespoke functionality from your old store. For example, just this past year alone has seen the implementation of multi location inventory, multilingual functionality, AR/VR features and more.
Finally, no ‘versions’ means your store is future-proof. With Shopify, you’ll never have to turn your attention away from sales and divert funds to upgrading and maintaining your site.
Shopify is committed to bringing the latest features, updates, security fixes and business tools to all of its stores. New features are constantly being released to ensure that merchants on the platform have all the resources they need to ensure their store is as successful as it can be.
Shopify & Shopify Plus are platforms focused around the needs of your business, rather than developers. This means you can focus on building a successful eCommerce business, rather than upgrading your platform.
This is further proved by Shopify Plus’ exclusive features Flow, Launchpad & Scripts, which gives Plus merchants the ability to improve operational efficiency and automate work processes.
Every store running on Magento 1.x will have to upgrade or replatform by June 2020. For merchants who’ve spent a long time building a loyal customer base, great looking store and flourishing business around the platform, there’s no doubt it’s frustrating.
However, Magento 1.x’s end of life may be the perfect opportunity to replatform your store and choose an eCommerce platform with no updates, the latest features and a fantastic support structure.
As mentioned earlier, Statement is a Shopify Plus Partner, and we’ve worked with a diverse range of clients on replatforming projects. If you want to find out more about our work, or just want to explore your options and learn more about Shopify and Shopify Plus, just get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll be happy to help.