Deciding to switch your store to a different eCommerce platform is a brave move, both regarding its complexity and the potential implications for your business. There are dozens of viable solutions, and each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages. But once you’ve made the decision, there’s no easy way of going back.
If you’re considering migrating to Magento, then you have to be especially careful. Magento is a complex eCommerce ecosystem that requires dedication. Making the switch will take a significant amount of time, especially if your store is quite large.
But the rewards are promising. Magento is geared towards fast-paced and highly scalable eCommerce. So if your business is on a trajectory to explosive growth, this might be the best solution for you. In this article will take a closer look at some of the project and development concepts that will make Magento migration appealing and painless. Before we start, take a look at this piece, where we detail the elements of a success Magento project and some of the limitations that might not make the switch doable for your specific business or budget.
The information below will be particularly useful for store owners that are considering moving from Magento 1 and Magento 2. But there are a lot of concepts that will be useful for a store migrating from any other platform.
Why Do It at All?
If you’re reading this article, you probably already have a basic idea of why you want to move to Magento 2. But we want to reiterate some of the basics:
With many other platforms, you’re stuck due to the restrictive nature of the product. Magento is open-source. This means that you can make your wildest ideas and concepts work, as long as they have a sustainable business and tech foundation.
It also means that your developers can tinker around and work their way around any particular problem. The development docs are extensive and numerous.
Your business will always be limited by the platform that you use. And if you use a platform that’s flexible enough to allow you to be the first one out with a feature, product, or a marketing tactic – then you’re ahead of the game.
It is provided in various forms. Either through the ability to grow your store without experiencing any performance bottlenecks. Or because of the simple fact that it can be connected to practically any database/storage solution out there. In many pre-made or turn-key eCommerce solutions, you don’t have that freedom.
- Big Data
Magento 2 can easily turn big data into a formidable business tool. Magento supports Hadoop and other data management solutions that are geared towards a data-driven enterprise.
Baked-in B2B features are built with the best industry practices in mind. Most of other platforms don’t support such a complete B2B package.
Image Source: AheadWorks
Have a Plan
As we said before, Magento migration is a massive endeavor. So it’s advisable to create a detailed action plan before you start making moves. Here’s a basic checklist that you can use to build out your strategy:
Do you have the necessary extensions to support your Magento 2 store? You might be moving from Magento 1, or you might be switching from a different platform. Learn and map the extensions that will help you replace the functionality within your current store. This might be a high point of contention, as Magento 2 doesn’t have the same multitude of available extensions. You might have to develop that missing functionality yourself.
You can’t migrate a Magento 1 theme to Magento 2. Needless to say that same is true if you’re moving from a different platform. Is there a comparable theme for your store in Magento 2? If not, what’s your plan? Consider getting a custom theme if you have the budget, or figure out which third-party theme might have similar UI elements. A lot of them also come pre-packaged with extensions. That can also save you a buck or two.
Can your current provider support the future Magento 2 infrastructure? It might be the perfect time to switch hosting, but that’s also a tricky process, so you have to plan that out too. Your hosting might even support some essential migration features or features specific to Magento 2. You might want to research this before actually doing anything.
If you have the resources, it might be useful to create a Magento 2 clone. It can later serve as your staging environment or a sandbox for various features. You can also use it to train your employees. This way you’ll have a working Magento 2 version that you can mess around with and don’t experience any real consequences.
Luckily, there’s already a working action plan that can help you perform the actual Magento migration. It’s specific to Magento 1.x to Magento 2.x migration. But it can also serve as a blueprint for your migration from other platforms.
Image Source: Magento
You might want to embed this into your Magento migration plan. It will take a while for you to perform the migration and prepare everything for it. The cost of any errors is significant, especially if you’re running an active eCommerce business. Plan to have the migration within a period that has the lowest impact on your sales. Usually, that means migrating when you have the lowest sales volume during the year. So if you’re focused on shopping seasons, like retail stores, then moving during, say, the winter sales cycle, is not justifiable.
Even if you’re moving from Magento 1.x to Magento 2, it’s important to get your employees acquainted with the system. These platforms are still quite different, although they do share the basic functionality. You can set up a separate staging environment for them to ‘play’ with Magento 2. But there’s an even better option.
Your employees probably have some documentation of their procedures. Give them access to Magento and let them run through these documented process to see what works in Magento 2. This way, they can also provide feedback about the issues they encounter in the process. You can use that sandbox install that we mentioned earlier.
The process can help you find out if there’s a specific feature required for their workflow but is missing from the default Magento 2 functionality. You’ll also close the functionality gaps that you might have missed in your migration plan. As a bonus, you’ll have your employees acquainted with the basics of using Magento’s backend.
Your team has to be able to conduct business as usual because even if the Magento migration proceeds smoothly, the business side has to be well prepared for it. ‘I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know how to change your payment details because we just moved to Magento 2 and I can’t get it to work for me.’ This kind of excuse from your employees won’t cut it for your customers.
Magento 2 is self-hosted. This bit is important if you’re moving from a hosted solution, like Shopify. With M2, you’ll have to take care of the data security and any possible data breaches. While there are solutions that will protect you from payment fraud, there aren’t that many similar solutions for your backend infrastructure. Data breaches are the bane of modern eCommerce, and your customers deserve to be safe.
Have a security plan in place and make sure that your servers are protected. Always use additional authentication methods for your backend. Make sure that you have all of your latest Magento 2 patches installed before you launch the store upon finishing the migration. It’s convenient that Magento is always on time with their security updates.
Beware of SEO Bottlenecks
This works for any platform and any migration, not just Magento 2. But it’s still important to mention, especially if you do migrate from Magento 1. Chances are, you’re currently using some third-party solution for your SEO optimization.
It’s highly likely that the solution is not easily portable, which can lead to some serious SEO drawbacks for your site. If you rely on search traffic, you have to be extremely cautious. You have to have a separate SEO migration plan that takes into account all of the technicalities, redirects, and other SEO-sensitive issues.
Magento migration is a robust and complicated project. If you and your development team won’t take it seriously enough, the consequences for your business might be disastrous.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to move. Magento 2 is incredibly flexible and sophisticated. It’s important to remember that global brands like Liebherr, Canon, Burger King and SEAT don’t just use Magento 2 because there were no other options. They use it because it provides business value beyond some of the less customizable platforms. On top of it all, it’s open-source and has a passionate and dedicated community of developers.
If you’re ready to make the transition, consider engaging outside resources to make the transition as smooth as possible. You’ll be performing the switch just once. There are eCommerce development services that have done it multiple times and so are far more experienced in Magento migration. That’s why you’re more than welcome to reach out to us – our unparalleled dedication to your eCommerce success will have you running Magento in no time.
What are other critical high-level aspects of Magento migration? Have you migrated to Magento 2? How’s the ride so far? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!