Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market.
And for good reason.
It’s flexible, customizable, and can be used for just about any eCommerce need.
That’s why thousands of companies use Magento as their preferred eCommerce solution, and there are more than 315,000 developers specializing in developing for this platform.
But many eCommerce companies are not keeping up with the times, and are still running an outdated version of Magento.
Magento 2 is much better than Magento 1, and offers dozens of additional features, optimization tools, and other powerful upgrades that make it a better overall product.
However, you may be afraid to make the switch.
If your Magento 1 site is operating effectively, and is free from major bugs or issues, we understand your reticence. After all, why risk breaking your website just for a few new shiny features?
But Magento 2 offers more than just a shiny new UI and some under-the-hood improvements.
It’s a complete overhaul of the entire Magento platform. It's intuative and easier to use for administrators, marketers, developers, and managers alike.
In this article, we’ll dig into just a few of the top reasons that it’s time to switch to Magento 2, and leave your old Magento 1.x.x website behind.
1. Magento 1 “End Of Life” Announced for June, 2020
"That's all folks!"
Magento made the official announcement in their September 6th blog post. In the article, Magento stated that all support is ending for all versions of Magento 1 in June, 2020.
At this point, you can have one of two reactions: "Hooray!" Or, "OMG." Either way, it's time to plan your migration to Magento 2.
(To answer all your questions, download our Magento 1 End of Life Guide.)
And if you want to stay on Magento 1 after June, 2020, you're putting your site, and your customers at risk.
That's because come June, 2020, Magento will cease to provide security patches for Magento 1 stores. Hackers are aware of this and will target Magento 1 stores. If you're still on Magento 1 after June 2020, without regular security patches, your site will be vulnerable.
In short, Magento 1 is a deprecated platform.
While there may be occasional fixes and updates to the platform, Magento and Adobe are not focused on it anymore – and all of the most important features of the Magento platform will only be added to Magento 2.
This is likely one of the most important benefits of switching to Magento 2. It’s a much more optimized service, and it offers a much better web browsing experience for both desktop and mobile users – especially where it counts.
Loading times are one of the single most important things to an eCommerce store. If your store loads slowly, you could lose out on a huge percentage of customers.
The average eCommerce store built on Magento 2 has a 50% faster page loading time, compared to a store built using Magento 1. From main menus and product spotlights, to CMS systems, category pages and more, Magento 2 offers a much faster browsing experience for customers.
Today’s modern consumer expects a website to load within 2 seconds of opening a page – whether they’re on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, or their desktop computer. Every extra second they have to wait increases their likelihood of abandoning your website dramatically
So if you are looking to increase your eCommerce sales and grow your company more effectively, the choice is clear – you must invest in Magento 2, and take advantage of the faster loading times offered by this modern, sleek platform.
One of the biggest issues that many people had with Magento 1 was an unfriendly UI design that was somewhat confusing and unintuitive – and had no true mobile support. It was often difficult for new store owners or eCommerce administrators to add new items, modify the website, and perform other basic tasks.
But this is not the case with Magento 2. The product creation workflows has been simplified, and advanced data import capabilities make it easier to add data and autofill fields using third-party data. The new, step-by-step process is much faster and more intuitive than creating products using Magento 1.
In addition, the all-new administrator dashboard has a much more clean look, and includes an “at-a-glance” overview of your store’s performance, including information about:
- Lifetime sales of your store
- The average order amount
- Most recently-ordered items
- Top search terms
- Most-viewed and most popular products
- Statistics about new and returning customers
Finally, this brand-new dashboard is visible and usable on mobile devices, allowing for store operators to add items, view information about their store, and perform basic administrative functions using an iPad, smartphone, or another mobile device.
4. Improved SEO-Friendly Features And Responsive Mobile Design
If you’re an eCommerce store owner, the success of your business likely rests almost entirely on your ability to optimize your products for SEO, and capture users by using long-tail keywords, and particular product niches, and outperforming the competition in organic search results.
Optimizing Magento 1 for SEO was far from easy. In fact, many store owners turned to third-party extensions and add-ons in order to streamline the process of creating and cataloging metadata, setting keywords, and performing other such basic SEO tasks. And these extensions and add-ons come at a cost – namely, increased page loading times.
This is not the case with Magento 2. Out-of-the-box, Magento 2 includes a number of powerful features which can help you optimize the SEO of your website, and each product which you upload to your eCommerce store.
By default, Magento 2 allows you to:
- Automatically optimize product URLs for SEO
- Create SEO-friendly URLs and meta tags for product categories
- Set canonical tags for products
- Enable category paths in product URLs
- Edit your robots.txt file directly from the admin panel
- Add rich snippets and microdata to product pages by default
- Track your performance using Google Analytics
- Integrate Google AdWords without a third-party extension or API
In addition, Magento 2 is mobile-friendly and supports Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) standard, which can help boost your products in search rankings, and ensure that you outpace the competition.
5. Fewer Security Risks
Magento 2 is a highly secure platform, and provides developers and administrators with features such as:
- SHA-256 hashing of passwords
- End-to-end AES-256 algorithmic encryption for credit card information, shipping addresses, and more
- Clickjacking prevention
- Advanced file system ownership and administration tools
- Automatic creation of unique backend admin URLs
- Session validation and cookie validation
- XSS protection
Each of these features is included in Magento 2 by default, and constant improvements are being made to the overall platform security of Magento 2.
In contrast, the security risks of Magento 1 are likely to become even higher, as both Magento and third-party extension developers turn their attention to the new Magento 2 platform. Once Magento 1 is completely deprecated and security patches and bug fixes are no longer issued by the development team, any site running it is at a serious risk of a data breach.
Choosing Magento 2 will ensure that you’re able to stay completely PCI-compliant, and secure your customer’s data from malicious hackers, data breaches, and other such security problems. This protects your business, and ensures that you won’t be liable for any costly data breaches.
On-site search has been a big problem for eCommerce companies in the past. On-site search has the ability to either make or break a customer’s shopping experience.
If a potential customer has a bad on-site search experience, they are likely to leave your website and never return – and if they have a great on-site search experience and find what they are looking for, they are much more likely to convert into a paying customer.
According to Moz, customers who successfully use an on-site search engine are twice as likely to convert – and are more likely to return to the website in the future, to make another purchase.
This is a huge area where you can dominate the competition, if you can create a better on-site search experience. The vast majority of eCommerce stores focus almost exclusively on SEO – ignoring their own on-site search engines, and instead trying to rank higher on Google and Bing.
That’s where Magento 2 comes in. Magento 2 supports advanced, powerful searches using Elasticsearch.
Elasticsearch is one of the most advanced search engines that can be used on modern websites, and it’s natively supported by Magento 2.1.
It’s a modern, distributed, RESTful search engine, which supports a number of advanced features, such as:
- Both quick and in-depth advanced searches on all products in your catalog
- Multiple-language searches
- Search with support for synonyms and stop words
- Index and reindex website content without any customer interruptions
- Search autocomplete
- Typo correction and parsing
Elasticsearch uses the latest search technologies and a number of APIs to allow you to manage every aspect of your search experience, and fine-tune the experience of searching on your eCommerce website.
Unlike Magento 1, Magento 2 includes native PayPal compatibility. This means you no longer have to subscribe to any kind of third-party add-on, or use an extension to use this popular payment method. PayPal processed more than $132 billion in payments in Q1 2018 alone – so this is certainly a welcome feature.
Magento 2 allows you to configure PayPal Express Checkout accounts directly through the Magento Admin Panel, as long as you are using version 2.1.8 or higher. You can even create or update your PayPal account from this panel, whether you’re a personal or PayPal Business user.
Full-page caching is the secret to the faster speed and high performance of Magento 2. This feature was not available in Magento 1. Full-page caching has a number of advantages, such as reducing the load on servers, and improving the response time for end-users.
Instead of simply generating a new webpage every time a new user accesses the website, full-page caching allows for a cached version to be saved and shown to a user – improving performance by more than 50%, in some cases.
9. A Simplified And Optimized Checkout Process That Reduces Cart Abandonment
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest issues facing eCommerce stores. The average cart abandonment rate in 2017 was estimated to be 78.65% – more than three-quarters of all shoppers added an item to their cart, and did not purchase it.
On Magento 1, the checkout experience was not optimized. It typically took around 6 steps to complete – which increased the risk of cart abandonment dramatically.
In contrast, the checkout process only takes 2 steps with Magento 2. The checkout page is simplified, showing only information about payment, shipping, and other essentials. By minimizing distractions, cart abandonment can be reduced dramatically.
Another feature that makes checkout much easier in Magento 2 is automatic guest checkout. Here’s how it works:
- Users enter an email address when checking out.
- If a user already has a registered account and their email address matches the account, their information is automatically used to populate shipping fields, billing information, and more. It can then be updated and corrected, if necessary.
- If the email address is not registered, the checkout process continues normally, and the user enters their billing and shipping information.
- At the end of the process, they have the option to create a registered account, if they wish to do so.
With an intuitive front-end design and advanced backend features, Magento 2 offers a much better checkout experience – resulting in lower cart abandonment rates, and more sales.
Prepare For The Future – And Boost Sales Today – With Magento 2
Making the switch from Magento 1 to Magento 2 may seem intimidating. But even though it’ll take some extra development work, and there may be a few bugs to work out during your migration, making the switch is worth it.
Magento 2 is more secure, offers advanced functionality, and provides a much better user experience than Magento 1 – and by switching now, you’ll be able to prepare for the future of eCommerce.
So don’t wait. Start thinking about your migration strategy now, and begin your transition as soon as you can.