As Magento 1 draws to a close, what are the options?
Magento 1 draws to a slow close
Replatforming our clients from one e-Commerce system to another is a large part of the work we do. It’s sensitive technical and creative work - and more than that, it’s business critical. We’re at the centre of moving clients from one place to the other with the absolute minimum of disruption to their sales environment.
Magento is a really popular e-Commerce platform, built on years of community support and technical experience. As part of its future roadmap, Magento will be focusing their efforts on Magento 2 - a new platform, separate from 1 - which means that eventually, 1 is going to come to its end of life.
Support but no future development
So, what does this actually mean? Essentially, Magento have canned any idea of ending support without a long notice period (18 months, at a minimum) and this is good news - it means that the business owners who might otherwise have been left out in the wilderness will still have support - but the active development path almost certainly ends here. Magento 1 and all of its versions will have no pro-active development programmes - meaning no new features or associated products, leaving 1 users trailing behind in a very competitive time in e-Commerce’s innovation curve.
So really, this leaves Magento-based businesses with a few options. These are:
Stick with 1.x
Sticking with Magento 1 means a few things. It means continuing as-is, with the understanding that there’s limited mileage left in the existing platform. You’ll still be supported, until the next announcement - in which you’ll have somewhere in the region of 18 months to come up with a contingency plan. But, there’ll be no active development branch and it’s unlikely that there’ll be any new features released. Primary resources will go into Magento 2, and at some point, you’ll need to explore either the second or third option to keep your business from stagnating.
Upgrade to 2
Upgrading to 2 is certainly an option - and in their own words, the upgrade to 2 represents a “an outstanding upgrade to a world-class commerce system, and includes capabilities that improve site performance, provide better visibility into business results, and drive differentiated omnichannel commerce experiences”. What this requires, however, is:
- Diligence done on the new platform to understand it’s new features - this is critical to ensuring that your business can continue on unaffected (at the very minimum) and hopefully with major improvements that help you serve your customers and internal requirements better.
- Understanding any new associated cost or licensing models - making sure that ongoing overheads aren’t prohibitive, complex or untenable.
- A migration project - moving your 1.x property over to 2 - a hefty project for stores of most sizes, which can often involve both design and development work.
Reimagine and replatform
Alternatively, there’s the option of pivoting to something completely new. There are a number of e-Commerce platforms available for stores of all sizes - and sometimes, migrating to a brand new platform is the best strategy for growing businesses that require better systems that are ready to scale with ambitious growth. We’re experienced in all kinds of e-Commerce systems - but increasingly, we work with Shopify - a platform that has pricing and feature tiers to match one-man bands or enterprise-grade sales operations.
Opportunity knocks - our favourite new features
In the wake of Shopify’s recent keynote, the platform is more powerful than ever. On top of it’s regular features (and Shopify Plus), there’s a feast of new features to be taken advantage of by entrepreneurs of all scales, some of the key ones we’ve highlighted below.
Distributed inventory locations
Managing inventory across multiple locations can be complex, time consuming and difficult to manage. With Locations, Shopify has announced powerful, in-built features to make managing multi-location inventory a breeze. Taking orders online and fulfilling them from disparate locations is exactly what this is for and it goes live this summer - and you can find out more here.
Custom discount introductions (buy-one, get-one free arrives)
Starting this week, merchants will have access to a collection of new custom discount features. In addition to bespoke discounts, Shopify have also finally announced BOGO - which can be combined with customer-specific targeting, allowing merchants to make the most of customer loyalty by rewarding their most frequent customers with targeted discounts. Find out more about configurable discounts here.
In-admin marketing campaigns
This summer, Shopify merchants will gain access to a brand new Marketingsection of their store’s administration panel - dedicated specifically to creating, distributing, managing and measuring digital marketing activities directly from the Shopify admin panel. It’s designed to unify social, paid, e-mail and outreach campaigns to both streamline their administration and manage their effectiveness. In addition to that comes a series of personalised recommendations - presenting insight-led, intelligent opportunities to capitalise on the most effective outreach activities that have helped you sell more.
Global local payments
Released this coming Autumn, Shopify Payments is changing. Providing payment systems specifically tailored to a customer’s geography, customers will be presented with more convenient, familiar payment options than ever before - making selling to a global marketplace as frictionless as possible. These new systems include integration with WeChatPay, Alipay and Sofort - serving both Asian and European markets with familiar options that customers already use.
You find out more about what we’re excited about in the Shopify ecosystem here.
Get in touch
At BAO, we’re e-Commerce experts. We’ve built a long track record of helping ambitious business owners do more with less, and we specialise in combining first-class digital design with client-first project management techniques. To find out how BAO can help your business, get in touch with one of our directors today.