The e-commerce landscape is changing quickly.  While facing fierce competition throughout the market, Adobe’s Magento still remains a market leader, but they haven’t maintained that position by sitting on their laurels.  Released in 2015, Magento 2 has raised the stakes of the e-commerce platform game. With Magento 1’s end of life coming up in June of 2020, let’s review my top 5 key factors of why it’s important for merchants to make the move over to Magento 2 in 2019.

1. Smoother Admin Experience

Stylistically, comparing the look and feel of the Magento 1 admin to Magento 2, the difference is stark:

Magento 1

Magento 2

Not only is the look and feel modernized, but the grouping of functionality is overall more intuitive.  Magento is a highly sophisticated toolkit, and no amount of polish will ever make it easy for the average website administrator to understand at first glance, but we have definitely come a long way in UI design and methodology since the Magento 1 days.

A particular area I wanted to focus on for this article is the improvements in CMS capabilities.  Both Magento 1 and Magento 2 Open Source use a WYSIWYG editor called TinyMCE. Anyone that has used this tool extensively knows that it’s really a convenient tool for developers that already understand how to write HTML web pages.  It’s possible for non-developers to create and edit new CMS pages, but at some point or another, you’re likely to have to ask a developer for some assistance. In Magento Commerce 2.3, an industry-leading new tool was added, called Page Builder.  Using this tool, editing CMS pages becomes as simple as dragging and dropping new or existing page elements across the screen, and opens up content editing to just about anyone with a basic background in website administration, which is an absolute must for many small and mid-size marketing teams.

2. Improved Performance

Magento 2.0 was made available for general release in late 2015.  Since that time, there has been a great focus of the development team towards making Magento 2 more performant.  Indexing (particularly row-level) has become much more efficient in Magento 2, with table deadlocking being much less of a concern.  All recent versions of PHP 7 have been quickly adopted as well, which picked up significant performance gains over the 5.x line that dominated much of Magento 1’s lifespan.  Magento 2 also comes with robust Redis and Varnish support out of the box, which are both key components of a speedy production instance. Lastly, the introduction of the different deployment modes allows great performance gains in production while keeping development workflows smooth.

3. More Robust Plugin Marketplace

Any merchant familiar with Magento 1’s extension marketplace knows that quality control was an issue.  Magento 2’s extension review process, on the other hand, took some important learnings from successful platforms like Apple’s App Store and introduced a rigorous, multi-step review process that screens extensions before they’re allowed on Adobe’s official extension store.  A business review ensures that extensions aren’t plagiarized, while the technical audit verifies that all code powering the plugin is well-written and properly conforms to the Magento Coding Standard. Magento made a bold move with taking such direct control over the work produced by its huge open source community, but it was, overall, a step in the right direction when it comes to Magento’s public image.

4. Magento Commerce Cloud

One major challenge that comes with Magento is how to properly host it.  The hardware solution for a Magento website that gets 10,000 views per day can be very different from one that gets 1,000,000 views.  Because of this, and because of the different approaches various companies took towards hosting, Magento 1 gained an unfortunate reputation as a platform with questionable scalability.  With Magento 2, Adobe has been rehabilitating this reputation by offering a soup-to-nuts Platform as a Service with their Magento Commerce Cloud product.  Build on top of the rock-solid reputation of Amazon Web Services, Magento Commerce Cloud helps merchants solve questions about scalability by scoping out the infrastructure for their customers directly, rather than the Magento 1 days of selling the software only and letting the merchant try to solve the hardware scaling on their own.  For a single monthly cost, Magento Commerce Cloud also comes with a bunch of other wrapped in services, like Fastly CDN and New Relic performance monitoring. If you were looking elsewhere for your next platform due to scaling concerns, the offering of Magento Commerce Cloud deserves a second glance.

5. New Features

The most important reason to upgrade to Magento 2 immediately has to be the huge host of new features.  I mentioned an important one earlier, Page Builder. Another area of increasing importance is the B2B module, which is an optional add-on for Magento Commerce.  With B2B market share of e-commerce growing to over double that of B2C, Adobe put out this suite of features to push Magento beyond the competition in terms of its overall feature set.  These features include B2B staples like Company Accounts, Requisition Lists, Customer-Specific Pricing, Quick Order, and Negotiable Quotes. If you’re a B2B company that overlooked Magento several years ago, Magento 2 is definitely worth a peek for these hot new features!

I hope this article is enlightening and gives you even more reason to quit putting off your upgrade and hop on the e-commerce growth bandwagon!  It’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines and start growing with Trellis!

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