Magento 1 Ends its Run: What’s Next for Concerned Users?

As e-commerce platforms go, Magento is among the most recognizable and enduring.  For over a decade, this open-source platform has served as a solution for businesses looking to sell in the online arena, and it boasts a community of more than 300,000 developers, as well as over 61,000 live sites (as of December 2019).  That said, open-source always comes with a caveat.  In order to make the most of this resource, companies typically need in-house developers to customize software to suit their needs.

While Magento 1 has proven a workable solution for some e-commerce companies, thanks to flexible shopping cart options, it is not ideal for others.  With June 2020 marking the end-of-life timeline for the platform, users have been left with a conundrum: stay on the current platform and risk lack of support, along with non-compliance, or migrate to Magento 2 (a complete replatform).  A third option is to migrate to a different platform, like BigCommerce Enterprise or Shopify Plus.

Which option is right for you?  Here’s what you need to know about Magento 1’s end-of-life process and what it means for businesses currently using the platform.

What is Magento 1?

Magento 1 is a popular e-commerce platform that offers businesses opportunities to customize.  Because it is an open-source solution, anyone who uses it can make changes as they see fit, ostensibly building on the bones of the platform to customize the shopping experience for their customers.

While this sounds like a great solution, and it can be very appealing to companies with the resources to manage it, Magento 1 does require the expertise of seasoned developers to customize effectively, and utilizing this solution comes with additional costs like hosting, security, and ongoing maintenance, just for example.

In addition, open-source platforms tend to have certain drawbacks.  While you’ll certainly find a large community of developers constantly tweaking and updating the software, there is often a notable lack of centralized support.  This can make it difficult to maintain security and compliance (PCI, etc.).  However, Magento 1 has served many businesses well for years.

When is Magento 1 End of Life?

As of June 2020, the Magento 1 platform will no longer be supported.  What does this mean for businesses that have built their e-commerce on Magento 1?  Unfortunately, there will be no new security patches, which could leave companies open to threats like data breach.

In addition, the platform will not be updated, which means competitive platforms will advance, potentially leaving users less able to compete.  Finally, the software will eventually become incompatible with other software, leading to potential failures and inability to integrate with newer programs.

Why Does Magento End of Life Matter?

There are several potential problems businesses face if they decide to stick with Magento 1, as opposed to migrating to another platform.  Although you may be able to continue making improvements on your own with the right team of developers, you’ll likely encounter growing issues over time.

For starters, you’ll put your e-commerce store at risk.  Without updated software, security patches, and maintenance, it may be difficult to maintain PCI compliance, and you could open the door to significant threats in the process.

As a result, you may face penalties from credit card companies for failure to comply.  Because these penalties hit your payment provider before getting passed on to you, your provider may choose to drop you, leaving you with few options to accept payment through your store.  This is obviously a major obstacle for you and your customers. 

In addition, you will lack critical extensions, reducing capabilities and compatibility.  In time, you will be unable to integrate with newer programming, and you’ll continue to lose your competitive edge as other software solutions advance.  Plus, routine updates will take longer to complete, impacting efficiency and performance.

While you can probably survive for a while with minimal impact to your business operations, it will become more and more difficult and risky to remain on the platform, until you have no choice but to migrate.  In other words, you may want to think about cutting your losses and migrating sooner, rather than later, to avoid potentially costly problems.

Can Magento 1 Stores Immediately Migrate to Magento 2?

The answer is yes and no.  Magento 2 is not an upgrade of Magento 1 – it is a completely new platform, which means you’ll have to launch a total migration, even if you decide to stick with Magento.  While you can start your migration immediately, the move is projected to take about 10 weeks, provided you’re working with an experienced Magento partner.  In the meantime, you could be out of compliance on Magento 1 for the length of the transition period.

In addition, you’ll be migrating to a completely new platform, which means there are bound to be a lot of kinks in the system.  Businesses that opted for early migration have reported the need for myriad updates and security patches during the few months they’ve been using Magento 2.  This is not a simple upgrade – it’s a full platform migration, complete with a major investment of time, money, and the need for new design and development strategies.

How Do I Switch from My Magento 1 Platform?

If you’ve decided to migrate from Magento 1, there’s no need to automatically choose Magento 2, which is a totally different platform.  Instead, you should take the time to ascertain whether other platforms may be better suited to your needs.  BigCommerce Enterprise or Shopify Plus offer two great alternatives.

In order to choose the best solution for your business, you’ll want to start by assessing your current systems.  What’s working for you and what isn’t?  What improvements would you like to see and what are your goals for the migration process?  What other software does your new platform need to integrate with?  What are your capabilities in terms of development?

When you’ve answered some basic questions about your current system and your goals moving forward, the next step is choosing a new platform that’s best suited to your needs and preferences.  With BigCommerce Enterprise, you can still enjoy the customization opportunities you want, while working with a partner committed to making your migration process quick and easy.

BigCommerce Enterprise offers enterprise-level solutions at competitive rates, with an open SaaS platform that ensures flexibility, reliability, and performance.  If you want scalability, easy upgrades, and secure cloud solutions moving forward, BigCommerce has it all.

You’ll also enjoy outstanding SEO functions, the opportunity to sell across multiple channels, and the most built-in features available on any platform.  With a single, affordable monthly fee, you’ll have a comprehensive suite of tools that supports online sales and scales with your brand.

How does Shopify Plus measure up?  One of the biggest draws of this fully supported service is that it’s so easy to use.  This cloud-based, fully-hosted platform is user-friendly and requires very little maintenance, as updates are managed for you.  In addition, fixed monthly pricing for service is very competitive.

Fast and easy integration is attractive, especially at the enterprise level, where downtime can entail major expense.  Multi-channel capabilities can help to increase brand awareness, sales, and customer engagement, all while the platform helps to curb costs and hassles associated with transaction fees, bandwidth, and other IT expenses.

What really sets Shopify Plus apart from the pack, is their outstanding technical support.  If a smooth and speedy transition and dedicated support staff are essential to your operation, Shopify Plus is definitely a contender as an e-commerce platform.

Once you’ve compared options and chosen the ideal platform, the final step is building your new site and migrating.  With the right partner to guide you through the design, test, and implementation process, your move should be cost-effective and hassle-free.Magento 1 has long been a leader among e-commerce platforms, but with the product being shuttered and support withdrawn, users essentially find themselves on a sinking ship.  By partnering with a full-service agency like DigitlHaus to manage your platform migration, you have the best opportunity to find and implement the best solutions for your business moving forward.  Contact DigitlHaus today at 850-687-1876 or online to learn more.