Magento 2.0 Part 2: What retailers can expect
Magento 2.0 has been available for a while now, but adoption amongst retailers has been slow since the change from the 1.X releases to 2.0 is a big one. It requires new themes and extensions and there is not, as yet, a ‘killer app’ to justify the move for people with established stores. During peak times, most retailers employ a ‘code freeze’ and a new version could bring added pressure for retailers.
As we discussed in Part 1 of our Magento 2.0 series – 10 Things that you Need to Know About Magento 2.0, there are some rather nice SEO features built in to the new release. However, making the move will be difficult for people who do not have an Ecommerce design & development team in-house, since you will need to make significant modifications to your themes and extensions. The job is far more complex than simply uploading a new version of the script to your Magento hosting account.
Ben Marks of Magento recently presented some of the key highlights of the solution which can be seen here:
Here’s a quick look at some of the challenges you will face with Magento 2.0…
Themes and Extensions
Perhaps the greatest challenge with the new version of Magento is that since it is such a substantial rewrite of the old version, many of the extensions that work with Magento 1.x will not work with 2.0, and if you rely upon 3rd party integration then there is a strong chance that you will lose access to some of the services that you depend upon. As useful as the latest version of Magento Ecommerce Service is, making the leap may not be worth it until all of the major extension and theme developers catch up.
However, if your store is relatively basic, and you do not have a lot of extensions installed, then you might find that Magento 2.0 is more than good enough for your needs out of the box. The developers have made several ‘quality of life’ improvements which mean that some formerly essential extensions are no longer required. Magento 2.0 is mobile friendly and search engine friendly as standard, and has good search, catalogue and product management features.
The more streamlined checkout process is a big deal for many store owners. The old ‘Checkout as guest, log in to your account or create an account” system confused a lot of people, and may have driven some customers away. The new, more streamlined way of handling things will take away that level of friction, and removes one of the most obvious causes of cart abandonment.
A New Admin Panel
The admin panel has changed a great deal between Magento 1.x and Magento 2.0. For a small business owner, this may not be a significant issue, since the person who is responsible for managing the website can simply spend a little time exploring the new admin panel on a local version to familiarise themselves with the software. However, those who run bigger stores may need to invest significant time in training team members.
Out of the Box Improvements
The new version of Magento offers a streamlined checkout process, enhanced caching and improved performance. This means that there is no need to upload your own extensions for caching, or to invest a great deal of effort into changing the checkout pages. The site just works better out of the box.
There are several improvements to the database too, making it faster and more stable for small and large websites alike. It offers better performance even when you are processing a substantial number of transactions, reducing the likelihood of problems with record locking, caching errors and slow page loading times.
There were several security issues with Magento 1.x, and while Magento Enterprises released SUPEE security patches for these immediately when the problems were discovered, the fact is that Magento 1.x had a strange code-base that had evolved over time and had elements of problematic code in it. Magento 2.0 has been virtually rewritten from the ground up to fix the vast majority of those problems, and prevent new ones from arising. Webmasters can thus use it with confidence.
One of the most interesting points is that you can separate your databases, so that you don’t have to worry about the database being a single point of failure. This means that if you are taking thousands of orders per day, the checkout process could be farmed out to a separate database from that used by the product pages. This improves performance and resilience, ensuring that the site runs far more smoothly.
Looking to the Future
Magento will be getting rid of the Magento Connect service fairly soon, and moving to a more aggressively curated store system for extensions and themes. Even when this new store is rolled out, it will be offered as a free service for developers who want to submit their work for others to use for free, sticking to the open source approach. However, there will be a fee for those who want to charge for their extensions or themes. Everything uploaded to the store will be tested using an automated system to check for malware and plagiarism, and to ensure that the code meets Magento’s basic standards.
This new store will almost certainly mean a price increase for premium themes and extensions, and it may reduce the variety of downloads available. Not all developers will be willing to take the time to learn the standards that Magento requires. Developers who want to hack together smaller extensions will still be able to do so, but they are unlikely to be accepted in the store, so they will have to distribute them separately via their own websites. This will make discoverability an issue for those developers, since they will lose the convenience of having a central distribution point.
Remember that there is 24-7 expert Magento support available here at YOMA, so if you are concerned about upgrading to Magento 2.0, you can get advice and support, and have someone work with you to move your store over. The upgrade path, while not quite a ‘one click’ process, is clear, and there are a lot of good reasons to upgrade. It could be a good idea to start looking at what Magento 2.0 has to offer in terms of stability, performance and power.
If you prepare yourself for it today, then you will be ready to roll it out before the spring, and enjoy better conversion rates, higher performance, and increased customer satisfaction. Why not contact one of our Magento 2.0 experts today?