Switching from Magento 1: What’s happening and what are my options?

Guest blog from Dan Conboy, of Statement and speaker at our upcoming eCommerce MasterPlan Virtual Summit 

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If you’re a Magento 1 merchant, end-of-life is something you’ve probably heard of by now, and it’s something that every Magento 1 store owner will have to face eventually.

There are questions about what to do. Should you stay on Magento 1 for now, replatform to Magento 2 or to look at another platform altogether? Whichever way, it’s probably not the task you’re most looking forward to in your eCommerce business!

But far from being something to dread, we at Statement believe that Magento 1’s end-of-life could be a huge opportunity for your eCommerce business. But what exactly is end-of-life, what does it mean for your store and how can you turn it into a massive positive?

So What Exactly Is Happening?

The original Magento 1 eCommerce platform was released way back in 2008 and, at the time, was really the only option out there for serious eCommerce store owners. However over the years, Magento 1 has become outdated, to the point where it’s now being replaced by its successor, Magento 2.

This switch to Magento 2 led to Magento announcing that support for the original version would cease in November 2018.

The suspension of support means no more security patches, so your store may no longer be secure if it remained on Magento 1; something that just isn’t an option for any online business.

This means the only option is to undertake a replatforming or upgrade project.

After suffering a backlash, Magento have since stated that they’ll extend Magento 1 support beyond November 2018, providing 18 months notice of the final end-of-life date. This now means there is no definitive date in place, causing further uncertainty for store owners.

Why Should You Act Now?

Even Magento themselves agree that you shouldn’t continue to use Magento 1 after end-of-life, so you’ll have to act eventually. But with no definitive date for support ending, why should you act now?

Well firstly, Magento have only promised 18 months of notice before end-of-life. This means if you wait until the eventual end date is announced, you’ll have 18 months to leave Magento 1 or face falling off a cliff edge.

To make things worse, every single Magento 1 merchant will be in the exact same situation (our data suggests in the UK there are well over 16,000), battling for good quality agencies and developers’ time and trying to piece together a replatforming or upgrade project with a tight time limit.

Acting now will minimise the financial and reputational risk of replatforming at short notice.

You’ll also want to be sure to avoid replatforming during busy periods like Christmas, and will want time to tweak and test your store before intensive days like Black Friday. This means your actual timeframe may be nowhere near 18 months.

Finally, there’s commercial logic too. You’ll be all too aware of the need to keep innovating and moving your online store forward. But why would you want to invest in expanding and customising your existing Magento 1 website if it will need to be replaced in the near future?

Acting now is your best option for reducing risk and emerging on the other side with a great new store that’ll allow you to focus on the interesting things like growing your brand and sales.

Your Options…

So we’ve established that you might want to act (and act quickly), and with the bad news out of the way, let’s get to the exciting part.

When it comes to your replatforming options, there are huge opportunities for your business that could transform how you run your business for the better.

The most obvious option may seem like just switching your store to Magento 2. While this might seem like a simple change to make, Magento 2 is a totally new platform and requires a full replatforming project. What’s more, it’s more complex than its predecessor, and certainly won’t be right for everyone.

This means it’s no more difficult to look at the other platform options out there, and since Magento 1 was originally released, things have changed… a lot!

Fast, modern and fully hosted platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and Demandware have risen in popularity. Shopify alone is now the driving force behind over 500,000 businesses and is becoming a strong leader in the sphere.

These powerful platforms have become hugely popular among eCommerce retailers for their ease of use, flexibility, reliability and rapid adoption of new features. Stores using these platforms don’t have to worry about hosting and IT infrastructure as these are all provided as part of a fully managed solution and offered at a fixed cost.

To show just why replatforming to a hosted platform like Shopify may be right for you, let’s take a look at Gymshark’s story…

The Gymshark Story

Gymshark started out on Shopify in 2014. Founded by a 19 year old pizza delivery boy, Gymshark grew rapidly to the point where they decided to embark on a replatforming project and move from Shopify to Magento.

That’s where things started to go wrong for Gymshark.

Their Magento replatforming project ate up hundreds of thousands of dollars, and took so long to build they’d already outgrown it by the time it was ready.

To make things worse, their new Magento store crashed under the weight of Black Friday traffic, costing them approximately £100,000 in lost revenue.

Gymshark made the decision to switch back to Shopify, and adopted a Shopify Plus store which integrates with all their back office systems like Netsuite. They are now a £26million eCommerce business and going from strength to strength.

Gymshark found that Shopify suited their business much more than Magento, and as a result, they have a store that’s reliable, stable, scalable and packed with the very latest features as standard.

Gymshark’s story illustrates how looking beyond Magento and choosing a modern, hosted platform can totally transform your business.

Find out more about Magento end-of-life and replatforming to Shopify…

If you’d like to find out more about just what the implications of Magento 1’s end-of-life are for your business, the options you have and just how to go about replatforming, join us for our eCommerce Master Plan virtual Summit session or even take a look at our own blog.