Migration from Magento 1: Five eCommerce Experts Share Their Thoughts

With Magento 1 sunset announced officially in June 2020, let’s talk about what Magento 1 merchants should do with that.

In Magenable we have recently developed our own decision map, but decided to find out, what other Magento experts think and share it with the audience. We have interviewed five people who have very substantial experience in eCommerce in general and specifically with Magento.  Each of them was asked the same questions:

  1. Can you briefly introduce yourself?
  2. When do you think merchants should migrate from Magento 1?
  3. More specifically, do you think that Magento 2 is mature enough now to migrate from M1?
  4. Let’s talk about alternatives. In general, what do you think about migration options?
  5. Cloud vs Open Source: what do you think about cloud vs open source choice for merchants? Has Magento PaaS (Commerce Cloud) offer managed to capture the best of both worlds?
  6. If a small B2C business preferring cloud over self-hosted solution, where should they migrate? Do you think that Adobe/Magento will come with a viable option in the near future?
  7. If we talk about Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration, how long does it take in real life, from the projects you took part (from … to … )?
  8. What do you think about staying with Magento 1 after sunset day, without official support from Adobe/Magento?
  9. Other thoughts/comments related with migration from Magento 1

Let’s see what answers we got.

Expert 1. Nathan Huppatz

Q1. I am the co-founder for ReadyToShip.com.au and Costumes.com.au (which runs on Magento 1). I have been in eCommerce for nearly 20 years now, and used to run a boutique Magento agency, pre Magento 2.

Q2. I think they should consider moving before the official security updates end. We have seen over the past 5 years that Magento 1 has become a real target for hackers, and a good number of vulnerabilities have been exposed (and subsequently patched) recently. This attention from malicious users will not slow down in the short term, as the install base for Magento 1 is so large.

Q3. I think it is now. We were not keen to look at moving early on, but from Magento 2.2 onward, I think the platform is basically mature and stable enough to look at.

The other aspect is the module/plugin ecosystem. Early on, it would have been difficult for us to move, as we would have had to recode a lot of our system. These days the dev ecosystem for it is much stronger.

Q4. At the SMB end of town, the main options are probably ‘hosted’ offerings like Shopify/Shopify Plus, Bigcommerce etc. These products however are a little different to Magento 1 in how they operate, and a migrations to them could be complex, especially if you have a large Magento 1 catalogue, and many customisations. This makes Magento 2 an easier path for migration.

Q5. I like the idea of a managed solution more and more. Doing your own hosting and infrastructure work isn’t easy, especially as your site traffic grows. The Commerce Cloud offering looks like a fairly strong one, especially when you consider what you get from a hosting point of view when comparing to Magento 1 using multi server architecture, front end caching solutions, CDN etc.

Q6. This has always been the issue with Magento 1, as it is a comprehensive and complicated platform for a small seller. Magento 2 is similar.

I don’t know if Adobe will want to cater for the very small seller (Shopify is doing a good job at getting this market), so Magento may not be the best option for a small retailer.

Q7. I haven’t done a migration yet, but I know from experience that migrations can take longer than expected, as there is not just the customer/order/product data to consider, but also site functionality, design, and all of the 3rd party products and tech that need to communicate as well. Of course, for a simple site it may not take long.

Q8. I think it is slightly risky, as official support for it will end (along with security patches, unless there is public contribution). I think the sunset date should be seen as a hard end date for businesses that are doing any real volume of sales.

Q9. Magento 1 has been a good platform for us, given our needs over the last 8 years, but it has continued to provide us with problems to solve and ongoing issues, particularly with large catalogues that frequently change and indexing/caching. I look forward to moving to a a newer platform, although I am sure it will come with it’s own set of unique challenges!

Expert 2. Viktor Khliupko

Q1. We are at FireBear Studio doing Magento development for 7 years now, helping merchants build successful businesses and also focused on e-commerce startups to help them kickstart-based on Magento. At this moment we are fully focused on Magento 2 Extensions development – our Import & Export solution for M2 is leading on the market.

Q2. Migration is not necessary for small and medium businesses who don’t want to apply any new technologies and happy with the current state, they can stay on M1 and relay on community-driven projects like OpenMage and Mage-One which will continue to support M1 forks after EOL.
For the enterprise, B2B and other big guys who want PWA, recent technology stack, integrations and more – perfect time to migrate is Magento 2.3 release, it will be most stable and production ready with a lot of exiting features and stability.

Q3. Magento 2.3 will be mature enough, also it’s all about budget and requirements, some successful merchants running already Magento 2.1 and 2.2 for more that a year

Q4. Alternative for SMB merchants will be for sure go to Shopify and BigCommerce, maybe WooCommerce for someone. Migration options for M1->M2 is quite wide at this moment – official Data Migration tool is good for developers, some 3rd party extensions like our Improved Import extension is more easy to use and can reduce time and costs of migration. But data migration is only half part – then comes find extensions and migrate all business logic to M2 – this is can be much more resource consuming task and only one possibility to not fail here is find trusted agency on Magento ecosystem which rich migration experience already

Q5 . Magento Cloud has great potential but requires some serious work and improvements at this moment, specially on deployments and infrastructure management side.

Q6. I think Magento as part of Adobe will not be a reliable solution for SMB, they will focus on enterprise and B2B segments as part of Adobe Experience Cloud. They are ready to lose and let SMB segment go to focus on bigger profits.

Q7. From 1 month for super simple projects to half year and more for more complex include business logic and data migration plus integrations

Q8. It will be fine because of initiatives like OpenMage etc.

Expert 3. Joseph Maxwell

Q1. My name is Joseph Maxwell—with SwiftOtter Solutions. We are a digital marketing agency focused on growing and customizing Magento stores. We also help people in their endeavors to pass Magento certifications (think study guides, practice tests and training).

Q2. The time is now. Up until Magento set a hard date in stone, there was little business reason to switch to Magento 2. Yes, Magento 2 looks better and has some great features, but the expense is significant. Now that PCI compliance is “on the line”, it is important to begin planning toward migration.

Q3. Definitely. One of the biggest “features” in Magento 2 is that it is community supported. There are hundreds of developers that have contributed bug fixes and improvements. While Magento 2 is a massive application, it is already stable and it’s stability is constantly improving.

Q4. My biggest issue with the “no migration options” for going from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is that the playing field is now level for options. That said, I see a definite business case that Magento is not for every merchant. With the maturity of BigCommerce and the others, merchants with < $1MM in online yearly revenue should give a hard look at those options. Magento 2 is ideal for merchants who need the store to look and function exactly as they need.

Q5. Cloud is great and Open Source is great. In our experience, it comes down to the merchant and what is right for them. Some are not able to afford the steep cloud costs. Others prefer the unified solution that comes from Magento (application and hosting). We have also had great success with non-Magento hosting solutions like MageMojo—their support is second to none.

Q6. For a small B2C business, I would recommend a good look at true SaaS platforms (BigCommerce, etc.). Magento requires a certain level of ongoing investment with qualified developers (patches, upgrades) that are often more than SaaS platforms. At that point, it comes back to the business needs and how those map onto the platform.

Q7. This is a tough question—there are so many variables. We have completed simple Magento 1 > Magento 2 upgrades in 3-4 weeks. This is with minimal customizations. We have another client that has over 70k lines of code customizations, and 3 weeks would be the amount of time necessary for discovery.

Q8. If you are fine not being PCI compliant, then go for it. As a merchant myself, security and maintaining customer trust is absolutely vital. It’s time to upgrade.

Q9. The case for switching is rooted in PCI compliance (aka the cost of doing business). That said, every day that you delay and write code on Magento 1, it is 50% or so wasted as it will mostly be re-written on Magento 2. Upgrade now, don’t delay.

Expert 4. Paul Rogers

Q1. I work as an eCommerce Consultant for a company called Vervaunt, based in London. I’ve been working in eCommerce for ~10 years and have historically worked mostly with Magento. I also have a personal blog where I talk a lot about Magento and other eCommerce platforms.

Q2. I think this depends on a number of factors – such as expenditure on maintenance and feature development, seasonal peaks and budgets.

I’d personally want to move ASAP to reduce wasted budget on an M1 store and benefit from incremental improvements (both features and new processes etc) as part of the replatforming / migration (assuming there are some), but I know there are lots of variables for different retailers – so it does depend really.

Q3. Yes – I think retailers need to know that M2 has higher costs around support and maintenance (particularly around launch), but with this M2 can perform well and represents a very strong platform.

One of our largest clients has been happily trading on M2 for the last ~6 months – after around two months of bug fixing the platform was in a really good place. All of the other considerations around maturity (in terms of SIs, platform support, the platform being proven at scale, available integrations etc) are also in a pretty good place.

Q4. I think there are a huge number of alternatives, far more than there have been historically. On the B2C side you have solutions like Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud etc and then on the B2B side there are various others! There are also lots of less mainstream options at every level, such as Spryker, Oro Commerce, Shopware etc.

I think there are a huge number of alternatives, far more than there have been historically. On the B2C side you have solutions like Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud etc and then on the B2B side there are various others! There are also lots of less mainstream options at every level, such as Spryker, Oro Commerce, Shopware etc.

Q5. I personally don’t see Cloud as being hugely different to working with a good hosting provider (such as Akoova for example) – as it’s not a SaaS solution. Cloud has got a lot better recently and it’s a good solution, but this is more about preference, cost and team structure etc than it being a huge game changer in my opinion. I am intrigued to see where it ends up though.

Q6. I personally think Magento is moving further and further away from being a viable option for small B2C businesses – mainly because of the additional costs around the platform (e.g. upgrades, support / maintenance, hosting etc). I think the solution they’re building is very strong and will really challenge the mid-market and enterprise brackets more so than facilitating for smaller retailers.

Q7. All of the projects I’ve been involved in have taken between 3 and 12 months, but most of them have been in the region of 6-7 months (end-to-end, including discovery).

Q8. I don’t have enough context to comment on this really but I think a lot of the benefits of using Magento are around readily available integrations, an active developer community and integration partners – all of which will gradually become less relevant with M1.

Expert 5. Bryan “BJ” Hoffpaiur, Jr.

Q1. I’m BJ Hoffpauir and I developed his first B2B eCommerce system with IBM and its VAR’s in 2000 and I’ve worked with SMB’s, Mid-Market, and Enterprises in a wide variety of industries to solve their eCommerce challenges ever since. I currently serve as a Solutions Architect for PERFICIENT/digital in their Magento practice and am an active member of the Magento and Information Security communities. I live and work in Lafayette, LA – the Heart of Cajun Country and the location of Perficient’s newest Domestic Delivery Center.

Q2. I believe that Merchants that haven’t already begun planning for a migration are behind the curve. Besides the expected sunsetting of support that is looming, M2 offers a slew of new features and capabilities that can help Merchants differentiate themselves from their competitors and provide an exceptional customer experience to delight their existing customers and acquire many new ones.

Q3. I do. Version 2.3 was the first major effort by Magento to include the community in an official beta program months ahead of the official release date. Magento (and now Adobe) has continued to increase their investments into their Community Engineering Program and have truly transformed the way they engage with both merchants and developers in the community. Although there are bound to be issues with any software release that have to be resolved, the M2 platform is truly ready for prime time and it’s time to get off the sidelines and begin planning for your migration if you haven’t already done so.

Q4. From a cost vs. feature set perspective, there are few real competitors that offer a real comparison in terms of feature support as well as developer community support (both extensions and implementation partners). On the low-cost end, Community Edition is robust and includes support for more features out of the box and supports a higher level of scalability than any other Open Source alternative. On the high-end, Enterprise platforms like WebSphere, Hybris, etc compete in features but can be tremendously more expensive to implement and support. They also lack the size and breadth of the Magento Developer Community to provide extensions and implementation support.

Q5. My experience with the Magento PaaS Commerce Cloud offerings is not very extensive and I’m not sure I’m qualified to weigh in on that specific point. In general, I do believe the cloud to be the platform for the future, but it requires a substantial investment in skills on the technical side to really take full advantage of all the benefits it offers, and it may not be suitable for all merchants at this time.

Q6. In general, I would advise small merchants to be cautious about migrating to the cloud. Anyone considering such a move needs to either have a substantial internal IT organization that has already been investing in developing their IT staff’s cloud expertise over the last several years (unlikely for a small merchant) or they need to have an integration / implementation partner who has been investing in those skillsets. Those partners do not come cheap, but in my view they are worth the higher rates they charge. By investing in these innovative skillsets now, they are positioning themselves to lead their competitors over the next 5-10 years, which is sound business planning.

Q7. You need to budget at least 3-6 months from planning to launch, depending on the complexity of your current environment. Although it’s possible to do it more quickly, I feel it’s better to have a plan where expectations are set realistically and you have enough time budgeted to learn all the things you will need to discover during the migration process and address any unplanned issues that will inevitably pop up.

Q8. It’s certainly possible. There’s an Open Source project called OpenMage, that offers one alternative, though in practice it requires pretty experienced developers (either as a partner or as in-house staff). If a business has the financial resources for that, however, I think it would be a better option over the long term to invest in the future, and the future is M2.

The key consideration is whether or not a business views its ecommerce platform as a cost center or as a revenue generator. If you think of it as a cost, you should seek to minimize those costs as much as possible. If you view it as a revenue generator, you should seek to invest in that system as prudently as possible to generate the best possible return on investment.

In my experience, the most successful businesses have always treated their eCommerce platforms as a revenue generator and have invested in it as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. They aggressively work to improve the customer experience they deliver through their digital platforms and by doing so, capture market share from their competitors and grow profits.


Conclusion

It looks like we have a consensus here. Merchants who are running Magento 1 stores and considering them as a revenue generator – should start planning migration from Magento 1.

Contact us for expert help with migration from Magento 1! Initial consultation is free.

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