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Magento 2 Migration: Advice for Merchants

With the support of Magnento 1 coming to an end in June, we wanted to help you make the transition as smooth as possible. So we sat down with experienced Magento merchants and system integrators to get their advice.

This article features insights from food-box service Graze, mattress retailer Eve Sleep, Magento integrator Eltrino, strategic omnichannel solution partner Vaimo and our in-house Magento expert.


Quick Read

With Magento 2, it’s much easier to get up and running out-of-the-box, which is great news for smaller businesses. Larger businesses will also be happy to learn that it’s more developer-friendly than ever, so you have more flexibility and can scale easily.

Use this migration as an opportunity to tidy up your extensions. Decide what extenstions you want in advance and only migrate the ones you’re going to use. Remember: Don’t just consider your needs now; think at least one year into the future.

Establish a good working relationship with your system integrator or Magento solution provider. Be transparent about your requirements and remember to stay flexible. Nothing ever goes exactly according to plan.

And finally, make sure your existing partners are able to evolve as your business does. Is your payments provider capable of supporting your international growth? How will payment reconciliation be managed as you open in new markets? How is your customer payment data protected?


The Full Story: What Are the Major Benefits of Magento 2?

Before you get started, let’s take a look at what you can expect from Magento 2.

Marc Dudmish, global solution specialist manager at Vaimo, believes Magento 2 puts the merchant in the driving seat.

“Magento 1 was very tech-heavy, and a lot of functionality got lost in translation,” he says. “In Magento 2, the focus is on the needs of the merchant. For example, it’s much easier to work with user-created content, prepare multiple campaign designs before publishing them, and to direct the right content and products to the right customers. So, the less tech-savvy merchants can get their stores up and running relatively easily.”

Importantly, for larger merchants, the developer focus and control is still there.

“It’s definitely a more mature platform,” says Mark Wood, chief technology officer at Graze. “We have greater control and flexibility, and the modules are a great way to enhance your offering. We recently added rewards functionality, where we plugged ready-built modules straight into the platform.”


Choose Your Magento Integration Type

This flexibility also applies to how you choose to integrate the Magento platform.

Rik ter Beek, head of plugin development at Adyen, explains: “Magento 2 has back-end and front-end code, so you can create a ‘headless integration,’ which only uses the back end of Magento.”

“The headless integration is the way to go if you have a very content-heavy site, where the visual aspects of your brand are important,” Dudmish says. “But if your primary focus is ecommerce, I’d go for the full platform.”

Eve Sleep opted for the headless integration for this reason. “Magento is a very powerful platform,” says Moritz Braatz, head of product management, “but we prefer to have full control of the look and feel of our front end.”

Whether you choose to integrate the entire Magento platform, the front end or just the back end, it’s up to you. As Sergey Lysak, longtime Magento developer and founder of Eltrino says, “The headless integration is relatively popular. In some other cases, only the Magento front end is used. The platform is so flexible that all ways are possible, and they all have their pros and cons. It totally depends on your needs and should be evaluated case by case. If your needs are straightforward, it makes sense to go out of the box, especially since many features have been improved.”


Get Your Magento Extensions in Order

If you’re migrating from Magento 1, you’ll probably have many Magento plugins or extensions you’re planning to carry over. Everyone we spoke to was unanimous in their advice of choosing your extensions carefully.

“You must have a good idea of where you want your business to go.” Dudmish says. “Not just now, but in the future, too. Then you need to look at your extensions and ask: Are these compatible? Do we need to rebuild them? Have the Magento 2 versions been thoroughly tested?”

Braatz also highlights the importance of checking that the extensions are available for Magento 2. “If they’re not available, and you plan to leave them behind, check your contracts to see how much notice you need to give and if there’s any cost associated with terminating a contract.”


Skip What You Don’t Need

They all agree that the migration is a good opportunity to streamline your extensions. “Only keep the extensions you’re going to use.” Braatz says. “You may have legacy extensions integrated years ago that you’re not using or that are redundant. It’s a great opportunity to trash stuff you don’t need.”

Lysak agrees. “It’s very common for merchants to use less than 30% of their installed extensions. Decide what you need before you start. Each extension adds more time for review, installation and testing, and makes your system a bit heavier. In general, adding more stuff takes more budget and introduces more risks in terms of conflicts, vulnerability and security.”

It’s also worth evaluating why you need any given extension. “In some cases, merchants implement a huge extension for the purpose of one feature,” Lysak says. “Sometimes it’s more efficient to develop that feature from scratch.”

But Dudmish warns against rushing into custom development before you’ve evaluated what’s already available. “It’s common to build custom code and then realize six months down the line that the user experience doesn’t work. Reworking the customer journey afterward is difficult and expensive. Make sure your team knows the platform inside and out so you can decide where to dedicate your resources.”


Test Everything

Braatz also believes that the migration is a great opportunity to update the user experience and functionalities. But make sure you have the data to back up your decisions. “We A/B tested both systems and split the traffic between the platforms to see how each change performed,” he says.

“Get someone who hasn’t seen the site and who doesn’t know the code to test the processes.” Dudmish agrees. “Always conduct formal testing. Get someone who hasn’t seen the site and who doesn’t know the code to test the processes: Making a purchase, adding something to the cart, removing it, etc. This helps uncover traps you’ve inadvertently set the customer and how to avoid them.”


Get the Best from Your System Integrators

Given the technical specifications of Magento, it’s likely that you’ll be outsourcing your migration to a Magento consulting service. Lysak and Wood have some advice for getting the best out of your system integrators.

“Find reliable partners with relevant experience,” Lysak says. “Magento 2 is very different to Magento 1, so it’s important to take the time to evaluate your developers’ expertise. Otherwise, things could be underestimated and deadlines missed or, in case of disaster, the project could even fail completely.”

For Wood, it’s all about relationships: “Many people see the client-service provider relationship in very commercial terms: I’m the customer; deliver the following requirements by the following date. But it rarely works like this. Every project will change as you progress through it, so it’s vital to be flexible. It’s all about how you build the relationship. Agree your performance measures in advance, but bear in mind it’s a collaborative process. Things will change, and issues will arise that weren’t in the original brief. If you work as partners, you’ll overcome these challenges together.”


Make Sure Your Payments Are Optimized

Migrating to Magento 2 provides an opportunity to review your existing partners and ensure they’re able to meet your requirements now and in the future.

For Dudmish, simplicity and security in payments are paramount. “The process must be as easy as possible. Keep it to one page, and be transparent about how much you’re charging for what. It’s also critical to ensure you’re protecting your customers’ payment details. Adyen handles this really well and the security aspect of every payment method is clear and concise.”


Support Local Payment Methods With One Integration

If scalability is important for you, you’ll need a payments provider that can support you as your needs evolve. “When evaluating payments providers, ease of integration is very important,” ter Beek says. “After that, it’s about features. Our strength comes from the fact you get all payment methods with one integration. So you can scale quickly without having to integrate new methods for each market separately.”

Braatz says, “When expanding into a new country, speed is important as a proof of concept. With Adyen, you can integrate any local payment method with ease and at a very fast pace. Afterwards, you can spend time customizing/optimizing the user experience as much as you want. So, it’s great for both large and small businesses.”

Braatz continues: “It’s true you might save money going directly to each payment method. But it can be a pain, especially in Magento where you have to install each extension individually. That’s why we support most of our payment methods via Adyen.”


Get Access to Dedicated Support

With any extension, it’s important to know you have access to ongoing support. “We aim for a plug-and-play solution,” ter Beek says. “Of course there are always customization needs, which is why we provide in-house support. You can request new features, and we have regular releases and bug fixes. Any questions? Come to us directly. No need to go through a third party.”

Track our progress on GitHub.

This is a huge benefit for Eve Sleep. “We’re happy to pay a moderate fee to get an outstanding service for both us and our customers,” Braatz says. “We always get an answer within a day. And the support team really know their stuff. In one case, we found a bug and it was fixed within a day. You might have to wait few days for an official release, but you get a workable solution very quickly.”


Ensure a Smooth Operation from Day One

For Eve Sleep, it’s important that things work for every team from day one. “I’ve integrated many payment solutions over the last five years, and the collaboration with Adyen is by far the smoothest I have experienced,” Braatz says. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a custom API integration or a standard Magento integration; it always works out-of-the-box. From a finance perspective, it’s also very favorable. Everything is managed from one back office, so you don’t have to reconcile each payment method separately. Refunds are straightforward and finance can do all case management on one platform, which saves a lot of time and resources.”

Adyen is the technology company reinventing payments for the global economy. The only provider of a modern end-to-end infrastructure connecting directly to Visa, Mastercard and consumers’ globally preferred payment methods, Adyen delivers frictionless payments across online, mobile and in-store.