For more than 5 years, BRAD ADVERTISING has been the global digital marketing company that experience-driven brands and retailers trust to accelerate their B2B and B2C growth. Working at the intersection of business strategy and customer experience, we are known for our thorough approach to technology assessment and our unmatched ability to deliver complex digital commerce solutions to leading lifestyle brands.

As the #1 Magento Adobe Solution Partner in Worldwide, BRAD ADVERTISING is a leader in the Magento Partner ecosystem. We have worked with Magento since 2015. We helped the Magento team fully vet their product roadmap, test the platform across a varied set of use cases, and complex challenges early and promptly, allowed us drive hundreds of important bug fixes. Solving these to strengthen our core relationship with Magento, get ahead of Magento 2 as a solution and to become known for our ability to tackle complex projects and customization

Introduction: For years, Magento has been the top e-commerce platform for leading retailers and many are currently considering or planning to migrate to Magento 2. As anyone in the digital commerce industry can tell you, migrating or upgrading an e-commerce platform is no small feat. We’ve created this guide to help retailers navigate the process of migrating to Magento 2, and to share key lessons we’ve learned

WHAT'S IN THIS BLOG

  • The Top Benefits of Magento 2.3
  • What to Know Before You Start
  • A Top Risk-Mitigating Strategy
  • The Value of Magento 2 Based on Retailer Data
  • Real Insights from a Magento 2 retailer

The Top Benefits of Magento 2.3

If you are just beginning to consider migrating your site, you need to understand the top benefits and new features from Magento 2.3. Our clients have consistently pointed to three key benefits that have made a difference in their e-commerce efforts, here are the areas that stand out:

PERFORMANCE

From a performance standpoint, Magento 2 enables faster performance out of-the-box. This is an important factor to consider because customers are more likely to leave your site if they experience long page load times. With Magento 2.3 you will see improved indexing performance through sharing and parallel processing of indexers to reduce the indexation times. Magento has said this significantly reduces the indexation times by over 60% to support large sites and quicker product updates. For example, when BRAD ADVERTISING migrated St. John Knits to Magento 2, their page load times reduced from 9 seconds to 4 seconds.

SECURITY

Security enhancements and new tools bring forth preventative measures, as well as get rid of vulnerabilities on your site. The latest Magento 2.3 features ensure retailers have a protected and trustworthy site; these security features include ReCAPTCHA, Two Factor Authentication, ACL for Cache Management, and WAF for Cloud. This allows retailers to focus on what matters most, creating a powerful site experience.

ADMIN INTERFACE

An improved Admin user interface provides efficiency and flexibility in how ecommerce teams manage their day-to-day. This clean interface offers new user-friendly rearrangements from moving Pages and Blocks under Content to moving Email Templates and Promotions under the Marketing section now. They streamlined the process of adding products by adding all default required fields to the first screen of product creation. No more worrying about why your product isn’t showing up on the front end, between setting it to Enabled, in stock and adding a quantity greater than 0, Magento 2 has shortened the process to just a few steps. Another process Magento streamlined for users is adding products to a category, users just have to type in a category to add products to it. Checkboxes are now a thing of the past.

Additional Features from Magento 2.3

PWA STUDIO

The PWA Studio allows developers to build front end experiences easily while reducing the time and expertise needed to create engaging mobile experiences. Retailers can see an increase in mobile conversions and shopper engagement with PWA.

PAGE BUILDER

The Page Builder tool was created to save marketers time by giving them the ability to change content faster without having to edit any HTML or CSS code. With this new feature, it will save you time and money, while enables your team to create and update content quicker than ever.

MULTI-SOURCE INVENTORY TOOL

In Magento 2.3, you also have access to the Multi- Source Inventory tool, which will help you streamline your operations. This enables you to view and manage inventory quantities across multiple sources within the Admin, as well as the ability to control what sources within stocks can fulfill orders. Retailers are then able to leverage Magento’s Source Selection Algorithm, which automatically selects the best shipments based on the order of sources. These features allow you to understand your inventory in real-time, maintain what fulfills orders for each of your sites and improve your checkout performance.

With all of these new features in 2.3, you are probably contemplating if it’s worth the undertaking to migrate to Magento 2 as well as wondering what will happen if you don’t upgrade by June 2020. If you keep your site on Magento 1, it will continue to work but Magento will no longer publish Community and Enterprise 1.x security patches, leaving your site vulnerable. PHP 5.6 will also reach the end of life on December 31st, 2018 and will no longer create security updates. You are putting your site and customers at risk by leaving your site on Magento 1. To ensure you are providing a trustworthy shopping experience to your customers, we recommend you move forward with upgrading your site to Magento 2.

What to Know Before You Begin

REVISIT AND REFRESH

Have you been looking to redesign your site? With the updated mobile experience and responsive designs on Magento 2.3, the migration process can be the perfect opportunity to revisit the front-end experience to make improvements. Use this time to evaluate how your visitors experience your site and conduct an audit of what is still needed/not needed and what’s missing that can be implemented. For instance, you may want to make changes to certain templates in order to leverage Magento 2 native functionality. Or maybe you’ve been sitting on A/B testing results and want to utilize this time to implement some of those changes.

It’s also an opportunity to review the customization you have in place and find ways to optimize their performance, and which pieces of functionality are actually needed. You should consider any and all of these facets in advance to more easily integrate them into the migration process. Take advantage of any low-hanging fruit, cut loose anything that isn’t serving your business goals, and make those changes you’ve been putting on hold.

BY MIGRATING TO MAGENTO 2.3, YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO:

  • Handle larger volumes of SKUs and daily orders
  • Create better mobile designs and site experiences
  • Manage and produce your content easier
  • Leverage the improved search and SEO features
  • Reduce the number of steps to checkout to combat cart abandonment

The Cost of Migrating

Magento 2 relies on a different framework than Magento 1, making data and theme migration in itself a significant driver of the cost of the project. In addition, the difficulty of migrating over is highly dependent on the level of customization on your site.

A standard migration is considered to be one with very little customization and few integrations points. Meanwhile, a complex migration could be one that has a lot of customization to the theme, many integrations and custom modules, or various business logic have been applied.

Magento’s data shows that for both standard and complex migrations, much of the effort and cost will go toward the front end, customization’s, extensions, and integrations.

The lists below, via Fit for Commerce, highlight the most significant drivers of cost and time for migration to Magento 2. Furthermore, BRAD ADVERTISING’s own client data reflects these findings:

THIRD-PARTY EXTENSIONS + TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS

A key component of a smooth migration is selecting the right third-party solutions and extensions. It’s important to determine what extensions work well with Magento 2, and whether you will need to make updates or changes. If your site has a lot of extensions installed, we recommend doing the research upfront and reviewing the Magento Marketplace to see what compatible extensions are available. As a result, you will be able to better predict problem areas and issues that may arise. Another approach is to partner with an agency to do this legwork for you. All of BRAD ADVERTISING’s partners have been vetted for their Magento 2 experience and working extensions. Furthermore, we work closely with our partner network to ensure their technology is up to speed with client and platform requirements. Whether you work with an agency or evaluate extensions and providers yourselves, it is important to make sure the technology works for your needs before you get started.

PREPARING FOR SUCCESS

Migrating to Magento 2 provides an enormous opportunity for retailers to access improved site performance and updated features and functionality. It’s also a chance to review your current e-commerce practices and refresh for the future. Setting your organization up for long term success on the Magento 2 platform requires preparation, and now is the time to start. By sorting through the recommendations above, you can begin to lay out a framework to move through a smoother migration.

SIGNIFICANT COST-DRIVERS:

  • Data migration
  • Complex UI requirements
  • Theme migration
  • Complex customization of business logic
  • Experience of partner (risk mitigation)
  • Early version of extensions
  • When Magento 2 was implemented

NOT SIGNIFICANT:

  • Revenue
  • Transaction volume
  • Integrations via APIs
  • Widely used and mature extensions
  • MVP Champion: A Risk Mitigating Strategy

What is a MVP Champion?

CHOOSING A CHAMPION

So who should you select for this role? The MVP Champion must keep the number of “must haves” to a bare minimum, so it’s important this person be someone who is inside the business, who the project sponsor trusts and listens to, and whose sole incentive is to have the site running successfully and stably on Magento 2.

“If you have a fixed timeline, keeping the project’s scope to a minimum is the most important thing you can do to mitigate risk.”

If the MVP Champion doesn’t understand the business, they won’t know where to draw the “minimum viable” line. If the project sponsor doesn’t trust or listen to them, their pleas for simplicity will be in vain. Lastly, if the MVP Champion is trying to incorporate special features on their own, their integrity is compromised.

It’s helpful if the MVP Champion has a project management background, someone who has experienced how scope, timeline, and budgets can change and seen risks emerge on past projects. The person with this background will foresee these challenges but these are not necessities. The key to this role is keeping your (and the rest of the team’s) eyes on the prize and making the prize as accessible as possible.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

The advantage you get in having the MVP Champion is you can constantly keep an eye on exactly what is needed and what is not. This makes finding flexibility in budget and timeline a far easier and more scientific process. If you have a fixed timeline, keeping the project’s scope to a minimum is the most important thing you can do to mitigate risk. More time to do less work gives you a buffer. When working on projects for new technologies, a buffer is something you should constantly seek.

Having a strong MVP Champion will also give you confidence in your plan. By stabilizing the scope, you inject stability into every other area of your project plan – your budget, your timeline, your risk profile, and more. Sometimes schedules have to be pulled in unplanned ways, or budgets can get slashed and when things like this happen, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have an expert who has been pushing for the “must haves” all along. This way, you know what features need to be squeezed into the newly abbreviated timeline or reduced budget.

  • A team member who can consistently rule items out of scope and reduce complexity will make your project less risky and raise your chances of success. Trusting your MVP Champion’s judgment when they rule that new bell or whistle out of scope during the project can sometimes be painful. But when you have a stable, effective site with all the advantages that Magento 2 brings to your business, you’ll be happy you did.
  • Website design and build projects require work best with a diverse team of experts – project managers, merchandisers, business analysts, designers, marketers, developers. Instead of having one or two people carrying all aspects of the project, each team member brings varied expertise to the particular role they own on a project. One role that is often overlooked is the Minimum Viable Product Champion or MVP Champion. This person doesn’t need to be an expert in any particular knowledge area; they just need to be prepared to keep the team focused on the ultimate goal and to repeat what can be the hardest word to say during a project – “no.” The minimum viable product will vary for each project you execute, but the principle remains the same. At the outset of the project, the core stakeholders should list and prioritize the goals of the project. Then the MVP Champion will make the case to the project sponsor on where to draw a line down the priorities list to separate the “must haves” from the “nice to haves.” Ultimately, the project sponsor should decide, but the MVP Champion should push to have as few “must haves” as possible since the rest of the project team will almost always push for more features, not less.
  • It’s all too tempting to try to incorporate additional scope into a website rebuild project; after all, it can be more efficient to do more things at once since you’re already making changes. But with a re-platform to a relatively new software, it becomes even more important to limit the scope of the project to only what you truly need to make up a minimum viable product. The main goal of the project should be the re-platform itself, not every bell and whistle anyone on the team has ever hoped for.
  • Retailers considering migrating their e-commerce operation to the Magento 2 platform have a lot to consider from the outset. In addition to third-party extensions, technology partners and cost, there are various risks unique to each business. It’s crucial to develop a plan to mitigate these risks before you begin the migration process. Setting up a framework within your organization can be the key to success when adopting new technology. One great strategy is to appoint a MVP Champion.
  • WRAP UP: Magento 2 is an exciting platform, and many more retailers will continue to make the transition. June 2020 will be here sooner than you think, as you consider migrating to Magento 2, hopefully, this guide can serve as a foundation to your success. If you are interested in learning more about BRAD ADVERTISING and Magento, please feel free to email us at brad@bradadvertising.com

ABOUT BRAD ADVERTISING

We’re Magento Adobe Solution Partner which has proficiency working with global retail labels and growing startups for fashion, beauty, luxury, business, lifestyles, retails, home, and décor industry. BRAD ADVERTISING offers solutions for every Magento e-commerce service which includes development and design, under-performing websites, user experience bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities, bespoke development and more. As one of the Magento Adobe Solution partners worldwide, we’re confident that Top Web Design Companies, BRAD ADVERTISING can deliver the next-generation commerce solutions our customers need to future-proof their business. BRAD ADVERTISING is Top eCommerce Development Companies creating trans-formative commerce experiences for lifestyle, fashion, and beauty brands. Combining award-winning creative skills with technical capabilities concentrated on the Magento, WordPress, Woo commerce, Shopify platforms, BRAD ADVERTISING produces channel-blurred customer journeys designed to create heart-stopping moments and drive measurable results.