If you’re one of the thousands of retailers currently operating on Magento 1, the platform’s morbid-sounding ‘End of Life’ announcement may have come as a pretty unwelcome surprise.
But the demise of your current platform doesn’t have to be an obstacle to your ecommerce success.
In fact, we believe it could be the key to it.
By turning the unexpected news that you have to replatform into an opportunity to find a more reliable, scalable and better-fitting solution for your business.
What is Magento 1 End of Life?
Back in 2018, Magento announced that Magento 1 will cease to be supported by the company at the start of June 2020; meaning that no quality fixes or security patches will be deployed for Magento 1 users after this point.
As this happens, sites operating on Magento 1 will become increasingly vulnerable to security threats – and will also be unable to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), leaving them exposed to cyber attacks, malware and other serious security breaches. Some payment gateways are also refusing to support Magento 1 sites from June onwards due to security concerns (it’s worth checking with your current provider in advance to see where they stand on the issue).
Image source: mechanised.co.uk
As a result, retailers hosting their stores on Magento 1 will be left with no choice but to migrate to Magento 2 or choose another ecommerce platform altogether.
What are my options?
Of course, Magento is asking its users to migrate to their newer, upgraded platform, Magento 2.
However, this transition involves much more than a simple version upgrade. Magento 2 is an entirely new platform with substantial framework differences, which will essentially require a complete rebuild of your site from the ground up.
But switching over to Magento 2 isn’t your only option.
Instead, we’d suggest making the most of Magento 1’s looming demise as an opportunity for reflection. Take the chance to consider your business’ high-level requirements and think more generally about which ecommerce platform is right for your business. Use this time to make an intentional, informed decision about which of the many platforms out there will benefit your company the most.
Whatever choice you make, it will involve replatforming. And yes, replatforming is a huge undertaking for any enterprise. But when you start seeing this transitional period as an opportunity to reflect on what your business really needs from your ecommerce solution, Magento 1’s collapse – and the migration project it makes necessary – can actually be a blessing in disguise.
Should I migrate from Magento to Shopify?
If reliability, scalability and ease of management are high up on your list of ecommerce platform requirements, we’d recommend seriously considering migrating to Shopify.
Of course, Shopify isn’t the right solution for every business. The decision on which platform is best should ultimately be based on a detailed assessment of your specific requirements and resources. But let’s take a little look into some of the key reasons why Swanky believes switching from Magento to Shopify is worth some significant thought.
First off, a crucial difference between Magento and Shopify Plus is that Magento remains mostly a self-hosted platform (although it has introduced a price-matched hosted solution as part of Magento 2, Magento Commerce Cloud).
This means that with Magento, you’re responsible for managing your enterprise’s own hosting, security patches, website development and store customisation. You may also be paying an agency to keep your website running during busy periods – as well as to look after all of your site’s technical concerns – and this will all be coming with a host of extra price tags.
Shopify, on the other hand, has been a fully-hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) product since they burst onto the market 14 years ago. Unlike Magento, Shopify’s infrastructure was always designed to be cloud-based, which means merchants using Shopify Plus benefit consistently from 99.98% website uptime, speedier page loads, 24/7 priority support, up-to-date security patches and continual platform updates.
Essentially, it’s Shopify’s job to keep your store online, safe, transacting and improving – all for a consistent monthly fee – whereas running costs for Magento are generally unpredictable and certainly never risk-free.
As any merchant using Shopify will tell you, one of the most prized characteristics of the platform is its unmatched reliability. Shopify’s 99.98% uptime rate – which comes as a result of the platform’s unlimited bandwidth and content delivery network – means data keeps flowing reliably and quickly, even during your biggest, busiest trading days (something that the time-poor consumers of today value tremendously when shopping online!).
A prime example of the reliability of the Shopify platform is its support of the rapid growth of global cosmetics brand Kylie Cosmetics. Despite the fact that the fashion icon’s cosmetic launches continue to sell out within seconds, Shopify has proved itself capable of handling the pressure. The platform was even able to handle 200k of Kylie’s visitors simultaneously during one of the biggest product drops in ecommerce history; Kylie’s debut lipstick range.
On the other hand, self-hosted platforms like Magento often can’t handle huge spikes in traffic – and have been known to crack under the pressure of a flash sale, campaign or product launch. Magento 2’s single server configuration can get overwhelmed during busy trading periods, and doesn’t always reliably serve content to users around the globe. It’s worth noting here that Magento Commerce Cloud does have the technical infrastructure to cope during busy trading times (although it can get very costly to scale for these peak periods).
Shopify’s unmatched reliability won’t just keep your customers happy, it’ll have you beaming too – as enterprises running their sites on Shopify are growing 126% year-over-year on average.
A major contributing factor to this success is Shopify’s innate capacity for accelerated growth, which has led hundreds of widely loved global brands (such as Red Bull, Gymshark and Budweiser) to trust the platform with their ever-growing enterprises.
Instead of worrying how your Magento store will cope with an influx of eager customers, hosting your site on Shopify Plus allows you to simply enjoy watching your store scale as your traffic continues to grow.
#4 Ease of business management
Another benefit of choosing Shopify Plus over Magento is that you can automate many of your everyday tasks within the platform; minimising the time you have to spend programming and managing the back-end of your store.
For example, Shopify Flow allows Shopify Plus merchants to automate almost any routine business management process you can think of, while Shopify Plus’ exclusive Launchpad feature will allow you to automatically schedule and monitor sales, releases and content changes on your store.
Beyond all of this, Shopify’s dashboard is also more logical, aesthetically pleasing and simpler to use than Magento’s; a testament to the platform’s understanding of the value of your time. Shopify Plus has been designed with retailers in mind, with an easy-to-use drag and drop editing system winning over users across the land.
With back-end Shopify users able to make simple changes without a developer, this saves valuable resources for larger, more exciting store edits. Of course, if your ecommerce team are clued up on all things coding, with time to invest in your store build, then Magento 2 may be a better fit for your enterprise. It depends on the resources you have and how you want to prioritise these as you try to grow your business.
There’s no doubt that speedy page loads are a crucial part of keeping your customers happy and converting, and with Shopify you’re on track to faster loading times.
As Shopify Plus has a cloud-based infrastructure, its storefront has been shown to load 2.97 times faster than other leading ecommerce solutions. Shopify also boasts an ultra-fast page response time of 80 milliseconds on average.
It’s worth noting that a Magento store could theoretically load more quickly than a Shopify site – if you’re willing to invest a huge amount of resources into the project – but with Shopify you’re leaning on a naturally speedy infrastructure, while with Magento you have to optimise and pay extra to get there.
Additionally, as we touched on earlier, Shopify’s global Content Delivery Network keeps load speeds consistent no matter where your customers are browsing from. However, Magento sites – unless they’re sharing hosting across multiple server locations – tend to deliver patchy, inconsistent performance, making them less well-suited to international business growth.
As a Magento 1 merchant, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the Magento forum, a huge database of user generated content that’s free to access, as well as all the extensive user guides and 24/7 telephone support you have a click or a call away.
Despite this, have you ever felt that you’re left largely to your own devices when it comes to implementing new security patches and updates? Many self-hosted Magento merchants are left feeling frustrated with the lack of immediate help when things go wrong. Even Magento Commerce Cloud users can face wait times of up to four hours for a response to critical issues (which causes frustrations among retailers and customers alike).
As a Shopify Plus customer, you’d have access to an extensive online forum and 24/7 priority support (which begins the moment you decide to migrate!). This support is available via phone, email and live chat.
What’s more, Shopify understands that website migrations are complex operations which require a lot of care and attention. That’s why, throughout your transition, you’ll receive priority assistance from a dedicated team of support staff to help you complete your transition in the smoothest way possible.
As an open-source solution, Magento has shown itself to be prone to malware and cyber attacks. Security breaches have been a common concern for Magento merchants over the years, including self-healing malware and cryptocurrency-mining malware, which have had a significant impact on revenue and reputation for the affected Magento-based stores.
As Magento users are also entirely responsible for managing their own cyber security, protecting your Magento site against malicious attacks and security breaches can place a huge strain on your business’ time, resources and budget.
But what about Shopify?
As a fully-hosted ecommerce platform, Shopify takes care of your site’s security automatically. Its Level 1 PCI DSS compliance – which is the same level of security that banks have when they operate online – guarantees automatic and up-to-date security around the clock.
In other words, when you run your online business on Shopify Plus, you can rest assured that your store data, transactions and customer data will remain as secure as your bank records – at no extra cost to you.
What makes Shopify so much more affordable for enterprise-sized businesses than other ecommerce platforms like Magento is the large number of functions and features included within the flat monthly price.
With Shopify, all of your basic development, security and business management tasks will be automatically taken care of – at no extra cost to you. However, with self-hosted solutions like Magento, you could easily find yourself battling a whole host of unforeseen bills that aren’t covered by the platform’s original annual price.
Why Swanky choose Shopify
At Swanky, we’ve had years of experience migrating growing and enterprise businesses alike to Shopify – and the results we’ve seen have been astonishing.
Having had the privilege of working with popular brands such as Olivia von Halle, Needle & Thread, Boda Skins and Innermost, we’ve been delighted to see our clients’ success transformed in just their first few months after switching to Shopify.
The beautiful, high-converting Shopify store we created for luxury women’s clothing store Needle & Thread left the brand feeling over the moon about their decision to make the Shopify switch (via GIPHY).
Here’s what another of our clients, award-winning nutritional supplements brand Innermost, had to say about their Magento-to-Shopify migration:
Innermost’s Founder & CEO, Shivraj Bassi, talks about his experience moving his business from Magento to Shopify with the help of Swanky.
“Originally, we went with Magento based on a belief that it would offer us a super customisable, tailored website that would cater to every whim and desire. What soon became apparent is that while all of that might be true, it requires a huge amount of time, money and effort to realise it.
As a business, you want to focus your time on growing your business and less on managing the technical minutiae of your website. That’s what led us to Shopify Plus, to Swanky and ultimately to where we are today.”
– Shivraj Bassi, Founder & CEO of Innermost
It’s no surprise that Innermost are so delighted with their switch when you consider that, in just the first three months after they migrated their entire store to Shopify, the brand saw a 10% increase in organic sessions on their site – along with a 17% increase in site-wide revenue and a staggering 300% uplift in their average order value!
If you still need convincing, here’s what another of our enterprise clients – luxury leather jacket brand Boda Skins – had to say after we helped them migrate to Shopify:
“Shopify Plus was just way more user-friendly and easier for our team to use. This meant it was way more valuable for our brand than Magento, and that switching platforms made a lot of sense for our business – especially seeing as Shopify is developing and improving all the time.
Switching to Shopify Plus has been a complete game changer for us as we can now make changes so quickly and so easily without getting bogged down by all of the coding that our previous platform required.”
– Georgie Williams, Global Manager at Boda Skins
There are of course a variety of factors to consider when choosing the right enterprise ecommerce solution for your business, and you’ll need to explore a variety of options. As Magento was built for developers, there’s no denying that it offers a vast amount of flexibility – although it’s worth noting that this flexibility often comes hand in hand with some hefty (and often hidden) extra costs. It’s geared towards merchants with more complex customisation and hosting architecture requirements – and a higher level of technical expertise.
All in all though, we believe that Shopify provides all the key components of an enterprise-level ecommerce solution without unnecessarily complicating your day-to-day operations.
Shopify understands the value of ecommerce managers’ money and time; allowing its merchants to invest their resources into the growth of their business rather than worrying about the technicalities of managing an online store. For this reason, we champion Shopify as an ideal solution for ambitious enterprises looking to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace.
The platform you trust your brand with should always ultimately be based on a detailed assessment of your specific requirements and resources – along with some careful research into what each of the main contenders on the market can offer you.
After reading this article, we hope you’ve seen that there are more options out there for your business than you may have originally thought.
As unsettling as the Magento 1 End of Life announcement may seem, it comes as an important reminder of the importance of choosing an ecommerce platform you know you can rely on.
So, start by defining your business’ ecommerce goals, outlining your platform requirements, researching different ecommerce solutions and then talking to agencies who have experience working with businesses just like you.
Whatever you decide to do, we’d recommend beginning the migration process as soon as possible, as projects like this take time and it’s important to get them right.
Starting today, take the time to consider switching to a stronger, more scalable, more secure platform like Shopify before June 2020 rolls around.
And a final word from Swanky’s Specialist Platforms Consultant, Edward Scott-Finnigan:
“Migrations are hard, and identifying your next platform can be just as challenging. Shopify isn’t for everyone, and the same can be said for Magento 2.
For those brands looking to grow fast, ease the budget drain on site and server maintenance, move on from the concerns of platform technology and focus purely on commerce growth, I fully back a SAAS model.
The beauty for merchants, like you reading this post, is that you have choice, which is always a good thing!”
Download Swanky’s migration ebook
If you’re looking to find out more about making the Shopify switch, have a read of our recent ebook; ‘From Magento to Millions: Everything You Need to Know About Migrating to Shopify Plus’.
The ultimate jargon-free guide to a smooth transition from one platform to another, it aims to help business managers like you understand what a platform move could do for your business, what the migration process entails, and exactly what steps you can take to make your own transition as seamless as possible.