Moving to Magento 2

7 Tips For Making the Move 

At some point in the future Magento corp. will probably retire Magento 1. It was thought that this would be in November of 2018 (3 years after the release of Magento 2). That date was addressed by Magento corp. earlier this year and it looks like there isn't an official end of life date yet.

Magento 1 has been and will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. We have no intention of denying access to our world-class software and know your business relies on Magento to drive growth and differentiation for your brand.

That said, Magento businesses looking to migrate should still start the planning right now. Why? Magento 2 offers plenty of new features that may help accelerate your business. But...another big reason is there are more "active" Magento stores (est. ~250,000) than there are "good", experienced Magento developers. At some point in the future that may create bottlenecks for your move. Essentially you don't want to play musical chairs with your Magento site. You don't want to be left standing with nowhere to sit. You will definitely want a comfortable seat for the rebuild.

Since April we have been queuing up all our current Magento 1x clients for Magento 2. Here is a set of tips that we walked away with this year.

1. Write Your Business Document

Ok, let's start with the big first step. Has your business changed? Should your business change? These changes generally warrants a re-write on how you do business and/or how you want to do business. What's mission critical now?

Essentially you are documenting how shipping, fulfilment, inventory, taxes, payments, etc. currently works on your site along with how you want things to change. This document should not include any apps, extensions or add-ons at this point. Just stick to the business. 

2. Read, Read, Demo, Demo

Go learn about what people are saying about Magento 2. What are the known issues? What are the wins? Take a deep dive for a few hours each week and explore the new Magento 2 structures and features. Take a tour through a Magento 2 admin and a Magento 2 front-end. Become familiar with the new admin dashboards. How will this change or affect your internal workflows? What needs to be communicated to your team?

3. Take Stock of Your Ecosystem

Take some time and focus on all the apps, web services, and extensions that you are using (or not using). This can include extensions for the checkout funnel, navigation, search, shipping, marketing, ERP connections and plenty of others. What do they all do? Write this all down. Are they all needed? Is there a replacement for them in the Magento 2 marketplace?

4. Plan for Minimalism

It's exciting to think about a move to Magento 2 but it is essentially a new platform. Start the build with as few extensions and as little custom development as possible. This is a minimalistic approach and will help identify solutions to potential problems faster. Less is more here.

5. Tidy Up

This is a good chance to start removing some of the old data from your Magento store. There may be bogus customer accounts, tons of 301 redirect chains, old products, outdated attributes, legacy price rules, and unused extensions (from above). This step alone can save you weeks in development and QA. The fewer things you have to explain, document and look at, the better. Developers can keep focused on the task at hand instead of toggling back and forth for explanations.

6. Explain Your Data

I wrote an article about this long ago. The post goes into your attribute sets and the options thereof. How they were built, why they were built and where they are used. It is still a very, very relevant post. Don't forget, at the end of the day this is all your data. Be prepared to explain what the columns mean in a spreadsheet, explain the attribute values, and any of the relationships thereof. 

7. Work With an Agency You Trust

If you already have that team, perfect. That's one less thing to plan for. If you are looking to switch Magento agencies or reallocate your internal development resources for something else, then look for a team with plenty of Magento 1x knowledge (both community and enterprise) along with some Magento 2 knowledge. It may comes as a surprise but what's equally important as experience is an agency you can trust, who communicates well, and who is committed to the project.