If you run an ecommerce store built on Magento 1 and face the looming vision of the whole platform migrating to Magento 2, you are perhaps considering possible failures of the whole operation.
Yet, failure is not an option if you want to keep running business and retain your customers. As stressful as it might seem, the migration to Magento 2 is inevitable. So, let’s take a look at possible risks related to the process and then try to figure out solutions to the challenges.
Ready? Take a deep breath and look at the bright side.
The Good Side
Magento 2 is a stable and complete platform. Once you set your mind to it and get your head around the first steps of the migration, you can focus on the progress you will make with the new platform.
The Magento 2 ecommerce platform is designed to work on any device, anywhere, for anyone. Its main goal is to create a personalized customer experience. The advanced features of Magento 2 allow all brands (big or small, B2C or B2B) to deliver high-quality services and provide an engaging shopping environment. It’s without a doubt faster, safer and more usable than Magento 1. With a more flexible architecture, and a better shopping experience it also promises increased productivity, thus potentially higher sales results for your company.
Nothing to worry about, right? Right! Just have a look at the number of Magento 2 stores already up and running across the globe.
Magento 2 usage by websites across the globe. Source: Similartech.com
Safe migration tips
There are certain things that, we know from our own experience, might cause delays in the deploy of your new Magento 2 ecommerce. They may be related to technical issues, or to your customers being unfamiliar with the new store navigation and look.
Get yourself familiar with the list below and make sure you tick all the boxes before day 0. This way you will manage the risk beforehand and avoid many troubles, perhaps even loses in sales.
Train your staff
Train your staff to know the platform and its key features. They need to be able to communicate with your customers and handle orders smoothly. Run tests before the new platform goes live and answer any questions your teammates may have.
Magento offers additional materials and webinars to help you and your staff serve customers better and make better use of the new product. It’s not a bad idea to run workshops and a kickoff meeting just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Inform your customers
Inform your customers about the changes and about the expected technical downtime. Prepare a Customer Maintenance Page for them to view when the shop is down and offer them a way to contact you in case they have issues with their order. People tend to be more forgiving if they know what is happening and why.
Choose the right time
Choose the right time for a switch. Consult your development team and plan the right moment for the migration. It’s best done when the site experiences the lowest traffic. It will limit any potential losses caused by downtime. If done right, the site shouldn’t be down for more than 30 minutes. It’s a good standard to look up to but remember you can’t predict everything and you need to expect the unexpected.
Hire experienced developers
Site migration is a complex process. You are looking at building the site from scratch and moving an entire range of important data, including your clients’ personal information. Consider handling the task to an experienced Magento team.
Check your hosting provider
Verify if they offer the tech stack required for Magento 2. If not, start looking for a new hosting provider company. Past migration experiences made us deal with some low performance, unsecured, unoptimized servers. These may transform the ecommerce business in a time consuming experience with server issues for both – the client and the development team.
Consider choosing a hosting provider from among the official Magento hosting partners. These companies have a vast expertise with the platform and can provide the required environment, as well as ensure technical assistance during the installation and deployment phases, or even fixing some technical issues.
Upgrade your server
It is possible that during the migration or after the process you will need more server space for your shop. Magento 2 requirements may also enforce a new configuration or purchase of a brand new server. Most hosting providers will secure you with the right system which can vary depending on your needs and include solutions ranging from shared hosting, virtual private servers to dedicated servers which come quite costly and are better suited for larger stores.
Backup your database
This might seem obvious, but every migration carries a risk of losing data. Database backup is a must. While most hosting providers will keep a backup of your data on their side, it won’t hurt to have a second copy.
Keep your URL structure in check
The URL structure may change after the migration. Verify and adjust the old URLs to the new structure. Using 301 Redirect is one way to go around it. Failing to keep the structure updated may have negative effects on your SEO and search visibility in general, not to mention confused users who will bounce off the 404 never to see your offer.
Arm yourself with patience. The migration process takes time and there might be bugs or additional challenges you will have to deal with. In the end, you will switch to a new, more efficient platform, so it is worth to stay positive.
If you need assistance or have more questions regarding the migration, do not hesitate to drop us a line or leave you comment below. We will be happy to discuss any other possible challenges related to your Magento store.