There are only a couple of months left for you to make the big move from Magento 1 to Magento 2. November 2018 is when Magento is going to officially end all its support for 1.x versions. E-commerce business owners who are still using Magento 1.x are now sensing the urgency of upgrading to the newer and better Magento 2 platform. The process may not be the easiest, it is in fact quite complex considering the fundamental architectural differences between the two platforms, but it is something that Magento store owners need to attend to as soon as possible to continue functioning well.
A little bit of planning needs to go into the migration process to ensure its success. It’s essential to have a road-map outlined that governs the successful migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Whether it’s the estimated time and costs or the technical steps involved in the migration process, it’d be worthwhile to take little things into account prior to jumping into the process. Here are a couple of best practices and tips that you should keep in mind as you plan and execute your store’s migration to Magento 2.
Know What You’re Signing Up For
Upgrading to Magento 2 is not going to be anything like upgrading from, say, Magento 1.8 to Magento 1.9. You can think of migration to Magento 2 as something like building your store back up from the ground, although there are helpful tools along the way that make this transition as seamless as possible. Migration means big changes on the technical front, but for you, it can also mean big changes on the strategic front. If you’ve been planning for some changes in your e-commerce store, like introducing some new components or removing some of the old existing ones, this is the time to re-prioritize and re-strategize.
Study the unique offerings of Magento 2 and see how you can leverage them for your store. Maybe you could benefit from the platform’s better checkout process, more efficient admin panel, business intelligence capabilities, layered website navigation, simpler integration with 3rd party systems, dynamic user segmentation, etc. Decide beforehand what you’d like to see in your new store and what you’d like to see gone for good in your new store.
Estimate the Time for Your Store Migration
How long will it take for you to migrate your store to Magento 2? Well, that depends on a number of things. The level of customization required, the number of extensions needed, amount of data that needs migration, store complexity, etc. Basically, it’s your specific set of expectations and requirements that’s going to determine the total time the migration will need. If you have a simple migration of a basic templated store on hand, you can get it to go live and operational within 6 weeks. For complex migration where there’s lot of customization, redesigning, 3rd party integration, and such, expect your website to go live and operational in 3 to 6 months.
Discuss your requirements with a Magento expert to get a time estimation for your website migration. This will help you to efficiently fit the migration activity in your overall business plan and prevent it from spilling into other planned business initiatives. For example, if you have an important sale season coming up in the next few months and you want your website to be ready and functional on Magento 2 by then, you’ll know when to start to make that happen.
Set Up a Good Team to Lead the Change
If you don’t have in-house specialists to take care of the migration, it’s time to delegate the job to another party who knows what they’re doing. As mentioned before, that migration to Magento 2 is essentially a rebuild and re-platforming, you are going to need expert help with the same. Your team responsible for the Magento 2 migration should consist of people with the requisite technical know how.
In addition to the team described above, you can also include people from the administrative and production divisions of your business into the team. These are the people who’ll be interacting with the system on a day-to-day basis once it becomes functional. It’d be nice if they are kept involved in the process right from the start. This established team of technical and non-technical people will also come into play when the website is developed and needs a formal testing. So carefully build this team of people who’ll be directly accountable for getting your website up and working well on Magento 2 platform.
Factor In the Cost of the Migration
Just like the time estimate, the cost estimate of migration to Magento 2 is also subject to the complexity of the website migration project. Each Magento website has a different build and only a Magento expert can evaluate your current website to estimate how much it can potentially cost to migrate the website to the Magento 2 platform. Whether you opt for Enterprise or Community Edition of Magento 2 is also something that will affect the total cost.
Remember, though, not to fall for cost estimates that seem too cheap for the project. “Too good to be true” cheap prices could mean overlooking or not doing things right here and there. This means that even though your website would be built for “cheap”, the ensuing costs on correcting the development mistakes may end up breaking your website budget.
Test the Migration Process First
Instead of starting the migration straight away in the production environment, you should first conduct the migration process within a testing environment. This approach just helps you test out all the migration steps in a risk-free space before you go on to repeat the same in the production environment.
To do so, you’ll need to copy the Magento 1 website onto a staging server, perform a thorough migration of this duplicated Magento 1 website to Magento 2 platform, and finally perform a comprehensive testing of the newly migrated website.
Protect Your Data During the Migration
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your business data. More so given the differences between the data structures of Magento 1 and Magento 2 platforms. Magento 2 Data Migration Tool is helpful in database migration but there still are certain things that you need to take care of on your end.
For instance, you don’t want the migration activities to ever affect your production environment. So, when you want to do migration testing, you should be using a database copy from Magento 1 instance. The main instance of the database of Magento 1 platform should be left undisturbed for the migration testing process. Also, when migrating the data to the new platform, leave out the unnecessary legacy data. Examples of such data are logs, recently viewed products, data remnants of modules that are no longer used, promotional rules, order quotes, etc. Less data to migrate also means faster migration process.