RIP Magento: Why Magento 1’s End of Life is the Best Thing for Your Business
Many businesses have been using Magento to power their ecommerce store for decades.
Magento, in its prime, was the go-to platform for ecommerce businesses. When it was first released, it was the most innovative and versatile platform, allowing you to build practically anything you wanted on top of their backend. Many businesses today would not be here if it weren’t for Magento.
But the ecommerce ecosystem has shifted dramatically. And unfortunately, Magento has been struggling to find its place within this new ecosystem.
Do You Really Need a Self-Managed Platform?
Today, very few businesses truly need a fully custom ecommerce site. In fact, we’ve helped guide hundreds of large and fast-growing ecommerce brands and rarely is there truly a scenario where a custom, self-hosted solution like Magento is needed. If you are on Magento or thinking you need a fully custom, self-managed platform, I would challenge you to fully understand what you’re getting into and if the need is legitimate.
Third-party hosted platforms like Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise are now in the limelight. These platforms provide many great advantages at a fraction of the cost, but the cost isn’t even the best part. These platforms take on ALL of your technology risk leaving you to be the best at your business and actually sleep well on Thanksgiving night.
For example, Shopify Plus offers best-in-class security with the highest level of PCI compliance, cloud-hosting that will infinitely scale with your business, and is versionless (meaning they’ll never force you to re-platform). Let that last one sink in…
Magento Version 1.x Is Going Away… Now What?
As of June 2020, Magento 1.x versions will no longer be supported. That’s only a few short months away. If your ecommerce store is on Magento 1.x, this leaves your business at high risk. It’s time to take action now.
I could sit here and try and scare you into moving, but honestly, this might be the biggest opportunity your business has ever seen. Businesses on modern ecommerce platforms spend a fraction of the cost of developing and maintaining their platform AND have the most vibrant app communities so they can actually market more efficiently and effectively as opposed to Magento.
Sometimes we need to be forced into moving towards opportunities that we would never go after if things stayed comfortable. But if you are on Magento 1.x (or even later versions) then you still need to take action right away.
At Metacake, we’ve been an ecommerce growth team for over 7 years and have worked with pretty much every ecommerce platform out there. We don’t have a dog in the race, but we do help businesses think through this decision often
So, What are Your Options?
1. Upgrade to Magento 2
Upgrading to Magento 2 might seem like the obvious choice, especially if you’ve been happy with your experience on Magento 1. But we’d caution against this.
High Upgrade Cost
Projects to build out a new Magento 2 site typically start in the $300k range. Depending on your business, this might already exclude Magento 2 for you as an option.
An Immature Platform
Magento 2 has had a significant number of bugs, affecting the day-to-day functionality and experience for its users. While Magento recently pushed an update that addressed many core problems, this is still a risky platform.
Future Version Support
While you might think you are safe moving to Magento 2, Magento is still a platform with versions and eventually, you will be facing the same issue and need to upgrade or re-platform again.
One of Magento’s best features is the wide array of extensions, allowing you to add complex functionality to your store without coding from scratch. Unfortunately, many extensions used with Magento 1 are not compatible with Magento 2, so there is a high probability that you won’t be able to easily replicate your current store functionality on Magento 2.
2. Move to Shopify Plus or BigCommerce Enterprise
With the limitations mentioned above in mind, it’s honestly time to re-platform. You will need to rebuild your store from scratch whether you stick with Magento or not, and there are serious benefits to migrating to a more modern cloud-hosted platform.
Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise are versionless platforms. That is not to say they don’t frequently release updates. On the contrary, Shopify releases several major updates to its platform each year. But you’ll always be running the latest version, without any work required on your side. You will never again be forced off of your ecommerce platform to rebuild on a new version.
Shopify and BigCommerce are no longer simple plug-and-play options. In the past, Magento was the clear winner if you wanted to build out a unique store experience. Today, however, you are able to create these same advanced customizations with these platforms.
With Magento, you’re responsible for your store’s functionality and any change can require a lot of work. With all of the built-in functionality, you will use to start your project in Shopify Plus, your store will be much more agile out of the box. You can quickly test different store features and take advantage of all of the latest and greatest marketing tools.
Platform Price Advantage
Even if the prices were the same, the case for Shopify Plus or BigCommerce Enterprise would be really strong. But just as icing on the cake, these platforms are also huge cost savers. Magento Commerce licensing might start around $22k per year, but this goes up to fees in the millions for large brands. On top of that, you have to add hosting fees which can be up to an additional $40k or more per year. Then you’ll also need an in-house development team to maintain the store 24/7.
Shopify Plus, on the other hand, includes hosting and security and starts at just $2k per month ($24k per year). That’s less money for more peace of mind. I’ll take that deal any day of the week.
Implementation Price Advantage
When it comes to the re-platforming project (designing, developing, and migrating your store) you’ll typically save money there as well. As mentioned above, the price tag for a new Magento build on Magento 2.x typically starts at about $300k. With Shopify Plus, these projects can typically be completed for under $200k, and for some simple businesses they can get below $50k.
Lastly, your timeline also gets a nice reduction when you’re looking at these 2 platforms. While Magento and other Enterprise solutions can take upwards of 9 months to replatform. You can be migrated and up and running on Shopify Plus in as little as 3 months. BigCommerce Enterprise typically takes a bit longer, but not by much. If you’re an enterprise ecommerce vet this may sound like garbage, but it’s not. The quick agility is a serious factor.
3. Move to SalesForce Commerce, Oracle Commerce Cloud, or Another “Enterprise Solution”
Unfortunately, moving to one of the big enterprise solutions may be the worst of all worlds. They have high license fees, high implementation costs, long implementation timelines, few to no plug-and-play apps and integrations, and they require you to still keep a team of engineers on staff to manage the site. In addition, most of these are versioned the way Magento is, which means you will need to migrate and upgrade as time goes on.
Unless you have a serious need to customize key areas of the ecommerce experience and you have the budget and sales to legitimize that need there isn’t much of a case to move here.
4. Move to WooCommerce
Depending on the size of your business and the amount of information that you know about WooCommerce, this may seem like a decent option, however, WooCommerce suffers from many of the downsides that Magento and other self-hosted platforms suffer from. In addition, WooCommerce typically is not used to handle high volume businesses. While it may be an option if you want to get off the ground quickly way AND you have serious need to modify the traditional ecommerce flow, it’s not a long term solution for most brands.
A Massive Opportunity to Grow Your Business
Of the two options available, Option 2 would seem like the clear winner, but you can make that decision for yourself. And while re-platforming may seem like a major pain in the you-know-what, it is actually a massive opportunity for growth.
If you’re on Magento and you’re in the process of figuring out what to do next, feel free to reach out to us for a free 15-minute advisory session. We can talk you through what a migration project would look like and help you make the right decision for your business with no strings attached.