7 Ways to Get a Magento 2 Migration Right for SMBs

April 9, 2020

By: Paul Okhrem,

Founder & Managing Partner

, Elogic Commerce


Do you run your website on Magento 1 or Magento 2? If you’re still on Magento 1, take notice that Adobe officially announced it will stop Magento 1 support at the end of June 2020. After that, your eCommerce store could be more vulnerable to security violations, performance problems, and module updates as you maintain it on your own.

Making the Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration will give you access to multiple great features and enhancements — better performance, advanced SEO, improved checkout, strong security, and marketing automation.

In this article, we provide recommendations on how to make a smooth Magento 2 migration.

A brief overview of the migration process

The process of upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2 includes three major steps: pre-migration, migration, and post-migration.

• Pre-migration: During this stage, we review the website's data and content to get a clear idea of how much manual labor should be performed, prepare design specifications, and write a project outline with major stages and deadlines for each phase.

• Migration: The migration process starts with setting up a testing environment by moving Magento 2 on a new server. Then themes, extensions, plugins, data, and content are moved from Magento 1 to Magento 2. 

• Post-migration: Last but not least is synchronizing your order history and customer data to perform a smooth shift from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

If you’re considering a Magento 2 upgrade, bear in mind that the migration process can be time-consuming, taking anywhere between three to six months, depending on the complexity of your existing shop. This period can be prolonged if you stumble into pitfalls.

Here are the common challenges.

Magento 2 data migration isn’t as easy as dragging and dropping

Magento 2 data migration is the crucial stage in the transfer process. You need to possess sufficient technical knowledge and extensive experience to react quickly in case you lose database assets — specifically, the customer and product data. Moreover, your blog content, meta titles, and customer orders should be transported inseparably.

Note: You cannot just simply copy Magento 1 data and paste it into Magento 2. The Magento 2 platform should be prepared for transferring your custom data. Then a combination of custom migration scripts, the official Magento Data Migration Tool, and sometimes manual migration are applied to transfer your settings and bulk data.

Messy code and shoddy data structure may mean a lot for custom development

During the migration period, you might face problems related to data structure. For example, if the core Magento 1 code is messy or inappropriately configured, then the standard Migration Tool and scripts won’t work.

Based on our experience, there have been a number of situations where the data structure was so screwed up that we had to reinstall Magento 1 to structure the data properly before starting Magento 2 migration.

Note: The only way to avoid this problem is through a website audit. We usually perform a code review to find mistakes overlooked in the previous development phase. After we find defects in code, we determine whether custom migration scripts are needed or it’s better to just start with a clean installation of Magento.

SEO performance after Magento migration

Search engine optimization (SEO) can make or break your eCommerce business. Magento 2 has introduced many improvements to SEO, such as Auto-Generation and Schema.org features. Auto-Generation is aimed to set templates for product metadata, and Schema.org could help to boost the search engine ranking of your eCommerce store. Many merchants choose Magento 2 specifically for its advanced SEO features.

The loss of search engine traffic can have a negative effect on the rankings in the SERPs (search engine results page) and could cost you a pretty penny.  If you don’t migrate properly, the following problems can happen:

• Broken URLs
• Lost pages
• Duplicate content
• Redirects that don’t work

When any of these occur, your marketing strategies will be affected adversely, so to rank high on Google again will be a daunting task.

Note: Google Webmaster tools like Search Console and Analytics can help you to overcome SEO barriers and retain your rankings. With those tools, you can find all of the existing 404 error pages and fix them by applying 301 redirects, formatting all internal links based on the Magento 2 rules, and sorting all of the canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content.

How to apply extensions in Magento 2 environment

The core of Magento has a great variety of extensions available on Magento Marketplace that add new features and functionalities for marketing, checkout, customer support, payment solutions, shipping, etc.

Extensions that run on Magento 1 store can’t be copied during migration; they simply won’t work. You will need to replace all existing extensions with the ones that have similar features, but for Magento 2.

Luckily, most of the Magento 1 extensions have been created for Magento 2, so it’s quite easy to migrate settings and data. Moreover, many merchants can now take advantage of Magento 2 core features that could be added in Magento 1 only by custom development or Magento 1 extensions integration.

Note: The process of installing extensions and updating features became simpler because of new technologies (HTML5, CSS3, Require.js) integrated into Magento 2.

Migration is a perfect time to deal with all design imperfections

Migration is the perfect opportunity to refresh the design and rethink the customer experience. Just like extensions, Magento 1 templates are incompatible with Magento 2. The reason is that Magento 2 uses modern architecture and has different front-end and back-end requirements, so it’s impossible to convert the code built in your Magento 1 theme.

You need to hire a front-end developer to install a theme available in the Magento Marketplace or create a custom theme from scratch if you want to create something memorable and unique to your retail business.

Note: When our clients decide to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2, we recommend a website redesign. The explanation is that a modern platform like Magento 2 requires the front-end to be built on top of it. In addition, customers are now making purchases on mobile, so it is reasonable to take advantage of Magento 2’s mobile-optimized design features.

The process takes longer than you think

Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is a major upgrade that can take much longer than you think. Stages like drawing up a plan, implementing extensions, data transfer, custom development, and redesign can take a lot of time, depending on your existing implementation and requirements. Check out our article if you want to find out the key differences between Magento 1 vs Magento 2.

Here’s the breakdown of each phase of migration:

1. Drawing up a migration plan: 3 weeks
2. Preparing a test environment: 1-2 days
3. Implementing extensions and custom development: 3 weeks
4. Migrating data: 1-2 days
5. Creating a design for Magento 2: 2-4 weeks
6. Additional database synchronization: 1-2 days
7. Magento 2 store launch on a live server: ~1 week

Overall, the Magento 1 to Magento 2 upgrade could take three months to complete. However, it can take even longer depending on the complexity of your business and the original implementation. To learn more about how to make a smooth transition, check out our Magento 2 migration checklist.

Note: We recommend performing a store audit and identifying weaknesses in the code, performance, and security of your website. After this, you will have a clear picture of the migration process deadlines. Every phase of the process is equally essential and should be done properly to ensure a seamless launch with minimal or zero downtime.

No end in sight without a 'definition of done'

Definition of done (DoD) is a predetermined set of requirements that the team is supposed to complete successfully in order to demonstrate value of the end product. What happens when we apply this to a Magento migration? If we don’t have a clear schedule, outline, and understanding of what DoD means, your project could end up delayed.

Magento development teams should keep in line with the DoD guarantee that all tasks fulfill release criteria, particularly in writing clean code accompanied by unit tests.

Note: “To solve this challenge, during the discovery phase we get all the details from the product owner about functional and nonfunctional requirements and ensure every team member is 100% on the same page, since the accountability for following the DoD rests on the development team,” says Paul Okhrem, the managing board member at Elogic, an eCommerce development company with a specific focus on Magento stores.

In order to make your Magento 2 migration process smooth and hassle-free, task this to a certified Magento development company. The competent Magento agency will perform the migration with zero downtime and no data loss, ensuring your store continues running without any hindrances.

So far, the team at Elogic has done more than 20 successful Magento 1 to Magento 2 migrations, and we know every detail of this process. We’ve worked with large and small retail brands selling clothes, food, display mounts, healthcare, cosmetics, air conditioning, and much more. Check out our Magento 2 migration services to find out more about our projects.

With only three months left, it’s high time to migrate your eCommerce store to the Magento 2 platform. Upgrading to Magento 2 will bring you many benefits, such as fresh design, new functionalities, better performance, enhanced security, and fast checkout.