It takes a well-thought-out plan and the right migration tools, but migrating to Magento 2 is worth the trouble for online B2B sellers who want to offer their customers such features as negotiable price quotes, custom pricing, preferred payment options and quick-order forms.

Katrine Spirina, technology journalist, OCSICO

Magento Commerce, the widely deployed e-commerce platform, is entering a new stage with the release of its Magento 2. And while Magento Inc. hasn’t said how long it will support Magento 1, the new release is forcing many companies to take a careful look at the upgraded version. Magento 2 overtakes its predecessor in terms of better insights into e-commerce transaction activity and more advanced functions for omnichannel e-commerce

You must know the main migration stages that a custom Magento M1-based platform needs to take.

M1 users come across a number of how-to questions including the most important one as how to move from M1 to M2 with the smallest losses in time and budget.

Migration stages

In order to make your migration smooth, it’s important to have a thought-out plan; to generate one, you must know the main migration stages that a custom M1-based platform needs to take.

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#1. Data migration

This is the cornerstone of the whole migration process. First and foremost, it is important to migrate your business data as payment details, sales data, customer profiles, order history current catalogues, etc. Magento  offers a Data Migration Tool that assists in verifying compatibility, tracking migration progress and conducting verification tests. The process itself encompasses three modes, and by operating at all stages and modes, an expert will guarantee the safe transfer of all your e-commerce business data.

#2. Code migration

Magento products are well-known for offering customization opportunities. But the level of customization may become a problem when it comes to migration. M2 has a completely different structure, excepting its database tables. Multiple custom M1 modules, added on demand, aren’t compatible with M2 and require rewriting code. That is why M1-based custom applications should assessed by a specialist for additional custom modules.

#3. Themes/design migration

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M2  doesn’t support M1’s themes and designs for providing a consistent look and feel of a Magento application, such as an online storefront. This complicates the migration process: custom themes cannot actually be migrated but have to be created from scratch on the basis of M2 capabilities. And Migration Tool provides little assistance, making themes moving an issue for manual migration.

Not an arduous experience

Some technical migration issues relate to the type of the solution a company employs. Depending on the scale of a company’s e-commerce platform, it can be the free Magento Open Source, formerly known as Community Edition, or the licensed Magento Commerce, formerly kown as MagentoEnterprise Edition. The latter has a number of codes with the restricted access, and both solutions usually feature profound customization, which, in total, makes migration technically tough without professional assistance.

It is important to study any customizations done for M1, to go thoroughly through a company’s databases, assess the amount of data, customer requirements and the number of needed migration configurations. And only then can a company’s project evaluation be completed.

Magento has developed tools  that allow users to pull off migration on their own. Nonetheless, it is necessary to know which custom modules have been employed in M1. In some instances, it is easier to launch a basic M2 solution and customize it from scratch, eliminating the migration stage. On the other hand, companies usually don’t have any documentation and can be unaware of the modules and structures they used.

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Manual migration

Migration tools work well for core components, simple themes and layouts. In case of numerous and complex customizations, migration is done manually. It can be necessary to add script lines, new upgrades or set-ups. Among the most common problems are properly migrating URLs and data in a way that maintains strong search engine optimization (SEO), and renewing from scratch Magento’s customized default customer Order IDs, passwords or any other  extensions that aren’t compatible with M2.

What B2B companies get out of M2  

The popularity of M2 spreads over to B2B as well as B2C commerce deployments. Magento 2 caters to the interests of corporations and start-ups by introducing modules that companies consider deploying to support their B2B e-commerce goals. A solid number of modules enable strong capabilities. There are three particularly helpful modules for B2B companies: Company, Shared Catalog and Quick Order components.

The Company component is the cornerstone: it merges multiple buyers from the same company in one profile and makes it handy for a seller to divide this cluster of buyers into categories or subcategories based on buyers’ requests, purchases, etc. On elaborating a well ordered structure, a seller can manage all of its business buyers’ activities on a website, such as preferred payment methods, pricing and negotiations options, credit purchasing and more. The seller also manages credit allocation, credit settings and reimbursement.

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The Shared Catalog module allows a seller to customize prices for different companies or buyer groups. The module also defines the visibility of products and prices in the catalog and provides tools for different types of goods, such as bundle, configurable and grouped products.

The Negotiable Quote module assists sellers and buyers in sealing deals through negotiation. And the cherry-pick is that a seller can add gift cards to a catalog.

The Quick Order module meets the business buyer’s needs for quick and virtually one-click ordering. The module enables using Quick Order pop-ups instead of requiring the buyer to navigate to another page to place an order. A seller can adjust the number of rows, characters, products or the text area displayed in the pop-up. All in all, a seller speeds up the ordering proses wining B2B customers’ trust and loyalty.

Takeaways

Each and every custom Magento-based application requires an individual approach to the migration process. E-commerce platforms vary widely depending on the amount of data, scale of customization, modules used and customer requirements. With the migration going to be inevitable, e-commerce business owners must take the right steps.

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Katrine Spirina is a technology journalist with software development company OCSICO covering trends in business intelligence, data, internet of things and e-commerce. She can be reached at [email protected].

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