After a stormy first year, Magento 2 is now robust, stable and no longer causing PM’s globally to have a mild panic. Critical updates and shining Magento 2 extensions are now available.
M2 eComms success stories are popping up, and the whole industry is learning and sharing stories from the battleground in the ‘open source’ spirit that makes the ecosystem so great.
But product owners are still evaluating exactly when the best time to invest is; as with any digital project, there are several areas to consider ranging from UX and design flexibility, through to conversion and total ROI. The latter can be generated from a combination of the most basic advancements (literally — shaving hours of repetitive tasks via a more intuitive interface), through to more technical changes (database agnostic = cheaper integration).
Below, we have summed up 6 big wins.
Performance and scalability
Magento 2 comes with a Full Page Cache mechanism out-of-the-box (even the free version).
Essentially, this programmatically generates a set of optimised pages, resulting in ultra-fast navigation for the user. This reduces the time customers have to wait until the catalogue is loaded, as well as the need for resources at the server side. Fast, cost-effective and hassle-free.
Integration with the Varnish web accelerator is also available without requiring any extra development, which allows load times below 1 second at all pages and great scalability (check our success case for Tangle Teezer at https://www.tangleteezer.com). Which means big, interactive experiences delivered fast.
The reindex processes were also totally re-engineered on Magento 2, so huge batch catalogue operations (including changes in prices and stock/availability) are executed in parts — a much more efficient sequence, which quicker updates on the front-end. This means no bottlenecks for stores with thousands of products, complex promotion rules or more advanced ERP/OMS integrations. Boom!
The back office area of Magento 2 is brand new and has an easy and comprehensive set of new options. The main listing tables are customisable, which means (for example) that it is now possible to personalise the Orders grid to include more customer information, without the help of a developer. So less of a headache for eCommerce managers.
Other key functions were re-thought to allows for better productivity and less manual labour, like the registration of configurable products; a usual pain in many different eCommerce platforms. The creation of products with variations like colours and sizes is now done in steps, generating all possible combinations and specific SKUs in batches, quickly. Less tie and cost — eComms managers can focus on strategy and business growth.
Magento 2 introduced a 2 step checkout — essentially customer registration and shipping data first, followed by payment details. It replaces the 4 to 5 steps from Magento 1, usually customised (and not always with the best practices being respected in regards to security standards). This is brilliant because it stops implementation teams hacking around the most critical part of the website — a costly activity which often causes major conflicts with plugins elsewhere on the system. It’s reassuring that this is now just part of the core.
A set of new Ajax validations ensures that the data entered can be checked field by field (synchronously), making the checkout process a linear path for the customer, who can verify and fix any inconsistent or invalid entry immediately, keeping the focus on placing the order without back-and-fourths, thereby increasing conversion. Principal KPI checked and seamless order journey equals big profit.
In addition, there is now exceptional support for PayPal (and the new Braintree payment gateway), making payment processing across all the main credit cards simple. Moreover, all the leading payment gateways now offer stable and proven modules, including Sage Pay, Worldpay, Stripe, Adyen and Klarna.
Good news for the development team: in Magento 2 jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, enhanced CSS preprocessor and RequireJS are all baked in, which means that good developers will be happy, and all the latest technologies are covered and actually mandatory.
The source code is better organised, with the introduction of a better and clearer view structure.
Developers can make automated testing easily too, with a direct impact on the quality assurance throughout the system.
Those characteristics together mean a lower risk of massive issues related to customisations, even the deep ones. The system pushes for good practices, so the website will be always reliable and scalable.
Schema.org is present in Magento 2 basic template by default, so the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu or Yandex will read the store content using structured data, positioning each piece of information in the right field, and allowing the right product names, prices and other details to be correctly presented at search results.
To work with canonical URLs for products and categories is easier than ever, so the website will not be penalised in the case of different URLs for the same page.
It is possible to edit the robots.txt file directly from the Admin panel. One more time, no cost to do essential maintenance.
Front end compatibility and flexibility
Magento 2 comes with a new template called “Luma” that is clean, well built and responsive, so there is a good starting point for your custom front end experience, all devices included. It is, therefore, easier to have a fully cross-device compatible front-end, which can be quickly customised.
It is possible to achieve a great level of personalisation, as we did for Parka London (https://www.parkalondon.com) with all the finesse a brilliant brand experience requires. Merged JS and CSS files, SEO-ready HTML structure, and great performance are covered, so the website will be quick and shiny on mobile and desktop.
The time to invest in Magento 2 has come. The platform is mature and has key technological benefits that result in less implementation time, better performance and easier administration. Its flexibility can empower businesses to go beyond the average in regards to user experience and innovative interface, scaling as operations grow with an efficient cost (and without sacrificing a percentage of revenue like competitor platforms).
A first class engine, up-to-date compatibility and a supportive eco-system complete the toolbox for a successful eComm platform. We’re looking forward to creating new, unconventional, brand led commerce experiences!
Gabriel Zamprogna – eCommerce Project Director