Magento 1.9 v Magento 2.1

Clients often approach us specifically because we have tons of experience in designing and developing Magento websites. Their current shop either runs on Magento or they have heard of its scalability and want to upgrade.

Magento is the most popular open source eCommerce platform in the world (it’s owned by eBay) and can be used for both B2B and B2C online retailers. We know it to be a powerful online engine. There is divided opinion on whether or not you should now develop in Magento version 2.1 or stick to the older 1.9 version and it can all get very confusing for the retailer faced with the choice.

When considering what platform to advise a client to develop their online shop in, we have lots of factors we consider first. Magento is for high-volume businesses, so if the client is too small we advise on alternative more affordable platforms like WooCommerce. Magento is best used for high volume online shops where they might also have functional requirements that are not ‘out of the box’. This is because it is intrinsically more expensive to develop and maintain Magento.

When moving to an upgraded platform, we in the development world take the view that ‘no-one wants to arrive first at a party’. We waited while everyone else made the leap into the new platform and kept a watchful eye. A new version isn’t supported as much as an older one and has fewer available extensions such as payment gateways or shipping integrations.

There are lots of improvements to version 2 for the technical developer, but for the shop owner, these are just a glimpse into the ones I like the best:

– The 1.9 version back-office dashboard can be a bit daunting for our clients to maintain the CMS confidently. Whereas the 2 version has a much better UX interface for admin users so ‘ordinary mortals’ can maintain it and maintain it on their iPads as well.

– Product creation is faster and there are some little touches that really help stop cart abandonment, such as product images now being included in the order summary.

– performance is improved in M2 – on average it runs about 20% faster which is really important for an ecommerce site.

– checkout is much improved, with a slicker and less complex process which will help with sales conversion and help to reduce cart abandonment

So, our opinion is? We feel that if your site is already in 1.9 then there is no need to rush to an upgrade now, as long as the shop is still functioning well for you. Version 1.9 will still be supported for a while yet although there probably won’t be any new extensions developed. However, you really ought to start planning to upgrade over the next 18 months to upgrade to version 2.