After Magento 2.0 release on November 17th 2015, many have rejoiced to see a new and improved, Magento platform finally come to life. Almost 2 years after, more and more merchants are looking to migrate their existing Magento stores to Magento 2 platform. While we'd all wish it was as simple as a click of a button, there are some parts to migration that require additional attention and resources to get to a final result - a new store, based on Magento 2, that has all of the data, features and looks of your previous store.

Magento 2 migration stages:

Here is breakdown of four main areas that need to be covered with each migration:

  • Initial data migration
  • Delta data migration
  • Theme migration / rebuild
  • Code migration

Data migration

A few days after Magento 2 release on 17th November 2015, Magento had released Data Migration tool to ease data migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 platform. While it helps tremendously, it doesn't solve all problems for merchants and developers attempting to migrate existing stores.

Magento Data Migration Tool allows a developer to migrate settings and data from current, Magento 1.x store to Magento 2. With little configuration, you'll be able to migrate configuration settings, customers, wish lists, subscribers, cart contents, orders, invoices, shipments, credit memos, products, categories, cms blocks, cms pages - and more.

Following it's tradition, Magento created the tool to be extensible in order to allow migration beyond default Magento data - with enough knowledge, you can choose which data to migrate or ignore, migrate data created by custom extensions etc.

While great for merchants looking to migrate their basic Magento 1.x installation to Magento 2.x platform, if you're a more advanced user and have a few 3rd party extensions installed or a few custom coded modules, you'll have to do additional steps to migrate that data.

First step would certainly be to check if the extension provider offers a Magento 2.x version of the extension. Most extension developers provide scripts to help migrate the data from their extensions to Magento 2.x extension version. In case that isn't available, you'll have to find yourself a development partner that would be able to make sense of the data and migrate it for you.

Delta migration

Delta migration is done incrementally, as development is underway. This step doesn't migrate all the data, like Initial data migration does. Instead, only data customer has added via storefront is migrated. This includes quotes, orders, invoices, reviews, customers, addresses, product comparison data, newsletter subscribers, wish lists and reports.

As with initial data migration, this step can also be configured to migrate your custom data.

Theme migration / rebuild

Magento 2 introduced a new approach to the way themes are built. This means that the old theme needs to be rewritten from scratch to be compatible with Magento 2. Don't worry, in hands of capable developers, it's possible to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2 without pushing entirely new design onto users. Instead, you can bring changes in incrementally, and give them some time to adapt.

Code migration

While Magento offers code migration tool to help migrate extensions and custom code from Magento 1 to Magento 2, that doesn't always result in quick results. In some cases, it's better to rebuild custom extensions, to leverage the full power of advanced caching Magento 2 provides, which would, in turn, result in faster site response time for you and your customers.

Bottom line

One important thing to always keep in mind is that Magento 2.x platform is not merely an update from Magento 1.x - it's entirely different platform. Entire codebase has been reworked, improved, expanded - and made to scale.

Great thing is that, if you migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2, you'll very quickly find your way around, as the place you visit the most - the administration interface - improves on most of the familiar concepts from previous Magento platform. You don't have to learn how to use your system from scratch - only expand on what you already know.

Good news for your customers is that they will be able to use a full-fledged responsive website, that is blazingly fast, has simplified checkout process and beautiful interface.

In case you’re wondering what is the right time to start migration your store to Magento 2 - the general answer is yesterday. Magento migration is a process that can take anywhere from few weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of your store.

Looking forward to the future

Technology is moving fast, and you probably want to stay on top of advances that could improve yours and customers experience. So are we. With Magento 2, along with the potential to develop a fast, scalable store that can serve thousands of customers without breaking a sweat, you’re buying into potential for the future.

Your customers are using their mobile phones and tablets as a norm - you can see that trend by taking a look at your Google Analytics account and the data it gathered on your Magento store. That's why next game-changer that will affect how your customers consume content and engage with your site will be Progressive Web Apps (PWA). In short, app like experience with no need to actually download an app. Your online channel behaves like a native Android and soon iOS app. That's why this is such a huge business opportunity. Build one channel and it's everywhere!

Magento has you covered there. As a market leader, they’re always keeping an eye on the latest and greatest technologies that can improve provide better experience for both merchants and customers and improve sales - so are we.

With Magento PWA Studio introduced, future looks bright for Magento 2 platform. You can read more about Magento PWA Studio in their blog post.