With Magento 1’s end-of-life looming in the horizon, most merchants still on version 1 are scrambling to make the transition to Magento 2 before June 2020. 

Although no-one likes the unsettling nature of change, this one is for the better: since its release in 2015, Magento 2 has had many improvements, enhancements and additions made to it, making it a powerful, version 2.0 of the platform we all know and love.

Although there are many improvements to analyse, we think the highlights include:

1. Faster checkouts with Amazon Pay

Magento now includes Amazon Pay, providing 300 million active Amazon customer account holders with a fast and easy way to checkout with Magento Merchants.

2. Paypal In-Context Checkout

PayPal In-Context Checkout enables faster repeat purchases by using PayPal to store credit cards and address information for shoppers.

3. Flexible payment terms with Klarna

Another way Magento is reducing barriers to purchase is by including flexible payment options from Klarna. With Pay Now, Pay Later and Slice It, checkout becomes even quicker and more flexible.

4. Advanced reporting powered by Magento Business Intelligence

Magento Business Intelligence provides a complete commerce analytics platform to make it easy for non-analysts to gain valuable insights from their data such as what their customer lifetime value is across different segments.

5. Fast and accurate tax calculations with Vertex

Transparency is key to reducing cart abandonment rates. Shoppers want to know exactly what they will pay - including taxes - right from the cart. That’s why Magento now integrates with Vertex, a leading provider of tax technology solutions. With Vertex you get automatic, real-time and accurate sales tax calculations that take into account the latest rates and rules, product taxability status and customer exceptions.

6. Competitive flexible shipping options

With large online retailers setting high expectations around fast, low-cost or no-cost shipping, shoppers want competitively-priced options presented at checkout.
Magento Shipping provides easy access to multiple carriers and rates, helping merchants streamline fulfilment and improve business efficiency.

7. Powerful email marketing with Dotdigital

Dotdigital is a premier marketing automation platform which is used by some of the world's most renowned brands; it now comes pre-loaded in Magento 2, with verification for quality by Magento's development team.

8. Magento B2B

Magento 2 contains all the features merchants should need to service their B2B channel online including custom catalogues, personalised price lists, sales to corporate accounts, extensive APIs and off-the-shelf extensions for integration with any ERP, CRM or back office system.

9. PWA Studio

Magento 2 now includes PWA Studio for building progressive web apps.  This will allow merchants to overcome the challenge of building and maintaining apps for multiple mobile devices alongside their responsive websites. PWA Studio enables merchants to deliver better mobile experiences – indirectly boosting the store conversion rates and increasing engagement.

10. Performance improvements

Magento 2 supports the following performance improvements:

  • PHP 7
  • Minimised bundled javascript
  • Varnish caching
  • Image compression

 11. Admin panel user improvements

In comparison with Magento 1, the admin panel in Magento 2 is much more user-friendly and intuitive. The main areas of improvement are the navigation interface, the Staging and Preview functionalities, the customisable admin grids - which can be saved into ‘views’ - and the CMS.

12. Improved streamlined checkout

New, 2-step checkout process for improved conversions with an assisted log-in feature and the ability for post-order account creation, speeding up the process for the user.

13. Security

There is more secure and robust admin and customer password management, improved encryption, Cross-Site Request Forgery and Cross-Site Scripting protection.

14. SEO improvements

Magento 2 is responsive, has rich snippets on catalogue pages, manages robots.txt and includes Google Tag Manager – all improving your websites overall SEO.

Magento 2 is an open-source platform, meaning that many people can (and do) have access to its code thus thinking they know how to use it. After “rescuing” more than 15 websites which were poorly-built on Magento 2, we know that the truth is more sobering. Without developers with substantial experience and expertise in Magento 2, it is a beast of a code that can leave even the most knowledgeable in Magento 1 completely lost. Selecting the right agency requires research and time but we believe it’s the best way to ensure you get a return on your investment.

Another reason you should choose the right agency for your business is for the post-design hand-holding: preparing for user testing, planning your launch and planning for life after live. Your chosen agency should offer a complete and stellar service in order for your website to run effectively and smoothly.

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Sarah Willcocks

Written by Sarah Willcocks

Sarah is the Owner and CEO of Screen Pages Ltd. She has extensive experience in eCommerce and Omnichannel retailing and has been involved in the tech and online world in marketing, business development and general management roles for nearly 25 years.