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Time is running out on Magento 1.x are you Prepared?

Time is running out on Magento 1.x are you Prepared?

All Magento 1.x store owners will stop receiving support from Magento in 2018. When Magento 2 was released in 2015

All Magento 1.x store owners will stop receiving support from Magento in 2018. When Magento 2 was released in 2015, Magento made it clear that they will provide 3 years of support to Magento 1.x users and then store owners would be on their own for updates and security patches.

Here is the scoop straight from Magento Tech Resources : “Use the latest version of Magento to ensure that your installation includes the most recent security enhancements.” Magento is very clear that when support for Magento 1.x runs out you are on your own.

When summer 2018 arrives what will that mean for my Magento 1 Store?

If you decide to stay on Magento 1 past the summer of 2018, you are accepting the following risks with your store:

  • No Security Patch Support
  • Unsupported Extensions
  • Increased Monthly Maintenance Costs
  • Difficulty Maintain PCI Compliance

Magento 1.x Security Support Stops

In 2018, Magento will stop releasing security patches for your store and you will need to support your code base in house or with external programming support. With no central authority releasing regular security patches there is an increased risk that your transaction and customer data could be vulnerable to hacking attacks.

Outdated Magento stores running older versions of the software are susceptible to scripting attacks. Hackers can use scripts to steal users’ credit card information and in late 2016 it was estimated that over 4,000 Magento store were left vulnerable to an attack.

Magento 1.x Extensions Unsupported

Support for Magento 1.x extensions will start to wane in 2018 and then accelerate into 2019 and beyond. Development companies that have built Magento 1.x extensions will have no incentive to maintain support for a dying platform and will sunset their older extensions. Many extensions have complex code that would require professional programming experience to update and maintain. In addition, when old extensions are not supported they can become susceptible to external security threats.

Increased Monthly Maintenance Costs

Running Magento requires you to manage your own server, CDN and website with a team of professional programmers. Most merchants outsource this work and pay significant monthly retainers to contractors to ensure their site is running smoothly and stays online. When the summer of 2018 comes along your monthly maintenance costs are going to go way up because you will now be responsible for your security updates and the maintenance of your extensions.

Difficulty Maintaining PCI Compliance

With Magento you will need to make sure you are compliant with the PCI Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). If your store is processing more than 20,000 ecommerce transaction levels a year, you will be required to meet the bar of PCI Compliance Level 3. There is significant work involved in meeting PCI Level 3 and you will need to bring in outside consultants to conduct security and vulnerability testing. Your security testing after 2018 will reveal security issues that were previously covered by Magento security patches. It will now be your responsibility to update the security vulnerabilities in Magento 1.x software to maintain PCI compliance.

What are my Options for Moving off Magento 1.x?

If you decide you want to move off Magento 1.x you have 2 primary options:

  • Upgrade to Magento 2
  • Move your Store to another Platform

Magento 2 is a substantial upgrade and it’s important you think through the pros and cons before committing to the best answer for your store.

Upgrade to Magento 2

If you are familiar with Magento 1.x your initial reaction is to upgrade to Magento 2 so you can receive support from Magento. However the upgrade from Magento 1.x to Magento 2 is significant and there are some issues:

  • Magento 2 Issues & Performance
  • Magento 2 Extensions are not all Compatible

Magento 2 has many known bugs and issues and new Magento 2 stores have reported extremely slow page speed times. With any new platform it takes time to stabilize and these issues will hopefully be ironed out over time, but your store may suffer initially after the upgrade.

Magento 2 doesn’t have all of the same extensions that exist in Magento 1 so when you go to upgrade you may be missing some core functionality.

Move your Store to another Platform

Moving to a new platform is a major decision, but if you are currently on Magento 1.x this is the time to consider a move. If you are going to re-platform your store you should consider moving to a fully hosted platform like Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus will help you:

  • Save money on license and server fees
  • Save time moving all of your customer, order and item data each time Magento releases a new version
  • Save time and money managing your own server

These are the primary reasons that many people are thinking of switching from Magento to Shopify Plus and now let’s do a detailed side by side comparison.

Magento 2 vs Shopify Plus Feature Comparison

Price and feature comparison of Magento to Shopify Plus based on a store with ~$10M in yearly sales.

  Magento 2 Shopify Plus
Server & Database Self Hosted – MySQL Cloud Based – Proprietary
License Fees/Cost* $4,000/month + $2000/month
Server & CDN Costs $1,000/month + Included
Security & SSL Certification Your Responsibility Included
Maintenance Hours Significant Limited
PCI Compliance Your Responsibility Included
Feature Enhancements Extensions Apps
Mobile Friendly Yes – with Customization Yes – with Customization
Wholesale Ordering Yes – with Extensions Yes

*License Fees/Cost estimates based on $10M/year in ecommerce revenue.

We have created an in depth guide that compares Magento 2 to Shopify Plus, click here to get access to our free comparison and migration guide.

Are you currently on Magento 1.x and want to consider your options? Send us an email and Ambaum can help you find the best answer for your ecommerce store.

Set up Recurring Orders

Set up Recurring Orders

Recurring orders are the key to many successful online retailers.

Recurring orders are the key to many successful online retailers. What is a recurring order? A recurring order is when one of your customers wants to receive one (or many) of your products on a periodic basis. A common time frame is to repeat the order monthly or even quarterly. 5 Hour Energy, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Callaway Golf and many other companies have set up recurring orders and seen a huge boost to their top line revenue.

If you have a product that is used frequently you are primed to set up recurring billing. Dollar Shave Club is a great example of a recurring product, every month for just a few dollars you get razors shipped to your home. To properly set up recurring billing, think about delivering an experience to your customers and not just a product. Think about Amazon Prime, you pay each year and you get 2 day delivery, but now you also get access to Amazon Music and Amazon video. Amazon keeps adding additional services to their recurring billing product and that further reinforces membership.

If you sell candy to your customers, can you create a monthly candy subscription where you send them new candy each month to try? Monthly subscription boxes are their own category and have taken of like wildfire. Birchbox was one of the first monthly subscription boxes that offered women cosmetics (among other things) and there are many other companies in this space.

If you have clients that reorder often, consider setting up the Amazon IoT button for one click reorders. The IoT button is a programmable button that can be configured to repeat the previous month’s order at the click of a button. We have a bakery client that is considering setting this up for their coffee stands to click the button when they want to repeat the order from the previous month.

Recurring Orders by Bold is a great Shopify subscription app that will allow your customers to check out and select the option for a recurring order on individual products. You can even set up a test run for 2 months free on all of the apps that Bold provides.

Hire Influencers

Hire Influencers

If your product is inherently social, then you need to consider paying influencers

If your product is inherently social, then you need to consider paying influencers on Instagram, You Tube, Twitter and Facebook to promote your product. Your social pages needs to be vibrant and active for you to convert the traffic that will come from influence marketing so don’t bother hiring influencers until you are actively contributing to your own social media channels.

Social Media Giveaways

You can do a lot of the homework yourself to find influencers. If you are on Twitter, search by hashtag, look at the number of followers and tweets that person sends out and you can always contact them offline to see if they are interested in your product. Establish goals for your giveaway, are you going to give away free products in exchanges for mentions or tweets? Make sure to follow through on your giveaway at the end and then measure the results.

Hire Celebrities

All of the big companies hire celebrity endorsers for their product, why should the smaller merchants be left out? You can reach out to celebrity influencers about your product and there are many companies that offer this service. By hiring a celebrity to endorse your product you are co-opting their fame and using it to sell your product. Be wary of the celebrity though and the messages they send out on social media, you don’t want your brand associated with just anyone.

YouTube

Are you creating videos about your product? If not you should start doing that and posting them on your own YouTube channel. Are there people that might be a great fit for your product that already create You Tube videos? Consider reaching out to them if the fit is right, it’s important that the person potentially overlap with your audience, that is more important that the number of followers that they have. There are companies that can help you find YouTube influencers, reach out to discover pricing as this can help propel your campaign.

Explore Paid Advertising

Explore Paid Advertising

When you’re site is looking good and you’re starting to get orders, then it’s time to pour gasoline on the fire to supercharge your sales.

When your site is looking good and you’re starting to get orders, then it’s time to pour gasoline on the fire to supercharge your sales. Many merchants want to jump into paid advertising right away, but you need to learn to walk before you run and that means you must spend time on the design and sales process of your site before you spend money on advertising. When your site is dialed in it’s time to set up paid advertising campaigns.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is easy to setup, but very complicated to fine tune to make sure you are spending your dollars effectively and efficiently. Google has many products, but the first one you want to test is a text based campaign, those are the ads you see when you do a search on Google.com. Google also offers product search ads that are tied in to your Google Merchant Center account, check out this post to create your first product data feed from your Google Merchant Center account to Google AdWords. In addition, Google also offers a remarketing campaign where you can create ads that follow your potential customers around the internet. If you’ve shopped at a large eCommerce store like Amazon or Target you have probably seen ads for products that you have browsed show up on other sites, this is how remarketing works.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising can be a home run for most merchants, but you must take time to set things up correctly. You will need a vibrant company page for your product, because the ads on Facebook are most effective when you land the visitor back on your Facebook page as opposed to sending them to your store. Once the potential customer is on your Facebook page they will see images and testimonials from your previous clients and then you need to work in a way for them to purchase from Facebook or link out from your Facebook page to your store.

Bing and Yahoo

After you achieve success on Google, it’s time to port your campaigns over to Bing Ads. Bing Ads will get you distribution on Bing and Yahoo and even though there is 1/10 to 1/15 the volume on Google, your cost per conversion can still do very well. Be very careful of the content network on Bing Ads, they syndicate your ads across other platforms and that traffic doesn’t convert so I would suggest blocking that to start. Stick with just the Bing and Yahoo search traffic as we have found that to convert the best.

Goal Tracking

If you are going to spend money on paid advertising it’s imperative that you setup tracking on your site. Google Analytics is a free product from Google that will track the visitors on your site and tell you where they came from, how long they stayed and what pages they visited. You can also create a goal in Google Analytics that will tell you if a purchase was made on your store and where that person came from.

Create Great Content

Create Great Content

If you follow content marketing, you know there are a number of great resources out there.

If you follow content marketing, you know there are a number of great resources out there. If you aren’t dialed into content marketing for your company, it’s time to get started! What are the benefits of content marketing? Foremost you increase customer engagement which in turn will increase sales. In addition you can expect to increase your SEO traffic which will also have a direct impact on sales. As a store owner here are some areas where you can develop content that matters.

Product Descriptions

Writing product descriptions is hard work, there are no 2 ways about it, but it’s important! Don’t use the generic descriptions provided by manufacturers as that non unique content can be very harmful to the SEO of your site. Be descriptive when you write your descriptions and don’t be afraid to be funny and even snarky.

Blog

Creating a blog that delivers value takes planning, research, commitment and help! If you want inspiration, check out the top 10 eCommerce blogs. You need to put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes to help brainstorm topics. What is interesting to the buyer? Do they want to read interviews you do with experts in the industry? How are you promoting your content? Are you accepting guest bloggers? The most important thing to do with blogging for your store is to show up. The sites that post regularly and add value are the blogs that get rewarded with the most traffic.

How to Guides

You can create how to guides to explain to your customers how they can use your products. Don’t be afraid to explore advanced use cases in your guides, think of detailed problems or use cases for your product when you create the guides. Introduce social proof, by including quotes from past customers on how they used your product. This is a critical step, many people don’t have the imagination to think of what they could do with your product, show them how with examples.

Design

Don’t forget that design matters for your content. You need a great looking blog, you should consider hiring a designer to spiff up your PDF for your How to Guides and your product detail pages should looking outstanding. Remember image is everything!

If creating content by yourself is overwhelming, you’re not alone. You can get help and we have a free offer to get things jumpstarted. We are partners with Content Runner and if you send us an email we can set your account up with a $30 credit (limit 1 credit per company).