Like many web development companies, we’ve been creating Magento eCommerce websites for clients for many years. Magento has been the market-leading eCommerce solution for a long time, but its dominance has been challenged in recent years by the rise of several newcomers to the eCommerce market. One of these is WooCommerce, which is based on the WordPress platform. We’re going to look at why you might want to migrate from Magento to WooCommerce, and how exactly that can be achieved.
Why should I migrate?
Complexity: Magento is a very complex eCommerce application. It’s much more complex than many companies need – with many features that are unused. This is a waste of resources.
Magento is also relatively hard to use, and because it’s hard, simple tasks such as adding products can take a long time. This means that as a business, you and your staff can spend a disproportionate amount of time in maintaining your website.
Server resources: Magento is very resource-hungry, consuming more server resources than should be required. This means that you might be paying more for your website hosting than necessary.
Development cost: Since Magento is so complex, achieving minor changes to your website can take more time than it should. This can make running a Magento website expensive in terms of development costs.
Also, there are a decreasing number of developers who wish to work with Magento (see reasons above), so the remainder are likely to increase their fees as a result of demand.
Versions (This was the last straw for us): Magento has had a number of upgrades to version 1, as you’d expect, with each version adding more and more complexity in the name of ‘security’. The company behind Magento decided to release Version 2 in November 2015. ‘Hurrah’ we all thought… until we saw it.
Magento 2 is even more server resource-hungry than version 1, and even more complex to maintain.
Not only that, but it is not compatible with Version 1. You can’t take a Magento Version 1 site and directly upgrade it to Version 2.
You have to install a new, clean Magento 2 site, re-write all of the page templates, and then import all of the data from the old site to the new.
Magento have helpfully created a migration tool for this, however it’s complex to use and doesn’t work very well.
And lastly, the final, final straw: The company behind Magento decided that November 2018 would be the end-of-life for Magento 1. AND they would cease to provide support for Magento 1 websites as of June 2020. That’s it. No more security patches, no extensions, nothing. They’ve basically cut off the thousands, perhaps millions of Magento-based websites and hung them out to dry.
For us as a development company, this was a killer. We no longer recommend anyone builds a site using ANY Magento version.
WooCommerce is a total contrast to the above. Built by the company behind WordPress (Automattic), the WooCommerce platform was built to be 100% integrated with WordPress. WordPress is user-friendly, easy-to-develop on top of, has thousands of plugins for extending functionality, and is relatively resource-efficient.
The above factors lead to much lower running costs, once the initial development phase is complete. Owner-operators find the WordPress interface much easier to use, and so maintenance of the website becomes easier.
It’s also possible to convert a Magento site to a WooCommerce site with the minimum of work. Of course, there is a process of tasks to complete and these must be done manually, however the benefits far outweigh the costs.
How can I migrate?
The ease of migration depends largely on how big your Magento site is to begin with: how many products, categories, orders, customers etc. However there is a tool which we can use to transfer the data over from your Magento site to your new WooCommerce site. The process is something like this:
- Set up a new development site, e.g. test.yourdomain.com
- Create a ‘theme’ for the site – either based on your current website’s design, or if you prefer, we can create an entirely new design
- Transfer the content of the site from Magento to WooCommerce. This includes all products, categories, customers, orders, blog posts etc.
- Set up the payment gateway for the new site.
- Test the new site.
- Make the new site live. Switch the old site off.
Of course, this list is simplified, there are more tasks involved in each step than I’ve listed here, but this is an outline of the process.
The end result will be a website which is cheaper to run in the long term and which is easier for you and your customers to use. It should also perform better in the natural search engine listings as a result: WordPress is much more SEO-friendly out-of-the-box.
What you should see as a result of all that is an increase in sales, which should pay back your investment in the conversion process.
We’ve a track record in doing this successfully. Here are two recent examples of our work: