Magento 2, the highly popular ecommerce platform, has recently released its latest version, Magento 2.2, which brings forth a number of great new features to improve the overall experiences of webstore owners and their customers.

While Magento 2 was initially released back in 2015 as a beta version, there have been a couple of updates released since that have helped to improve functionality and user experience. Following the latest release, Magento users are being urged to migrate their online stores to the updated platform in order to offer a more stable and secure ecommerce environment to run their business. As such, here we take a look at the transition from Magento 1.X to 2.0 to 2.2 to see what all the fuss is about!

Magento

With over 200,000 online stores live on the Internet, Magento accounts for around 29% of the ecommerce market with WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin following closely behind with around 26% of the marker share. Consequently, it should come as no surprise to find that Magento is hugely popular for business owners that sell products online.

In large part, this is due to the advanced out-of-the-box features and capabilities that Magento possesses, as its powerful platform allows for seamless store management and the ability to house thousands of products without compromising on performance. However, given that the Magento platform is almost 10 years old, there are certain aspects that have become outdated over the years which have been resolved in scheduled updates to the core platform. However, updates can only do so much, and after 7 years Magento released the much-awaited 2.0 to revolutionise the online shopping experience.

Magento 2.0

Magento 2.0 is the latest full version of the leading enterprise-level ecommerce platform that’s been overhauled to offer the most user-friendly and scalable solution available. Having taken years to develop and deploy, the Magento team have stripped down and rebuilt the entire system from scratch in order to develop a more dedicated platform for B2C/B2B online sellers. So what are the main features of Magento 2.0?

  • Open & Flexible Architecture – Easier customisation, extensive API integrations and extensions.
  • Engaging Shopping Experiences – All-new checkout that improves conversion rates and customer experiences.
  • Enhanced Business Agility & Productivity – Seamless management and simple user adoption with its intuitive interface and business tools.
  • Scalability & Performance – 50% faster page load times for better experiences and conversion rates, with support for more concurrent updates.
  • Secure Payments – Improved security with out-of-the-box integrations with PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, WorldPay and CyberSource.
  • Easier Maintenance & Upgrades – Upgrades and site maintenance is easier than ever for a more future-proof investment.

In the main, Magento 2’s improved performance and host of new features aim to boost conversion rates and business agility, whilst offering unmatched flexibility and customisation options with its open source setup. However, while Magento 2 is a superb advancement on its predecessor, it’s still far from the finished article and newer versions are being rolled out periodically with further improvements and bug fixes.

Magento 2.2

Since the new functionalities and features of Magento 2.2 were presented in a webinar back in June 2017 before being released the following September, many online storeowners have been busy migrating their websites from Magento 1 to Magento 2 as a natural progression to a newer version. Not only that, but running your online store on the most recent updated version of Magento will ensure system security is at its highest and reduce the susceptibility of cyber attacks via known vulnerability exploits. However, once a website has migrated onto Magento 2, it will need to be updated to the new 2.2 version to benefit from the long list of new features available. Far more weighted towards B2B Commerce, Magento 2.2’s new features include the following:

B2B Functionality

  • Company Account Management – B2B merchants can support clients’ accounts in multiple organisational structures and corporate buyers can use self-service tools for account management without a merchant.
  • Quote Engine – Convert a cart to a quote with consummate ease without the need2 to send an order, so the merchant can respond with prices and comments.
  • Credit Purchases for B2B – Credit purchases are now available as a payment option, with adjustable credit control for merchants working with multiple companies.
  • Customisable Catalogues & Prices – Merchants can customise the products, categories and price lists to show different information for different companies.
  • Updated API for simple ERP integrations – Web APIs are available for all new features with a bulk Tier Price API enabling merchants to update large quantities of product prices quickly.

Development Tools

  • Performance Toolkit – Profiles update, faster generation, support for B2B entities and much more.
  • Minimised Core Around Plugins – Makes debugging plugins on the core far easier since less clicks will go through the various flows.
  • Improved Deployment Flow – Configurations can be exported through different environments, with product environments being upgraded in less than 1 minute.

Security Updates

  • Unserialize() Calls Removed – Unserialize() calls have been removed completely except in critical performance code, in order to prevent security vulnerability issues.
  • Upgraded Hashing Algorithm – To increase security for sensitive values.

Other Features

  • Extended Reports – An advanced reporting module provides comprehensive reports with valuable data stored in graphs to illustrate performance.
  • Advanced Fraud Protection – A new integration with Signifyd will provide the opportunity to identify and reject roguish orders with 100% chargeback protection.
  • Improved Indexing – Customers are able to browse and buy in the store while indexing.
  • Technical Stack Updates – Support for PHP 5.6 and Varnish 3 has been dropped, with PHP 7.1, MySQL 5.7, Redis 3.2 and Varnish 5 support will be added with “Grace” and “Saint” by default.

One of the major challenges faced by B2B businesses is converting visitors into customers online, and this is what Magento 2.2 aims to eliminate. By offering a user-friendly method of transforming traditional (offline) businesses into online businesses, Magento 2.2 is now the perfect platform to house and grow both B2B and B2C websites. With a host of new features and improved all-round performance, there’s never been a better time to make the switch to Magento 2.2.

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