Magento 1.x End of Life, Why BigCommerce?


We are currently offering a M1 migration package to help brands migrate onto BigCommerce from M1 quickly. The package includes everything needed to get up and running for a flat price and be live on BigCommerce within 60 days!

Written by Keith Karlick, Principal at Mercutio

  • Keith Karlick
  • Keith Karlick Principal - Mercutio

When it was released in 2008, Magento 1 was one of the most prolific and ahead-of-its-time ecommerce platforms ever. At the time, competing platforms required a heavy amount of customization, which was expensive to build and manage. Conversely, M1 provided a robust feature set and an open source architecture, allowing developers around the world to extend the platform, build plugins, and host it on nearly any system. For these reasons, M1 was the go-to ecommerce platform for all sites smaller than true enterprise for nearly a decade.

When M1 was released, self-hosting was the only option, and it was up to the merchant, agency or developer to ensure the security and performance of the host site. Most sites were hosted on bare metal, making scalability an expensive endeavor. Performance was no small challenge with Magento; I can personally remember many clients whose broken instances of Magento were set up by developers who did not truly understand the platform. M1 was also infamous for being incredibly slow, which was an issue often compounded by poor implementations.

Over a decade later, M1 is finally at end of life leaving thousands of merchants thinking about what’s next. Also during the last 10 years, technology has seen a number of seismic shifts.

The rise of SaaS ecommerce has dramatically shifted merchants’ ability to avoid the hassle of owning hosting infrastructure, lowering their total cost of ownership. SaaS also brings a partnership with a technology company who is constantly adding new features to their product and a strong ecosystem of third-party developers who are bringing additional features and integrations without any custom development needed.

As our focus at Mercutio has shifted to embrace SaaS based ecommerce, our experience supporting merchants with this shift has been entirely positive. With many of our clients, we are easily achieving sub-three second page loads and time-to-first-byte in less than 700ms on BigCommerce. These thresholds are quickly becoming the benchmark for modern websites, especially as mobile becomes the dominant device used for shopping.

On a personal note, speaking as a former M1 enthusiast and someone who has agonized over hosting, security patches and development pipelines for more than 10 years, it’s refreshing to relinquish the brain space of these issues and focus on customer experience. This is possible by moving onto SaaS-based ecommerce platforms and having a performance SLA in place.

  • Keith Karlick
  • Keith Karlick Principal - Mercutio

Along with greater headspace, there is a tangible savings to be had with SaaS ecommerce. Many of our clients see savings in total cost of ownership (TCO) over traditionally hosted ecommerce. This is due to productized integrations and leveraging a vendor ecosystem to bring most of the functionality to the site, leaving the bespoke work focused on the customer experience and custom features.

For any business considering staying on M1 past the end of life, security will become a major issue; Adobe is ending security patches and ongoing updates for M1. Most sites running M1 rely on Adobe to provide security updates, and as new vulnerabilities were discovered, Adobe released patches to fix these issues. With Adobe no longer providing that service, it will be up to the merchant to test and repair patches within the Magento application.

Magento is built on an open-source hosting technology which also needs to be kept up to date. The last supported version of PHP is 7.2 for M1. As PHP receives updates, Magento may or may not run on the latest version of PHP. So not only will the application be out of date but the server software will be as well.

Once the decision is made to migrate off M1, there are a number of considerations to think about while planning the project. BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento 2 are the three largest players for the mid-market of ecommerce.

When reviewing platforms, here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Determine wants and needs of features for the new site.

    Additionally, try to focus on the business, product assortment, merchandising, promotions, etc., and don’t dwell on any specific technology platform. The goal is to say, “I need X feature on the new site because it will support my business because of X reason.” It’s easy to solve problems you don’t have, so focusing on the business initiative is a tool to remove the technology from the conversation. Once a feature list is created, then a comparison of platforms can be more objective.

  2. Outline how products should be displayed and merchandised on the site.

    With every project we work on, creating the product catalog is the lion’s share of the work. Merchandising of products are also key delineators between ecommerce platforms. The product assortment is the heart of the ecommerce site, and understanding how products can be merchandised and promoted should be considered during the selection of a platform.

  3. Let it go.

    Just because a task or process has been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean that it’s still—or was ever—the best way, particularly not with the advent of modern technology. Painting within the lines and using the platforms to their fullest potential will make work easier post launch. These decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing the specific needs of a brand and ease of use within a particular platform.

  4. Look for productized integrations.

    App ecosystems are an integral part of selecting a platform. Based on the feature requirements, the goal is to find vendors with app based integrations to provide the majority of the features needed beyond the core platform. Any cost spent on a platform with an existing integration supported by the platform vendor will be less expensive from a TCO perspective than any custom integrations.

Mercutio + BigCommerce

The team at Mercutio has thrown our hat in with BigCommerce. After working on M1 for a number of years and searching for a platform with a feature set supporting our methodology for building sites, BigCommerce provides the best bang for the buck. Here is why:

  1. Fast Performance

    Fast performance

    Speed is definitely king, especially on mobile. BigCommerce-hosted very fast, averaging a sub-three second page loads and a 500ms TTB (time to first byte). We see these speeds consistently, and they have a direct impact on conversion.

  2. Easy checkout with flexibility of systems

    Easy checkout with flexibility of systems

    The optimized checkout is simple and fast, which is absolutely critical. BigCommerce supports over 30 payment processors, as well as having apps for financing (Affirm, Klarna) and support for additional payment methods (PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc.). Included in the BigCommerce license is Avalara, which can handle taxes, as well as a couple options for estimating shipping at checkout. All said, there is substantial support from multiple vendors to provide checkout functionality - no developer needed. In the case that a custom checkout is needed, BigCommerce has the ability to create one that is fully customized to your business.

  3. Open templating

    Open templating

    The BigCommerce template framework Stencil allows developers to modify and customize the user experience to match any design needs. This freedom is a critical part of building a high level of design into the website. Additionally, we can access BigCommerce data through the store-front API as well as integrations with CMS systems such as Contentful in our reverse headless approach.

  4. Strong app ecosystem

    Strong app ecosystem

    The app marketing has coverage of industry leading service providers covering most of the additional features and functionality needed. Ranging from advertising to analytics,email to integrations, the app marketplace is the first stop to extend BigCommerce.

  5. Good coverage of APIs

    Good coverage of APIs

    Nearly all data stored in BigCommerce is available through its APIs. Additionally, the APIs have been clocked up to 400 requests per second, which is highly capable and provides real-time data into the customer experience.

  6. Solid team at HQ

    Solid team at HQ

    Technology is only as good as the people supporting it. We are constantly impressed by the professionalism of the team at BigCommerce and with their dedication to helping brands sell online.

All that said, when requested, we still work on Shopify, Magento 2, Wordpress and the occasional custom platform. It’s good to have experience working on a number of platforms to understand the nuance of each system and its strengths. But when asked to make a recommendation, BigCommerece is our go-to.

We are currently offering a M1 migration package to help brands migrate onto BigCommerce from M1 quickly. The package includes everything needed to get up and running for a flat price, and offers clients the opportunity to be live on BigCommerce within 60 days! Magento 1 to BigCommerce package is $25,000.

  1. Mobile Focused design

    Mercutio will work with you to select the best theme for your site, ensuring a high-quality brand experience and an improved customer experience on mobile devices and desktop.

  2. Extend BigCommerce

    Choose from the 1000s of available apps and third party services to provide advanced functionality to your site.

  3. Data Migration

    Using LITExtension, we will migrate customer, order and product data from your M1 site to BigCommerce.

  4. Ecommerce Strategy and Consultation

    Mercutio’s inhouse experts will help provide guidance on the best way to set up your site, configure BigCommerce and choose the third party services to provide the functionality needed.

  5. A well planned site is the best recipe for success. The project will start with a Discovery session to understand your wants and needs. Then a project plan will be created to set milestones and deliver dates.

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