Magento 2 upgrade — should I redesign my website?

If you’re an e-commerce owner and have a Magento 1 website, you will be facing Magento 2 upgrade sooner or later. Apart from the obvious challenge of the platform migration, there is a number of important business decisions to be made, when an event like that occurs. You don’t only want the transfer process to go as smoothly and efficiently as possible, but to make the best out of it.

Magento 2 upgrade — embrace change

If you have the time and the budget, you might be tempted to hit more birds with one stone. You may want to redesign your website, add some new features or adjust the shop to your changing e-commerce business. On the other hand, changing just about everything — gives you later a very little knowledge of how each change specifically affected traffic and conversions.

At Magently, we advise our clients to take it one step at a time — when possible — to minimize the risk. However, in some situations, it makes no sense to stick to the old design when going through migration to Magento 2.

It's also worth specifying what does it really mean to "redesign". It can be done at many different levels and perhaps the most groundbreaking one involves full rebranding and creating a new website design. This obviously a huge endeavor and I don't want to focus on that - you know your business best and know better than anyone if it's time to do that. The redesign I have in mind involves functional, UX, and procedural changes. It can be accompanied by a rebranding but it is not necessary.

Magento redesign — the web store owner checklist

Let me take you through a few questions you should ask yourself before moving forward with the whole site change. 

1. Does your shop work on mobile devices?

This one hardly needs much additional explanation or convincing. If your website is not responsive or you don’t have a separate mobile version, it should be on top of your list when doing a Magento 2 upgrade.

While you might experience most of your conversions from desktop traffic, users do a whole lot of browsing on their mobile devices which also includes decision-making. It also allows you to target them with your remarketing.

The importance of having a mobile-friendly shop cannot be stressed enough. If it is not already, make sure your development team adjusts the layout properly or consider a redesign.

Not sure if your site is optimized for mobile users? You can test it with some tools such as Google’s mobile-friendly check that will tell you how easy it is for users to navigate the shop and what are potential problems on their mobile interaction with your site. Keep track of your Analytics and see if the mobile traffic flows as it should. our developers will tell you the importance of every issue and whether it can be treated with a hotfix or require remodeling the UX.

2. How old is the current layout of your site?

This is strongly linked to the previous point. If your website design is a source of 90’s nostalgia more than of good conversions, then maybe it is time to refresh it. However, if the shop does fine and it is mobile-friendly, then it could be a good idea to wait, at least until the end of the migration process. You do know best how your site compares to your competition's and if it’s a good time for a redesign or rebranding.

3. How are your shop’s conversions?

That’s probably the most important factor. If you feel that there is something wrong with your e-commerce platform and the sales conversions are not what they used to be, then maybe it’s the website that is to blame. This is almost always a sign to do some changes. But first, make sure that the reason is the website (i.e. its outdated layout or too complex checkout process). You probably know the way to diagnose this.  Your development team can provide you with tools and know-how to handle the problem. Maybe there is an out-of-the-box solution in Magento 2 that will solve your problems?

If the shop is doing fine though, it might be a hint to keep things as they are an upgrade to Magento 2 without substantial changes in the website's appearance. 

4. How much has your shop grown?

There are good odds that your e-commerce site is a different thing now than it was when it has launched. You may want to add more products, shipping or discount options? That is quite natural if the business has outgrown the store.

Again, start from consulting your development team. It is much possible that many features you want to introduce may come out of the box with Magento 2 or can be easily achieved with Magento modules. It is nearly always a good idea to get rid of unwanted functionalities and add new, desired ones when doing an upgrade. Consider all the features you have and want to have. Be open to modifying your vision and ready to ask for advice.

The Magento 2 extensions marketplace is growing fast and new plugins become available every day. Before you decide about new elements, do some research on what is available and explore new possibilities for your future platform. 

5. What is your budget?

Lastly, manage your expectations. Making a custom checkout for your new Magento 2 store may sound like a good idea but first, make sure you know how long will it take to develop. Consult all your requirements with your web developers and define the shape of your shop after the relaunch. Make a list of must-haves, should-haves and might-haves and create the most efficient schedule with your team.

6. Where do you see your business in 5 years?

No, really, where? If you know you’re introducing a new type of product in 2 years, or you want to switch to a better payment gateway after the next season, make sure your developers are aware of your plans. You may save a lot of time and money — as it can be really hard to rebuild the platform later on. Make sure the new shop serves you for the predictable future and you can manage with only small tweaks as the time passes.

What’s important, you do not have to do everything at once. At Magently, we work with our clients in the weeks after the launch to tweak functionalities and UX to assure there are no bottlenecks.

Talk to your tech team

There is a reason I mentioned it a few times already and still make a separate point on it. Experienced Magento developers will give you solid advice on the migration, considering your plans and growth ideas. Consult them well before you start. You can assign a member of your team to handle the communication with the web development agency on an ongoing basis. The Magento 2 upgrade is not an easy process but, as always, communication is the key and it can save you a lot of resources if you do it right.

There are a few more tips we have for you in our free PDF - 16 tips on Magento 2 migration. We know there is a lot to remember and it's easy to miss something, so it should come in handy.