Magento 2 – what the future may bring…

Posted: Thursday 20th February 2014 in eCommerce Technology, Thought Leadership.

Magento 2 is on the horizon, but what changes can we expect to see?

Written by Paul Green
eCommerce Business Development Manager

The hype surrounding the launch of Magento 2 is beginning to build and we have been talking with Magento to understand what this will mean for us as gold partners, but more importantly, what it will mean for current and new Magento users.

Is this a re-platform or upgrade?

There is discussion within the industry of Magento 2 being a completely new platform and a total shift in terms of architecture and functionality from version 1. Although some of this discussion is to be expected with the launch of a major new version of a platform, thoughts of this being a re-platforming exercise we feel are wide of the mark.

Magento has gained a significant piece of the market share in a short space of time, which they achieved by providing a feature rich, easy to deliver and cost effective deployment, and trying to re-invent the wheel here would be a mistake. We therefore think that although there are going to be significant changes to the new version, the ability to upgrade from version 1.x to version 2 will be supported by Magento certified partners. The question remains how complicated or realistic will that upgrade be for many of the existing merchants.

What new features can we expect?

Enhancements in speed and performance
We know from reviewing the code and release notes provided to us through Github that there are some structural changes, however there are clearly still some similarities with the existing version 1.x code base. We expect that further performance and speed benefits will be delivered as this has been a key focus on recent updates from 1.12 to 1.13.

Design flexibility features
We know for certain that version 2 will bring about the launch of the VDE – Visual Design Editor – a feature that we’ve been looking at closely. It is difficult to say at this stage exactly what this will include, but we know for certain it will include the ability to amend page templates using drag and drop functionality. We don’t as yet know if this will include the ability to style the templates or amend the css.

We hope to see…..

More and more retailers understand the importance of segmentation and personalisation. Although we don’t feel Magento should focus on being a personalisation tool, lots of platforms are now building in a level of functionality to support this. A feature like this would put Magento in an even stronger position to support the evolving online retail space.

Extended reporting functionality
There are various plugins to support extended reporting functionality within Magento 1, and with many retailers now requiring extra levels of granularity and flexibility with their reports, we’d like to see some of these incorporated as standard within Magento 2.

Will the licensing model change?

We expect the Community version to remain free of charge, however we feel it is highly likely that the model for Enterprise will change. The current model is based on a per server instance, but this is difficult to police, and with the number of larger retailers now using Magento for their eCommerce operations we suspect Magento will feel they are not maximising the revenue potential from these larger Enterprise clients.

In addition, the move to cloud based hosting and virtualisation means the current model cannot be applied to take advantage of the benefits of using the cloud. We think the model needs to change, and could change to either a % of sales calculation, or what we feel would be ideal, is a per server processor option which would fully embrace virtualisation and cloud hosting as this area continues to evolve.

When will it happen?

Current indications are that Magento 2 will be released towards the end of 2014. This lands right in the middle of peak season and with the chance of unforeseen project delays we strongly believe it will not be until Q1 of 2015 that we begin to see adoption of the new version. By Q2 2015 we expect to see deployments of Magento 2 significantly increase and the first feedback on the new version from retailers and partners starting to emerge.

In short….

It’s an exciting time to be part of the Magento ecosystem, and version 2 is likely to generate even more interest in Magento and expand the number of retailers using this as their global eCommerce platform. There are lots of unanswered questions currently but we’ll be updating our blog with more news as we receive it, so follow us to get the latest updates as soon as they are released.

Summit have been building beautiful and high performing eCommerce platforms since 2006. We’re Magento gold partners building on our enhanced version of the Magento Enterprise 1.13 platform. If you’d like to know how we can help you get more from Magento please contact Chris Dickson on 0203 428 5300.