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New Magento 2 Features That Bring Home The Bacon

As we speed into the new year, many businesses around the world will be sitting down to review last year and plan for the future. For many, this will be as simple as understanding what went well in 2017, what challenges were overcome and most notably, how can their business beat last year and improve sales in 2018.

It’s one of the most common questions we see when it comes to eCommerce and we get asked this regularly by our own clients – ‘how can our business make more sales?’

Well, without sounding to cliché, it’s a very difficult question to answer.

Online stores can vary massively in size, traffic and design so giving a blanket answer wouldn’t really be suitable here. What I can say though is that the platform you use can have a big influence on the way your site works for both you and your customers.

We obviously work with the Magento platform here, more recently moving onto its latest update in the form of Magento 2. If your online store already sits on Magento 1, you aren’t obliged to move across to the new and improved version, but is it something you should consider? Are there any advantages to doing so?

As an eCommerce agency with Magento at our core, we felt it was important to take the time to explain the key differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2 as we believe some of them are particularly significant, so here goes!

Improved Admin Interface

One of the biggest changes to Magento 2 is actually behind the scenes, in an area where you as the business operator will enjoy more options, a cleaner design and better overall efficiency.

It’s fair to say the Magento 1 admin panel was a little cluttered and could be slightly overwhelming for a first-time user, but Magento 2 has moved to eliminate a significant portion of this by sliding the main menu bar over to the left to match other popular CMS options like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Changes have also been made to reduce your workload in a number of areas, for example, there are now fewer steps required to add a product – something you’ll no doubt be doing a lot of!

Site Speed Benefits

When it comes to site speed, Magento 2 has gone out of its way to boost the performance of your site. We’ve witnessed extensive modernisation of site architecture with the addition of better server configuration, the ability to run PHP7 and other smaller improvements which, when combined, means your site will run very quickly indeed. The speed of a site is a key factor in the world of eCommerce – not only does Google look at page loading times as a ranking factor, but customers are also known to actively avoid sites they consider too slow.

Lightning-fast Checkout

In a similar vein, giving customers the ability to get what they want quickly and hassle-free is a key factor in sites that generally perform well in terms of sales. Magento 1 wasn’t challenging to use by any means, but Magento 2 has been designed to actively reduce shopping cart abandonment rates by streamlining the entire process.

Customers on Magento 2 can now check out without having to log in, which has been a gripe of many for some time. Not only that, guests that decide they want to sign up mid-way through checking out can simply check a box and receive an email with their new account details after the transaction – magic.

Smaller but still significant tweaks include the automatic loading of shipping rates, product images now visible in order summaries and the option to confirm a billing address is the same as the delivery address.

Magento 2 has been designed to actively reduce shopping cart abandonment rates by streamlining the entire process.

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More SEO Features

For those of you that are more marketing-savvy, you’ll be pleased to know that Magento 2 brings a host of new features all designed to make search engine optimisation easier and more effective.

The addition of a new ‘Fields Auto-Generation’ option gives you the ability to add global metadata templates, with the choice of editing individual meta titles and descriptions still available. You can also edit alt tags and generate an XML sitemap from the admin which is a great new benefit.

The biggest of all the SEO changes makes Magento 2 stand out from the crowd, especially in the eCommerce marketplace. The new platform now has the ability to automatically mark up new products for you, meaning there’s no need to manually add Schema – woohoo! This will give any Magento 2 site advantage in search engine results as potential customers will be able to see more information about specific products up front, increasing click-through rate and ultimately sales.

Better Google Integration

Another one for the marketers out there, Magento 2 now offers integration with Google Tag Manager which should speed up your site further as the code is added directly to the Magento Admin.

If you use Google Adwords and paid search to promote your store, there’s now out-of-the-box Adwords tracking as standard on Magento 2. This flexible integration also allows you to edit each tracking configuration based on each version of your store – especially useful if you sell outside of the UK for example.

Google Universal Analytics integration has also been shown some love from the Magento 2 team, with a new product section monitoring product impressions, product clicks and add-to-cart clicks as well. Not only does this break down your site’s data further than ever before, but it also means you have more information at your fingertips.

Mobile Responsive By Default

The final improvement we’re going to highlight is the fact that all Magento 2 stores are now fully responsive on mobile and tablet devices by default. As over 60% of all product searches are made on mobile devices, this change could be a big one for your store – especially if you’re still on a traditional Magento 1 store that isn’t responsive.

Not only will the user experience be weaker overall, but chances are also Google won’t look too favourably on your site either; we know that the search engine takes mobile performance into consideration as part of its ranking algorithm.

All Magento 2 stores are fully responsive on mobile devices by default – with 60% of all product searches made on smartphones, this change could be big for any store.

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It’s clear that migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 could have a positive impact on your online store, but there isn’t any requirement to make the jump.

If you’re happy with your site as things stand on the original Magento platform, that’s great! But if you feel as though your store could be performing better or you’re considering a website refresh, now is the perfect time to move across to Magento 2 and take advantage of these new benefits.