Isofunctional migration for the e-commerce site of a major watch brand!
A major player in the Swiss watch industry asked us to design and implement its new platform. The aim of this mission is to migrate the Magento 1 (M1) e-commerce platform, which is reaching the end of its support, to Magento 2 (M2).
The stakes of the migration are as follows:
● The brand's US platform is a separate entity with its own functionalities that we have merged with the main Swiss platform, while respecting the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards, requirements that allow people with disabilities to use the site;
● The new platform will have to include a CMS tool. Indeed, when you are an important player in the watchmaking sector and with a strong history, you must be able to offer your users an evolving and attractive content around the products;
● The site is offered in 34 countries, which must be migrated with all the functionalities and specificities specific to the different countries;
● The corrective and evolutionary maintenance of Magento 1 that we started in January 2018 with the customer must be able to continue in parallel with the implementation of the new platform, which is a technical challenge, insofar as another part of the site evolves in parallel;
● The setting up of a new platform will be the opportunity to introduce a brand new graphic charter in line with current tastes.
Magento 2 in brief
The advantages of upgrading to Magento 2, apart from benefiting from the latest security updates and a more stable platform, are numerous.
These include the implementation of native APIs to manage all products, stocks and also the checkout process (the most important part of an e-commerce as this is where the customer finalizes his order). This API part is currently being used to set up a digital catalogue that will be made available in the brand's various physical shops, reducing at the same time the use of paper, which was previously used for product catalogues.
Another important point is that the CMS integrated through the Page Builder allows the creation of attractive and scalable content in order to highlight the brand and its history.
Unlike Magento 1, multistock management is a native feature of Magento 2 (called Multi Source Inventory). This makes it possible to define a different stock for each country.
A progressive migration plan
Taking into account the various issues outlined above and following the various workshops, we have decided to propose a gradual migration of the platform in three main stages:
● Implementation of Magento 2 to manage the CMS part and implementation of the new design on M1 and M2;
● Migration of the US platform to M2;
● Migration of the other awnings to M2.
Magento 2 and its CMS "made in WIDE".
Magento 2 natively offers a functionality called Page Builder allowing to create content through a drag and drop interface. As the client needs typed and structured content for its different pages, we have developed our own Contents that can be fully configured, translated and integrated into Magento 2's Page Builder. This allows the teams to create and deploy content quickly for its different countries and to leave it to non-technical contributors.
Cohabitation between M1 and M2
The main difficulty when proposing the gradual migration of a platform is to be able to make each element work with each other despite the obsolescence of some of them, and to do so in a way that is transparent to the end user.
This temporary cohabitation was possible thanks to the use of Akamai, CDN (Content Delivery Network) mainly used for content caching and which allowed us to manage the routing and communication between M1 and M2 in a simple way.
The routing rule was simple: URLs containing /shop were redirected to Magento 1 while all others went to Magento 2.
An important point we had to manage were the header and footer which are common parts of both platforms.
We therefore decided to develop these contents directly in the M2 and to use its native and very practical ESI (Edge Side Includes) block generation functionality. This functionality was a great help to us because it enabled us to integrate the header and footer generated by M2 directly into M1 using markup specific to this language. The interpretation of this type of block is managed here by Akamai.
Here is a diagram of the temporary simplified architecture of the solution (without the interactions with external systems such as SAP, etc, ...):
The progressive migration of the e-commerce part
The development of e-commerce in a new country involves several challenges. For example, the ability to retrieve all existing customer accounts and all associated addresses.
The main problem we encountered is the encryption of the password, which is not the same between M1 and M2. To do this, we opted for double encryption, the first using the M1 method on which the M2 method is applied in order to guarantee security. Indeed, the Magento 1 method is depreciated and has security flaws.
We also took advantage of this change in solution to reinforce the address and account creation rules (for example, limiting the number of characters for certain fields).
The migration of the e-commerce part took place in four stages:
● Repatriation of the US platform to the main platform;
● Migration from European countries;
● Migration from Canada ;
● Migration from Russia and Japan.
(At the time of writing this article we are entering the last stage of this migration. Namely the production delivery from Japan).
Here is the simplified diagram of the final architecture of the solution (not including interactions with external systems such as SAP, etc, ...) :
The implementation of a migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 for a major brand in the watchmaking sector is a challenge that we were able to meet successfully. One country migration follows another and we are currently in the testing phase of the latest countries.
The difference in technical architecture between M1 and M2 is such that there is no high-performance tool to carry out the migration instantaneously. This requires real support in the definition of requirements (because a new solution requires new functionalities). As a result, it was necessary to redevelop all the existing functionalities and adapt to the specificities of this new version of Magento.
Thanks to the new functionalities present in Magento 2 (ESI blocks, Page Builder, etc...), as well as the power of Akamai, we were able to succeed in this migration in a progressive and transparent manner for the user. This also enabled the various teams to ramp up their use of the new solution.
The implementation of this new e-commerce platform was a great success for the WIDE agency. It allowed us to validate our technological expertise in this type of problem. We were able to participate in all stages of the project's design and development in order to propose a sustainable, high-performance solution that meets the client's needs.
This solution is now the basis for new projects and the start of a new great adventure in collaboration with the brand, which has at the same time recorded a record number of sales on its e-commerce sites around the world.