Magento, as you may already know, is one of the world’s most popular pieces of ecommerce software. Although it was originally built and launched in California in 2008, it didn’t take long for retailers across Europe to pick up on the platform’s potential. The user-base expanded rapidly and is now huge.

Now, approaching a decade later, we’ve reached another major milestone in the software’s story: the release of Magento 2.0.

A long but worthwhile wait

It’s fair to say the wait for Magento 2.0 has been a long one. The platform’s development actually began all the way back in November 2011, amid the release of various 1.X iterations. In the time since, we’ve seen the departure of co-founder Yoav Kutner as well as a major take over (and later sale) by world-beating e-retail giant eBay. A lot has happened.

The general consensus, however, is that the wait has been worthwhile – and we can’t help but agree.

What to expect

Magento 2.0 builds on its already-powerful predecessor in a number of ways. The main goals, according to the development team, were to: update the maturing technology stack, increase scalability, simplify external integrations, optimise the customisation process and improve overall performance.

Has this all been achieved? We think so. Let’s take a closer look at some of the exciting updates you can expect from this game-changing new release.

An interface built to save time – Let’s start by saying that Magento 2.0 is easier to use. The more intuitive and user-friendly interface includes a streamlined ‘Admin’ panel that allows users to handle everyday tasks with ease, saving significant time in the long- and short-term. This means as your business grows and the workload becomes heavier, you’re not forced to start hiring immediately.

When the time does come to expand the workforce, you can rest assured new staff will hit the ground running, with the added ease-of-use meaning only minimal training is required.

Invaluable integration credentials – Most Magento users rely on a wide range of technologies and applications to keep their businesses running, and the developers behind 2.0 have clearly taken this into account. Straight out of the box, it’s ready to work hand in hand with not just one but three of the most common payment gateways: PayPal, and Braintree. The Enterprise Edition also offers easy integration with WorldPay and CyberSource – and all come with improved security for maximum peace of mind for you and your customers.

Even more flexibility – There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all ecommerce solution. Every business is different, so customisability must be a key consideration. Thankfully, Magento 2.0 has it in spades. The software is powerful enough out of the box, but by delving a little deeper, users will find a range of ways to fine-tune their experience.

The open-source architecture that made Magento famous in the first place has been further developed to allow maximum personalisation. The result is a solution that fits your needs, not everyone else’s.

Futureproof and easy to maintain – Magento 2.0 has the power to increase your business’s potential today, but it’s also been built with the future in mind. The open-source, modular architecture allows for easier and quicker upgrades. This means when new functionality becomes available – and it will – you’re able to benefit immediately.

As a result, the state-of-the-art solution you put faith in remains that way for years to come. You always have the best, meaning your investment in futureproofed.

Great extensions = greater capabilities

The wrapping is barely off and already there are a host of fantastic extensions to help you increase Magento 2.0’s awesome power.

This goes back to our earlier point on customisability; you can do so much with the new Magento as it is, but if it doesn’t quite meet your specific needs, there will be a solution in the constantly expanding product and services marketplace.

Looking to boost audience engagement? Consider Facebook All in One, an extension designed to make your website an altogether more social experience. It’ll introduce ‘like’ buttons and comment boxes to your pages, allowing your customers to share their thoughts and, more importantly, share your products.

If your stretched team has little time to dedicate to marketing, take some help from Bronto Software. The Bronto Magento Connector allows you to harness the power of data – i.e. past-purchase information – to boost the effectiveness of your campaigns, all with minimal effort on your part.

You can even introduce LiveChat features to help you better connect with your customers. It gives you a simple yet effective new channel through which to answer questions and solve any problems the users of your site may have.

These are just three examples of the plug-ins, integrations and extensions you can expect to find for Magento 2.0. Explore the marketplace for the full, impressive picture.

Perfect timing

Sure, the wait has been long, but the release of Magento 2.0 couldn’t have come at a better time. With ecommerce playing a crucial role in supporting the economy both here in the UK and across Europe, web retailers need a powerful, streamlined and flexible website solution more than ever before. This is undoubtedly the answer.

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