Third & GroveThird & Grove
May 1, 2019 - Justin Emond

Should You Upgrade to Magento 2? Not a Chance.

falling off the bull

If you’re on Magento 1, you should already be migrating, or planning to migrate soon, because Magento 1 will reach end-of-life in June 2020. Most merchant migrations take three to nine months (usually on the longer side) and all capital projects are frozen in Q4 ('tis the season) which means you have some important decisions to make right now to be safe.

Because Magento has been prominent since 2013, we’re betting that you’ve been on the platform for a number of years and have invested heavily into it. The most logical choice seems to be to move to Magento 2 since you are accustomed to the platform and you wouldn’t want to abandon all those dollars you’ve already invested.

However, before you can make an informed decision, it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of the sunk cost fallacy. This well-documented human psychological quirk is the cause of enormous personal and business pain.

The sunk cost fallacy will plague your decision to upgrade to Magento 2

The sunk cost fallacy is a hardwired cognitive routine in our brains that makes us believe we should keep investing in something because our we shouldn’t abandon that original investment—regardless of whether it’s working or not. At a high level, this makes sense.

A sunk cost example using a boat: Say you spent weekends over the last three months building a rowboat for a fishing trip this summer with friends. You really wanted to make a splash by surprising your friends with a new, beautiful handcrafted boat. Halfway through, you start to realize that you bit off more than you can chew and might not complete your boat in time.

There’s a rowboat kit that you can use to build a stunning, wood row boat for way less time and money. You would still build the boat, but because it’s a kit you get certain parts made for you and you don’t have to scrounge. And since it is a kit, you are very likely to be able to finish before your trip.

You already invested a huge amount of time in building the boat so far, so you think it is worth staying the course and not using the kit. Seems like a reasonable approach, until you step back and admit that the kit option is way low risk, achieves the same objective (impress your friends, not sink, and catch fish), requires less time, and dramatically increases the likelihood of success. Sure, it’s painful to throw all that work away, but the smart play is to do just that.

Quitting can be a good thing. (Smoking!)

We are taught that quitting is bad. The problem is that advice works well until it doesn’t. Quitting well is a very powerful skill. Grit certainly is the path to success, but to reach your end goal, you may have to go backward many times so that you can move forward quickly down a different path.

But here’s the crazy thing: With few exceptions, sunk costs should never be used to make a decision about a future investment. Why? Sunk costs are almost always irrecoverable. They are completely lost to your present (and future) self and organization. Nothing you can do gets those resources back, so they shouldn’t be part of your calculus to go forward. The only useful evaluation is to determine what kind of return you will get on a proposed future investment, and how that stacks up against other options.

Here’s what you’re overlooking: Upgrading to Magento 2 is really the same as migrating

Let’s get back to your pesky problem of what to do with your Magento 1 site. Your team might first think, “Well, we invested the last three years in Magento so we should stick with Magento.” But considering the past investment is irrelevant to the return on investment you will get with whatever path you choose.

Remember: Magento 2 is a complete rewrite of Magento 1, so upgrading to Magento 2 is really the same effort as migrating to another platform entirely. Only by putting away all thoughts of your Magento 1 investment can you really fairly evaluate the best path forward.

Once you look past your sunk cost, you can accept that:

  1. there are only six uncommon use cases where Magento 2 is more compelling than Shopify Plus
  2. as a new platform, Magento 2 creates as many problems as it solves
  3. the digital commerce landscape has transformed in the last five years
  4. and perhaps changing platforms isn’t a wasteful idea, but actually a really smart move to get even better results with your store.

Read what Magento-loving IT departments don’t want you to know about Shopify Plus.