Featuring better BOPIS and Covid-countering B2B features.
Magento 2.4, the fourth major platform update of Magento 2’s short life is now available. We look at what that means for your business and answer the questions:
- Who MUST upgrade to 2.4?
- Who SHOULD update?
- Who should wait?
- How to budget for this? And,
- What can we actually do with 2.4?
Let’s dive into what the changes and improvements in 2.4 are, it’s a doozy! It’s difficult to pick the top feature in this release but we think merchants are really going to focus on the B2B and In-Store Pickup features the most.
A recent McKinsey survey found that as a result of COVID-19 B2B is rapidly changing its adoption of eCommerce.
- 65% of business are adapting their model to more eCommerce focused
- 40% increase in digital growth
- 80% Very / Somewhat likely to sustain shifts
- 24% increase in eCommerce revenue since onset of COVID-19
To support this growth, 2.4 serves as the first major update to the B2B feature set Magento added roughly 3 years ago. One of the most in-demand features B2B merchants ask for is the ability for their customers to create order approval workflows. Meaning each of their individual customers can create rules defining who is allowed to create purchase orders automatically or requiring the approval of a supervisor before being submitted. Each customer can tailor these rules to their own business requirements without requiring merchant (you) intervention.
Assisted shopping for B2B merchants is now enabled through the Login as Customer feature, allowing you to operate the front-end experience as any customer would. Customer Service Representatives see the specific catalog, pricing and features for individual clients and can request Quotes or Place Orders on behalf of them.
For customers that place a high volume of orders, finding and reviewing an older order can be cumbersome at times. Now that is a breeze with the Order Search functionality. Clients can search their own order history and filter on SKU, Product Name, Order or Invoice number, Order Status and Date or Order Value ranges.
On top of the new order workflow features, Magento have made significant improvements to site speed for B2B users, including:
- Faster re-ordering: A 50% reduction in the time taken to re-ordering large orders
- Faster purchasing: 30% faster add to carts when using quick order
- 11% faster add to carts for configurable products
- 25-43% faster CMS, category and product page loads when viewed under load
A feature that has been in development for some time now is finally seeing the light of day. Buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) is built on the Magento Inventory feature allowing for complex Sources and Aggregation setups right in the eCommerce platform.
Omnichannel merchants are going to love this. Not just adding the underlying framework to enable BOPIS, this comes with a brand new checkout experience when enabled. The checkout flow is optimised for In-Store pick-up or Delivery based on user input.
Security: Two Factor Authentication (2FA) in Magento 2.4
Magento is introducing Two Factor Authentication across not only the Magento platform but also to Magento.com accounts and soon to Magento Cloud accounts.Recent surveys showed that:
- 81% of breaches from weak or stolen passwords
- 61% of people reuse the same or similar passwords everywhere
- 92% of organisations have credentials for sale on the Dark Web
- 75% of skimming attacks investigated by Adobe Security were due to a compromised Admin account
2FA will be enabled by default for all 2.4 instances and cannot be disabled through regular configuration methods. Magento administrators will be prompted on their next login to set up a 2FA method (either Google Authenticator, available in the Android or iOS stores, or a U2F Key)
Two-factor authentication seems to be becoming the industry standard, the risk of any lesser security being simply too great. Security must be paramount when dealing with eCommerce. Merchants should be doing everything possible to ensure your customer data is locked up.
A new Media Gallery has been created to speed up and simplify the workflows for content creators. You can now search for and sort your media repository within the Magento Admin panel and enjoy an overall 10% faster experience.
Under the hood Magento is adding support for a newer technology stack with the addition of support for MySQL 8, ElasticSearch 7 and PHP 7.4. Merchants should be aware of the requirements here as it will impact your ability to deploy the Magento 2.4 release. In addition, the previously deprecated MySQL Search engine has now been removed and all merchants will be required to have ElasticSearch enabled.
The Bottom Line
2.4 is a big update and while there are a lot of great new features, unless you are really looking for something specific here, it might be worth waiting for the 2.4.1 release in October before moving off of 2.3. In our experience in the beta program though, the upgrade itself was relatively pain free, as long as you have been following best practices.
Several merchants have been waiting eagerly for the new In-store pickup feature and that could be a key driven in the upgrade decision. This is a great addition for merchants wanting to bolster their omni channel offering.
PCI Compliance and Security: For merchants wanting to ensure they maintain their PCI compliance you must be updating and deploying the most recent security patches within 30 days of a vulnerability disclosure. As Magento is releasing a 2.3.5-p2 patch alongside Magento 2.4, we would recommend focussing on that patch and working on the 2.4 upgrade soon after if you are not desperately wanting the features listed here. The 2.3.5-p2 patch is focussed solely on addressing critical security vulnerabilities and does not contain any new features making it a simple process for merchants already on 2.3.5.
When is your holiday code freeze? For those thinking forward to the holiday period, it is good to plan out your releases/updates as soon as possible, ensuring you have enough time for code-freeze and site stability before the busy times hit later this year.