If someone told me a little over half a year ago that the social and economic climate would radically shift so that the well-established, reliable brick and mortar store would be ever-inching towards becoming obsolete, I would not have believed a word they said. I’d probably even think they were a little crazy. Fast-forward half a year and that’s exactly where we are! Stores all over the world are adapting to “the new normal”, and the new normal is online. Following the influx of new websites created as a result of the shift, the eCommerce industry is more dynamic than ever which means that joining in and staying relevant requires decisive action at a fast pace.
According to Foregenix, approximately 250,000 merchants worldwide use Magento to power their stores. This includes, of course, both Magento 1 and 2, however, Adobe’s support for Magento 1 has ended, which means that more and more merchants are migrating to Magento 2 to avoid security and performance issues on the now-outdated platform. This migration can be an extremely tedious process if done incorrectly, however, if it’s handled right, the transition can be quite smooth. The bottom line here is, whether you’re starting fresh or migrating from an older version, Magento 2 is a popular and powerful platform that allows you to build your store and secure your presence online. Luckily, there’s a vast selection of tools available at your disposal that can, if used correctly, ease not only the labor to build or migrate your site, but also the pressure on your bank account!
One such tool is the Pearl Theme from WeltPixel. Right off the bat, you may see the word “theme” and think “a design theme is not the highest on my list of priorities”, however, as you’re about to see, the Pearl Theme is much more than just a design template. We like to call Pearl a “solution” because it represents an extremely solid foundation for a store built with Magento 2 while cutting development time and reducing costs. Let’s look at a few key points to help conceptualize this:
- It comes with 25+ extensions out of the box. All of these are natively compatible with each other and Magento 2.
- There are around 1000 Magento Admin options that facilitate diverse and flexible design variations. This translates into less development time to implement a design, and, in turn, fewer dollars spent.
- It’s constantly and regularly updated with fixes, optimizations, and improvements to maintain its performance and improve it with each new version.
- Pearl is modular, which means any of the 25+ extensions it comes with can be disabled if not required. What this means is that you have the option of excluding unrequired functionalities for a speed boost.
- Pearl receives a compatibility update each time a new Magento version is released. This is perhaps the most important point, which is why we’ve addressed it in a more detailed review below.
Magento releases version updates once a quarter, give or take. Usually, these are relatively small releases that focus on security issues, bug fixes, and an occasional new feature., However, sometimes, there are major version releases. For example, from version 2.3.x to version 2.4.x certain core functionalities are altered more so than a minor release (2.4.0 to 2.4.1) would suggest. New versions, be they minor or major (especially the latter) often pose issues for extension builders within the Magento Community because they result in code incompatibilities. Vendors that develop tens or even hundreds of extensions find it difficult to update all of them following a new Magento version so as to be compatible. For the merchant using one or more of these extensions, this results in an inability to update to the latest Magento version which will lead to an unsecured website. As you can see, something that can seem like a minor annoyance (software updates) can end up causing major headaches for vendors and merchants alike.
One of the aspects we take the most pride in here at WeltPixel is the foresight we’ve had when it comes to compatibility. This foresight is attributed, in part, to private surveys conducted over the years that have provided us user-based insights and feedback on key interests within the Community. We found, each time, that compatibility with new Magento releases is one of, if not the very highest on the list of priorities. The heightened interest on the matter assures that we always provide Product Updates within a week or two of a minor/major Magento 2 release going live. This is true for the Pearl Theme as well as individual extensions. Doing so allows us to provide merchants a feeling of safety when they consider updating their store to benefit from the heightened security and additional functionality that a new Magento release provides.
When the Pearl Theme represents the core of a Magento 2 project (the bedrock, if you will), the merchant avoids the nightmare scenario of their store being outdated and unsecure due to vendors’ inability or unwillingness to update their products for compatibility. Apart from this, using the extensions included in the theme limits conflicts between extensions from various vendors. Let’s face it, each company has a certain style and follows different standards. Some of these are better than others, and some conflict with each other. Limiting yourself to one or two (give or take) vendors minimizes this risk and saves you time and thousands of dollars in potential debugging expenses after every patch.
You may be looking for a few examples of what the theme looks like and what kind of functionality you can expect. Fortunately, we’ve set up a Demo Store which does a great job of showcasing sample designs and functionalities. It’s a good place to start if you want to get an idea of what can be achieved. You can find it here: Pearl Theme Demo Store. We’ve also selected a few very cool user-built (some bigger names are also featured on this list, such as TikiBrand or Tupperware) stores with the Pearl Theme at their core and have featured them on our website here: Who Is Using The Pearl Theme?.
It’s easy to see that going live with Magento 2 can be downright difficult. The most important takeaway here is that there are solutions available to help attenuate and ease this process without actually cutting corners. In essence, the eCommerce industry and Magento 2 are interlocked and evolving together, and we all need to evolve with them. Working together and keeping standards high is proving to be the most efficient way to head into the uncertain future.