Back in November, Magento announced some very big news: A new era of eCommerce innovation was beginning with the unveiling of Magento 2.0. You’ll be forgiven for not paying attention – the announcement came right before Thanksgiving so you may have been busy preparing for mammoth amounts of turkey and Black Friday Shopping to realize it. But that’s cool, we’ve got you covered.

Not that there was anything wrong with the first version of Magento Community or Enterprise that you were using, but there are some pretty sweet upgrades that come with version 2.0. Here are five of our favorite features of Magento 2.0 that have us really excited for the future of eCommerce in 2016 and beyond. What additions or changes are you most excited about? Don’t forget to share in the comments below!

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1. An ever-growing list of new, better extensions

It’s natural to assume that in these early first few months that Magento 2.0 gets off the ground, the same variety of excellent extensions that made its predecessor the most popular eCommerce platform worldwide wouldn’t quite be up to scratch. Currently there are about 180 extensions available for the new version across all categories, with another 120 or so coming soon. If your website has been running Magento 1.x for the last few years you probably have up to a few dozen extensions at this point. It’s tempting to be a stick-in-the-mud and resist changing to the new Magento so you can keep your old platform – and extensions – around and delay the pain of switching over. But with 2.0, whether you opt for the Enterprise or Community version, developers are using this moment to modify and streamline the extensions they made for 1.x. Think of the adoption of 2.0 as a chance for old extensions to get a new look, and as an opportunity for new and better extensions to take the field.

2. Robust coding architecture with an eye towards future improvements in web coding and design

A huge upgrade to Magento 2.0 is the amount of consolidation that has gone into the coding of the system. Magento’s modular code base has fully adopted HTML5, with additional working space for CSS3, and require JavaScript (as opposed to the prototypical JS utilized in Magento 1.x). Additionally, the new version of the system utilizes PHP 5.5.x and MySQL 5.6; overall, the programs Magento has under the hood suggest that the company is very much looking towards future innovations and developments in web design, which will benefit you and your company for years to come.

3. Simplified dashboard for easier admin

Magento 1.X Admin Panel Magento 1.X Admin Panel

One day in the not so distant future, Magento users will look back at what used to be the old admin panel of Magento 1.x and wonder how they ever managed.

Magento 2.0 Admin Panel Magento 2.0 Admin Panel

This is what the new dashboard looks like; not too far away from the plaudits-receiving simplicity and functionality of the admin panel you might see on the back end of, say, a WordPress site. At this point we can pretty much navigate the entire admin panel of Magento 1.x in our sleep, but we personally look forward to the more straightforward dashboard in Magento 2.0. The old dashboard ensured that only the highly initiated could hope to effectively administrate the website; now there’s a gentler learning curve for the admin panel, so after you drag your IT people kicking and screaming through the implementation of Magento 2.0 they’ll eventually love you for giving them a much easier field to navigate through.

4. An increasingly customer-centric shopping experience

Let’s not forget that the whole point of Magento is to create a higher converting eCommerce experience. New improvements including a deeper variety of API compatibility to give your website more third party integration options lead to a more comprehensive UI/UX. One of the most significant changes is the addition of one-click account creation and customer profiles, leading to a nimbler, less intrusive shopping cart experience that ultimately results in higher conversions and less abandoned shopping carts (grrr).

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5. Safer, more secure upgrade and payments

There’s always room to make operations safer. Magento 2.0 includes an automatic upgrade installer to keep all systems go and up to date, and keep your website as tight as possible against faulty codes and potential outside hacks or breaches. Integration with PayPal, BrainTree payments, and the Authorize.net payment gateways make it pretty much CPI-compliant right out of the box and as safe, secure, and unbreachable as an eCommerce site can be. We’re not being ironic when we say that!

Now what?

Now we’d like to hear from you! Have you already started using Magento 2.0? Have you noticed any differences in Magento Community or Enterprise that you feel make this a better, or worse versus its predecessor?

Obviously there’s a lot that goes between switching from Magento 1.x to 2.0. If you are thinking about making the switch – or already are but it’s proving to be more than you can handle – get in touch with us. We’d love to help.