E-commerce has experienced massive success in recent years, and Shopware is a great example of going with the flow of the digital revolution. This software has made the reality of many businesses – be it small or large – much smoother, and their future – brighter.
However, this revolution accelerates and everything related to online sales is changing lightning-fast. What was a cutting-edge tech solution several years ago may be regarded as obsolete today. It doesn’t necessarily is; it’s just that new technologies hit the market very often and clients just want what’s newest and best.
And that’s exactly the case with Shopware – a useful and efficient solution that is undergoing some major changes that are to make it more future-proof. Let’s see what these changes exactly mean for e-commerce business owners and how you can prepare your organization for them right.
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Shopware – all you need to know
Shopware is a modern open-source e-commerce platform used for creating online shops. High customizability and freedom in using it as a marketing tool, made this e-commerce shop system very popular in Germany – the country it originates in.
The platform is known for its versatility, complexity, and flexibility as well as being a trend-setting, cutting-edge solution. Constantly evolving and heavily investing in R&D, it’s even sometimes called „the leading driver of innovation in European ecommerce”.
Shopware has managed to attract many major brands, including:
This shop system is proper for various kinds of organizations, be it large, medium, or small. Companies that rely on Shopware – e.g. car and food manufacturers, well-known clothing brands, and furniture retailers – represent many industries and specializations.
A total of 45,000 companies are Shopware users as of 2023. Those who still use the Shopware 5 version (and that’s the majority of Shopware customers) will soon experience some major changes due to the software provider’s decision to no longer support it.
Shopware 5 – end of life
In brief, at the end of July 2024, the further development of Shopware 5 will be stopped. At the same time, Shopware 5-based shops will lose security support. This may pose a serious threat to them, as they won’t receive security-related updates anymore and – starting even earlier, from January 1, 2024 – won’t get any bug fixes.
But why will Shopware 5 development be discontinued? As the company behind the software explains,
„Shopware 5 uses technologies with which it is no longer possible to react fully to current requirements and the use of modern technologies can no longer be implemented sensibly. Furthermore, the software contains functions that were already introduced with Shopware 4 and have therefore already been in use for ten years.”
Of course, there are some reasonable ways out of this situation. Here are the possible scenarios.
What's next? Possible scenarios for your business
In these changing circumstances, some concerns about the future may arise – but are they justified? What exactly does ceasing the support for Shopware 5 mean for your e-commerce business? And what are the steps that you may take in this situation?
Scenario 1: Maintaining the status quo
That’s, obviously, the worst-case scenario; luckily, it still can be avoided. It means, at best, falling into chaos and things getting out of control. Moreover, with no further security fixes, companies that still use Shopware 5 can become extremely susceptible to security vulnerabilities of various kinds.
Using this version will still let you run your shop with the use of the Shopware 5 platform but, without the official support provided, security holes or any safety issues will not be handled. Sticking to this version also means not benefiting from all the great possibilities and functionalities that Shopware 6 offers and the erosion of customer trust.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s still time to prepare for what the future will inevitably bring. There are at least two reasonable ways you can choose.
Scenario 2: Upgrading to Shopware 6
In the case of Shopware 6, there are no major security concerns – this version of the software is regularly upgraded, not only in terms of features, but also security-wise. As of today, Shopware 6 is to be supported in the long term, so switching between the two environments should be a one-time operation in the foreseeable future.
Apart from security patches and security updates, Shopware 6 offers many new functionalities compared to version 5, such as AI Copilot (artificial intelligence assistance), Flow Builder (enabling prompt reaction to events), and Digital Sales Rooms (for real-time interaction with customers).
However, because Shopware 6 is not an „upgraded” version of Shopware 5, but has been completely redeveloped (with some new features enabled), clients may face difficulties navigating it. It just may be a little hard to find a successor or a suitable alternative for a given functionality; the same applies to plugins and extensions.
Migrating to version 6 may be demanding, too, although the company behind it offers the migration connector and the migration assistant for Shopware 6 to help transfer the data. Anyway, if you want to complete the migration project securely and fast, the assistance of a specialized external agency may be necessary. It could help you with the integration of new plugins, extensions, and third-party solutions.
Scenario 3: Moving your online business elsewhere
Of course, such a demanding time may also be an opportunity to migrate your own online store elsewhere. This may be a good option if you haven’t been a big fan of Shopware, anyway. While Shopware has many advantages (like marketing orientation, functionality, and flexibility), it has some weaker points, too.
Although it does give freedom in selecting features and space for scalability, some online business owners criticize Shopware for being resource-intensive, difficult to integrate with physical stores, and – in certain cases – too expensive. Sometimes, compatibility issues concerning new plugins and extensions arise and the learning curve may be too steep for non-technical users.
If you don’t want to migrate to Shopware 6, you have several options. These are:
- migrating the entire shop to a more suitable e-commerce platform,
- separating the front-end and back-end of your store, developing proxy, and migrating your back-end to another platform, so the storefront remains unchanged, also in users' eyes,
- building a new shop from scratch.
Codete can support you in taking these steps.
How Codete can help
Of course, moving your online business to someplace better is not a piece of cake – it requires vast experience and expertise. You need a trusted partner in software development and IT consulting to help you choose the right solution from many other systems and options available.
There are several ways Codete can support your organization in the challenging transition process. The company’s independent experts have hands-on experience working with Shopware and can assist clients no matter what scenario they choose.
One way is assisting in the migration process from Shopware 5. Interestingly, there are other problems that can be solved together with migration like insufficient customization and flexibility. The other is helping clients in creating a new e-shop.
Codete has vast experience in empowering SME e-commerce businesses, guiding them through digital transformation, and helping them achieve their business goals faster. What’s more, it has a track record of customizing the Shopware software and developing complex platforms for its clients.
For instance, Codete completed a successful Shopware customization project for a major company in Germany. Together with the client, we wanted to reach a usability improvement and conversion rate increase by overcoming certain limitations of the Shopware framework and fixing usability flaws.
The project covered 4 weeks of tests and resulted in 75 findings that were soon fixed. The bottom line was improving the personas and the website’s UX and matching the offerings to the client’s customers better. Several teams were involved in the process, including software engineers and UX designers.
Shopware 5 end of support – key takeaways
There are technical and security reasons to upgrade to Shopware 6. However, switching to it cannot be performed with one click; it is a huge tech-related project not every e-commerce organization can perform on its own.
Codete’s world-class tech advisors are here to help you handle any scenario possible. They will assist you in deciding which path to follow and how to do it properly. The highest standards of services are provided – with time- and cost-efficiency, safety, and security in mind.
There’s no way to avoid the end of support for Shopware 5, but there are ways to prepare for it well. It’s good to make a bold move and think ahead before the outcomes of using Shopware 5 in the second half of 2024 affect you.
The consequences of any negligence in this regard can be detrimental – and cover experiencing data breaches, cyber-attacks, and compatibility issues due to integration struggles. Using an outdated Shopware version can also lead to feature stagnation, losing competitive edge, and – what’s even worse – losing customer satisfaction and customer trust.
Concerned about what the future may hold for Shopware 5 users? Want to make the process of migration as smooth and cost-efficient as possible? If you need any assistance in making your e-commerce business more innovative and flexible, contact Codete now.